Image via Friends of the BQX

It is fairly well known amongst Brooklyn and Queens residents that moving within and between the tow boroughs via public transportation is increasingly frustrating. With public transportation deserts along the coastline, having to rely only on the G train and crowded bus routes, de Blasio’s early 2016 announcement of a Brooklyn Queens Connector streetcar (BQX) was a welcome solution. Now, as the plan moves at a glacial pace, the Friends of the BQX and a diverse coalition of supporters have unveiled a prototype the BQX car as a call to Mayor de Blasio to make the BQX a priority in his second term.

As background, the car would run 14 miles between Brooklyn and Queens along the waterfront from Astoria to Sunset Park. Since October 1956, when the last three trolley lines in Brooklyn were decommissioned, easy access to transportation for residents along the waterfront has been difficult, it not, nonexistent compared to other areas of the city.

Image via Friends of the BQX

The BQX would serve traverse transportation-starved communities like Red Hook, which has long been cut off from the rest of the city’s vast transit system, along with underserved areas with forthcoming city-backed development plans such as the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the Sunset Park waterfront. Without having to take detours around the boroughs as the buses do, the BQX would be a relatively straight shoot from end to end, allowing travel time between say Red Hook to Long Island City, to be about 25 minutes compared to the 45 minutes to an hour it would take via subway.

The prototype BQX cars were unveiled during an event at the New Lab technology space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard yesterday, where people got the chance to see the cars designed by the French firm Alstom. The streetcars consisting of two cars measuring at 46-feet-long and 8.7-feet-wide, would havestreet-level boarding and open-gangways.

Image via Friends of the BQX

The sixteen mile plan with Sunset Park at beginning of the line and Astoria at the end.

The BQX would serve more than 400,000 New Yorkers living along the proposed route, and 300,000 working along the line. As we’ve seen with the opening of Building 77, the Brooklyn Navy Yard is poised to add 10,000 jobs to the area– a good place to hold an unveiling of a transportation solution that would make the bourgeoning area more easily accessible. Moreover, if the new line is built, tens of thousands of additional jobs could be created along the corridor.

While the subway system is under the control of New York State, the BQX would fall under the City’s control, which could give the de Blasio administration the chance to make its own decisions regarding transit infrastructure.

Image via Friends of the BQX

The unveiling event was well attended with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, NYCHA resident association leaders, labor leaders, transit and environmental advocates, small businesses owners and leaders from the city’s growing tech industry all present in a show to urge the de Blasio administration to make the project a top second-term priority.

Image via Friends of the BQX

While the prototypes look promising, Friend of the BQX and supporters of the project will have to wait and see if de Blasio is willing to move forward with the project as he initially promised. For now, we urge you to read up more on the proposed project in our breakdown of the the facts, pros and cons as well as a look at the proposed routes that were revealed last November.

Next, check out MTA to Test Subway Platform Screen Doors on the L Train’s 3rd Avenue Station in NYC and Hello Everyone, NYC’s MTA Is Using More Inclusive Announcements

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