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February 5, 2016

NYC mayor wants a streetcar to connect Brooklyn and Queens

by John_A

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is once again trying to make an impact on transportation — but this time it’s with streetcars, not taxi apps. Later today during his State of the City speech, de Blasio plans to announce a $2.5 billion streetcar project that would run 16 miles from Brooklyn to Queens, the New York Times reports. The aptly named “Brooklyn Queens Connector” (BQX) would run aboveground, right alongside traffic, connecting the neighborhoods of Astoria and Sunset Park. For the most part, it would cover a route that isn’t accessible by subways (though it does appear to encroach on the much-maligned G train’s route a bit).

While expensive, the NYT notes that the BQX would be far cheaper than implementing a whole new subway line. And even though the cars would run a mere 12 miles per hour, they would still make the trip between the neighborhoods of DUMBO and Greenpoint in 27 minutes, faster than current bus or subway options. Another plus for de Blasio, since it’s an above ground project, he wouldn’t need to get approval from the state, a good thing since his relationship with Governor Cuomo isn’t exactly friendly. Construction of the BQX could start as soon as 2019, and it might be up and running by 2024.

Unlike NYC’s never-ending development plans for the Second Avenue Subway, the BQX is something that could be implemented relatively easily. Still, we’ll have to see how a streetcar system could affect traffic in busy downtown Brooklyn. One arm of the BQX will also head to Atlantic Center terminal, which is already a nightmare when it comes to traffic.

“This is a big deal for NYC and a big deal for the NYC tech sector,” wrote NYC venture capitalist Fred Wilson. “Fixing the transportation problems into these developing neighborhoods will bring people and jobs and new vitality to these waterfront neighborhoods.”

Source: New York Times

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