Just a couple of weeks after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his plans for a streetcar that would connect Brooklyn and Queens and run along the East River, the proposal has received the support of several academics, transportation advocates, and elected officials, according to a press release issued by the Mayor's office.
"Our transportation system was built 100 years ago to move people into and out of Manhattan, but that's not how our city functions today," Paul Steely-White, the executive director of the transportation advocacy group, Transportation Alternatives, said in the release. "Too many neighborhoods have been left behind, and Mayor de Blasio's plan will bring a state-of-the-art transit option that will save time and make our city more equitable."
The proposed streetcar route would stretch 16 miles from Astoria in Queens to Sunset Park in Brooklyn. It is anticipated to cost $2.5 billion. And the administration estimates that it will create 28,000 temporary jobs by 2045, and $25 billion in wages and economic activity for the city.
"Connecting the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront is essential to the economic future of New York City," Mitchell L. Moss, the director of the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation Policy said in the press release. "The proposed streetcars will improve access to jobs and foster new waterfront activity that will benefit all New Yorkers."
The streetcar will connect neighborhoods that continue to have limited public transportation options, particularly neighborhoods like Red Hook, Dumbo, Brooklyn Navy Yard and Gowanus. The Mayor's office anticipates that the BQX, short for Brooklyn-Queens Connector, as the streetcar project is known, will link 13 NYCHA developments with more than 40,000 tenants, which accounts for about 10 percent of the city's public housing residents.
"My vision for One Brooklyn, a borough where the popularity of our brand translates to prosperity for all Brooklynites, has always focused on improving the connectivity between our communities and the opportunities they hold," Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said in the press release. "In a 21st century Brooklyn, we need 21st century transportation solutions to meet the historic challenges that have faced underserved communities."
Construction on the project isn't expected to start until 2019, and it will be preceded by a lengthy public review process. The first streetcar could launch in 2024, and the Mayor's office anticipates a weekday ridership of 50,000 people.