De Blasio Administration Greenlights BQX Streetcar and Announces Environmental Review Will Begin This Winter

August 30, 2018

Proposed streetcar will serve neighborhoods with 400,000 residents along growing Brooklyn- Queens Corridor; generate $30 billion in economic impact

NEW YORK— The de Blasio Administration announced that it will move forward with the proposed Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX) streetcar following the completion of a two-year feasibility study. Despite two decades of rapid growth in population and jobs on the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront, public transit has not kept pace. At full implementation, the state-of-the-art streetcar will increase public transit options for neighborhoods with over half a million New Yorkers living and working along the growing Brooklyn-Queens waterfront corridor, including 40,000 New York City Public Housing Authority residents. The revised route will connect Astoria, Long Island City, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Downtown Brooklyn, and Red Hook. The full report is available here.

“The Brooklyn-Queens waterfront has experienced incredible growth. Now it's time for our transit system to catch up,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The BQX is one of the biggest, most ambitious projects in a generation. It will be a challenge, but New York City is taking it on.”

“BQX taps into state-of-the-art transit tech to respond to and build upon the evolution of the Brooklyn Queens Waterfront,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen. “With more than half a million people now living and working along the projected line and further growth to come, BQX will transform how our city moves.

Construction and implementation of the streetcar is estimated to cost $2.73 billion and generate $30 billion in economic impact and approximately $1.4 billion in value capture to finance its construction. The City announced it will seek federal funding, among other sources, to deliver the project. First-year ridership is expected to be 50,000 per day.  The BQX represents an opportunity to proactively invest in a modern, resilient mode of public transportation that will:

  • Connect mixed-income neighborhoods to jobs and transit hubs
  • Provide affordable, reliable, and accessible service
  • Support transit-oriented development and safer streets

“As the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront continues to grow, adding new residents and jobs each year, the City must pursue multiple transportation solutions,” said New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “The BQX has the potential to be an integral part of our city’s expanding transportation system.  It will complement and connect to our subway and bus system, the NYC ferry, and bike share, while transforming city streets.”

“The Brooklyn-Queens Connector will serve over half a million New Yorkers who live and work along the East River waterfront and need modern transportation options that meet their everyday needs,” said NYCEDC President James Patchett. “The BQX will link long-disconnected neighborhoods, shorten commutes to school and work, and provide a 21st century solution to our city’s transit challenges.”

The BQX will bring much-needed connectivity to other existing modes of mass transit, including subways, buses, ferries, and CitiBike. The expanded connections will generate economic activity and boost access to emerging job clusters, cultural centers, academic institutions, world-class waterfront parks and more. 

Community stakeholders will have opportunities to provide input as the proposal advances to the environmental review and advanced design stages. The City will also further analyze project delivery methods, streetcar operations, and project implementation. 

The environmental impact study process will commence this winter, followed by ULURP in 2020. Construction is expected to begin in 2024 and end in 2029.

Since the Mayor announced the proposal at a State of the City address in 2016, the BQX City team has studied key aspects of designing, building, and operating a streetcar service. The study was informed by robust public engagement conducted through a numerous community meetings and workshops, and input from elected officials and community organizations along the corridor.

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