New Yorkers could be riding such a thing as soon as 2024.
The New York Times reports that de Blasio plans to announce his push for a $2.5 billion Brooklyn-Queens Connector during today’s State of the City speech, and that the above-ground service would utilize existing rails on city streets along the East River, from “the industrial centers of Sunset Park, Brooklyn, to the upper reaches of Astoria, Queens”.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has introduced an idea to link Brooklyn and Queens by streetcar, a mode of transporation not seen in the city in decades.
Light rail would enable residents to much more easily get to, and keep jobs that would help them improve their standards of living.
One benefit for De Blasio is that a streetcar plan would be completely separate from the current subway system, which would mean he would not have to involve political foe Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Image via Friends of Brooklyn Queens Connector.
The relationship between the two Democratic politicians – who have engaged in bitter public power struggles over the city’s schools, subways and homeless population – has become more strained recently as they have fought over MTA subway funding.
The preliminary estimate for the purchase and installation of the system is approximately $2.5 billion.
“The city projects that initially, the BQX Connector will serve fewer than 25,000 riders every day while linking them to nearby bus lines, subway stations and ferry landings, and also so-called “innovation clusters” like the one at Industry City in Brooklyn”.
Light rail has proved successful in many cities internationally throughout Europe, and even in cities across New Jersey. “If the money were spent on an extension of the Second Avenue Subway or a line on Utica Avenue-as Mayor de Blasio proposed in previous years-would the public be better off?” Some of the route would put the streetcars in their own dedicated lane, separate from vehicular traffic.
Honored guests at the event will include NYPD heroes such as officers Anthony Barton, of Suffolk County, and Michael Pyzikiewicz, of Nassau County, who delivered a baby along the Long Island Expressway last month in Queens.
Ben Fried at Streetsblog NYC thinks the streetcar is more of “an expensive way to connect waterfront neighborhoods and destinations to each other” than a real solution for Brooklyn’s average commuter.