By Ya-Ting Liu, Executive Director at Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector
Everyone in Northside Brooklyn knows that New York City is growing because you feel it every day on subways, buses and ferries that are struggling to keep up. When the Second Avenue subway opened on New Year’s Day, Manhattan felt the relief of less-crowded subway cars on the East Side. On the other hand, North Brooklyn residents are facing increasingly jam-packed rides on the L train. It’s clear that New York City needs additional public transit, including back-up options during disruptive shutdowns like the projected 18-month closure of the L train.
Transportation difficulties are especially hard-felt along the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront, which lacks a reliable public transit option. That’s why our group, Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector, is working to build a new transit option between Brooklyn and Queens. This Brooklyn Queens Connector, or BQX, would feature half-mile stops along the sixteen-mile route and substantially reduce commute times for 700,000 New Yorkers who live and work along the corridor by linking workers directly to job centers outside of Manhattan.
Supporter Abraham Rodriguez, a teacher at Williamsburg High School of Architecture and Design, said “Our school attracts students from across Brooklyn and even other boroughs. As an educator, I know how impactful even a few extra minutes can be for a student. The proposed BQX streetcar gives time back to us, especially young people who are more likely to use public transit than any other type of transportation.”
The BQX would run in a dedicated right-of-way lane that will substantially reduce commute times. Travel times between Astoria and Williamsburg will be cut from 61 to 26 minutes, while a commuter traveling between Downtown Brooklyn and Williamsburg will save 14 minutes.
Like the subway, the streetcar would run around the clock, serving an estimated 50,000 passengers a day with departures every five minutes during peak hours. The streetcar has something for everyone, including real-time travel information at all stations, bicycle racks and level boarding for those with mobility issues and parents with strollers.
Mayor de Blasio announced his support of the project in his 2016 State of the City address, and since then, the BQX has garnered a broad base of support from over 120 community groups, small businesses and local leaders along the route. The BQX is scheduled to open its doors in 2024.
For more information about the BQX, check out www.bqx.nyc