NY Mayor unveils Brooklyn-Queens streetcar plan

Posted on February 17, 2016

Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector
Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was joined by several local and transit officials to detail his plans for a new streetcar service: the Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX). The new transit line — the first New York City streetcar in more than 50 years — would stretch 16 miles from Astoria in Queens to Sunset Park in Brooklyn, linking together neighborhoods long underserved by public transit with some of the fastest-growing job hubs.

When fully built-out, it could serve almost 50,000 passengers per day, making it one of the biggest urban streetcar systems in the nation.

“People in neighborhoods like Red Hook haven’t had the quality transit they need and deserve. This new service means opportunity for those families, and it’s also going to strengthen communities up and down the waterfront. Anyone can see the enormous growth happening here – it’s time we brought new transit to these neighborhoods for all those people and jobs,” said Mayor de Blasio.


The Brooklyn-Queens waterfront is one of the fastest-growing parts of the city, with more than 405,000 residents and 296,000 workers. But transit capacity hasn’t kept pace with population and employment growth. The BQX would link together long-isolated neighborhoods and bring 21st century public transit to meet the needs of a growing city. Following extensive community outreach and planning, the Administration foresees breaking ground on the project in 2019-2020.

“The BQX will provide the modern, efficient, state-of-the-art transit link that the growing Brooklyn and Queens waterfront, which is underserved by the current subway system, urgently needs,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “The BQX will provide a cost-effective transportation option for neighborhoods all along the East River that will also spur economic development and more vibrant communities for all New Yorkers.”

Highlights of the proposed streetcar route include:
  • The BQX would run along a 16-mile corridor through Astoria, Ravenswood, Long Island City, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Brooklyn Navy Yard, DUMBO, Downtown Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Red Hook, Gowanus and Sunset Park.
  • Will link to 13 NYCHA developments with more than 40,000 tenants — roughly 10% of the city’s public housing residents.
  • Ties together several “innovation clusters” in which the city has made significant economic development investments, including the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Brooklyn Army Terminal and the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island via a ferry connection.
  • The Administration will begin engaging communities along the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront this year to develop the new service’s exact route, operations and a phasing plan for implementation.
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