The city this month tapped an engineering firm to study the environmental impacts that Mayor DeBlasio’s beloved Brooklyn–Queens trolley may have on the neighborhoods through which it would run, according to the leader of an advocacy group for the so-called Brooklyn Queens Connector (“Ready to roll: City taps engineer to begin environmental review of BQX trolley project” by Julianne Cuba, online Feb. 6).
“Today’s news makes it clear: the BQX is moving forward,” said Jessica Schumer, the daughter of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D–New York). “These steps show meaningful progress for the project — something we’ve been eager to see.”
The city’s Economic Development Corporation awarded Manhattan-based firm VHB a $7.2-million contract to lead the environmental-review process and subsequent Uniform Land Use Review Procedure the trolley project must snake through before any straphangers can hop aboard, according to a rep for the agency.
News of the contract comes months after Hizzoner put the fate of the streetcar in jeopardy last summer, when he announced it would derail without $1 billion in federal funding approved by his political rival President Trump.
Readers let the comments roll online:
EDC is controlled by the Mayor. It’s just a way for him to use his cronies to support things he likes without going to Council.Frank from Furter
There’s no heat in Nycha — there is lead and mold, and the ceilings are falling down — but there are millions of dollars for a train for the super rich to nowhere. That’s DeBlasio’s, Schumer’s, and Cuomo’s progressivism at work. Council continues to cater to the rich too.Raymond from Boerum Hill
It’s an ultimate public-transportation boondoggle waiting to happen. I won’t be surprised if the Feds will not give funding to DeCrony’s pet project. That could make this DOA.The Hunkster from Bed-Stuy
The Feds won’t give money to fix the BQE, never mind the BQX. Unless the city essentially allows people to ride this for free, it will be next to useless. Free because it’s not part of the MTA, so it will make it a double fare to use the subway system. It’s probably DOA anyway.
Even the city’s own analysis of increased development can’t justify the amount of money to be spent, given you can add a bus route for this for less than one one-hundredth of the cost and allow free rides as well.Frank from Furter
For anything like this to be effective, it needs to be raised above traffic like many people carriers in Japan. Otherwise it’s just a bus with different wheels that can’t drive around obstructions. Imagine Red Hook access by simply flying over the BQE–Battery Tunnel mess. Plenty of other situations, too, like a spur above Atlantic Avenue that connects to LIRR and Pacific Street–Barclays.
Jim from Cobble Hill
“Ready to rile” should be the headline for this story. Engineers should have been hired before the BQX debut three years ago. Yet another DeBlabio waste of our tax dollars and attention. No room for BQX on already-crammed streets — add flood-prone coastal route, a decade of public taking lawsuits, and this developer wet dream answers itself.blogger Bill from from Boerum Hill
If you raise it above traffic you will increase cost exponentially, as it will have to be handicap accessible. City buses are already handicap accessible.Frank from Furter
How about just kill this idea already, especially since grade-level rails these days are almost no different from taking a bus? Not to mention the traffic it would cause.Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville
Totally ridiculous waste of money! Try first establishing a bus route on this same (or essentially same) route and see if the ridership truly justifies this huge expense. Take the estimated $2.7 billion and apply it to fixing the subway. The subway already exists and most definitely needs the overhaul. Money should not be wasted on a new rail line through flood-prone neighborhoods. (And let Jessica Schumer find some legitimate job.)Mark from Crown Heights
Trolley won’t happen
To the Editor,
“Ready to roll” is just wishful thinking. In 2015, The Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector originally claimed it could be built for $1.7 billion. In 2016, the city’s Economic Development Corporation said $2.5 billion. Today, the estimated cost is $2.7 billion. How many more billions might it cost upon completion? It takes more than a simple planning feasibility study to turn it into a viable capital transportation improvement project. There have been no environmental documents or design and engineering efforts necessary to validate any basic estimates for the $2.7 billion construction costs.
Awarding a $7.25-million consultant contract to perform environmental work supplements the previous $7-million feasibility study for a total of $14.25 million. This leaves the project $2.685 billion short of funding needed for completion. The original completion date has already slipped four years from 2024 to 2029. It is doubtful that the Federal Transit Administration would pay for up to 50 percent of the cost, along with Amazon doing the same since it just cancelled coming to Long Island City. Mayor DeBlasio has yet to request, let alone been granted, approval to enter the Federal Transit Administration New Starts process for future funding. This easily averages five or more years before there is an approved Federal Full Funding Grant Agreement in place.
Increasing local community opposition to Amazon is growing. State Sen. Michael Gianaris’s appointment to the NYS Public Authorities Control Board (subject to Gov. Cuomo’s approval) would have given him veto power to kill the project. It is not ethical for project director Jessica Schumer to “lobby” her father Sen. Charles Schumer for federal funding. Without a billion or more from both Washington and Amazon, don’t count on riding the Brooklyn Queens Connector in your lifetime. Instead, try running simple limited-stop bus service on the same route.Larry Penner
Kings Plaza trouble
To the Editor,
My family and I returned from a very pleasant shopping trip, outside of the city, to find this week’s Mill Marine headline: “A lot of trouble” (by Kevin Duggan, Mill–Marine Courier, Feb. 15–21). By flaunting the law again, they created another massive fire hazard by storing hundreds of cars illegally. And after a costly arson fire barely six months ago in their vehicle storage areas, this disregard for safety poses a great danger to customers in this mall.
Then, deciding to raise parking fees for regular customers to the stratosphere made me grin. They can raise the parking price to $100 a day … who cares? They won’t get my family and neighbors’ money anymore.
I, like many fellow Marine Parkers and Mill Basinites, made the decision to avoid this mall like the plague. Even after the rebuilding after the fall of Sears Roebuck, there is nothing inside for us. Since hip-hop clothes stores with blaring rap-crap music fill the stalls, I, along with most other locals, waved good-bye for better shopping pastures.
Yes, beyond its parking problems, Kings Plaza is truly in a “lot of trouble.”Robert W. Lobenstein
Bye, bye, Bernie
To the Editor,
Just heard that Sen. Bernie Sanders confirmed his second bid for the presidency, after announcing his consideration of running at Brooklyn College.
With all the anti-Israel bias surrounding that campus, Sanders’s own pro-Palestinian bias is not needed there to exacerbate an already bad situation. Better for Sen. Sanders to remain in Vermont.
The last time he campaigned in Brooklyn, he bemoaned the fact that his parents lived in a rent-stabilized apartment on Kings Highway. As an avowed socialist, you would think that Sanders would be all for rent protections for tenants.
Why go to Brooklyn College, Sen. Sanders? After all, you only attended that school for one year before you transferred out. Your presence is not needed there to stir up the simmering anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hate, which has been on the increase.