The mayor wants to build a $2.5-billion trolley line between Sunset Park and Queens, hopping aboard a proposal put together by developers and businesses along the suggested route.
But the plan is about more than just commerce, Hizzoner claims — the so-called Brooklyn Queens Connector would connect communities in subway-starved areas along the waterfront.
“The BQX has the potential to change the lives of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers,” DeBlasio said during his annual State of the City speech on Thursday night.
The plan to bring trolley-dodging back to the Borough of Kings is reportedly the work of an organization calling itself Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector, backed by Dumbo developer Two Trees — which is currently erecting high-rises at the old Domino sugar factory in Williamsburg — as well as other real-estate, business, and community interests.
The pitch is still light-on for details, but the mayor’s press office says it wants to install tracks on existing streets in Red Hook, Dumbo, Cobble Hill, Downtown, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint.
Under the current plan, straphangers would be able to use the Metropolitan Transportation Authority ticket system to pay and a fare would cost the same as a subway swipe — at least according to former traffic commissioner “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz, whose engineering firm is working for Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector.
The group championing the streetcar funded the study and proposal, but the city would have to pay for the multi-billion-dollar system itself — the Mayor claims taxes generated by increased property values along the route will cover the costs.
The entire thing would involve several years of planning and negotiations with local communities, the mayor’s office says — construction wouldn’t begin until at least 2019 and it would be at least 2024 before the system is up and running, by which time DeBlasio will be long gone from City Hall.
The man who hopes to be mayor by then, Borough President Adams, said he supports the plan in principle — but also recalled the long-stalled plans for a subway line connecting the seriously transit-starved neighborhood of Marine Park to Williamsburg, which DeBlasio was lauding less than a year ago,
“The Brooklyn Queens Connector, like bus rapid transit and the Utica Avenue subway line, is an innovative and laudable project that fits into our shared vision for a better connected borough and city,” said the Beep.
Is this the streetcar you desire?