Critics say BQX streetcar plan will struggle to gain traction after Amazon exit

De Blasio loses key talking point in slow-moving campaign

New York /
Feb.February 22, 2019 11:31 AM

A rendering of a BQX streetcar with Jeff Bezos and Bill de Blasio (Credit: Getty Images and BQX)

Amazon’s decision to bring part of its HQ2 to Queens helped breathe new life into the city’s long-stalled Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX) streetcar plan. Now that Amazon has canceled those plans, BQX could really be on its last legs, according to local critics.

“It’s one less arrow in the mayor’s quiver,” Ben Fried, a spokesperson for commuter advocacy group TransitCenter, told the Brooklyn Eagle. “But the fact is, with or without Amazon, this project was losing momentum and was on its last breath.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio gave the project one more push last month, when he granted a $7.2 million contract to a consulting firm to study the environmental impact of the trolley, basically kicking the project over for the next administration to deal with.

“That’s highly irresponsible, and they should just let it die a dignified death,” Fried said.

In a statement, Jessica Schumer, the executive director of the Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector, said “The need for high-quality mass transit along the BQX corridor was glaringly clear before Amazon chose Long Island City and still is today.”

Though some view the streetcar as a boon for transit-starved neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens, critics have panned the project as unnecessary, uneconomical and a costly handout to developers with property along the planned route.

Last April, de Blasio finally admitted that BQX would require federal funding, despite previously claiming that the project would pay for itself through funding from local taxes.

In September, BQX director Adam Giambrone announced that he was stepping down and returning to Canada. His last day on the job was October 5, just over a month before Amazon said it would be coming to Long Island City.

The streetcar’s proposed route will run from Gowanus to Astoria. An extension of the route into Sunset Park was scrapped amid local political opposition and fears of low ridership. [Brooklyn Eagle] — Kevin Sun


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Union Square Park to gain 2 acres in $100M plan (Getty_

Union Square Park to gain 2 acres in $100M plan

Union Square Park to gain 2 acres in $100M plan
(iStock)

No check, please: Restaurants grapple with confusing Covid inspections

No check, please: Restaurants grapple with confusing Covid inspections
Kirk Goodrich, president of Monadnock Development, is opposed to the bill sponsored by Bran Lander. (Getty, Monadnock Development)

Council bill favoring nonprofits for affordable housing will hurt minority-led firms: developers

Council bill favoring nonprofits for affordable housing will hurt minority-led firms: developers
Sen. Charles Schumers aid President-elect Joe Biden agreed to assist NYC. (Getty)

NYC loses $2.5B in property taxes, gets $1B from FEMA

NYC loses $2.5B in property taxes, gets $1B from FEMA
TF Cornerstone President Frederick Elghanayan with 2-10 54th Avenue and 55-01 Second Street in Long Island City (Google Maps)

The 10 biggest new project filings in NYC

The 10 biggest new project filings in NYC
Neil Shekhter (Shekhter by Kevin Scanlon; iStock)

Santa Monica mega-portfolio officially hits market

Santa Monica mega-portfolio officially hits market
Mayor Bill de Blasio and the carousel at Central Park (Getty)

Three Trump Org contracts de Blasio canceled were about to expire anyway

Three Trump Org contracts de Blasio canceled were about to expire anyway
A rendering of 250 Water Street and Howard Hughes Corporation CEO David O'Reilly (SOM; Getty; iStock)

Howard Hughes’ Seaport project dealt major blow

Howard Hughes’ Seaport project dealt major blow
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...