BQX

The BQX will be New York City’s first new rail system since the subway began service more than a century ago.

What is the BQX?

The BQX is a new, state-of-the-art streetcar system being planned by the City of New York. The BQX will be efficient and emissions-free and it will run on tracks flush with the existing roadway. Possible without overhead catenary wires or underground power sources, it will also be resilient against major weather and flood events. BQX trains will be ADA accessible and will accommodate bicycle parking.

Where will it go?

The BQX will link neighborhoods along a 14-mile route from Astoria to Sunset Park. Stops are expected to be approximately ½ mile apart and the line will connect to up to 10 ferry landings, 30 different bus routes, 15 different subway lines, 116 Citi Bike stations, and 6 LIRR lines. It will travel primarily in dedicated lanes, separated from traffic and bicycles along the route.

How often will it run?

The BQX could run 24 hours a day, at 5 minute intervals during peak service.

How much will it cost to ride?

The BQX fare will be the same as standard bus and subway fares, and should be integrated with the MTA for fare payment and free transfers.

How many people will it serve?

By 2035, the BQX is projected to serve more than 15 million annual riders. This service is essential to relieve overburdened subway lines and congested streets along the route and to accommodate the projected 30% population growth over the next three decades. The BQX will enhance opportunities and quality of life for everyone who lives and works along the Brooklyn Queens waterfront.

Will it reduce travel times?

Origin and Destination Current Travel Time (min) BQX Travel Time (min) Time Saved Per Ride (min)
Hallets Point to Midtown 55 37  18
Astoria to Williamsburg  61  26  35
Queensbridge to Navy Yard  59  27  32
Long Island City to DUMBO  48  33  15
Downtown Brooklyn to Williamsburg  40  26  14
DUMBO to Williamsburg  55  21  34

How will it be funded?

The BQX is anticipated to cost approximately $2.5 billion to construct and approximately $30 million per year to operate and maintain. These estimates assume that the BQX will be built and operated using all union labor. The cost of construction could be covered by a bond issued against future tax revenue increases from commercial and multifamily properties along the BQX route. Based upon the impacts of transit on property values in similar conditions, this revenue is estimated to be well above the cost of constructing the BQX and will not rely upon any new residential rezonings or tax rate increases.

When will it be built?

The BQX is a big idea. It has the ability to impact generations of New Yorkers. It will require community outreach, an environmental impact statement, a series of reviews and approvals, and construction bidding. If all stakeholders work together, the BQX can break ground by 2019.

Stats

A diverse
and vibrant
waterfront

The Waterfront At-a-Glance

The BQX will relieve overburdened infrastructure, ensure that growth and opportunity is spread more equitably along the waterfront, and provide access to jobs, educational opportunities, and recreational amenities for everyone.

The Brooklyn Queens waterfront has historically been the heart of New York City’s industry, with factories lining its shores from Bay Ridge to Astoria. As the City’s economy transitioned away from industrial production after World War II, the waterfront became increasingly underutilized and inaccessible. Over the past 15 years, however, New York has rediscovered its waterfront, reclaiming it for greenways and bike paths, river access, residential development and job creation in the creative economy.

Today the Brooklyn Queens waterfront is diverse and dynamic, with major employment hubs, growing mixed-income residential neighborhoods, new parks, arts and culture, higher education and healthcare facilities.

Despite this renaissance, the corridor continues to be severely underserved by transportation infrastructure, leaving some neighborhoods isolated, unable to access the growing opportunities along the waterfront. Many of these neighborhoods are still suffering from high unemployment and poverty. The BQX is a critical step in connecting waterfront residents to job centers, educational opportunities and recreational amenities, helping families break the cycle of poverty.

Updates

FAQ

The City has studied a waterfront streetcar before. Why is now the time right for the BQX?

The Brooklyn Queens waterfront has changed dramatically over the past 15 years, experiencing enormous residential and job growth, with far more growth on the horizon. In fact, during this time the center of the city has shifted eastward and Brooklyn and Queens have become first-choice destinations for living and working. Yet the transportation system has not kept up. With the streetcar, the City has identified an investment that will help both accommodate and catalyze more equitable growth, relieving congestion in communities that have experienced growth and bringing opportunity to communities that have been disconnected from the corridor’s revitalization.

Why a streetcar? Wouldn’t buses be more affordable?

The streets along the Brooklyn Queens waterfront are complex and indirect, making it difficult to service with a single bus route or Select Bus Service (SBS), the MTA’s rapid bus alternative. SBS vehicles also do not have the capacity to accommodate the anticipated BQX ridership. Unlike a bus, the BQX has the ability to move the projected 50,000 daily riders along the corridor in a single, efficient route. With dedicated right-of-way and traffic priority, it won’t get snarled in the traffic and congestion that often slows bus service. As a result, it will be faster and more reliable than any bus route along the corridor, and it will generate enough value to cover the cost of its construction. More importantly, the rails will physically connect the corridor, helping to attract riders and catalyze economic development opportunities in a way that buses do not.

Won’t the streetcar mostly serve luxury condos on the waterfront?

The reality is that economic growth on the waterfront has largely been confined to three neighborhoods – Long Island City, North Williamsburg and Downtown Brooklyn/DUMBO. The streetcar will ensure that other communities along the corridor have equitable access to this economic growth. It will connect thousands of people, including 40,000 NYCHA residents, to jobs, education, healthcare and recreational amenities. The BQX will also serve the nearly 300,000 people who work along the waterfront, helping to preserve and revitalize the 50 million square feet of manufacturing and industrial space along the route. By connecting people to major middle-class job centers in the Navy Yard, Industry City, Downtown Brooklyn and Long Island City, the streetcar will expand employment opportunities and support continued growth of the City’s manufacturing and creative tech economies.

How will the BQX be integrated with the existing transportation system?

New York relies on public transportation like no other American city, and this is increasingly a multi-modal town, with new options like CitiBike, ferries and taxi apps making it easier to get around town. The BQX will become an integrated part of this network, with easy connections to 10 ferry stops, more than 30 bus routes, 15 subway lines and more than 100 CitiBike stations. The BQX will also run on the same fare system as the MTA and should accommodate free transfers and use of the MTA’s weekly and monthly cards.

But haven’t other cities tried and failed with streetcars?

The key to a successful streetcar is establishing a route that serves a clear need, integrates with the existing transit network, runs fast and travels far enough to draw ridership and spur growth, and has a clear funding source. That’s exactly what the City has identified here. By connecting underserved neighborhoods to jobs, culture and the broader transit system, the BQX will serve over 50,000 people each day and will become a vital part of New York City’s transportation network.

Building a brand new rail line is expensive. Why should we invest in the BQX rather than more important infrastructure improvements planned by the City?

The BQX doesn’t require State or Federal funding and won’t compete with other MTA projects. By capturing the value created by building real transit infrastructure, we will be able to pay for the system without taking from other transit and infrastructure priorities. This will allow the city to create a critical piece of transportation while still supporting other critical needs.‎

It’s hard getting anything approved in New York. Is there any chance this will actually get built?

The BQX already has broad support from community groups, elected officials, urban and transportation advocates, and business leaders in Brooklyn, Queens and across the City because it will provide desperately-needed transportation access to neighborhoods underserved by our aging transit system. We expect a robust debate and thoughtful discussion throughout the public review process, and believe it will continue to be widely supported by a variety of stakeholders. New Yorkers rely on public transportation and the BQX will be a vital addition for those living and working along the Brooklyn Queens waterfront.

What is the relationship between the Friends and the City?

The Friends group is an independent non-profit, 501c3 organization that was formed to advocate for the BQX.

Supporters

The BQX is supported by a deep and diverse coalition of New Yorkers including community leaders, small businesses, economic development groups and transit experts.

Join Us

Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector, Inc. is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit that supports the Mayor’s initiative to create connectivity and generate economic development along the East River waterfront corridor from Sunset Park to Astoria through the construction of a modern streetcar that complements and enhances existing transportation infrastructure.

Press Kit

Please click the link below to download Friends of the BQX press materials, including renderings and press releases.

 

 

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Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector
Board of Directors

 

Executive Committee

 

Chair

Jed Walentas, Two Trees Management Co.

Secretary

Jill Eisenhard, Red Hook Initiative

Treasurer

Andrew Hoan, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce
 

 

 

 

Vice-Chairs

Michelle de la Uz, Fifth Avenue Committee

Jukay Hsu, Coalition for Queens

Elizabeth Lusskin, Long Island City Partnership

Carlo Scissura, The New York Building Congress

Paul Steely White, Transportation Alternatives

Tom Wright, Regional Plan Association

Board of Directors

 

Michelle Adams, Tishman Speyer

Marc Agger, Agger Fish Corporation

Carmelo Anthony, Melo7 Tech Partners

Jordan Barowitz, The Durst Organization

Gail Benjamin, Land Use Professional

Frances Brown, NYCHA Red Hook East Houses

Darold Burgess, NYCHA Ingersoll Houses

Vishaan Chakrabarti, Practice for Architecture Urbanism DPC

Claudia Coger, NYCHA Astoria Houses

Erin Gabrielli, Atlas Capital Group

Alex Garvin, AGA Public Realm Strategies

Tom Grech, Queens Chamber of Commerce

Annette Juriaco, Rubenstein

Michael Kaye, Douglaston Development

Andrew Kimball, Industry City

Joe Lhota, NYU Langone Medical Center

 

 

 

Anthony Lopez, Zone 126

Gail Mellow, LaGuardia Community College

Regina Myer, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership

Brandon Nelson, JetBlue

Tucker Reed, Totem

David Rosen, Brooklyn Allied Bars & Restaurants

John Rudikoff, Brooklyn Law School

Michael Rudin, Rudin Management

Michael Ruiz, National Grid

Alexandria Sica, DUMBO BID

April Simpson, NYCHA Queensbridge Houses

Anthony Sosa, NYCHA Ingersoll Houses

Doug Steiner, Steiner Studios

Bishop Mitchell Taylor, Urban Upbound

Jay Walder, Motivate

Carol Wilkins, NYCHA Ravenswood Houses

Fred Wilson, Union Square Ventures

 

Senior Staff

 

Jessica Schumer, Executive Director

 

 

 

Jenna Bimbi, Deputy Director.