To the editor:
Greg David is right that the city should do more to capitalize on the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront and increase opportunity for all New Yorkers (“Why isn’t the city taking advantage of the Brooklyn jobs boom?“). The lack of a reliable and efficient north-south public transit option is one of the biggest barriers holding back the full economic potential along this corridor. That’s why the city’s proposed Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX) light rail, which would link hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers from different backgrounds to some of the city’s fastest growing job centers, is so essential.
The need for this new public transit option was further underscored in Comptroller Scott Stringer’s recent report on the issues plaguing the MTA bus system, which specifically highlighted four neighborhoods along the proposed BQX route as having inadequate transit options to meet employment opportunities. Residents in those areas, and all along this corridor, including 44,000 NYCHA residents, are clamoring for better access to jobs, education, health care, recreation and more.
The city is smart to invest in burgeoning employment hubs such as the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Long Island City and the Brooklyn Army Terminal—whether or not Amazon picks New York City for its second headquarters. But those investments won’t reach their full potential, and ensure that potential is shared inclusively, without a reliable transit option. That’s why the BQX is such a necessary and achievable piece of infrastructure. It can be built by New York City alone, without going through Albany or Washington, by harnessing the value created along the very corridor the project will serve.
Crain’s asked the right question about taking full advantage of outer-borough jobs growth. The BQX provides a clear answer.
Interim executive director
Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector