If a gondola can’t help solve Brooklyn’s transportation issues, maybe a streetcar can? New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to announce the Brooklyn-Queens Connector, an above-ground trolley that links the two boroughs. New Yorkers could be riding such a thing as soon as 2024.
A group named Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector put together a $1.7 billion proposal first reported by the NY Daily News earlier this month, although transit folks have been writing about this idea for-ev-er. (Including us, last year.) A report in the New York Times claims that de Blasio is backing this plan in his State of the City address, although the cost will be closer to $2.5 billion.
The 16-mile route would travel from Astoria to Sunset Park, largely traveling along the waterfront. In addition to linking many areas without a direct north-south subway connection between them, it would bring reliable service to many neighborhoods which are not well-served by transit at all. And of course it would conveniently serve all those god-awful ugly high rises sprouting in west Williamsburg.
Considering the 2nd Avenue Subway has taken over 80 years to move from idea to almost-completion, no one is really holding their breath. But it seems that Mayor de Blasio is very serious about the plan, which ties in nicely with other recently announced transportation initiatives and adds a nice bow of empire building to his administration.
New streetcars are rolling into many downtowns as a cheaper, faster alternative for building transit—not as cheap as, like, buses but apparently those aren’t cool enough. Still, $2.5 billion is a lot of money, how will the city pay for it? Let’s just say they’ve got this one:
Administration officials believe the cost can be offset by a revenue stream taken from the expected rise in property values along the route.
So basically, it’s like a High Line, except they’re putting the train back in to boost gentrification.
Also maybe this is a cue for the Dodgers to come back to Brooklyn?
Renderings by Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector