Mayor to unveil plans for ‘Brooklyn Queens Connector’ streetcar line

BQX image
Photo Courtesy of Brooklyn Queens Connector

Commuters between Brooklyn and Queens might soon have an easier way to travel between the boroughs: an above-ground streetcar line on the waterfront.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is scheduled to unveil plans for the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX) during tonight’s State of the City address in the Bronx.

Similar to streetcar lines in San Francisco or many European cities, the BQX would stretch between Sunset Park, Brooklyn and Astoria, Queens, with additional stops in the neighborhoods of Ravenswood; Long Island City; Greenpoint; Williamsburg; the Navy Yard; Vinegar Hill; DUMBO; Downtown Brooklyn; Brooklyn Heights; Cobble Hill; Red Hook, Gowanus and Sunset Park.

The streetcar line would stretch along the East River with the total length of approximately 16 miles. Traveling at the speed of 12 miles per hour, the proposed streetcar would make a trip between Greenpoint and DUMBO in Brooklyn last around 27 minutes, which is less than current routes on buses and subways.

The streetcar line would realize a long-held fantasy of urban planners as well as a non-profit organization Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector, which commissioned a study to illustrate the viability of such streetcar line in January.

The BQX is expected to cost about $2.5 billion, significantly less than a new underground subway line, according to city officials.

The operation, however, remains a far-off. The BQX construction would start in 2019, after studies and community review; and the service wouldn’t begin until 2024, officials said.