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BQX Board Includes Developers of Major Local Projects

Rendering of the BQX at Queens Plaza

Rendering of the BQX at Queens Plaza

May 18, 2016 Staff Report

Some of the names behind the push for a new streetcar system between Queens and Brooklyn will sound familiar to western Queens residents, due to major projects they are developing here.

The Friend of the Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX) – which has been working on the Connector plan since 2014 – has released its board of directors list (online here).

That list includes some big players in Astoria and Long Island City development.

Tishman Speyer is represented on the Friends of the BQX board by public affairs managing director Michelle Adams, who is also a member of the Long Island City Partnership board. Tishman Speyer is the developer behind 2 Gotham Center at Queens Plaza South and 28th Street and is also working on a two-tower commercial building next door.

Jordan Barowitz of the Durst Organization, which is developing the Hallets Point megaproject on the Astoria Waterfront, also sits on the BQX board. The $1 billion project involves more than 2,000 units of housing, plus a supermarket and a school. The development broke ground in January.brooklyn-queensconnector-map

Mayor Bill de Blasio formally announced the plan for the $2.5 billion streetcar project in February. It would run from Astoria to Long Island City and down to Sunset Park, Brooklyn, with 30 stops about half a mile apart from one another.

A number of other western Queens commercial stakeholders are represented on the BQX board.

These include Tom Grech, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce; Jukay Hsu, founder of the Coalition for Queens; Elizabeth Lusskin, president and executive director of the Long Island City Partnership; and Bishop Mitchell Taylor, CEO of Urban Upbound.

At a community meeting last week in Astoria, the City Economic Development Corporation said the Connector could carry twice as many riders as buses and would serve 15 million riders annually.

However, locals at that meeting expressed concerns about the project’s price tag and the development it could spark in an already overcrowded area.

The next BQX community meeting will take place tomorrow in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

The Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector board is headed by Ya-Ting Liu, a transit and environmental justice advocate who was previously a director at the New York League of Conservation Voters.

Two former MTA chairs, Joe Lhota and Jay Walder, also sit on the board, as does Transportation Alternatives executive director Paul Steely-White.

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32 Comments

Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr.

BQX = More developers = More gentrification = More displacement = More homelessness = More BIDs = More over policing of low-income people of color.

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Peter

Other then being ‘new’, ‘cool’, and ‘novel’ how does this do what a bus can do better? So it carries more people but so did those articulated buses that the mta introduced a few years ago and they were critiqued by some as being too large (especially when negotiating turns and entering intersections). I believe the city would be better off if they took the curb side lane of any oneway street or avenue that would make an ideal route, painted the whole thing, and made it a bus only lane from end to end. Parking for vehicles would greatly become more difficult as you’d eliminate thousands of spots but you’d gain a bus lane that’s much more efficient and timely without dumping big money into big projects. They’ve done this on Madison Ave. and it seems to work well, maybe they should try it elsewhere too.

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Eli

Total waste of tax dollars. $2.5B = $156,250,000.00/mile = $29,592.80/foot. Modern buses are cheaper and offer more flexible routing options. I’ve driven those streets – there is no room for rich man toys.

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blue

Enough of the proposed line has to share the street with cars/trucks meaning it’s average speed will only be about 12 mph. That isn’t much better than a bus. I’m not against the idea of street cars at all, and even this would be a good idea, but there are just so many other more important projects that would serve so many more people than this one would.

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bob

HEY PEOPLE WHAT PLANET ARE YOU ON. THESE BOLOGNA PROPOSALS ARE A WAY TO KEEP THESE CLOWNS WORKING. I’VE BEEN AROUND A WHILE AND I’VE SEEN THIS GAME PLAYED AGAINST THE PEOPLE LIVING HERE YEAR AFTER YEAR. FIRST THE PROPOSAL. THEN THE FEASIBILITY STUDY, THEN THE THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STUDY, THEN THE EPA, DEP, PARKS DEPT, POLICE DEPT AND EVERY DEPARTMENT THAT CAN GET MONEY OUT OF THIS COST SURVEY UNTIL IT HAS NO MONEY LEFT AND DRIES UP.

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fatman

This would serve the coast line. The G only provides sporadic service and is far from its intended market and buses have their issues particularly on McGuiness Blvd from Downtown Brooklyn, Greenpoint to LIC. Going to Astoria is just icing on the cake. I support this idea.

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Mind

The roads are falling apart whereas the cars can barely drive on them, and these geniuses want to throw 2.5 billion on a trolley, create massive traffic from bk to qn during road construction to put in the rails, and cause more headache for residents, total nonsense and waste.

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MRLIC

Mac make sure it is me who you can’t stand. As I said someone hijacked my MRLIC name as posts as me. I only try to be fair. DeBlasio has not helped the people of this city.

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MRLIC

remember right now the MTA said there would not be a Metrocard transfer for this BQX line. Sure it’s good to haave some developers but not all. The community should have a say.

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MRLIC

To Mac,the fact you can’t stand me (yes it is me) means I hit a nerve somewhere. You just can’t believe other people don’t think as you do I guess.

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Mac

-MRLIC You almost had it half right…again. You don’t think and get belligerent when you’re proven wrong or partially or misinformed.

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MRLIC

Just to straighten things out I Frank I did not write the 2nd MRLIC post about the bowling alleys. MRLIC was hijacked by some JERK.

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LIC_Dude

Make it elevated or it’s useless when there’s flooding near the waterfront! Like the AirTrain. This way it won’t impact cars/buses.

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Anonymous

Are any residents on the board? Is anyone who will actually use it or live next to it on the board?

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Anonymous

Can we please just get a pedestrian bridge over the East River. We all just want an alternative to get into Manhattan not Brooklyn. I would gladly walk/bike across a footbridge as an alternative to riding the subway. Build it in front of the new Hunters point South buildings. They could walk to 1st ave quicker than they could walk to the 7 train on vernon

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Sean

What are the laws governing such a bridge being built? I’m sure it would have been done long ago if permitted. Notice all the bridges on the East River are very high but the bridges along the Harlem River are not as high…if possible this should be considered.

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MRLIC

Question is will DeBlasio be impeached when this is built and who wants all GREEDY Developers on the board. I guess they have him in their pockets also.

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Frank

Now you are sounding unhinged. (Or more so than usual)

What crime had been committed to merit impeachment? I don’t like DeBlasio, but I don’t see a justification for impeachment.

And so what if developers are on the board of a major infrastructure project? Aren’t you the one who likes to howl that no new infrastructure is being built? Wouldn’t it make sense for developers, people who are going to build new buildings that bring in new residents, to be involved in infrastructure planning?

Please, get your mess adjusted. Between this and your paranoia about people using your online handle, I think you are 3 ticks away from going full on insane.

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Anonymous

Wouldn’t it make sense for developers, people who are going to build new buildings that bring in new residents, to be involved in infrastructure planning?

Not if this means that taxpayers funds are spent on a project which may (is) less preferable compared to other investment decisions by the city, i.e. expanded bus service to underserved communities (middle village) with more residents (regardless of their race,economic class or party vote)

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smap

Ironic, maybe Clinton”s will support his indictment so Chelsea can run for mayor.

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Valerie

Impeachment? A politician himself does not have to be corrupt, in order to have very bad things swirling around him. Politicians attract corrupt people looking for money in the same way that entertainers attract people who want to sell them drugs. In each case, there is a pot of money, which the unscrupulous would like to drain. Mayor Bill de Blasio does not himself have to be corrupt, in order for disastrous levels of corruption to harm his city: all he has to be is lacking in the right kind of vigilance.

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dd

New York City was tired of the moneyed interest running the city and the voters made their outrage known. Now the money talks back through the newspapers and politicians they OWN. That’s the way corporate fascism works.

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fraph

Corruption? A liberal Democrat? There must be some mistake. de Blasio’s “I know nothing” is certainly good enough for me!

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Mac

-Fraph Liberal Democrat like Michael Grimm, Dean Skelos and Dan Halloran just to name a few.

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Mac

-MRLIC You keep making a fool of yourself. Get some self respect.I feel embarrassed for you when I see your handle and I can’t stand you.

Reply
ox

Did anyone in Queens or Brooklyn ever even ask for such a light-rail line? The answer is yes, someone did. That someone are the real estate interests who are building rather pricey apartment buildings along several part of the proposed route. The Mayor supports this idea for two reasons- first a powerful lobby- the real estate business- supports this, and in fact had a hand in its design. The second reason is it would be a large infrastructure program the Governor couldn’t step in on and crush as it would be independent of the MTA.

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anthony

I am truly embarrassed by our politicians. Bunch of punks in office these days.

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sim

You mean De Blasio isn’t for the carriage ban because of a deep and passionate concern for the well being of horses? Who knew?

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Glenn

The truth always comes out!!! Wonder how much his wife is involved, after all she has her own government paid “employees” a.k.a friends. Why does the first lady of NYC need a paid team? who knows. But guys like this can often be like teflon, Nothing sticks. At worst losing their position but nothing more. Guess time will tell.

Reply

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