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BQX Idea Could Be No More If Ongoing Studies Prove Project Infeasible: Report

Rendering of the BQX at Queens Plaza

April 4, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez

The city could abandon de Blasio’s BQX project—a 16-mile street level light-rail along the Brooklyn and Queens waterfront—if studies determine the plan to be infeasible, according to a Daily News report.

A report published by the News yesterday quotes Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, who spoke at NYU’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management. Glen said BQX studies are still underway.

“Assuming that it does not pay for itself… then we have to decide whether or not this is the right use of capital money for a transportation project,” Glen said.

The $2.5 billion project’s feasibility centers on whether it can pay for itself through its proposed value-capture system, which would increase property values in the light-rail’s surrounding blocks and yield additional property taxes that could be used to fund the BQX.

Friends of the BQX, a coalition of real estate heads, economic development groups, and local community groups, says value capturing is a “more progressive” form of taxation, and would not compete with the city’s funds.

Glen said a study that looks into how much extra property tax revenue can be raised for the BQX should be finished soon, the News reported.

“Few proposed projects match the potential of the BQX to create jobs, spur inclusive economic growth and leverage city resources to expand opportunity,” A Friends of the BQX spokesperson said. “Now is the time for the city to capitalize on a real moment to take our transit destiny into our hands and move the BQX forward by unveiling next steps for the project.”

Questions on the project’s feasibility came to light a year ago, when an internal memo sent to Glen and published by Politico outlined several problems with the proposal, including issues with raising enough revenue to fund the entire project.

The project, which would run through Astoria, Long Island City, Greenpoint, and beyond, is expected to serve more than 400,000 people living around the 30-stop route, and 300,000 who work along it. The BQX will operate 24 hours a day, at the same price to ride a bus or a train.

The Friends of the BQX estimate that the light rail can be up and running as soon as 2024, and in an October 2017 town hall in Brooklyn, de Blasio announced that the BQX would likely break ground in 2020.

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14 Comments

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Dorothy Morehead

What is needed is a one-ride to LaGuardia. Limited stops along the way would allow commuters to use the line and still speed up transit from Manhattan to LAG. This would go a long way to reduce vehicular traffic over the East River.

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Mythoughts

If you want to improve transit between Brooklyn and Queens (badly needed), why not have an express bus that ferries back and forth directly between 74th St/Jackson Heights transit hub and Atlantic/Pacific transit hub?

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Dave

The new NYC Ferry system serves the few people who need this commute and waterfront route. Interfering with the street traffic along waterfront would produce congestion. There is no place to put BQX. Waste of money since few people would use BQX

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Ed Babcock

Seems to me we should have a bus line run this route for several years. Demand can be better estimated without this enormous expenditure. Making a few more bus stops and some signage would be cheap by comparison. Not as fast as a rail line but easy enough to abandon if its a flop. No need to condem land, build bridges etc. could be up and running a in a few months. Won’t satisfy anybody urge for empire building tho.

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d

Something needs to help the locals go to commute. The 7 train line is over crowed the bus ride is long and painful. The amount of housing being built in Queens can not support the current transport system. The infrastructure is failing miserly and no one is getting any slack; not the business, not the students, or any commuter.

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Anonymous

This only helps them commute from Queens to Brooklyn. What about commuting into the city? The trains are most crowded with commuters going to Manhattan.

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MRLIC

This is a terrible project. The Developers (Friends Of The BQX) are the ones who will benefit. These developers will build more LUXURY CONDO BUILDINGS along the proposed BQX route. As it stands today that area is basically a transit desert. The Developers would then push the BQX on prospective buyers as a feasible way to get to work and around BKLYN & parts of Queens. SCRAP IT NOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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stan chaz

Your description of the BQX as being a service solely for the rich is simply not true. Many ordinary New Yorkers will benefit in many ways.
Not only are there a number of transit-starved housing projects along the projected route, but many growing areas -such as Greenpoint- are still full of poorer & middle-class residents who would love to have their transit options increased.
For far too long we have been Manhattan centered in this City. Finally areas of both Brooklyn and Queens are becoming residential, office and manufacturing centers that need the BQX as they continue to expand, And as they continue to expand they will offer more jobs and residences for the people of both these boroughs. It’s a win-win situation.

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Anon E Mouse

Read the accompanying article. It is to be theoretically paid by increased property taxes along the route. In other words, higher rents that push out existing residents and businesses.

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anonymous

They’re looking at increasing residential property taxes to pay for this. The project should be scrapped.

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