Let There be Light Rail

Proposed Connector Route

Courtesy of Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector via New York Daily News.

Kudos to Mayor Bill de Blasio for proposing the Brooklyn Queens Connector, a light rail that will improve transportation along 16 miles of the East River waterfront. It’s a New York City-only undertaking (without the complications of state, federal or Metropolitan Transportation Authority involvement). Tax revenues from increased property values are expected to cover its $2.5 billion cost. Contrast that with the $4.5 billion, two-mile Phase 1 of the Second Avenue Subway, which will go from 96th Street to 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue. This required boring through rock, mining out tunnels and designing and building station stations with elevators and escalators. Brooklyn Queens Connector rails will be embedded in existing streets. Groundbreaking is tentatively scheduled for 2019-2020. If the Second Avenue Subway (a plan conceived in the 1920s) is extended north and south, one hopes future phases will be light rail and not the costly, wasteful, destructive construction that we have seen on the East Side for years. When the Second Avenue subway opens in December, 2016 (if it does) the public will see how little it gets for its money – two rails, not four as in the Lexington Avenue line, and new stops only at 96th, 86th and 72nd Streets – none in the 14 blocks between 86th and 72nd Streets. Certainly, there are concerns about de Blasio’s proposal and hopefully the review process will improve it further. The light rail was plan is based on a report commissioned by a group called Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector, who can serve as a model for what non-profits could achieve.

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3 thoughts on “Let There be Light Rail

  1. Good idea, Ms. Brady, pointing out a NYC public transit project that’s going to be a win-win for the City and the residents this project will serve. I wonder how many thousands of commuters will be able to travel up and down the Queens-Brooklyn East River corridor without having to trek into Manhattan and then back out again as is the case now. Public construction projects all over America could benefit from knowing local resident partners like this project is benefiting from the wisdom of the Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector.

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  2. Sounds like a great idea. My entire family is from Bay Ridge. Subway from there to Manhattan has always been a long haul.

    Light rail NJ has been a success so I’m guessing this one would be too.

    Finally Mayor Da Blahs is doing something I won’t criticize.

    Like

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