Rather than wrestle with real congestion problems, Mayor de Blasio is pushing an expensive boutique project for new transit infrastructure that will fail to address any of the city’s most pressing transit needs or significantly reduce traffic congestion.
The Brooklyn-Queens Connector, or BQX, would run from Astoria in Queens to Sunset Park in Brooklyn. It is the brainchild of a group of developers who are sprouting luxury towers on the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront. They corralled celebrities and willing non-profit groups to create Friends of the BQX, a vanity group set up by the developers . The mayor is using the city’s time and money to close the deal with this group.
It is time the city proposed long-term solutions that go beyond absurdly expensive projects like the Second Ave. Subway, No. 7 extension and BQX, which are more about promoting high-end real estate development than solving transportation problems.
A serious bus rapid transit system (Select Bus Service is a modest beginning) and improvements to pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure need to be part of the plan. The city must look many decades ahead and not just to the next election, and beyond the 20-30 years during which developers typically recover their investments.
Finally, it makes no sense to sink billions of dollars into a trolley line lying in one of the city’s most vulnerable flood plains. No one can be certain how many feet the waters will rise in decades to come. The added costs of elevating buildings, protecting infrastructure and buying flood insurance will be considerable. Protecting the BQX rails at street level during floods would be difficult if not impossible.