Let a Thousand Streetcars Bloom

It’s also not exactly clear who the BQX would serve. A study commissioned by the city in 2016 (that itself was a study of a studybacked by developers) projected that by 2035, only 13 percent of the BQX’s 48,000 daily riders would be traveling to and from destinations along the waterfront, while 87 percent would be heading to parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn not served by the line.

One panelist, Dani Simons, a VP for communications at the Regional Plan Association, suggested that might change as job growth shifts away from Manhattan. “The way that they’ve oriented our transportation system is to get to and from the Manhattan Central Business District,” she said. “I think that means both potentially looking at, longer-term, extending the subways. In the shorter term, innovative solutions like the BQX and other things that are faster and more flexible to implement, are important.” 

BQX boosters have promised that the system will pay for itself through the resulting increase in property tax receipts. 

“If there is value created, that value should actually go back in to improve transportation, to improve schools, to improve local communities, so that it isn’t going back up in smoke,” Simons said.

Read the full article in the Village Voice.