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New York mayor hopes Amazon will help BQX streetcar come to reality



BQX Streetcar Rendering
rendering shows the proposed BQX streetcar rounding the corner of
Lafayette Ave outside one of Brooklyn’s busiest train


New York City Mayor Bill De
is conflicted about Amazon
coming to town.

He’s publicly stated his
personal boycott of the e-commerce giant
and claims to have
never ordered from the site.

Yet when Amazon announced it had picked Long Island City, Queens
for one of its new “HQ2” offices,
De Blasio was in line with his political peers in expressing
their gratitude and excitement for the new office.

What’s more, he said it could become a catalyst for one of his
more outlandish proposals: the BQX connector, a waterfront
streetcar to connect Brooklyn and Queens and the subway lines
that criss-cross the boroughs going east and west to Manhattan.

“I think it makes the need for the BQX even greater,” he
told reporters Tuesday
at a jubilant press conference
in Queens. “The BQX has made sense for a long time… The center of
gravity for the economy in NYC is shifting [to the
Brooklyn/Queens waterfront.”

Read more: 

York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says he will continue to boycott
Amazon as the state offers more than $1.5 billion for its

Theoretically, the BQX would connect the Brooklyn and Queens
through a route roughly parallel to the East River that separates
the boroughs from Manhattan, roughly 11 miles from Red Hook to
Astoria. The Mayor originally said the project could pay for
itself thanks to increasing property values along its route, but
an August report said it could cost $2.7 billion,
with half of that price tag coming from the federal government,
AMNNY reported.

Transit advocates and other politicians have been quick to point
out that the money could be put to better use, with more
immediate effects.

Others said the newfound push after Amazon’s announcement only
gave more ammunition to its opposition, who have argued it will
only increase the rate of gentrification along its route.

Still, Friends of the BQX, a group of business owners near its
proposed route, aren’t backing down.

“Amazon’s move to L.I.C. would clearly be a boon to the city’s
economy — but the campus would only reach its full potential with
the BQX,” director Jessica Schumer
told the Daily News.

There’s also the possibility of Amazon helping out. As part of
its agreement with the city, Amazon will contribute to an
infrastructure fund, which could help prepare major thoroughfares
for a streetcar’s inclusion.

Proposals for an environmental impact study of the streetcar are
due to City officials in December, so the study can launch early
next year.

Until construction is complete — the project’s scheduled finish
is 2029 —  commuters between New York’s biggest
outer-boroughs will have to rely on the infamous G train, which
runs along a similar route to the East, albeit with shorter
trains than all other lines.

BQX streetcarNYEDC

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