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EXCLUSIVE: City reveals new website, community engagement plans for proposed BQX

BOROUGHWIDE– The New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) has revealed its plans for an extensive community engagement process, launching a new website focused on proposals for the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX) on Thursday, Jan. 9.

Led by the EDC and New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), the city team will use the site to provide new information and seek opinions from community members on the $2 billion-plus streetcar proposal that would connect a dozen neighborhoods along an 11-mile corridor from Red Hook to Astoria.

The BQX as currently proposed would connect 13 subway lines, over 30 bus routes, nine NYC Ferry landings, over 100 Citi Bike stations and 400,000 people that reside along the route, according to EDC.

According to the EDC, the city team will offer briefings with elected officials, community board presentations, email blasts, webinars, on-the-ground outreach, public workshops and environmental review scoping hearings.

The team will make a minimum of five Community Board (CB) presentations in Brooklyn and Queens, including at CB 2 and CB 6 in Brooklyn, to explain the current plan for engagement and environmental review, as well as to go over details in the Conceptual Design Report.

They will also conduct five community workshops to reach community stakeholders, collect public input through the project website, and meet with members of the BQX Task Force of the New York City Council as well as city, state and federal elected officials whose districts would be impacted by the project, according to EDC.

Proposed route of BQX.

In addition, EDC says they plan to work with local partners to distribute information to residents and businesses along the proposed route’s corridor, coordinate with numerous city, state and federal agencies and incorporate public feedback as they refine the BQX proposal.

The new BQX website provides information on the proposal, important dates and a chance for locals to provide feedback throughout the public engagement process.

Brooklyn workshops for the BQX will be held on Thursday, Feb. 6 at Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St. in Downtown Brooklyn; on Thursday, Feb.13 at P.S. 676, 27 Huntington St. in Red Hook; and on Tuesday, Mar. 3 at Bushwick Inlet Park, Kent Ave. between Quay Street and North Ninth Street in Williamsburg/Greenpoint. All meetings take place at 6:30 p.m.

Following the workshops, there will be public hearings and a comment period in May and June, according to the new BQX website. Then, in the spring of 2021, a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) will be issued to provide an initial, thorough look at potential effects of the project as well as alternatives, followed by Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) in the fall of 2021, the website says.

As part of the process, according to the website, the city team will be, “Conducting environmental review to analyze and disclose potential effects of the BQX. The environmental review process will also consider alternatives to the streetcar (for example, a bus in a dedicated lane).”

Attendees at the 2016 Red Hook Visioning Session.

Once these stages are complete, the website says, the next steps would be to, “obtain federal funding and necessary governmental approvals, as well as undertaking the process for granting a franchise to enable the City to bring a private partner on board.” This includes seeking franchise authority as well as going through ULURP, the mandated city land use review process, and selecting a company to design, build, operate and maintain the BQX. 

According to the website, the BQX would benefit local residents and businesses by speeding up commutes via an exclusive lane for as much as 90 percent of the 11-mile route, 5-10 minute waits during the busiest times, and boarding areas at the same height as the BQX cars for fast and ADA-accessible boarding.

The website also includes a map of the proposed route, from the BQX’s southern terminus in the vicinity of Smith and Ninth Streets in Brooklyn to its Astoria terminus in Queens.

For more information, visit https://bit.ly/303eO5v.

Conceptual rendering of a platform in Red Hook.

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