Here’s How the Proposed $2.5 Billion Brooklyn-Queens Streetcar Will Speed Your Commute

Dedicated lanes on Berry Street. Rendering via NYCEDC


    Curious if the controversial $2.5 billion proposed streetcar line touted by Mayor de Blasio could actually improve your commute? On Tuesday the city unveiled potential routes for the 16-mile Brooklyn Queens Connector and revealed the system will have dedicated lanes wherever possible — key to ensuring the system is faster than the bus.

    brooklyn queens connector streetcar

    Graphic via NYCEDC

    Study how the routes will affect you because the city will be taking public feedback for two months via local community boards. The city will select the routes next year and the official public review process will take place. The system could open as early as 2024.

    Here are the highlights:

    The Brooklyn Queens Connector would, in theory, connect the waterfront areas of Brooklyn and Queens, running from Sunset Park to Astoria.

    Dedicated transitways
    Some portions of the route, according to the city, would be designated as “transitways.” For example, Berry Street in Williamsburg could be mostly reserved for pedestrians and streetcars with limited parking.

    The streetcars would be electrically powered and emissions-free.

    The system would move more than 15 million people a year.

    Capital funding would come through bonds. Taxes from increased real estate values along the route would help.

    Bottom line
    The streetcar will cut commute times in selected parts of the route by nearly half, according to the Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector.

    brooklyn queens connector streetcar

    Graphic via NYCEDC

    The proposed streetcar would be the latest in new transportation projects in the city, including the soon-to-open Second Avenue Subway and East River Ferry expansions. Brooklyn has had a long history of streetcars operating in the borough, before buses replaced them.

    Proposals for new streetcar routes have been floated for decades, and new subway lines and extensions to underserved areas such as Red Hook and Flatlands have also been proposed. Studies have also shown that subway service (or the lack of it) has a measurable effect on home values. As Brooklyn grows and commute patterns change throughout the city, the Manhattan-centric transportation system may need updating.

    You can read the full city report here.

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