Home Brooklyn-Queens Connector Thoughts on fare integration and the Brooklyn-Queens streetcar

Thoughts on fare integration and the Brooklyn-Queens streetcar

by Benjamin Kabak
The Mayor unveiled additional details on the Brooklyn-Queens Connector earlier this week in Red Hook (Photo via Mayor's Office)

The Mayor unveiled additional details on the Brooklyn-Queens Connector earlier this week in Red Hook (Photo via Mayor’s Office)

After days of discussion amongst the transit literati and a short delay due to the TriBeCa crane collapse, Mayor Bill de Blasio held his long-awaited press conference to release more details on the Brooklyn-Queens Connector earlier this week. Despite the pomp and circumstance and despite additional glimpses into the plan, de Blasio’s presser led to more concerns and more questions than the initial proposal had, and the consensus regarding this project and its $2.5 billion price tag focuses around the idea that the mayor has not rigorously defended the real estate-backed streetcar.

The general details we know: The $2.5 billion investment will, according to de Blasio, create $25 billion in economic activity and 28,000 temporary jobs over the next 30 years. It will, he claims, draw 50,000 riders per day (somehow from an area that generally borders water on one side), and while fares will be pegged to the cost of a Metrocard, revenue from ridership is supposed to cover 66 percent of the streetcar’s operating costs. (For what it’s worth, New York City Transit’s farebox operating ratio of around 53 percent is highest in the nation.) As Yonah Freemark noted, it will not connect to L, J/M/Z, N/Q or F trains in Brooklyn or Queens, and it is not yet guaranteed to be integrated into the MTA’s fare system. (That’s a major point, and I’ll return to it shortly.)

Based on the chart below, it also seems as though the Mayor is exaggerating the differences in travel time. Many of these current travel times are worst-case scenarios based on maximum waiting and missed transfers.

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 12.06.07 AM

The city hasn’t released detailed models concerning ridership. It’s not clear, for instance, as Katie Honan asked, how many Queensbridge residents work in the Navy Yard or how many Red Hook residents need direct access to Industry City. In other words, the 50,000 daily ridership figure still seems to resemble wishful thinking. Meanwhile, de Blasio is already kowtowing to motorists on the issue of parking, and he claims the streetcar will be so successful that the MTA could reduce B61 service. That’s quite a claim considering a key driver of the streetcar is the way it doesn’t involve the state-controlled MTA (and in fact, Gov. Cuomo is content to keep his hands — and state money — off the streetcar plan). It’s the perfect storm of a mess of an idea that should raise serious concerns as to how the proposal was developed and why.

Meanwhile, across the board, reaction has tended toward the skeptical. The Awl hates it; Gizmodo hates it; and Ben Fried at Streetsblog further elucidated his skepticism of the plan. While I still want to like this plan and support it especially in light of the fact that we need to find lower cost ways to expand the reach of transit in NYC, the questions surrounding the special interests backing it and the fact that this isn’t a particularly transit-starved corridor in a city filled with actual transit-starved corridors are concerning.

All of that said, let’s talk about fare integration. I’ve buried the lede here, but over the past few days, we’ve learned that, as now, the streetcar will not be a part of the MTA’s fare system. Much like the new East River ferry routes that should arrive in 2017, de Blasio claims a streetcar ride will cost the same as a swipe, but he can’t yet guarantee the swipe will include a transfer to or from the subway. This is a fatal flaw in the plan and one that will doom the Brooklyn-Queens Connector to a second-rate transit gimmick that cannot fulfill its ridership potential.

First, the idea that integrated fares are key for network acceptance and use is well established. To a rule, fare integration increases ridership and transit miles traveled, and without fare integration, the mayor will be asking riders of a system built with the promise of serving 40,000 NYCHA residents to pay two fares if they use the streetcar as a feeder to the subway. And nearly all successful streetcar networks work because they are feeders to and from the subway; just take a look at the map of the Paris tram system.

Without fare integration, potential riders will eschew the Brooklyn-Queens Connector for the MTA’s integrated network. These potential riders will take the subway to a bus because that additional fare — today, $5.50 per round trip — simply isn’t part of the economic equation, and in fact, a non-integrated fare defeats the purpose of expanding transit access.

Overcoming this problem is a seemingly simple negotiation with the MTA, but the City Hall-Albany relationship is anything but simple today. Still, without that transfer, this is a streetcar doomed to fail from day one. New York City, much like everywhere else, needs an integrated transit network. We shouldn’t build without one.

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Stephen Smith February 18, 2016 - 12:36 am

Fifty minutes to get from LIC to downtown Brooklyn by subway – WHAT?! It’s scheduled as 18 minutes from Court Square to Hoyt-Schermerhorn on the G right now. That’s a looooot of waiting and walking they’ve built into their “model.” Maybe at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday when the G train is pulling out just as you step onto the platform, but they don’t seem to have made the same assumptions for their streetcar travel time calculations.

I also like how they’ve got a precise ridership estimate despite the fact that they don’t have a route set, and they haven’t figured out if there will be NYCTA fare integration.

But I guess that’s how it goes with consultants like Sam Schwartz – you pay them to reach the conclusion you want.

Bolwerk February 18, 2016 - 11:46 am

I wouldn’t make much of fare integration one way or another. Even if it starts out not fare integrated, it’ll take all of an election cycle or three for some powerful enough politico to make a populist case for fare integration and then do it.

Cuomo is just enough of a petty prick to not allow it to be integrated, but he can’t be around forever.

Chris February 18, 2016 - 1:31 am

Who would do anything but G to A/C from Williamsburg to DUMBO? A bus, really?

Joe Steindam February 18, 2016 - 7:55 am

I know it’s not the intended focus of the article, but Ben, if you throw out a chart depicting travel times, your readers are going to pick it apart.

Can someone explain to me how under the new trip time list LIC-Red Hook is 50 minutes, but Navy Yard-Red Hook is 52 minutes? I’m open to two options, either I’m reading the chart wrong, or to quote a recently deceased guy, this whole thing is pure applesauce.

John February 18, 2016 - 9:03 am

There is a perfectly logical explanation for those travel times – they’re fictitious.

Bolwerk February 18, 2016 - 12:50 pm


John Q February 18, 2016 - 8:56 am

Welp, I have to travel to DUMBO from Astoria and it takes 60 minutes each way.

I don’t care if there are special interests backing this, or that other parts need this type of service more. Building the damn thing will hopefully prove the concept right and open up more streetcar routes in the future.

We’re not in the best situation as it seems the state is content on screwing us over and over. I’m glad the city is exploring it’s own options.

Tim February 18, 2016 - 1:49 pm

A working street car line being completed would be all well and good, but Ben’s right re: lack of integration. Not integrating it into the larger network properly will result in a flawed execution, and give ammo to detractors that would derail plans in the future.

Jeff February 18, 2016 - 4:51 pm

Its far too early in the project to even have a conversation with the MTA regarding the fare integration issue, so it being a question mark doesn’t mean anything at this point.

Just because deBlasio can’t say anything regarding that (because the conversation hasn’t happen yet) doesn’t mean it can’t happen. People are jumping the gun just to look for ways to criticize the project as usual.

AG February 19, 2016 - 5:31 pm

Well if it was really to the benefit of the working public rather than the rich developers it would be on Staten Island (Or the West or East Bronx or Eastern Queens)… I mean at least in their plan it would be to integrate it (not sure how) with the HBLR in Jersey. The mayor who claims to be for the little guy doesn’t listen to people who don’t fund his campaign or don’t guarantee a vote.


Matthias February 19, 2016 - 10:30 pm

You don’t how many affordable housing unit buildings are along the proposed route. Once you get past Broadway in Williamsburg the amount of affordable housing units start to grow. This has been stated before in the NY Times video about a the proposed streetcar. And while many claim that this was only for benefit of real estate developers, and while I am not defending De Blasio and his flawed Housing NY Plan, however there is a good aim for the waterfront streetcar because there is a large amount of affordable housing areas. Additionally, the New Yorker did a study and found out the average income in areas along the waterfront areas which also undermines your point about De Blasio building this streetcar solely for real estate.

AG February 19, 2016 - 10:48 pm

The NY Times and the New Yorker always support whatever happens in the hipster neighborhoods. They have their agendas too. They are NOT paragons of non-biased journalism.

In any event – unless a person is already locked in to their abode – there is VERY LITTLE affordable housing compared to expensive housing. You probably also believe the mayor wants to the horses out of the west side because he thinks it’s dangerous for them to be next to cars. Funny enough – the industrial jobs along the route which many of the people who do live in “affordable housing” work in – will disappear as the area becomes more “accessible”.

Matthias February 20, 2016 - 12:20 pm

I actually believe the mayor has done a poor job considering transit development and I avidly support for the transit system to expand into southern and eastern Brooklyn; however back on to the “Yuppie” Light Rail, and disregarding industrial jobs, more commercial areas have been built up in Williamsburg and Northern Bed-Stuy, so much so that now it is common to have to wait for a size able amount of people to get off at Bedford Ave, before you have enough space to board the train car. That crowding does prove that more people not only commute back to W-Burg to get home but also to work. The additional Brooklyn commuters will not help crowding on the buses and on the L, and relief from commercial development is out of sight, because in recent weeks they have announced a massive office building. In fact, already the amount of office space in these areas has grown, and the Domino’s Sugar Factory Redevelopment will only add to the amount of commercial space.

In short, I think the affordable housing argument from before is weak and only something that should be used a minor reason, but if the streetcar is built, the amount of buildings in Williamsburg being built for office space and commercial uses could increase, and actually reverse the residential real estate boom. This may just sound like a pipe dream and too-much-wishful thinking but I live along the route the streetcar will take, and the people that already live and work in the neighborhood are in dire need of a different route than just the G and the B62.

Jacob M February 18, 2016 - 9:35 am

On the question of farebox integration and how it might affect ridership, I think it might be useful to look across the river at New Jersey and see how the Hudson-Bergen light rail system has been integrated with New Jersey transit’s bus network, and with PATH. All of the systems have different fare structures which are not very well integrated, and also operate on zone systems which are complicated to understand and far more expensive than what exists on the east side of the Hudson.

JJJJ February 18, 2016 - 11:06 am

The light rail is fully integrated into the NJT fare system, meaning all buses and trains. Its a zone system. If your monthly pass is zone 2 or higher, you get light rail for free. So all NJT rail monthly customers arriving at Hoboken can use the light rail for free for example. You only need zone 1 to use the Newark light rail or river line.

There is however, no integration with the ferries or PATH which is naturally idiotic. PATH needs to be made part of NJT or MTA fare system ASAP.

AG February 19, 2016 - 10:50 pm

No – joke – I was at Park Place the other day and some out of towners (seemingly with someone local) said “it’s so stupid that we pay to use PATH and then pay again (to get on the 2 train). Why isn’t it just one subway system???” I wanted to say to them – I ask the same question.

Matthias February 20, 2016 - 12:35 pm

The most frustrating about the PATH isn’t just that it’s not unified with the NYCT, it’s that it recieves more attention and more funding from NY who co-owns the PA with NJ, yet doesn’t fund it’s own state agency and departments which actually take care of the more valuable, yet not a portrayed-as-important roads and railways.

AG February 20, 2016 - 2:22 pm

Yeah… it’s ridiculous

Jedman67 February 22, 2016 - 3:56 pm

Special interests, pork-barrel projects and cronyism.

Stephen Smith February 18, 2016 - 11:10 am

HBLR and PATH are integrated in the sense that NJT never seems to check tickets on the HBLR. And in fact, given that the MTA never seems to check tickets on SBS (I’ve ridden maybe 50 or 100 times, and I’ve only been checked once, right when the B44 SBS was first rolled out, and they weren’t even handing out tickets – just telling people to get off and buy one), maybe the fare integration question doesn’t really matter anyway!

tacony February 18, 2016 - 1:11 pm

At this point I think it’s basically an open secret that SBS fare inspectors only seem to regularly work M-F 9-to-6. Everyone I know who has seen them has been riding during those hours. I’m at work during those hours so my SBS ridership is 99% evenings and weekends, and I’ve never been checked.

On HBLR I’ve been asked for my ticket when I got off the train a bunch of times by riders waiting for the next train in the other direction– I guess it’s their version of the “spare a swipe?” pitch in the NYC subway. SBS has the direction of travel printed on the ticket to cut down on people using it for the reverse trip, but I wonder why I’ve never been asked for my SBS receipt by a passenger looking for a free ride. HBLR fare enforcement must be more frequent.

Bolwerk February 18, 2016 - 2:11 pm

Not sure if this is managed right, but you only need to catch a small percentage of evaders for POP to work. If the fine is $100 (not sure what it is) and the fare lost per unpaid ride is $1, then one busted and fined evader is paying for 99 others who did the same thing and got away with it.

Eric February 20, 2016 - 4:29 pm

The way they do it in civilized countries (like Germany) is they contract out the inspection to a private company. The company can decide to use as many or as few inspectors as it wants to maximize its profit. Generally, this will mean more than 1 in 100 (using your numbers) evaders is caught.

Bolwerk February 21, 2016 - 10:04 am

I was just using nice round numbers to illustrate the concept. Obviously it’s a bit more complicated than that because fines also need to pay for the inspectors before they cover lost revenue – analogous to an insurance premium. Amusingly, it also means you want some evasion. If there is none, there would be no fines to pay for the inspectors.

I’m not sure the MTA puts any thought into that stuff at all.

pete February 18, 2016 - 2:47 pm

The SBS revenue guards

Stephen Smith February 18, 2016 - 2:49 pm

I’ve volunteered my SBS receipt to people who are frantically trying to figure out the machines before the bus pulls away.

Good point re: time-of-day. I only ever use SBS on the nights and weekends, and when the bus is there, I don’t bother getting a receipt (I always buy unlimiteds though, so I’m not beating the fare).

Phillip Roncoroni February 18, 2016 - 9:22 pm

I don’t bother getting a receipt (I always buy unlimiteds though, so I’m not beating the fare).

They’ll still cite you for not having proof of payment, and having an unlimited won’t be a valid reason for dismissal in Transit Court.

TimK February 19, 2016 - 11:08 am

^^^That. The rules clearly state that even if you have an unlimited, you must obtain a receipt before boarding an SBS bus.

pete February 18, 2016 - 2:53 pm

The SBS revenue guards aren’t cops, they are civilian store security guards (loss prevention). On the M60 they pull off/detain more people than there are guards, some make a run for it like on Cops. SBS guards do not give chase down the block.

Phillip Roncoroni February 18, 2016 - 9:20 pm

The SBS revenue guards aren’t cops, they are civilian store security guards

MTA Eagle Team officers don’t have any detainment, or arresting powers?

meesalikeu February 27, 2016 - 11:48 am

What’s also done on the nj hblr is to stick your card along the walkway or platform canopy as your leave the station area. when people come to ride the train they poke around in them for a useful ticket.

eo February 18, 2016 - 9:49 am

People definitely will not pay double fares to use a subway and then this tram (or the other way around). There is a great example of this out there: nobody rides between Jamaica and NYP on the LIRR because they can take the E and save on the fare (not that the LIRR could handle the volume of passengers on the E, but the point is that the vast majority of the transit users will opt for longer, but cheaper rides).

If this gets built without fare integration it will be a flop. The city will eventually dump it onto the MTA. Once the MTA gets its hands onto the infrastructure the fares will get integrated and then it will become a success. Too bad this whole process will take 80-100 years, so none of us will live long enough to see it happen.

22r February 18, 2016 - 10:10 am

no fare integration with subway and ferries? these bozos in the administration. aren’t even lucid enough to realize how utterly incompetent that makes them seem.

lawhawk February 18, 2016 - 10:15 am

Then there’s the wisdom of building a piece of major transit infrastructure in a flood zone – along with the development it’s supposed to help generate. The streetcar would be spurring development in some of the worst hit areas of Brooklyn and Queens during Sandy (Red Hook) and the Brooklyn/Queens waterfront.

The wisdom of building this without the flood prevention/mitigation in place seems to be placing cart before the horse.

That isn’t to say that Red Hook doesn’t need more and better transit connections, but is it a good idea to build something that may end up being trashed in the same fashion as the South Ferry station, which was flooded out by Sandy requiring a full (and more expensive) rebuild.

I get that the overhead power and signal systems could be hardened to protect against storm surges, etc., so that reduces the concerns, but what about spurring more people to live in flood prone areas?

Jeff February 18, 2016 - 10:23 am

DeBlasio is moving ahead with Bloomberg’s $20 billion flood mitigation plan though, no?

Nathanael February 24, 2016 - 3:10 pm

Real flood mitigation means *moving uphill*.

Which is thankfully easy in New York, which has very steep hills in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, and fairly steep hills in Staten Island. Even Queens has steep enough hills.

Larry Littlefield February 18, 2016 - 10:59 am

Here is the sad reality. The Mayor proposes the start of what could be a light rail system. And instead of celebrating transit advocates react in alarm and disdain. Why?

Because we know that Generation Greed has financially crippled the existing, much larger, much more important system. And the sacrifices required to avoid disaster have grown so large that politicians have decided that it is not in their personal self-interest to do anything about it.

So they lie, avoid the issue, and create something else to talk about. Like that Airtrain to LaGuardia, or this light rail line. Plans are cheaper than actual public services for the serfs, but all the money is going to Generation Greed’s debts and retirement benefits.

And here is what is worse. Public employee pensions, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, schools. It’s all the same! Fighting over little initiatives here and there while the clock ticks. Not just NY, but NJ. Do you have any idea what is going on in Chicago?

It’s sad. But nobody wants to step up, point out what Generation Greed has done, face up to what will be required, throw out ALL the bastards without putting the other bastards in, and try to salvage the situation. It’s like Rome circa AD 400.

Stephen Smith February 18, 2016 - 11:12 am

Even if the city were in a better position fiscally, this would still be a bad plan on its merits.

Bolwerk February 18, 2016 - 11:49 am

I think it’s a bad plan at $2.5B. Maybe at $750M it’s not such a bad plan.

Faber Castell February 19, 2016 - 7:28 pm

Money could be saved by eliminating the ridiculous number of unidirectional segments 1-2 blocks apart. Rail should never be built this way, but unfortunately is in a number of US circulator streetcar systems. Serious consideration should be payed to predestrianizing certain segments, particularly Kent with streetcar tracks running down the centered of a cobblestoned manicured thoroughfare.

Ralfff February 19, 2016 - 12:31 pm

NJ has room to raise taxes without financially crushing the taxpayer and continuing a basically functional, if deteriorating, system of governance when it comes to transit. NJ was successfully rolling out reasonably-priced, on-time, meritorious fixed-route transit projects as recently as 2008. NY is being crushed under the overwhelming weight of a zillion special interests on the take while as you say, the state-run transit system is being ripped off by the state itself, with the passive assent of the transit riders who collectively reelected Cuomo. And there’s no room for tax increases. I’d much rather be Christie than Cuomo, and objectively Christie, for his many faults has been far better for transit than Cuomo.

AG February 19, 2016 - 10:55 pm

Not sure where you get the idea taxes can be raised in NJ…? Aside from the gas tax that is not true. NJ is right behind NY in tax burden. NJ is even more sensitive since NJ’s economy revolves around being able to poach companies from NYC. In fact it is more dire because the lucrative jobs no longer want to cross the Hudson without HUGE tax breaks. Their main success is in attracting warehousing jobs priced out of the city… That and giving up everything (in taxes) to get some bank jobs and the like.

Ralfff February 20, 2016 - 2:31 am

NJ has the lowest income taxes in the mid-Atlantic for almost all workers, although it’s something you can’t take advantage of if you’re working in NY obviously. With property taxes deductible from state income tax, even the very rich are paying much less in total income tax if they work in NJ than in NY, much less living in NYC. And gas taxes are low too. They need to stop giving out subsidies and just build the transit system that would make Newark a viable major city instead of a couple of aborted rail lines with no way to live near Penn Station. And that’s just for starters. Somehow they’re sitting on a major airport, major port, and subway access to the biggest city on the continent. This is infrastructure Connecticut would kill for. It’s not an insoluble problem to attract enough business to balance a budget

adirondacker12800 February 20, 2016 - 11:47 am

They would have to convert all those office buildings near Penn Station to apartments to have more people live near it.

Eric February 20, 2016 - 4:36 pm

Or just upzone. Right across the street from Penn Station there are 4-6 story buildings. Allow 100 story residential buildings there, and I think they would get built very quickly.

adirondacker12800 February 20, 2016 - 5:08 pm

No they wouldn’t because there aren’t even 100 story residential building in Manhattan.

Nathanael February 24, 2016 - 3:11 pm

There are a few very tall residential buildings in Manhattan. Dunno about 100 stories, but definitely 50+ stories (I stopped counting).

AG February 20, 2016 - 2:18 pm

Well no – the tri state is all right about the same level – though NYC is higher. Yes though if you work in NYC and live in NJ you do pay more tax. Guess what though – most of the high paying jobs for NJ residents are in NYC. So pick your poison as they say.


In any event – the gas tax is too low in NJ

Nathanael February 24, 2016 - 3:12 pm

The gas tax is ridiculously low in NJ. That used to be because they had refineries there (local industry subsidy) but I don’t think the refineries have much clout any more… they should raise it.

Ralfff February 20, 2016 - 2:38 am

PS it’s true that NJ appears on the top of many lists as “HIGHEST TAXED STATES!!!” but as Larry Littlefield himself has demonstrated, that’s bs considering tax dollars raised as a percentage of total personal income. Obviously this is complicated by the fact that many of the high-earners’ income taxes are collected by NY and PA instead, but the fact remains that NJ is reasonably taxed if one lives and works there. If they follow the NY plan and blow it all on roads and toll discounts there’s going to be a disaster no matter what.

mister February 18, 2016 - 5:54 pm

Boy, this is terrible. It’s really bad when you consider that the City is now making up travel times to make their streetcar seem better than it really is.

Since that chart used ambiguous locations, I just plugged them into Google Maps to see what it came up with. Here are the results:

Astoria – Williamsburg
Google pegs “Astoria” as the intersection of 31st Street and 31st Avenue, and “williamsburg” as Broadway and Rodney st. It suggests a number of different ways to make the trip, the fastest being taking the N/Q to the 7 to the G, for a trip of as low as 34 minutes, well below their suggested 61 minute travel time. If I modify it by plugging in the Astoria Houses as a starting point, and Berry/N 6th as the destination, the N/Q to 7 to G is still the quickest trip (35 minutes) followed by a 39 minute trip using the N/Q to Union Square for the L. The streetcar will be faster here, but certainly not by as big a margin as proposed by the city.

Queensbridge-Navy Yard
Google starts out at the Queensbridge Medical Center and ends at the Navy/Sands street Yard Gate. It assumes we take the F the whole way and pegs travel time at 38 minutes, not 59. Considering that the streetcar will exit the Navy Yard to run on Park Ave, depending on where you want to be within the Navy Yard, the new BQX line could actually be slower.

Greenpoint – Williamsburg – DUMBO
Google Maps calls out Greenpoint as a point on Kingsland Ave between Nassau and Driggs. This is pretty far from the Streetcar, so I am sure that it’s not what the city used. Google also assumes an endpoint on Anchorage Place, near where Water St should intersect it. Google comes up with a lot of options (B24 to J/M to F, walk to G to F, walk to G to A/C), but all of them are around 45-48 minutes. If I move the start point over to Banker and Meserole Streets to be closer to BQX, the trip shortens to 40 minutes, which makes the streetcar faster still, but by a lot less.

DUMBO – Red Hook
Google assumes Coffey park is Red Hook, and sends me there via the F train, with a 15 minute walk tacked on the end for a total trip time of 27 minutes. Or, it lets me get off the F at Jay and wait 12 minutes for a B61 bus that will get me there in 38 minutes total. Both of these options are well below the suggested 48 minutes that seem to be plucked from a hat.

LIC – Red Hook
Google used the intersection of 21st Street and Jackson Avenue for Long Island City, and assumed that I would either take the G straight to Smith-9th streets and walk 15 minutes, or transfer downtown to the B61 and take that. It pegs both trips at 40 minutes, which is actually 10 minutes faster than BQX’s proposed 50 minute time.

LIC – Downtown Brooklyn
This is the most egregious one. To give the BQX a fighting chance, I moved the LIC starting point over to the intersection of 46th road and Vernon Boulevard. Downtown Brooklyn is assumed by Google to be Tillary st and Flatbush Avenue extension, which is probably about the worst possible place it could be. If I leave that alone though, Google assumes a trip time of 38 minutes by including a 7 minute walk to the G, a transfer to the A, and after disembarking at Jay St, another 7 minutes of walking. If I move Downtown Brooklyn to be something like, say Jay and Fulton Sts, The travel time goes down as low as 31 minutes. Again, faster than the new BQX.

Navy Yard – Downtown Brooklyn
I’m keeping the Jay/Fulton Intersection as “Downtown Brooklyn” and since “Navy Yard” is a pretty broad area, I’m going to assume that someone is exiting the Navy Yard presently at the Clymer/Kent gate, since that’s the farthest from Downtown and gives BQX a real chance at winning here. Google Maps pegs the trip at 20 minutes on the B67, same running time as the BQX.

This whole process so far is nonsense. There’s no guarantee that the project is needed to raise land values and I’m not sure that it’s a great idea to do something that we want to drive up housing costs in a neighborhood that is already prohibitively expensive. The developers aren’t providing a revenue guarantee if projections fall short, no one is ponying up cash for an operating subsidy and no one seems to know how this 50,000 riders a day figure was achieved… but we might be able to reduce B61 bus service… seriously?

Will February 19, 2016 - 7:48 am

Use the 2.5Bil for Phase 2 Sas cut and cover all the way to 125 & 2ave. This streetcar plan is going nowhere just like his ferry plan and his Utica subway. Politics is all about support and he doesn’t have the support from advocacy groups like us, to outer borough politician

TimK February 19, 2016 - 11:44 am

The $2.5 billion isn’t city money (or, for that matter, state money) that can be used for other purposes. It’s TIF money, generated by a special tax on the area that would benefit from the BQX scheme.

I’m not defending BQX; I’m just pointing out that the money isn’t available for other purposes.

Will February 19, 2016 - 4:27 pm

They can sign an exception of the money and fund SAS

AG February 19, 2016 - 11:00 pm

$2.5 billion spread out over years is nothing for a city with record revenues. Will De Blasio give away the storehouse to the unions again?

If you ask me – transit is a better use of dollars than building affordable housing for lotteries. Migrants come to NY for the ability to get around for cheap via the subway – and the economy that it supports. Spending billions to build housing by lottery is not the best use in my opinion. I’m not saying he shouldn’t try to build any (affordable housing) – but he should spend more of that money on mass transit.

Eric February 20, 2016 - 4:42 pm

Yep. “Affordable housing” actually makes housing less affordable on average, by forcing an economically sub-optimum distribution of rents and investment.

The only positive thing it does is create a greater mix of incomes in a given neighborhood. (Of course, once you got on the subway, you’d be among a mix of incomes anyway.)

Nathanael February 24, 2016 - 3:14 pm

Then spend it on, say, making the G line handicapped accessible and extending it north (separating it from the Queens Boulevard line).

It would be a more effective use of TIF money for the area.

JJ February 19, 2016 - 9:49 am

DeBlasio = BS artist this will never happen

Dave M February 19, 2016 - 10:15 am

Spend $750 million on building the light rail on Staten Island (both the Mid Island and West Shore branches off the North Shore) and spend the rest extending the M line from Metropolitan Ave to Jackson Heights on the freight ROW. This will help more folks than the waterfront real estate boondoogle.

Matthias February 19, 2016 - 9:55 pm

I don’t think you realize the fact the amount of people that use the G train to get down to work in downtown Brooklyn. Also the real estate market, while thriving in Williamsburg, is slightly stagnated, and residential real estate is giving way to commercial real estate. In fact, there are already some commercial developments which require employees from all over the borough. Also, a new commercial development specializing in office space will be built right along the Brooklyn Queens Streetcar’s route and having the G train being the only way of transport for the office-workers would be prohibitive to job growth.
The L train station near the waterfront reached 9 million passengers in 2014, and the only way that the relief for passengers using the L to get down to Downton Brooklyn and DUMBO for work is to build the streetcar.

Jedman67 February 22, 2016 - 4:07 pm

I’m browsing through the Streetcar(TM) plans, it seems that either a new, dedicated ROW will have to be built (where??) or it will run with traffic or a dedicated street lane.
Wouldn’t a dedicated SBS make more sense; the only capital cost is new buses, and a few million for traffic signal prioritization. A new SBS along the vaguely proposed route could be accomplished at a fraction of the cost.


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