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City unveils possible routes for the Brooklyn-Queens streetcar

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The project is getting even closer to becoming a reality

When the idea for the Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX) was first floated at the beginning of the year, it seemed like little more than a ridiculous pipe dream. But in the months since, the De Blasio administration has thrown its weight behind the project, conducting feasibility studies and generally assuring the public (and skeptics) that the BQX is truly a viable transit option.

To that end, the DOT and the NYC EDC collaborated on a 25-page report (PDF!) that not only outlines the possible routes that the car may travel, but also divulges plans to incorporate a new payment system, the economic impact over the next 30 years, and potential challenges with some of the proposed routes. (h/t New York Times)

Each proposed route takes several factors into consideration, including proximity to subway transfer points, road widths, and current traffic patterns for the approximately 16-mile course from Astoria to Sunset Park. Some of the options explored include a route down Atlantic Avenue or Court Street in Downtown Brooklyn, another down Columbia Street in Red Hook and Cobble Hill, and several options for Astoria and Long Island City.

According to the proposal, the streetcar would have about 30 stops spaced approximately a half mile from each other. During peak hours, the BQX would run every 5 to 10 minutes and would have the ability to accommodate more passengers than city buses.

The estimated cost is around $2.5 billion, and the proposal lays out how the city would find that money, including "capturing a percentage of increased real estate value along the corridor" to pay off debts. Some of the BQX's prominent backers include real estate bigwigs like the Walentas clan and Doug Steiner, who have huge projects going up along the proposed streetcar route.

As for next steps, the city involves meeting with local Brooklyn and Queens community boards to discuss the proposed routes. Assuming things go well, the environmental review process could begin next year, followed by a groundbreaking in 2019.