The Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX), the streetcar that would connect Brooklyn and Queens along the East River waterfront, isn't even a done deal, but it already has the potential to change the landscape of those two boroughs. And not just in the way you'd expect—i.e., the implementation of the streetcar itself—but also by adding new infrastructure to Brooklyn and Queens.
According to the New York Times, the streetcar's proposed route—traveling from Astoria to Sunset Park, and making stops in neighborhoods like Long Island City, Williamsburg, Downtown Brooklyn, and Red Hook—could necessitate two new bridges over the Newtown Creek and the Gowanus Canal. The structures currently in place over those waterways (the Pulaski and the Hamilton Avenue bridges, respectively) may not be able to sustain the BQX's infrastructure. Building new bridges could alleviate that issue, while also adding new bike and walking paths to those neighborhoods.
While the projected $2.5 billion budget for the streetcar apparently takes the cost of building those new bridges into account, it's unclear whether it would make the projected launch date for the project—2024—achievable. Jon Orcutt of TransitCenter, a New York-based transportation advocacy group, is skeptical: "The biggest concern is these kinds of transit projects haven’t performed well and have been difficult to implement," he told the Times.
That's just one of several criticisms that have been lobbied at the project, which has so far received plenty of support from elected officials (including Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams), other transportation advocates (such as Transportation Alternatives and "Gridlock" Sam Schwartz), and Mayor de Blasio's administration. Jacobin recently published a somewhat scathing indictment of the proposal, calling it "part of a larger process of state-enabled gentrification and displacement." Ouch.