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Sunset Park Residents Think Streetcar Will Spur Neighborhood Gentrification

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They say it will lead to escalation in rents and shutter local businesses

Several Sunset Park residents are against bringing the Streetcar to their neighborhood saying it would displace local businesses and uproot the community, Gothamist reports. Residents were concerned that the new mode of transport would largely cater to Industry City and the people who work there, and not benefit the community as a whole.

Eventually, many argued, this would lead to rising rents in the neighborhood, the movement of more upscale retail and businesses, which would subsequently lead to the shuttering of mom and pop stores, as was the case in Williamsburg.

The feedback was provided at one of the several "visioning sessions" conducted by the city’s Economic Development Corporation for the $2.5 billion Brooklyn-Queens Connector Proposal.

Local residents were particularly concerned about the impact on mechanic shops and clothing manufacturers along First and Second Avenues in the neighborhood. Some suggested the addition of buses along Third Avenue as an alternative to the streetcar.

Not everyone was opposed to the BQX however — some residents argued that it would provide a vital connection to the waterfront and some of the neighborhood’s few green spaces like Bush Terminal Park, that are currently hard to access due to the heavy industrial development in the area.

A spokesperson for the mayor told Gothamist that the BQX was not being created for any particular business but more about providing transport to a transit-starved area.

In the past month or so several new renderings have also appeared on the BQX website, that provide a sense of what it might feel like if the streetcar is up and running in the next 10 years.