BQX: A Streetcar Vision for NYC


  • How to build organizational capacity within local government for new transit modes

  • How to build community consensus for transit projects

  • Technical tips on how streetcar can be integrated into congested urban streets


In February 2016, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX), a streetcar proposal connecting neighborhoods along the growing waterfronts of Brooklyn and Queens. This announcement launched an extensive planning effort, managed jointly by the NYC Mayor’s Office, the New York City Economic Development Corporation, and the New York City Department of Transportation. The 16-mile corridor was presented as part of a value-capture mechanism, wherein increases in nearby property taxes would help to fund the construction of the transit line. The project team did not have a robust set of precedents for BQX: Most U.S. cities have implemented urban rail projects on markedly shorter corridors or with primarily off-street alignments, and New York City boasts a short history of utilizing value capture techniques and has not seen streetcar service since the 1940s. Representatives from the three key agencies will delve into how the project team has addressed three key issuesintegrating high-quality transit on urban streets, project delivery and financing innovations, and  building institutional capacity to implement a new transit mode in a growing urban environment.