Brooklyn-Queens Connector: Revitalizing New York

In 2019, New York will be breaking ground to install its latest transportation initiative: 16 miles of streetcar railway running from Astoria, Queens to Sunset Park, Brooklyn. An estimated 47 cars will run this track 24/7 in Mayor de Blasio’s hopes to foster greater fluidity between Brooklyn and Queens. The Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX), when running and using standard MTA fares, is projected to save commuters an average of about 20 minutes per trip. Greater and faster access to more distant boroughs by way of the new BQX could drastically change life for New Yorkers.

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Loss of parking areas in Brooklyn

Because the city will need to lay tracks for the railway rather than opting for a freely moving public transport vehicle, valuable parking spaces will certainly be sacrificed. And in a city where street parking is already so few and far between, it could spell disaster for car riders.

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But perhaps that won’t be such a bad thing. NYC is known for vastly accessible public transportation, so this streetcar addition, should it live up to all its claims of being convenient and quick, will only add to the city’s car-less charm. And with the help of the BQX, the concept of a city free of cars — named “Vision Zero” — could easily become a reality as we enter the age of environmental awareness.

Bolster in economic growth along the BQX.

Faster transportation will mean a greater willingness to travel to areas that were previously too far to bother with, and with an increased demand on waterfront properties, new businesses will start to develop. The coming of the railway could bring more luxury housing complexes, nightclubs, offices, restaurants and shops; and with all of these come greater job availability in an area previously strictly dedicated to manufacturing companies.

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As new businesses emerge around the BQX, property value in Brooklyn and Queens will shoot through the roof as demands on real estate grow. Residents, mainly younger generations wanting to stay as close to the trendiest spots in town as possible, will flock to this blooming area.

Dispersal of residents to outer boroughs.

Less popular neighborhoods will also experience a surge in market heat, though maybe at on a smaller scale. If the BQX really does make commuting as fast and painless as it claims it will, then residents of this expensive city will venture further away — convenience will enable the middle-class a more affordable living space, especially if the travel time is virtually the same. While on the surface level it seems as if the addition of the BQX will only affected a contained area, the reality is quite the opposite. As Brooklyn and Queens become more gentrified, movement to outer neighborhoods will continue. And gentrification, being the gray middle ground of good and bad that it is, impacts everyone.

The middle class will invite a resurgence of economic growth to more remote areas of the state (and perhaps elsewhere throughout the country) as they continue to search for affordable housing. These outer boroughs will become hot spots for businesses and home-seekers who aren’t able to compete with the gargantuan pockets of big corporations. These outer neighborhoods will gain new momentum in the real estate and cultural markets alike.

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