The N/W stations at 36th and 30th avenues have opened, along with Hunters Point South Park Phase 2, making for one, (almost) perfect week of summer, before the Broadway and 39th Avenue stations shut down on July 2 for eight months. As noted elsewhere, the stations still don’t have elevators. The idea of a shuttle to elevator-stations has been floated.
I haven’t seen the 30th Ave station yet (or taken the train at either) but did see the funky glass walls at the 36th Ave station. Not sure what they were going for or who designed this.
This morning I noticed an MTA employee putting up a sign at the Queensbridge-21st Street station warning no F trains are departing to Manhattan from there at night from June 4 (a week ago) until June 16. Obviously I haven’t tried to go to Manhattan from the neighborhood this last week, but for whoever is trying to go that way from the Ravenswood area, let’s say around deep 36th Avenue, there is no N/W or F train option at night, unless that person takes the F backwards to Roosevelt Avenue first. Or walks or bikes or buses to 39th Ave or Broadway or Queens Plaza. So for any of these people who work at night or for any other reason, I feel for you. The N/W 36th Street Station is said to be set to open at the end of June.
The New York Postreported last night that the delayed study for the Brooklyn Queens Connector, the waterfront light-rail concept pushed by the De Blasio admin and a nonprofit group, has already racked up at least $7 million in cost.
The study was slated to wrap up last fall but has met setbacks. The Post didn’t explain exactly what accounted for the cost and didn’t compare the cost to other similar studies.
The Friends of the BQX says it’s “been hosting awesome happy hours along the corridor.” Today it sent an email out offering supporters a vote for where the next happy hour will be.
Now, I’m not a supporter, I’m a blogger, but if Friends of BQX has a public event in LIC or Astoria I will mention it and try to show up because that’s what I do. I voted for Astoria after reading over the word “supporters.” The survey being sent out includes the question, “Why are you excited about the BQX?” with an asterisk. So I just awkwardly wrote in that I’m not, I’m just a blogger.
Corner is a space where you can mention why you are or aren’t a supporter.
That means, the city is on top of developing a mega housing development over the Sunnyside Yards (a lot of people in Astoria and LIC don’t know what that is, but it’s the huge swath of train land east of Northern Boulevard that you see from either the N/W or 7 trains when approaching or leaving Queensborough Plaza). But when it comes to running a streetcar through LIC and Astoria to connect with Brooklyn, it’s just not there yet.
With some good news for the elevated N/W line in Astoria comes a new idea. Last Wednesday the MTA presented Community Board 1’s transportation committee with a plan to build much-called for elevators at the Astoria Boulevard station. Today, the board voted unanimously to send a letter (posted below) to NYC Transit proposing a permanent shuttle along 31st Street to bring even more accessibility along the whole elevated line. Anyone who needs an elevator would be able to take the two-way shuttle to Astoria Boulevard or down to the Queens Plaza station for the E, M, or R trains. Thirty First Street is currently served by the Q102 bus between 30th Avenue and Queens Plaza (map PDF).
A lot of headlines have created a kind of confusion, I think, on whether the BQX is still being pursued at City Hall. Here is a short list:
De Blasio Administration May ditch planned streetcar along Brooklyn-Queens waterfront – New York Daily News, April 3
Future of de Blasio’s $2.5 billion BQX street car at risk – 6sqft, April 4
Is Mayor de Blasio’s Brooklyn-Queens Streetcar Dead? – New York Times, April 10
So Is the BQX Dead Yet or What? – Village Voice, April 10
There were mixed messages from City Hall. But we can say this: the next city budget won’t include funds for important criteria into getting the project underway. Crain’s New York Business reported this week that the Economic Development Corporation had of last month not earmarked funds that would move the project forward in its next budget. It would need at least $40 million for design and an environmental review but it only has a few million set aside to study an underground cable problem that’s become a road block.
“Leaving BQX expenditures out would suggest the city has no immediate plans to begin preliminary design work and an environmental study, which are big first steps needed to get the project in gear. Each would take a year, though their time lines could overlap, and would together cost at least $40 million. It is unclear whether the corporation would have to wait another fiscal year for the necessary cash, or if it could find the funds elsewhere in its budget at some point before then should it decide to move forward.”