Average of 73.4 Percent Approve of the BQX
By Scott Enman
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The people have spoken!
A poll released on Thursday, which surveyed residents in seven City Council districts along the proposed route of the Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX) streetcar, revealed overwhelming support of the BQX.
The average approval rating for the seven districts along the BQX corridor was 73.4 percent, while the average disapproval rating was 16.6 percent.
The public relations firm Global Strategy Group conducted the survey for the Friends of the BQX, a group that supports the trolley line.
The $2.5 billion, 16-mile line will run from Sunset Park through Gowanus, Red Hook, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, Vinegar Hill, the Navy Yard, Williamsburg and Greenpoint before entering Long Island City and Astoria.
The impetus for the line has been the tremendous growth in Brooklyn’s and Queens’ waterfront areas since the early 2000s. Interest has recently grown because of the forthcoming shutdown of the L train, which will hit North Brooklyn hard.
The streetcar will give riders a faster and more direct route to Queens without detouring into Manhattan on the current F, N and R lines. In addition, riders will not need to walk long distances to the waterfront from G train stops that are further inland.
The survey, which was conducted over the phone from July 6 to July 11, revealed that Districts 22 and 38 had the highest support for the BQX at 79 percent. The largest disapproval came from District 26 with 25 percent. District 26 did, however, still support the project by 63 percent.
Below are the full results of the poll broken down by district, as well as the most frequently cited rationale for the BQX.
“These findings echo what we’re hearing loud and clear in communities throughout the corridor—that New York’s 100-year-old Manhattan-centric transit system doesn’t meet their needs and that there must be a better way to get around,” said Executive Director of the Friends of the BQX Ya-Ting Liu.
“Brooklyn and Queens residents want greater access to good-paying jobs and more reliable public transit for underserved communities, and overwhelmingly believe the BQX is a much-needed solution,” Liu continued.
“In a city in which not-in-my-backyard opposition to large, public infrastructure projects is very common, the fact that support for the BQX is so strong across each council district and every demographic group along the corridor is a ringing endorsement,” said Jeffrey Plaut from Global Strategy Group.
Global Strategy Group spoke with a total of 701 voters living along the proposed BQX corridor while conducting the survey. The group also performed an oversample of 100 public housing residents in the corridor for a total of 147 NYCHA residents.
The results, according to Global Strategy Group, were weighted proportionally to voting population across the corridor.
While the plan, according to the poll, may be appealing to many, to others, including transit activist and cartographer Andrew Lynch, 31, the line is unnecessary.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea, and it’s not a good alternative to the subway,” Lynch told the Brooklyn Eagle. “The exact same benefits in terms of transportation could be achieved for much less cost just by adding bus lanes and improving bus service.
“I understand [de Blasio’s] trying to do something and he doesn’t have a lot of options, but to be fair, this is a big idea that is going to galvanize a lot of support — but when it comes down to the details, the whole thing is going to fall apart,” Lynch continued.
“It’s just the real estate people pushing de Blasio to do it… Not many people are trying to get between Astoria, Williamsburg and Downtown Brooklyn that can’t already take the G train,” Lynch added.