Gentrification Express: Breaking Down the BQX, Mayor de Blasio, BK Reader, UPROSE, Samuel Stein, Queens Is Not 4 Sale, Two Trees Management, Brooklyn-Queens Connector, gentrification, Brooklyn, Sunset Park, Queens,
image credit: Village Voice

In the ‘Gentrification Express: Breaking Down the BQX’  filmmakers show how supporters advocating for the Brooklyn-Queens Connector are behind rapidly developing properties along the proposed route

image credit: Village Voice

The new documentary “Gentrification Express: Breaking Down the BQX” explores Mayor de Blasio’s plans to build a tramline, the Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX), and sheds light on the project’s big money supporters. The film shows that the majority of BQX’s board members belong to the New York City real estate world— including the board’s chair Jed Walentas, CEO of Two Trees Management, reports

In January of 2016, de Blasio first announced the plans for the Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX), a streetcar that would run a 16-mile waterfront route from Astoria to Sunset Park. The announcement was accompanied by a PR campaign that claims that the BQX as a transit option would, amongst other things, serve the low-income communities along the corridor.

In the documentary, filmmakers Amanda Katz and Samantha Farinella, students at Hunter College, show how Walentas and others advocating for the streetcars are behind rapidly developing properties along the proposed route. The film also gives voice to anti-BQX activists, including Sunset Park’s UPROSE and Queens Is Not 4 Sale, and documents their opposition to the project. Activists and community groups argue that the transit project is for the benefit of developers, rather than locals, and fear it will end up displacing longtime residents as property values rise in those neighborhoods.

A simpler solution for better transit options would be to improve the city’s bus lines, which public housing tenants have been advocating for.

“You don’t need a streetcar to have a fast-moving mode of transportation along the same streets,” says Samuel Stein, a professor of Urban Studies at Hunter College. “Having a nice bus line will not increase property values nearly as much as a streetcar will.”


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  1. There is no local support anywhere along the Brooklyn or Queens waterfront for this sham.

    The tram’s right-of-way on various truck routes along the working waterfront will push truck traffic up into residential areas and produce instant gridlock. In Sunset Park the NYSDOT & the NYC DOT are both removing travel lanes on 3rd and 4th Avenues. The tram will further loss of capacity by occupying lanes on 2nd & 3rd Avenues. You can’t make this up.

    After the election, no more BQX.

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