BQX Back On Track After Union, Housing Rally

The controversial proposed Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX) streetcar project got back on track yesterday with the 42,000-member strong Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 holding a rally at NYCHA’s Red Hook Houses in support of the transportation plan.

According to the plan, the BQX will start in Sunset Park and will run through Gowanus, Red Hook, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, Vinegar Hill, The Navy Yard, Williamsburg, Greenpoint before heading to Long Island City and ending in Astoria. The 16-mile route along the East River waterfront corridor is planned to run 24-hours-a-day with five-minute intervals at peak hours with stops a half-mile apart.

City's Transport Workers Union backs de Blasio's Brooklyn-Queens connector trolley plan

The city's transit union is onboard with Mayor de Blasio’s trolley.

The leadership of Transport Workers Union Local 100 will offer Monday its endorsement of the controversial Brooklyn-Queens Connector, a proposed 16-mile waterfront streetcar. Read more


Dear Mr. Samuelsen,

UPROSE has had a long and positive history of working with Transit Workers Union Local 100 and supporting transit workers’ campaigns, including in our successful joint effort to restore B37 bus service. I am writing to express our deep disappointment that TWU has decided to endorse the city’s proposed Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX). The BQX has generated considerable debate and community resistance along the proposed corridor. In particular, it has sparked significant concern about the influence of the real estate lobby over public projects, governmental accountability, how infrastructure projects are financed, working-class displacement, and climate resiliency. With a price-tag of $2.5 billion and growing, the streetcar is being pushed by a consortium of elite waterfront real estate developers with stakes along the proposed corridor. The financing of this infrastructure depends primarily on inflating property values along the route, which has led City Hall staffers to quietly refer to the streetcar as the Gentrification Express. It is troubling to see a labor union like TWU throw its support behind a project that spells unnecessary struggle for working-class New Yorkers.

For decades UPROSE has led on issues of transportation planning, waterfront resiliency, and anti-displacement. Locally, we spearhead Protect Our Working Waterfront Alliance (POWWA), a broad coalition of residents, businesses, labor, housing advocates, faith leaders, and others committed to preserving the industrial character of Sunset Park and preventing displacement. TWU workers live along the proposed BQX corridor in working-class communities – from Astoria to Red Hook to Sunset Park. Because of its regressive financing model, the BQX would pose a direct threat of displacement to union members living along the route. Moreover, alternative mass surface transit options like expanded Bus Rapid Transit would be guaranteed to generate transportation employment without the threats of gentrification and displacement. Moreover, there is no guarantee of transfer between the BQX and MTA transit like subways and buses. What this does is instate a two-fare zone for riders along the corridor, entirely excluding NYCHA residents and other low-income and working-class commuters that require a transfer. Finally, because we truly believe that mass surface transit is at the heart of the economic development and our city’s climate needs, we should not be supporting waterfront transit projects that are so inflexible in extreme weather.

Now more than ever, with a federal administration trampling workers’ rights and environmental justice, it is imperative that labor unions and grassroots community organizations build bonds of solidarity. Our institutions need to form strategic partnerships to push back against unaccountable corporate interests that imperil economic, social, and environmental justice. Your members live in our community; the battles that we wage – over workers’ rights, affordable housing, and climate justice – depend on our forging policy alignment that put our people and our workers first.

With the above in mind, I strongly urge you to reconsider your endorsement of the BQX. We would be happy to meet at your convenience to discuss how we might build consensus around just transportation policy that serves our shared goals and agendas. Please do not hesitate to contact me at elizabeth@uprose.org or 718-492-9307.



Signature - Elizabeth (1).JPG

Elizabeth Yeampierre

Executive Director

Fighting Gentrification on Brooklyn’s Waterfront

Underneath the hum of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, crowds file past Third Avenue towards Sunset Park’s repurposed waterfront factories. No, they won’t be clocking in to the assembly line for an eight-hour day of union wages — they’ll be mixing with peers at a $75-a-head wine tasting then wandering Industry City’s open art studios, faces flushed with drink instead of sweat.

Sunset Parkers clash over Fourth Avenue bike lane

This is going to be an uphill battle.

A panel of Sunset Parkers clashed over the city’s plan to connect the nabe with Downtown via a bike lane along Fourth Avenue — with some calling it “rolling gentrifica­tion,” and others hailing it for giving transportation-starved Southern Brooklynites more options — leaving locals grinding gears over whether the path is right for the nabe.

Read More 

CityView: As They Rally Around Rezonings, Planners Often ‘Plansplain’

On May 2, City Limits published an opinion piece by long-term New York City planner Sandy Hornick about Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan titled “Misconceptions Drive Opposition to de Blasio’s Housing Plan.” The essay argued that protesters at recent zoning hearings fundamentally misunderstand not only the mayor’s plan, but the very idea of planning itself. Rezonings don’t cause gentrification, Hornick argued, and the best way to bring down rents it is to allow developers to keep building more.

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Private developers running discussions over Brooklyn, Queens trolley

It’s a streetcar named conspire.

The city claims the big-money developers who lavished cash on Mayor de Blasio’s campaign and nonprofit are not involved in the planning of the multibillion-dollar Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX) trolley line.

Sunset Park Residents Loudly Denounce de Blasio's Streetcar: 'This Is Not Park Slope'

Sunset Park residents unleashed a torrent of criticism against Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $2.5 billion proposed streetcar at a community board meeting last night, reiterating their complaints that the developer-driven project would accelerate gentrification without providing any real benefit to the community.


In Sunset Park, Proposed Waterfront Street Car Meets Most Vocal Rejection Yet

SUNSET PARK, BROOKLYN — At a two-and-a-half hour Community Board 7 meeting in Sunset Park on Monday, local residents aligned with community activist organization UPROSE in visceral and unequivocal opposition to the proposed Brooklyn Queens Connector(BQX), a 16-mile light rail train from Astoria to Sunset Park that they dubbed the "Gentrification Express." 

Open Letter to Carmelo Anthony

We are writing to express our concern over your recent endorsement of the Brooklyn-Queens Connector, or BQX. Founded in 1966 by Puerto Rican activists, UPROSE is a fifty-year-old community-based grassroots organization in Sunset Park committed to environmental and social justice. At the center of our work is the empowerment of community to advance their own agenda and drive local development in the interest of racial, social, and economic justice — oftentimes in contrast with the top-down interests of privilege and power. The proposed BQX flies in the face of this community-based model and instead puts luxury real estate development at the center of the agenda.


BQX Has Sunset Park Residents Worried About Displacement

Officials from the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) met with Sunset Park residents on Tuesday to discuss plans and opinions regarding the proposed Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX), a $2.5 billion streetcar that would run through Sunset Park’s industrial waterfront, reports Gothamist.

Some residents voiced their concern over being displaced due to the streetcar raising property values around its route from Sunset Park to Astoria, Queens.

Sunset Park Residents Call De Blasio's $2.5 Billion Streetcar "An Insult To Our Intelligence"

Crowding around a harried Economic Development Corporation volunteer on Tuesday, Sunset Park residents accused the city of insulting them with a $2.5 billion streetcar proposal they fear will cut through their manufacturing-dependent waterfront, accelerating displacement in a historically blue-collar neighborhood. 

"To come up with this offer that's going to solve all of our problems because it's pretty, that's an insult to our intelligence," said Maria Roca, founder of Friends of Sunset Park and a lifelong resident.

NYC Wants to Build a State of the Art Transit Line — But Sea Level Rise Could Put It Under Water

Early this week in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio championed what officials in his administration are calling a "modern, efficient, state-of-the-art" transit link along the waterfront of Brooklyn and Queens.