Queens residents and elected officials often rightfully complain that the borough doesn’t get its fair share of resources and the city frequently prioritizes upgrades for Manhattan and Brooklyn. However, one major project in Queens was completed this week and the prototype for another was unveiled, proving that the borough may finally be getting its due.
After more than a year of work, the $7.8 million expansion of Main Street’s sidewalks was completed. The project was meant to alleviate crowding issues along the congested Flushing corridor, but it also included additional catch basins and fire hydrants, the upgrades of existing water mains and sewers, and a new northbound Select Bus Service lane between 40th Road and Roosevelt Avenue.
And in Brooklyn, a prototype for the Brooklyn/Queens Connector (BQX)—a streetcar that will travel along the waterfront in Long Island City and Astoria and connect western Queens with Sunset Park—was unveiled, bringing the proposed project a step closer to a possible 2024 debut.
Regarding the second project, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz was correct in pointing out that the BQX should only be approved if there will be benefits—such as accessibility for public-housing developments and an extension of the route to LaGuardia Airport—for western Queens residents through whose neighborhoods the streetcar will travel.
But it has been an encouraging week for Queens, as it would appear that the city is finally paying attention to the borough and addressing longstanding issues regarding transportation and upgrades to roads. That being said, there’s a lot more to be done to ensure that the borough no longer remains an overcrowded transit desert with outdated infrastructure.
But the two aforementioned projects are ones that we can get behind. It’s a good start toward upgrading a borough that has long been neglected.