The nonprofit organization that has been advocating for a streetcar system along the Queens and Brooklyn waterfront since 2014 made a change in leadership just as the city launches a wide-ranging community engagement process.
The Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector recently named Brooklyn resident Christopher Torres as its new executive director to replace Jessica Schumer, who left at the end of the year to pursue a new opportunity.
“Jessica had a tremendous run with Friends of the BQX and we thank her for outstanding work over the past three years,” a Friends of the BQX spokesperson said. “With its environmental review in full swing and a public review process ahead, we’re glad to have Chris at the helm as we head into a big year for the BQX.”
Torres was an organizer for the Working Families Party, where he helped lead campaigns in Arizona, Wisconsin, and, most recently, for Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. Torres also worked with Make the Road New York Action Fund as its director of field operations, where he spent five years working to build electoral power in immigrant communities through grassroots and community driven campaigns in New York and Pennsylvania. He views public transportation as a social justice issue.
“It makes all the difference in getting your mother to her doctor’s appointment on time, getting your children to school, or in some cases keeping your job,” Torres wrote Monday to board members.
“This belief must be the foundation of our work if we are going to change the landscape of NYC and build a robust transit system for all New Yorkers.”
The controversial proposal for the $2.7 billion state-of-the-art light rail system, which would run along an 11-mile corridor from Astoria to Red Hook, Brooklyn, would provide a crucial north-south transit option for the 400,000 people who live along the corridor and the 300,000 who work along the fastest-growing business corridors in the city. The city’s Economic Development Corporation has launched an extensive community engagement process that will include presentations to community boards and public workshops that will focus on community priorities, suggestions and concerns.
“There are myriad reasons why we want to see the BQX happen. For me, one stands out more than most: implementing quality public transit access for those who have been historically neglected by city planners,” Torres wrote. “From Astoria, Queens, to Red Hook, Brooklyn, no one feels the sting of walking more than a half mile on a rainy day to a delayed subway or bus more than the folks who live in public housing along the route. This year we will work to broaden and strengthen our support in NYCHA with the help of the resident association presidents who share our vision.”
Puh-leeze, the only reason why Jessica Schumer is gone and replaced with this young man is not to promote diversity or transit equity, but because this piece of shit trolley needs federal funding to pay for the cost of building it, which keeps rising every year. Also, Schumer is Senator Chuck's daughter and that would have been a huge conflict of interest, and it seems the Mayor and his developer overlord donors have had their fill with that. Or so it seems, the ferry's are still costing the city more money last time I/we checked.
Couldn't find a better guy to push your trolley agitprop NYC EDC. Have fun pissing away our tax dollars, Chris.
...Sorry mom, the developers have spoken