Op-Ed: NYCHA Ingersoll Houses RA Pres Backs BQX

As the recently elected president of the Ingersoll Houses Resident Association, my neighbors are turning to me to address their needs and concerns.

It’s no secret NYCHA is facing numerous challenges and we’re thankful that attention to long-standing issues are finally being address. But one thing it seems no one is focusing on is our residents’ access to quality transit. I know in my community, this is near the top of the list. If we can improve transit access to developments like Ingersoll, residents would be able to get to work, school and doctors’ appointments without hassle.

I know the challenges of building new subway lines and don’t expect it to happen anytime soon, which is why I am a full supporter of the Brooklyn Queens Connector, also known as the BQX.

This light rail would directly serve more than 40,000 NYCHA residents along the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront helping put an end to years of isolation. This lack of reliable public transit has meant countless missed doctors’ appointments for seniors, hours-longer commutes for working parents and way too many late arrivals to school for students forced to travel far to the nearest subway stop.

The BQX can be a game changer for the quality of life not only at Ingersoll Houses, but at Astoria Houses up in Queens, at the Red Hook Houses further south and everywhere in between.

We’ve all seen the changes along the Brooklyn and Queens waterfront and there are so many new businesses and jobs all along the BQX route. But if our residents are cut off from these jobs, the years of unfair growth will just continue, with pockets of poverty in between richer areas. The BQX could mean a one-seat-ride to growing job hubs at the Navy Yard, Long Island City and Downtown Brooklyn.

Here at the Ingersoll Houses we have many residents who are older or living with disabilities and have trouble getting around. For the first time ever, they’ll be able to board a fully-accessible train right near their homes and live the more mobile life they’ve only dreamed of.

Transit inequity has been a daily reality for too many NYCHA residents, especially along the waterfront, so I’m not surprised that so many of my neighbors are excited about the BQX. While we are realistic that change takes time and effort, the benefits of this new public transit option are clear and I hope the mayor moves this proposal forward soon to give residents the relief they deserve.

Darold Burgess is the recently-elected President of the Ingersoll Houses Residents Association.

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