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Although plans are still in the works, Liu floated ideas of teaming up with cultural institutions like MoMA PS1 on media campaigns.
For example, if the Long Island City arts center was having a party or event, Friends of BQX could set up a booth and speak directly to residents and visitors. They can then take photos of supporters holding up signs and begin a social media campaign.
These are the types of activities that the group can do, Liu said, which is why they’re an asset to the project.
“We get to do things like polling, and we have more educational and engagement and advocacy tools at our disposal,” she said. “I can work with organizations that deal with new immigrants and do materials all in different languages. I can have a whole ethnic media outreach strategy.”
Prior to leading Friends of the BQX, Liu worked on city policy and legislation for the New York League of Conservation Voters. She helped push the passage of the City Council’s five-cent plastic bag fee.
“That effort really required coalition building and really engaging member by member in a conversation to get past the knee-jerk reaction of a fee,” she said.
Liu said that type of door-to-door outreach is she is employing when selling the BQX proposal to community members.
If everything goes right, according to the group’s timeline, the city won’t break ground on the project until 2019, with an anticipated start date in 2024. Before then, the BQX plan needs to go through the Uniform Land Use and Review Procedure (ULURP) – review and approvals from community boards, elected officials and the City Planning Commission – and then a bidding process.
Taking it one step at a time, the city is currently conducting a feasibility report for the streetcar, Liu said. She said she’s hoping to see “a real piece of transit” from the study.
For now, Liu will continue reaching out to local communities in Queens and Brooklyn. She doesn’t know what will come out of the feasibility study, but she knows what she’s looking for.
“In order for this thing to work, it has to have speed, reliability, efficiency and it has to be integrated,” she said. (Words: Benjamin Fang)
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