A series of open records requests aims to discover information about BQX project, and its impact

Open records requests, filed under FOIA and FOIL, seek information about the proposed Brooklyn-Queens Connector streetcar service project

By Progress New York Staff

At a forum sponsored by the Queens Anti-Gentrification Project about filing open records requests, facilitators revealed that seven (7) open records requests were filed in advanced of the forum, seeking documents and records about the proposed Brooklyn-Queens Connector, or BQX, or about Agencies or officials with discretion over the BQX. The BQX is a proposed street car service being advanced by the de Blasio administration to connect the waterfront communities of Brooklyn and Queens.

The open records requests that had been filed under the Freedom of Information Act or the Freedom of Information Law in preparation for the forum where addressed to the U.S. Department of Justice, the New York City Campaign Finance Board, the New York City Commission on Human Rights, the New York City Department of Buildings, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the New York City Department of Transportation, and the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Following the forum, two (2) additional open records request were filed with the New York City Office of the Mayor and the Office of the New York City Comptroller.

The documents and records being sought varied from Agency to Agency. From the U.S. Department of Justice, documents and records being sought, for example, included whether the BQX was ever a subject of the reported, wide-ranging Federal corruption investigation into the de Blasio administration. From the Commission on Human Rights, documents and records being sought included records of any complaints filed against ten (10) developers or landlords, who stand to benefit from the proposed BQX project. From the Department of Environmental Protection, documents and records being sought include studies showing whether New York City is aware that large construction projects that involve the replacement of lead service lines could lead to spikes in the presence of lead in tap water. From the Department of Buildings, documents and records being sought include applications for building permits filed by the ten (10) developers and landlords identified in other open records requests.

The forum, hosted by the Greater Astoria Historical Society, was attended by approximately a dozen individuals interested in open records requests and in the BQX project.