SUNNYSIDE — Queens residents will take to the streets Thursday to protest several of Mayor Bill de Blasio's proposals that they fear will speed up gentrification and displacement in the borough, organizers said.
The "Queens March Against Gentrification" will start at 6 p.m. at the 46th Street 7 train station, where attendees will denounce the mayor's proposed BQX Streetcar, his plan to develop Sunnyside Yards as well as rezone a large portion of Long Island City.
The marchers — organized by the Queens Anti-Gentrification Project and other advocacy groups — argue that these three projects will spur additional development in Western Queens, raising rents and displacing residents.
"Any of these proposals alone would result in displacement and gentrification in Queens," the event's organizers said in a press release. "Together, they represent nothing less than an all-out assault on our neighborhood."
The protest echoes concerns previously expressed by some city residents about each of the targeted projects.
At community meetings last year about the Brooklyn Queens Connector, or BQX — a streetcar proposed to run along the waterfront between the two boroughs — some locals said they worry the trolley would lead to increased property taxes along the route.
The development of Sunnyside Yards, where de Blasio wants to build thousands of new apartments over active railroad lines, has also stirred fears from locals who say the project would strain the area's infrastructure, overwhelming local schools and subway lines.
Similar worries have been voiced about the plan to rezone a 50-block section of Long Island City to spur more affordable housing, which some say will only contribute to overdevelopment in the already booming neighborhood.
The Queens Anti-Gentrification Project is calling on City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents Long Island City, Woodside and Sunnyside, to join them in denouncing the three city projects.
In a letter addressed to the group, Van Bramer said he could not attend the rally due to a death in the family but offered to meet with organizers at another time.
"I share many of your concerns, and I have been publicly critical of plans the city has put forth that would do more harm than good," he said, but did not explicitly express where he stands on each of the issues the group raised.
"The truth is none of these proposals are even close to being enacted. Our Community Board has yet to even consider them," he said.