Red Hook’s Streetcar Plan Garners Support

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As we mentioned in August, the discussion of trolley lines to service underserved areas of Brooklyn and Queens has been gaining momentum over the past couple of years, including the recent announcement of a $259,000 Department of Transportation feasibility study. Mayor Bloomberg has shown interest in a possible streetcar system, and The Brooklyn Eagle reported recently that Brooklyn Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez is taking action: “In her request for funding for the Fiscal Year 2010 surface transportation bill, she has included $10 million for ‘design and construction of a light rail system along the Brooklyn waterfront from Red Hook to Downtown Brooklyn, Brooklyn, N.Y.’”
Resurrecting Red Hook’s Trolley Tracks [Brownstoner]
Red Hook’s Trolley Idea Picks Up Support [Brooklyn Eagle]

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  • Maly

    It would be great for the waterfront area to have a trolley from Coney Island to LIC. It’s a 30-year plan for sure, but planning for parks and bikes all along the the East River would unify all the piecemeal efforts.

  • What does a trolley do that a bus doesn’t do at a fraction of the cost? I’ll concede that a trolley is more romantic and has a dedicated right-of-way. But then you have to admit that bus routes are changable when necessary. And buses could be running before the feasibility study is even done.

  • It’s a must.

    Buses suck.

    ***Bid half off peak comps***

  • “What does a trolley do that a bus doesn’t do at a fraction of the cost?” wasn’t meant as a rhetorical question. “Buses suck” doesn’t really answer it. Care to elaborate?

  • “What does a trolley do that a bus doesn’t do at a fraction of the cost?”

    Attract government funding for feasibility studies.

  • Arkady

    Less pollution w/ trollies. Arguably also more on-time scheduling.

  • Mayor Bloomberg is showing ‘interest’ in lot if things since in election mode. And this gets media attention (just notice Brownstoner mention that cost him nothing). But if you notice how slick he is—is not committing anything (especially $$) to them. Making like he is for them but after election reality comes into play.
    Vote the bum out.

  • Buses and trolleys are different animals…

    Buses = easy to reroute, etc. Lower initial cost, but High vehicle maintenance and other operating costs $/mile

    Trolleys = set route (not easily rerouted), high initial costs, longer lasting vehicles, lower $/mile

    Trolleys (and trains in general) also have a bigger psychological impact…. read economic development. Sense of permanence, sense of community/city commitment, folks prefer trains, the tracks make navigation easier (not to be underestimated… think about going to a new part of the city or visiting a different city and taking a bus.)

    Oh… and to respond to the “fraction of the cost” issue. I mentioned this above, but it’s not that clear cut. Over the long term, a successful (ridership etc) train route is MUCH more cost-effective than a bus route.

  • If “progress” on the Second Avenue Subway is any indicator, we will all be long dead before this happens. Alas.

  • My suspicion is thus: repeatedly here and other places I’ve seen people post that the big problem with Red Hook is that there’s no public transportation, even though there is public transportation. I’m sue whatever trolley might be installed would replicate, at least in part, the current B61 bus route. But to many people’s minds, no subway = no transit. A trolley would more than anything probably be a means to broach that mental gap. I think part of that gap is also fueled by class issues. I think a lot of people are put off by riding the bus. Trolleys to many will feel more upscale. (Don’t flame me re this. It’s not how I feel, it’s my guess on how others may feel.) Then there’s traffic issues. THe B61 is frequently delayed–one of the reasons I’m sure that they’re (finally thank god) cutting the route in two. The assumption re trolleys I’m sure is that they’re not subject to the same vagaries of traffic. Of course, I have no idea if that’s true in reality.

    So, improve (at least in terms of perception) the transportation, and that suddenly makes the neighborhood more appealing to some. Further gentrification ensues. And up goes the tax base for the city.

  • we spent all those years getting rid of those hideous and dangerous streetcars, I can’t believe we would want to put them back, why not sepnd the money instead on nice, luxurious, european style buses that run silently and don’t spew noxious brown fumes into the air?

  • > The assumption re trolleys I’m sure is that they’re not
    > subject to the same vagaries of traffic.

    Unless you can create some sort of elevated lane over cross streets, trolleys will of course be subject to traffic.

    Example: The Green Line in Boston.

    I’m with Minard on this one. Spend the money on nice buses.

  • fanTAStic idea. Bring it on!!!

  • Streetcars are superior to buses in a few ways; they don’t produce emissions, faster because they can get people on and off when boarding/leaving because there low to the ground and the special protruding islands where they stop and require less maintenance. Oh what alternate universe are we talking about where european cities are investing in buses? It’s light rails, street cars, and maglev’s all the way!