Like most grand, government-backed plans, yesterday’s announcement by Mayor de Blasio that he’d be supporting a proposed Brooklyn-Queens streetcar was met with flashy renderings and promises of how underserved areas and populations would finally get the access they deserve, as would booming commercial hubs like the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Sunset Park. But Streetsblog dug a little deeper and came up with several reasons why the $2.5 billion project doesn’t quite add up.
Earlier in the month, 6sqft shared news of a detailed proposal from non-profit advocacy group Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector that called for a Brooklyn-Queens streetcar line to connect “underserved, but booming” areas of the boroughs. The city must’ve been listening, because Mayor de Blasio is expected to announce today in his State of the City speech that he’ll be backing such a proposal. Like the original scheme, the city’s plan will run 16 miles along the East River, from Astoria to Sunset Park, but at a projected cost of $2.5 billion, it will be significantly more expensive than the previous estimate of $1.7 billion, but significantly less than a new underground subway. Not only would the streetcars serve bustling commercial hubs like the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Long Island City, but they’d provide access for about 45,000 public-housing residents.
Commuting in and around NYC can at times be a daunting task, and with the all of the pending subway closures, things are about to get a bit more complicated. However, all hope is not lost, and a trouble-free ride to work right be in the near future. From a city-wide ferry system to cell-phone friendly subway cars, both Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have several new initiatives in play to improve the city’s infrastructure. In addition to these ambitious government-backed measures, there are also a slew of motivated residents looking to make some changes, including a 32-Mile Greenway in Brooklyn and Queens and a High Line-esque bridge spanning the Hudson River, just to name a few. To keep your spirits high when subway lines are down, we’ve put together this list of top 10 transportation proposals for NYC.
The dream of a Brooklyn-Queens light rail is moving further into the realm of reality. Back in July last year, 6sqft reported that an advisory committee comprised of developers, transportation experts and civic organizers was in the midst of forming to address the need for a more robust transportation system that could connect underserved, but booming, areas of Brooklyn and Queens. Now as the Daily News tells us, a non-profit advocacy group called Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector has officially materialized to tackle the issue, and they’ve just released a detailed proposal revealing the route and the potential design the modern streetcars could take on.
In the ongoing discussion of expanding the city’s mass transit options to underserved areas, we may be a step closer to addressing the need for transit along the Brooklyn and Queens waterfront–between Astoria, Red Hook and Sunset Park, according to CapitalNY. While many of those areas have transit to and from Manhattan covered, a north-west connection is needed (and relying on the G train doesn’t help much). An advisory committee comprised of developers, transportation experts and civic organizers has formed to address this need.
Recently, the consulting firm of HR&A Advisors (former employers of city planning commissioner Carl Weisbrod) was hired by the committee to study the feasibility of a streetcar service or a light rail line to connect Sunset Park to Astoria, connecting rapidly growing neighborhoods like Red Hook, Williamsburg and Downtown Brooklyn, as well as burgeoning business and industry hubs like Long Island City and the Brookyn Navy Yard.
Once upon a time in a city now known for its web of transportation options, the world’s very first streetcar made its debut in 1852 on the roads New York. At the height of their popularity, streetcars could be seen running on just about every major thoroughfare; but pressure from New York City’s Board of Transportation for a unified bus transportation system across the city soon led to their demise. By 1948, the streetcar lines in the Bronx and Manhattan were gone, seemingly lost forever to the nostalgia of simpler times.
Today, a perfect storm of factors may pave the way for the resurgence of this once-popular mode of transportation that promises to yield a bevy of benefits for Bronxites and beyond.