City may have to build new bridges over Gowanus Canal, Newtown Creek for streetcar

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The city may have to build new bridges across the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek to accommodate the streetcar system Mayor DeBlasio wants to construct along the borough’s waterfront, officials revealed on Friday.

Planners factored in funds for the brand-new spans in the trolley’s projected $2.5-billion price tag in case they can’t run tracks across existing bridges, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen told reporters during a press briefing touting the scheme.

“We took a very conservative approach and ensured even new bridges could be accommodat­ed,” said mayoral spokesman Wiley Norvell after the meeting, at which journalists were instructed not quote anyone verbatim.

The city still hasn’t announced the tram’s exact route from Sunset Park to Queens, but it will have to traverse both toxic waterways while coming in and out of Red Hook and Greenpoint.

Press materials show a mock-up of tracks going over Greenpoint’s Pulaski Bridge — where the city struggled for years to balance the weight of new bike paths with the drawbridge mechanism — but Glen acknowledged that may not actually be possible.

The new crossings could include bike and pedestrian paths, she added.

In the weeks since the mayor announced his so-called Brooklyn-Queens Connector project, critics have slammed the scheme as a boondoggle designed for the real-estate industry rather than to move people around efficiently, and officials attempted some damage control at the meeting.

They claimed the streetcar would have “right of way” for 75- to 80-percent of the path — pushing back against skeptics who are predicting the system will be a glorified bus on rails that will get bogged down in traffic.

They also encouraged reporters to reject the characterization of the streetcar — a plan first created by businesses and developers along the proposed route — as a service designed for yuppies, stressing the 40,000 public-housing residents who live along the path and the connections to transit-starved industrial hubs such as the Navy Yard and Brooklyn Army Terminal. The city claims 50,000 straphangers will ride the rails once the system is up and running some time after 2024.

But the honchos could offer few assurances on fears the tram’s ticketing system will not work in concert with subways and buses. They estimated half the streetcar’s riders will use it in conjunction with the state-run system, but couldn’t guarantee any free transfers for riders switching between modes on their daily commutes — echoing the mayor’s recent admission that discussions with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are in their early days.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Whyreallywhy says:
i ride the bus and pretend it's a streetcar. It's almost the same, but better.
Feb. 19, 2016, 10:55 pm
Charles from Bklyn says:
What a waste of time and energy. Sadly when the mayor loses re-election in 2018, this developer pushed fantasy will be dumped in the Gowanus along with his mixed legacy.
Feb. 20, 2016, 10:25 am
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York, United States says:
It's a boondoggle written all over it. I am deeply worrying about that project to be heavily subsidized by NYC taxpayers, due to actual, projected ridership not meeting expectations.
Feb. 20, 2016, 11:16 am
jjm from c. hill says:
The yuppy express pulling in. I know they dont expect anyone from astoria & red hook projects to ride this snail. It just goes to show that its not intended for them anyway.
Feb. 20, 2016, 4:24 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Before this bridge can be built, the streetcar line has to come first assuming that ever does happen, though I'm not counting on that.
Feb. 20, 2016, 5:08 pm
Me from Bay Ridge says:
This whole idea has to be an early April Fool's joke.
Feb. 20, 2016, 6 pm
Friend of Norm Odet from Daily News Plaza says:
Does it stop by Atlantic Yards?
Feb. 21, 2016, 2:23 am
ty from pps says:
a monorail makes more sense. and it should have bike racks.
Feb. 21, 2016, 8:04 am
newtowncrk from Greenpoint says:
For the Newtown Creek crossing it actually makes far more sense to sink a pre-fab tunnel. At the end of Manhattan ave in Greenpoint and emerging on the other side of the train tracks on Vernon Blvd. The distance is very short, the water shallow, the streets supporting of cut/cover, and the connecting route a big improvement over a bridge, which is a much more complex endeavor.
Feb. 21, 2016, 5:13 pm
this is it from Brooklyn says:
This is the Best Plan Ever! Holistic!

And MUST connect:

- the Majority, not just the RICH MINORITY
- to existing public transportation
- localized freight movement and interconnect to existing freight infrastructure (less trucks & buses the better)
- bike hook-ups/hangers

AND not everyone wants to or can climb underground or overhead. This is something that's easy on, easy off, doesn't pollute, will be on a dedicated route and will have a right of way over rubber tires - FINALLY

Something for everyone!!! This IS it!
Feb. 21, 2016, 6:18 pm
Who Is This Shill? from Brooklyn says:
Hey, "this is it!" and the other host names you use--

you missed "Minty Fresh!"

Are you a current or aspiring DeBlasio employee? Or are you directly from Bloomberg?
Feb. 22, 2016, 11:52 am
Lisa from Cobble Hill says:
I propose a 5-year beta test using buses dressed-up to look like trolleys, By the end of this beta test, DeBlasio will be out of office, ... and... well, you know...
Feb. 23, 2016, 1:07 pm
schaz from greenpoint says:
The more things change...
There USED to be a low slung bridge across
Newtoen Creek along Manhattan avenue- which was a low slung quick and direct way to get into
L.I.C. and the # 7 line from Greenpoint -- before the huge Pulaski bridge monolith was built in the 50's to replace it.
It would be a god-send for pedestrains and bikers.
Feb. 23, 2016, 6:16 pm

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