Trolley plan reveals potential street closures, new bridges

Berry interesting idea: A rendering imagines Berry Street in Williamsburg as a largely pedestrian- and trolley-only thoroughfare.
Brooklyn Paper
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The city revealed the routes it is considering for its planned Sunset Park-to-Queens streetcar system in a new report released on Nov. 1, including some streets that could have to go traffic-free to accommodate the $2.5-billion trolley and three potential new bridges.

Officials hope to make most of the Brooklyn-Queens Connector lanes “exclusive” so the trolley won’t have to battle with regular traffic, the report says, which means some of the proposed streets would be closed to vehicles to accommodate the line.

A rendering shows Berry Street in Williamsburg as a so-called “transitway,” open only to local traffic, pedestrians, and streetcars running in both directions.

Planners are considering building new bridges at 19th Street across the Gowanus Canal and at Manhattan Avenue or Franklin Street across the Newtown Creek, according to the report. City officials claim the $2.5-billion price-tag factors in new spans.

The plan outlines several options in each neighborhood and offers pros and cons for each thoroughfare — such as Downtown, where officials will have to choose between running the cars near busy, subway-connected Metrotech or into Dumbo, near Brooklyn Bridge Park and where many of the developers who came up with the idea for the streetcar system in the first place have properties.

There are still no details on where the train yard or yards will go — and the city may need a full city block to accommodate the system’s full 47-car fleet, according to a Crain’s report.

Never one to shy away from a business opportunity, Red Hook dock owner John Quadrozzi has already offered up his Gowanus Bay Terminal as a potential site, though it would be far cheaper for the city to use land it already owns, such as at the Army Terminal in Sunset Park or the Navy Yard in Fort Greene.

The proposal comes after months of meetings with residents along the so-called Brooklyn-Queens Connector’s pathway, and officials will now begin meeting with community boards to discuss the specific routes and stops.

Locals at the workshops — including Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D–Sunset Park) — expressed fears that the new amenity will be a fast track to gentrification and skyrocketing house prices, and will be designed for rich yuppies and tourists rather than Brooklyn’s neediest residents.

Many also demanded the city ensure there are free transfers to subways, buses, and ferries, which Mayor DeBlasio has said is his goal but still can’t guarantee.

The city plans on releasing a draft of the route in early 2017, followed by a public-approval process. Construction will begin in 2019, and actual system is slated to start running in 2024.

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at or by calling (718) 260–2517. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018: Vincenct Gentile is not Carlos Menchaca.
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Reasonable discourse

MJ from Bay Ridge says:
I would like the new streetcars loops at 65 Street instead of 58 Street in Sunset Park, that will allow people from Bay Ridge to hitch a ride
Nov. 3, 2016, 11:32 am
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
pls correct: Councilman Vincent Gentile is actually a councilman for Bay Ridge/Dyker Heights, not Sunset Park.
Nov. 3, 2016, 11:37 am
Ruth Brown (Brooklyn Paper) says:
Yeah that should have been Menchaca. That was my error.
Nov. 3, 2016, 11:46 am
Tyler from pps says:
Why would there need to be a train yard that can hold all of the trains?

Are there train yards that hold ALL of the subway cars?
Nov. 3, 2016, 12:44 pm
TM from Bay Ridge says:
Once again Bay Ridge gets screwed. First the MTA takes back money allocated to update the stations in BR after years of pleading, now Mayor DeIdiot takes bribes to appease the millionaire developers of red hook.
Running the tram to BR would service people in BR as well as people traveling to Staten Island.
Idiots all around.
Nov. 3, 2016, 12:45 pm
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from BS, BK, NY, US says:
Let's be realistic about this: I am concerned about the sea level rises once this boondoggle will be implemented. In addition, I am concerned about increased gridlock and the loss of parking spaces. Furthermore, I am concerned about major condos developing along the corridor. Also, I am concerned about the projected ridership numbers not meeting expectations, making the overall operating costs going up sky high. Finally, the $2.5B that was supposed to funded for this boondoggle could've be diverted to improving our own existing infrastructure such as improving roads, bridges, buses and trains.
Nov. 3, 2016, 12:48 pm
Null from Bay Ridge says:
MJ, you're allowed to go past 65th street, even as far as 58th street. Your gates and checkpoints aren't there yet. Don't be such a scaredy-cat. ---Seriously, if poor transportation in Red Hook is supposed to be the major justification for this project, why not built an (inexpensive) elevated line through Red Hook connecting to the F at 9th street? Elevated because of potential future flooding.
Nov. 3, 2016, 1:03 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Pedro -- Are you *really* concerned about gridlock? Hmmm... Really? And parking spaces? That's really a major concern when we're talking about a major public transportation infrastructure project? (Don't worry, because of people like you this project will probably end up with another $1 billion added to build parking garages and some sort of subsidy to make sure there are even *more* cars driving around.)
Nov. 3, 2016, 1:33 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
I'd really think this would be more beneficial if they took advantage of the Atlantic Avenue tunnel and had a spur to the Atlantic Terminal. With all the events and unique businesses on the Brooklyn Waterfront, getting potential visitors/customers from other parts of NYC and Long Island would really help the area. Like the Yurikamome monorail in Tokyo, it's not about people taking it every day, but occasionally for specific events and parks/museums on the artificial island of Odaiba.
Nov. 3, 2016, 1:35 pm
Rose from wb says:
Follow the money on this one. Developer-driven, and non-profits provide the political cover.
Nov. 3, 2016, 2:10 pm
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
hey, maybe the city can put a terminal stop in Bay Ridge at the previous tram terminal loop at 3 Avenue and Senator Street.
Nov. 3, 2016, 2:13 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Or... it can end near the Express N and R station like in the map above, rather than a local stop or a completely random spot next to the park chosen because MJ lives in the northernmost part of Bay Ridge.
Nov. 3, 2016, 2:23 pm
Gary from Fort Greene says:
Several cities have recently built streetcar systems. None are self sustaining. This will be a boondoggle that never ends. Its purpose is not to provide public transportation, but to separate you from your money on a more or less permanent basis.
Nov. 3, 2016, 4:30 pm
Roberto from Brooklyn Heights says:
Sounds great. If only it were for the New Yorkers who are paying for it.
Nov. 3, 2016, 5:13 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I still find this to be a bad idea. In reality, getting around in a streetcar is almost no different from getting around with a bus. As a matter of fact, it's even slower than both a subway and a bus. Let's not forget that the streets already have congestion and this is without the tracks being set. While I do understand those who are nostalgic about both trolleys and streetcars, it's unlikely they are ever coming back, and if there was a way to keep them, they wouldn't have been removed about 50 years ago. That was mainly because they made the streets dangerous for pedestrians and why NYC stopped with grade level rails. Instead, that money could have been used to help fix the transit and expand the one that already exists. Hearing that it's possible not to give any free subway or bus transfers, many of the riders using this will be paying more than one fare.
Nov. 3, 2016, 5:33 pm
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from BS, BK, NY, US says:
Tyler, may I remind you that certain governmental agencies such as the Port Authority, the MTA, the DOT, and the EDC have a very bad reputation finishing these major projects on time and on budget, in which there is the overall lack of accountability, convenience, efficiency, as well as transparency for these projects. I am not the only one who are realistically criticized this boondoggle. There are other people in this comments section have been criticized this also as a waste of money. BTW, it am broadly talked about this through the lens of tmoroving transportation equality for all users. This is not "Animal Farm." Nite: Most modern streetcars across the nation are failures because of total governmental bureaucracy that causes gridlock. In addition, cars will not go away forever, despite to make NYC a sustainable city, despite the rising issues of safety. Keep criticizing me and I will flagged your response as an abuse.
Nov. 3, 2016, 8:58 pm
Catherine from Bay Ridge says:
Why won't the trolley continue into Bay Ridge? I would like to be able to use it in the neighborhood where I live!
Nov. 4, 2016, 7:27 am
Ms.Me from Bay Ridge says:
Pedro, they don't do anything about the pervert who keeps posting the pornographic fake comments using other people's "names." You think they are going to worry about someone merely crticizing you?
Nov. 4, 2016, 9:24 am
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from BS, BK, NY, US says:
Ms.Me, I am a U.S. Citizen, born and raised in Brooklyn. Read the article and focus on your constructive opinion or you will be blocked as well. If you don't, I will be flagging your comments as abuse to the Brooklyn Paper as we seen fit. Note: I read the article like the rest of you, getting to the bottom of this myself in this corrupted city like ours.
Nov. 4, 2016, 3:56 pm
Ms.Me from Bay Ridge says:
When did I say you weren't a citizen? My complaint is with this site not policing the comments, not you.
Nov. 4, 2016, 5:10 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
The problem with the trolleys and streetcars especially in NYC is that they represented a different time and era. When they used to be common, the city's population was much smaller and much of the areas outside the main parts weren't that much developed as they are today. It was actually the subway and trains that brought development to the rest of Manhattan and the other boroughs, not the trolleys and streetcars. Even if GM didn't do a buyout on the tracks to sell their oil, they would have still been seen as obsolete to the buses in that they not only moved faster, but could go anywhere due to not being limited by tracks or overhead wires. More importantly, streetcars and trolleys were almost never used to go between any of the boroughs either where the subways and trains could.
Nov. 4, 2016, 5:56 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I might just be as dumb as I sound here.
Nov. 4, 2016, 6:57 pm
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from BS, BK, NY, US says:
Ms.Me, good. So long you made a good rebuttal on my responses based on this article, I am fine with it. At least we on the same page.
Nov. 4, 2016, 8:11 pm
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from BS, BK, NY, US says:
BTW, the reasons why I am doing this "Report Abuse" dilemma are: 1) These Comments that are irrelevant to the article and 2) These comments are considered to be trolling.
Nov. 4, 2016, 8:13 pm
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from BS, BK, NY, US says:
Especially towards me Ms.Me. I am entitled to my own opinion on this article.
Nov. 4, 2016, 8:14 pm
TOM from Sunset Park says:
The whole concept is silly. A r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-w tram that connects Queens waterfront luxury tenants with high tech jobs at the Navy Yard, Industry City and Brooklyn Army Terminal. At night it becomes the party link for restaurants and music spots in Sunset Park, Red Hook, and Willy-b. Not gonna' happen.

For example, constructing a brand new bridge across the opening of the Gowanus Canal from Red Hook to the landing behind Home Depot in Sunset Park. Of course it could as well accommodate the Brooklyn Greenway and bikers. I would say that pedestrians might use it but I wouldn't want to be caught walking down there at any time. This bridge would have open and close to allow maritime traffic. That cost more. The trick here is the "exclusive" use of the right-of-way, for example, on 19th Street from the bulkhead to 3rd Avenue. This stretch of road is the back way into Home Deport; but, it is totally occupied by truck bays on both sides. That's where they service NYPD's cars. BTW there is a trucking terminal at the dead-end. I use this street regularly and oftentimes it is impassable with the number of long trailer-trucks. There's even a yuppie distillery there. My advise is to look elsewhere.

Promoting the notion of the other "exclusive" streets is plain dangerous. Oh, that street would be safer for uses but all the existing truck routes must be altered and the truck traffic re-routed onto inland residential streets. That makes for fun.

The article says the proposal "comes after meeting with residents along...the pathway". Let's not confuse the origin of this proposal. It did not originate with residents along the pathway. No part of it comes from the established residents along the pathway. Certainly not here in Sunset Park. It is the spawn of real estate developers whose newly arrived tenants were left stranded at the water's edge without public transportation. They now want to foist their overlooked needs onto the taxpayers(other than themselves), and the mayor is only to eager to oblige.

I look forward to any further discussion "with the residents". This time let them know in advance. This way the residents just might let you know what they really think but with certainty.
Nov. 4, 2016, 8:56 pm
Roberto from Brooklyn Heights says:
My predecessors did pay for the construction of the subway I regularly make use of.. . they say it's faster than bus service? What will power it?
Nov. 6, 2016, 1:17 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Another reason why this plan is a bad idea is because most of the streets wouldn't be wide enough to go without disrupting existing traffic. The reasons why SF, Boston, and Philly still have these is because of the width of their streets, while this is pretty rare for NYC. Even LA, Houston, and Phoenix have the wide streets for their light rails and the same thing with Paris when building the tram lines. Overall, this streetcar line is just unrealistic and should be killed rather than progressing.
Nov. 6, 2016, 4:03 pm

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