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Friday, July 31, 2015

Recent Tramway Plans in St. Petersburg and Brooklyn





These two plans came to me today.  Plans for a Brooklyn and Queens tramway along the waterfront is being studied by a private corporation.

http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/07/8573103/brooklyn-considers-waterfront-streetcar
http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/07/8573103/brooklyn-considers-waterfront-streetcar

My friend from St. Petersburg sent me this two maps dealing with tramway expansion in that city.





Nice maps.  I believe they deal with expansion to the airport.  According to Igor, one of the lines will have elevated and tunnel sections and will operate like a rapid transit line.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Upper Narrows Near Bay Ridge - Sunset Park Brooklyn



In the map below, I used ARCGIS to create a map slightly north of the previous map.  I choose this location because from some drawings that I saw at Bob Diamond's website, the proposed rapid transit tunnel from Brooklyn to Staten Island would have been is this area and not further south at the present site of the Narrows Bridge.  The Hudson River contour map comes from a New York State Hudson River site.  The street map comes from Bytes of the Big Apple.  The depths are in meters.    I wanted to show the depths that had to be considered in the 1920's (if the floor of the bay is the same today, I do not know) in building a cross bay tunnel.  If the BMT reached Staten Island in the 1920's or 1930's, Staten Island would look very different today.





Monday, July 27, 2015

Today, Fifty Five Years Ago, Trackless Trolley Service Ended in Brooklyn




The above trackless trolley map of Brooklyn was issued by the New York City Transit Authority probably since 1965.  I remember going to the TA in 1969 on Jay Street Brooklyn and getting a copy of the above map and it was copyrighted I believe as of 1965.  The above map comes from the net.  It is hard to believe that 55 years have passed since July 27, 1960 when most of the lines on the above map were replaced by diesel buses.  The Cortelyou Road line, the first experimental line in Brooklyn, started out on Avenue "C" in 1930 and expanded via 16th Avenue  to New Utrecht Avenue in 1932, died on October 31, 1956.   The St. Johns Place Line died in 1959.  The other lines died on July 27, 1960.  Most of the coaches were only twelve years old by that time (1948-1960).  The trolleybus system in Brooklyn was on the small side and consisted of about 200 coaches.  Very few people remember them.  In the past 40 years. various proposals for streetcar service in New York City came to light for lines on 42nd Street, Red Hook Brooklyn, Long Island City, Coney Island and the Grand Concourse in the Bronx.  Nothing comes of these proposals.  As far as trolley coaches are concerned, there was a plan to have what is now known as "Select Bus Service"using trolley coaches on Church Avenue Brooklyn, First and Second Avenues in Manhattan and the BX-12 route in the Bronx.  This plan also died.  There are no proposals for trackless trolley service anywhere in the New York City region.

  When trolley bus service ended on July 27, 1960, the last official revenue operation of a electric surface vehicle in New York City and New York State came to an end.  It is highly unlikely that light rail or trams, or electric trolleybus service will ever come to New York City in our lifetime.  Folks out there that live in tram and trolleybus served cities, enjoy them when you have them.  In the future, the use of wires will not be needed and then tracks will not be needed because of optical or other guidance systems.  It is the wires and sparks that make being a rapid transit fan fun. Once automated cars come into operation, you will no longer need subways, trams and trolleybus, as some people predict, because persons who cannot afford a car or cannot drive will be able to call an automated car that will take them anyplace, door to door.  Enjoy what you have now.


Friday, July 24, 2015

Two Additional Maps




The above map was produced in ARCGIS using New York State Hudson River study shape files.  This is a contour map at the end of the study at the Narrows Bridge.  I am bringing it in here because in the 1920's, the BMT started construction of a underwater tunnel to Staten Island around this spot.  While I am not sure if the right of way would have been at the location of the map above, the water depths that had to been dealt with are shown.  Depths are in meters.





  Using an updated  version of  GRASS Geospatial, a roughness index was constructed  The whiter the image, the more rougher is the surface.  Subway lines given in green.  Notice that in western Brooklyn, the two rough spots are Greenwood Cemetery and Prospect Park.  A contour profile was used as the basis of this map.  The line where the Glacier stopped years ago can be seen.

Friday, July 17, 2015

There is Gold under those...






  Several weeks ago, someone started a thread in subchat dealing with the status of covered streetcar tracks in New York City.  Are they considered "Historic Places"?  ...was one of comments and also "How much of the former street railway tracks remain in New York and elsewhere after  buried for decades under layers of asphalt?".  Before this topic was brought up, I came across this New York Public Library Digital Archive shot of the intersection of 60th Street and 16th Avenue in Boro Park, Brooklyn.  There is no credit given to the photographer but the date is 1935.    This is a shot facing east I believe and you can see, if you look closely, a set of trolleybus wires and perhaps at the extreme right, a trolley coach.  The focus of this Depression Era shot was on the sewer construction.  Notice that it reaches the trolley tracks.    According to B. Linder in the April 1978 edition of the New York Division Bulletin, ( Vol. 21, No. 4, p.5), a detailed history of the 16th Avenue Streetcar was given.  Until 1913, the line extended only to 58th Street and 16th Avenue since being established in 1905.  58th Street is two blocks from this intersection and may be visible in the photo.  From 1913 to 1932, line was extended a few blocks to 63rd Street and 16th Avenue with a one track stub terminal in the street.  The line was abandoned on May 27, 1932 and the first trolleybus line in Brooklyn was established.  What is interesting in that in most of the track diagrams presented by Bernard Linder, the track removal dates were not included.  We have here,  however the following information:

Tracks Removed on 16th Avenue:

McDonald Ave - Dahill Road   1933
Dahill Road - 54th Street   1932- 1933
54th Street - 60th Street   Jan-March, 1937
60th Street - 63 rd Street   1936.

(See B. Linder Map, page 5, in this blog)

This is valuable information so we can see that the tracks in the photo were removed here in 1936 and the photo shows the intersection in 1935.

More to follow on the gold that is buried under the streets to follow.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Experiment with QGIS 2.10.0 with GRASS 6.4.3






I have not done any experiments with maps in some time.  I downloaded GRASS and I noticed that the download included some features that included QGIS.  I took and old elevation raster file of New York City, which is apparently a photograph and I downloaded it into the program.  I worked with such raster files with this blog before.  Using one of the options which I will tell you about in the future, I was able to get the map above which shows Brooklyn in the center.  You can clearly see the Bay Ridge Division of the LIRR in the center.,  You can see the belt parkway near Coney Island and you can see shadows of the Sea Beach (N) and Brighton Line (Q) (B)  as well.  The straight line, at 90 degrees to the x axis west of the Sea Beach Line is a mystery.  Perhaps data is missing or this is a seam in the aerial photograph.  Compared to similar images before, I believe that this is an improvement.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

5th Avenue and 9th Street in Park Slope Brooklyn, 1940



These two photos come from the New York Library Digital Archive and are being used here for research purposes.  They we both shot on June 14, 1940. At this point, I believe the 5th Avenue Elevated stopped running.

Both photos are from P.L. Sperr.  This appears to be a western view of 9th Street at Fifth Avenue.  You can see the 5th Avenue Elevated, perhaps abandoned a few days before.   What appears to be a west bound PCC car of the Smith-Coney Island line # 68.  In some years, this line went directly over the Brooklyn Bridge to Park Row.  The 9th Street station here is of the two track island type.

  This view is under the El at the same location but facing the north side.    I believe you are facing the Prospect Theatre ( see water tanks on roof ).  You can see the wires of the Smith-Coney Island Line and the Fifth Avenue Trolley.

  Before the Fifth Avenue El stopped running, Park Slopers at this location had such a rich mix of rail transit available, even available within a few blocks.  Within one or two blocks, you had the Fifth Avenue El to Park Row or Sands Street above, the Smth-Coney Island line to Coney or at certain times to Park Row, the Fifth Avenue Trolley to Downtown Brooklyn.  At Fourth Avenue and 9th Street you had the IND Prospect Park Line to Manhattan or Church Avenue and the BMT subway at 9th Street with West End and Culver and Fourth Avenue local service.  Up the hill you had the 7th Avenue and  McDonald -Vanderbuilt Avenue Streetcar Line on Prospect Park West..  And last but not least, there were in the area several South Brooklyn Railroad sidings and stations, probably near 2nd Avenue and 9th Street for Thomas Roulstone.