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Thursday, August 30, 2018

New News About Waterfront Streetcar Plan

Breaking News: City Announces BQX Next Steps

Breaking news about the Brooklyn Queens Connector:  Released 8/30/18 over 1 hr ago.

  1. Shorter:  To Gowanas Red Hook Only from Long Island City
  2. More Expensive to Build
  3. Longer To Build 2029
  4. Uses Overhead
  5. More Inland
  6. Depends on Government allocations for support

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Interesting Article

Related TopicsEric W. Sanderson, “Roads to Rails,”Places Journal, June 2013. Accessed 27 Aug 2018.

  I came across by accident this article dealing with streetcars and various other issues such a physics of motion, air  pollution, efficiency of motors and so on.     Although I just skimmed the article very lightly and the article was written in 2013, the view point of Mr. Sanderson is that the world would be a better place if there were a lot more electric streetcars in existence.  In my fast view of the article in a few minutes, Mr. Sanderson is picturing an electric economy where streetcars would be plenty and freight would be delivered by electric trains or trams.   In the past few years, looking over news accounts of new light rail or tram systems in the United States is showing that some are becoming out of favor and are considered by some people as a waste of money and resources.   Some recently opened tram systems are not doing well.   Here in New York City, the waterfront streetcar in Brooklyn and Queens appears to be dead ( like all the other tram projects but forth) and there does not appear to be even new proposals for new routes.  Remember my 20, 20 20 plan?  That is, twenty years to talk about a proposal,  twenty years to figure out how to pay for it and twenty years to build?  It is hard to believe that in Brooklyn New York and New York City as a whole, the anti-trolley movement started about a 100 years ago.  The last line built in Brooklyn, the Eighth Avenue in Bay Ridge started around 1918 -19?  After this line was built, the BRT or other private Brooklyn tram line operators could not get permission from the City of New York to build any more lines in Southern Brooklyn.
Don't forget that Mayor Walker from the 1920's was very anti trolley and many of the mayors that followed.   I believe that there is not a single exhibition of a electric trolley, such a trolley car in a Museum or on a side track anyplace in New York City.  I would be happy if we had such an exhibition.  We cannot expect anything more.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Russian R-1 Tram Abandoned

Hi Folks:

 Remember in 2014 news came out about a very futuristic Russian tram that was about to go into production.    I just found out (see link above) that the project in 2017 was abandoned because the tram would be very difficult to build and maintain because of its' layout.   Also for this new car, the current trucks {bogies?) would not work.  The Staten Island Ferris Wheel, also something new, seems to be also dead due to legal or financial reasons

It was a beautiful tram.   Shows that form and function do not always follow.  The car looked beautiful but would be very difficult to build and operate.   Good luck to the designers in the future. Some of us here in New York City would be happy if we were able to have a heritage trolley using old, Russian, or any other tram cars from somewhere in the world such as second hand equipment running a few hundred meters.  It does not look like it will happen.  If the Russian R-1 design was successful in being a good operating streetcar, many new communities would have taken a look at trams for city transit.

Good luck next time,
Tramway Null(0)

Thursday, July 26, 2018

July 27, 1960: Last Day of Regular Electric Surface Transit in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The picture above was taken from the web site from their Trolleybus section.  This is a Brian Cudahy  picture from 1954 showing a Lorimer Street trackless trolley near the Myrtle Avenue El .  58 years ago service was stopped on the small ( 200 unit? ) trolleybus system for which mainly lasted ( most routes except Cortelyou Road) for only 12 years (1848-1960).

Today. chances are getting smaller for New York City to see a trolleybus system or a regular streetcar/light rail system.  Overhead technology is becoming obsolete and an "electric bus" does not require wires anymore.  Just a good battery or charging station.  Light rail, no way because it is expensive and will take away parking spaces.

I thought that trolleybus or light rail service will return to Brooklyn  in:

1961 because a report came out explaining about diesel bus pollution, but I was wrong.
I though that trolleybuses and streetcars might come back because of the 1960's environmental movement.  But I was wrong.

I though they would come back due to oil embargos in the 1970's and 1980's, but I was wrong.

I thought they would come back because of high oil prices, but I was wrong.
I thought they would come back because diesel bus fumes is the cause of lung diseases in Harlem and upper New York, but I was wrong.

I thought they would come back due to peak oil, but I was wrong.
I thought they would come back due to global warming, but I was wrong.
I thought they would come back to Second Avenue around 1992 because the MTA was interested in setting up a Select Bus Service using trolleybuses, but I was wrong.
I thought streetcars would come back on 42nd Street after various attemps, but was not signed off by the mayor.  But I was wrong.

I thought that streetcars would come back on the Brooklyn - Queens waterfront, but I was wrong.  Where will we park our cars and it is too expensive!

I guess I just was wrong!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Brooklyn Journey to Work by Streetcar: Part II: Including aggregate travel time in Minutes

In the previous map above, dealing with numbers of individuals using streetcar or trolley to get to work recently raises a question:   Do they mean bus instead of streetcar, or perhaps they do have long journeys to work and need to use the Newark Subway, or other light rail lines (Hudson-Bergen) or Philadelphia lines as well?  This would make for very long travel times.  Using "R",  I was able to bring in the American Community Survey of travel times in minutes, arranged by Census Tract.   A description of the material can be found in Census Reporter B08136_009 table that I brought in.
Through various steps, of converting the "R" data to an EXCEL file, geocoded it and brought it into ARCGIS,   I was able to add a new layer to my original map.   The B08136-009 table has a lot of "NA's", so I had to convert these to 0's so ARCGIS can use these values.  Sample of table produced from the ACS for Brooklyn is shown below:

Simple feature collection with 761 features and 5 fields
geometry type:  MULTIPOLYGON
dimension:      XY
bbox:           xmin: -74.04241 ymin: 40.56677 xmax: -73.83304 ymax: 40.7394
epsg (SRID):    4269
proj4string:    +proj=longlat +datum=NAD83 +no_defs
First 20 features:
         GEOID                                       NAME   variable estimate   moe                       geometry
1  36047000301  Census Tract 3.01, Kings County, New York B08136_009       NA    NA MULTIPOLYGON (((-74.00025 4...
2  36047003100    Census Tract 31, Kings County, New York B08136_009       NA    NA MULTIPOLYGON (((-73.982512 ...
3  36047004100    Census Tract 41, Kings County, New York B08136_009       NA    NA MULTIPOLYGON (((-73.987 40....
4  36047005602 Census Tract 56.02, Kings County, New York B08136_009       NA    NA MULTIPOLYGON (((-74.037068 ...
5  36047006200    Census Tract 62, Kings County, New York B08136_009       NA    NA MULTIPOLYGON (((-74.033389 ...
6  36047006700    Census Tract 67, Kings County, New York B08136_009       NA    NA MULTIPOLYGON (((-73.999725 ...
7  36047007600    Census Tract 76, Kings County, New York B08136_009       NA    NA MULTIPOLYGON (((-74.016651 ...
8  36047008400    Census Tract 84, Kings County, New York B08136_009       NA    NA MULTIPOLYGON (((-74.007977 ...
9  36047010400   Census Tract 104, Kings County, New York B08136_009       NA    NA MULTIPOLYGON (((-74.011154 ...
10 36047012100   Census Tract 121, Kings County, New York B08136_009       NA    NA MULTIPOLYGON (((-73.993379 ...
11 36047013500   Census Tract 135, Kings County, New York B08136_009       NA    NA MULTIPOLYGON (((-73.985707 ...
12 36047015000   Census Tract 150, Kings County, New York B08136_009     9530  4202 MULTIPOLYGON (((-74.013926 ...
13 36047017000   Census Tract 170, Kings County, New York B08136_009    39560 10566 MULTIPOLYGON (((-74.017019 ...
14 36047017900   Census Tract 179, Kings County, New York B08136_009       NA    NA MULTIPOLYGON (((-73.974281 ...
15 36047019200   Census Tract 192, Kings County, New York B08136_009       NA    NA MULTIPOLYGON (((-74.001931 ...
16 36047020000   Census Tract 200, Kings County, New York B08136_009       NA    NA MULTIPOLYGON (((-74.01142 4...
17 36047021400   Census Tract 214, Kings County, New York B08136_009       NA    NA MULTIPOLYGON (((-74.005564 ...
18 36047022900   Census Tract 229, Kings County, New York B08136_009       NA    NA MULTIPOLYGON (((-73.959568 ...
19 36047024300   Census Tract 243, Kings County, New York B08136_009       NA    NA MULTIPOLYGON (((-73.955122 ...
20 36047025600   Census Tract 256, Kings County, New York B08136_009       NA    NA MULTIPOLYGON (((-73.988688 ...

My theory for this map is that streetcar usage should be tied with long trips.  In the legend, length of journey in minutes, I tried to show this by using stripes.  Only some polygons are showing using trolleys as a mode also having long travel times (stripes with an orange  background Census Tract).
The bottom line is that we cannot say that use of streetcars as a mode for today's Brooklynites is a  mistake, or one of the travel modes of Brooklynites that work in Newark and other cities in New Jersey or elsewhere.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Brooklyn New York Journey to Work by Streetcar or Trolley: ACS 2012 -2016

  From Census Reporter:

Table universe: Workers 16 Years and Over

Columns in this table

  • Total:
  • Car, truck, or van:
  • Drove alone
  • Carpooled:
  • In 2-person carpool
  • In 3-person carpool
  • In 4-or-more-person carpool
  • Public transportation (excluding taxicab):
  • Bus or trolley bus
  • Streetcar or trolley car (carro publico in Puerto Rico)
  • Subway or elevated
  • Railroad
  • Ferryboat
  • Bicycle
  • Walked
  • Taxicab, motorcycle, or other means
  • Worked at home
Subtable 10 just deals with trolley trips (number of workers above 16 for a census tract)

Resultant File that can be exported into EXCEL then geocoded into ARCGIS.  The field that that is analyzed is called "estimate".

  GEOID                                      NAME   variable estimate moe                       geometry
756 36047028800  Census Tract 288, Kings County, New York B08006_010        0  11 MULTIPOLYGON (((-73.998254 ...
757 36047041300  Census Tract 413, Kings County, New York B08006_010       18  29 MULTIPOLYGON (((-73.913946 ...
758 36047035400  Census Tract 354, Kings County, New York B08006_010        0  16 MULTIPOLYGON (((-73.976549 ...
759 36047036300  Census Tract 363, Kings County, New York B08006_010        0  11 MULTIPOLYGON (((-73.9223 40...
760 36047119000 Census Tract 1190, Kings County, New York B08006_010        0  11 MULTIPOLYGON (((-73.877339 ...
761 36047018200  Census Tract 182, Kings County, New York B08006_010        0  11 MULTIPOLYGON (((-74.005521 ...
> write.csv(tarr, file = "Streetcar_Bklyn2.csv")

R Code:


> library(tidyverse)
> library(viridis)
> census_api_key("Use your own key"), install = TRUE)
Error: A CENSUS_API_KEY already exists. You can overwrite it with the argument overwrite=TRUE
> tarr <- get_acs(geography = "tract", variables = "B08006_010",
+                 state = "NY", county = "Kings", geometry = TRUE)
Getting data from the 2012-2016 5-year ACS
Downloading feature geometry from the Census website.  To cache shapefiles for use in future sessions, set `options(tigris_use_cache = TRUE)`.
Using FIPS code '36' for state 'NY'
Using FIPS code '047' for 'Kings County'

Hi Folks:

    I came across a procedure for extracting data from the census using "R".  Interestingly, there is census data dealing with the journey to work.    There are table codes for this case and I used table prefix 08:  Journey to Work:  Worker's Characteristics: Commuting.  The code given in R by "RBloggers"  is able to extract a vast amount of statistics using the County variable.  Yes, Brooklyn has not had streetcars or trolleys since 1956 but look at the results in the map.   Are these Brooklynites  working in Jersey City or Newark New Jersey where there are streetcars?   Do they work or Phildadelphia or elsewhere?  Or did they missunderstand the question?  I am not sure.

The code for NY state is:
ny %>%
+ mutate(NAME = gsub(" County, ny", "", NAME)) %>%
+  ggplot(aes(x = estimate, y = reorder(NAME, estimate))) +
+   geom_errorbarh(aes(xmin = estimate - moe, xmax = estimate + moe)) +
+   geom_point(color = "red", size = 3) +
+   labs(title = "Journey to Work by Streetcar in New York State ACS",
+        subtitle = "2012-2016 American Community Survey",
+        y = "",
+        x = "ACS estimate (bars represent margin of error)")

> ## End(Not run)

And when run, see the  counties in NYS that  have streetcar ACP statistics: Lines are MOE's Margins of Error.

  GEOID                                      NAME   

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Beeswarm of Distances from Bedford Avenue Station Brooklyn to all other stations in NYC

In this experiment,  I took the data where I calculated the distance from the "L" train station in Williamsburgh Brooklyn to every other station (about 493 observations) in feet and read it into "R".
The mean distance is about 30,000 feet.  Using "R", I found out about "Beeswarm" program that is another way than looking at histograms.   The results is the interesting shape below.  Each circle is a distance to another station.  To download "Beeswarm", use this code:  install.packages('beeswarm') in the R environment.   Distance in Feet to next subway station for all stations to Bedford Avenue "L" train.

 Min.   :  2177
 1st Qu.: 15003
 Median : 25152
 Mean   : 30484
 3rd Qu.: 41862
 Max.   :110748

Traditional histogram

  One circle below represents the distance between the Bedford Avenue Station (index number 337 on a prior map) to the Lorimer Street station (index number 338) and the distance is 2176.9 feet, and so on.  This distance is probably at the bottom of the tree.  The distances at the top of the tree is perhaps in the --,---. range,  to the Bronx or Staten Island.  The mean is 34,800 feet.   The biggest distance is 110,748 feet or 21 miles.  To the Simpson Street Station in the Bronx (index number 18), the distance to Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn is 42,726 feet, or about 8 miles.  This is, of course, how the bird flies, not the street walk along distance or the subway track distance.  The top of the tree dot is the distance of 110,748 feet.  Notice that the largest distances, in this plot, are separated from their "pals", being that they are unique and probably is the distance to distant Staten Island Rapid Transit Stations.  On the bottom, the small distances to Bedford Avenue have "friends" nearby and are thus less isolated.