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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Staten Island Rapid Transit Station Hurricane Zone Rating at Street Level

The above map was produced in ArcGIS 10.2 using the new shape file that was available for 2013 Hurricane Zones.  Using a spatial join, I was able to assign each Staten Island Rapid Transit station a Hurricane Zone value based on the location of each station on the surface.  In the report below, also produced in ARCGIS, the stations are listed. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

McDonald Avenue PCC near Neptune Avenue - Part II

  In this posting, we will shift our focus slightly to the two deck elevated structure that I was telling you about in the prior post.  You got to see the photo below by Zach Summer which was taken on July 9, 2010 probably from the top level of the West 8th Street Station.  This is the next station that the elevated structure runs into from the previous post.  What a great shot!
A "Q" train of R160 cars are headed towards Manhattan and about to enter the West 8th Street station in Coney Island.  You can we what remains of the formerly great Coney Island amusement area.  The Cyclone  roller coaster ride is toward the left and so is the Atlantic Ocean.  Please go to to see the rest of Zach's photos which concentrate on this area of Brooklyn.

In the picture below, from the George Conrad collection at the same website, a 1939 view of the easterly end of the West 8th Street station is shown where the  Culver Line swings out from beneath the two level elevated structure.  The picture above is from the top tier of the same station but facing south west while this picture is facing slightly south east.  On the lower tier,  a Culver-5th Avenue train of wooden elevated stock with gates are about to enter the West 8th Street Station on their trip to Stillwell Avenue- Coney Island.  On the upper level, a Brighton train of BMT Type D Triplexes are found.  According to what I can see, there are trolley tracks on both sides of the Culver Line structure.  I believe that by 1939, the Culver Line ran two services, subway service to Chambers Street using BMT Standard steel cars and wooden elevated cars to Sands Street or Park Row in Manhattan.

In this photo by Brian J. Cudahy in 1954, at the same website, a train of IND R-1-9 cars are headed towards the lower level of the West 8th Street station.  By this time, IND service to Coney Island was just a few months old.  A great snow shot.  We also see two of the trolley line support poles carrying the power source perhaps for the subway trains in the area.  I believe that the trolley PRW is towards the photographer's back.

Friday, August 23, 2013

McDonald Avenue PCC Car near Neptune Avenue Brooklyn

This photo comes from Dave's Rail Pix (Joe Testagrose Collection) and was shot on February 26, 1956. The car is on the Private Right of Way near West 5th Street south of Neptune Avenue. The Brighton Laundry is in the background. This is a very interesting picture because it shows that not all of the McDonald Avenue trolley trackage was under the el. Notice the iron poles supporting a heavy load of power source cables (at extreme right of photo). I believe that in back of the laundry was a BMT substation the supplied electricity for the subway\el trains and streetcars in the area. Years after streetcar and electric freight operations ended in the area (trolley freight electric service by South Brooklyn Rail Road in 1961), the power cables remained. After new housing was built in the area, the right of way of the trolley became a parking lot for the area residents. The trolley line poles with the heavy load of power cables marked the way of the previous trolley path. For some reason, I remember that each individual trolley line pole was "wrapped" in a rectangular cyclone fence type of box years later. Perhaps the transit authority did not want kids to get electricuted. The photo is also interesting because it shows to the left, the elevated structure of the Culver Line. This structure at this point has a lattice type of appearance because the components came from the BMT Fulton Street El that was reconstuctured. The elevated structure in this section dates from 1919 to 1920.  Take a look of the next photo.  The elevated structure at this point may not be of the lattice type.  The pattern shown may be caused by the sun at this point.   On the elevated structure at this point which is two tracked is a train of IND R1-9 cars in Independent Line service on the "D" train. The heavy power cables, if I remember correctly, joined to the two level elevated structure near the West 8th Street station. When a new substation was built just at the location where the Culver Line swings out 90 degrees from the West 8th Street station in the 1970's, the power cables and poles were removed. Also in this picture is a few of our UFO friends (UFO like lighting fixtures) above the private right of way.
  In the above photo, taken in 1972 by D. Reinecke,  a train of class R-40 subway cars on the F route are either about to enter or just left the lower level of the West 8th Street station in Coney Island.  I cannot see on what track the train is on.  In the foreground, is the roof of the new substation.  If you look to the right of the photo you can see the trolley line poles and the heavy cables that mark the prior right of way of the McDonald Avenue trolley.  Notice the laundry in the center of the picture and notice the new multi story residential buildings in the area.

This photo was taken on 3/24/68 by Dough Grotjahn  and is part of the Joe Testagrose collection.  You can see the trolley support poles at the right side of the photo, just near the back of a train of slant R-40's on their way to Manhattan and Queens on the F-Culver route.  This train just left the lower level of the West 8th Street station.  You can see the substation under construction in the foreground.  The el is not lattice like at this point.
  In this 1954 Brian J. Cudahy picture,  a train of BMT Standard cars on the Culver Line are approaching the West 8th Street station just at the spot where the substation is located today.  This is before the Culver Line was converted and connected to the Independent 6th Avenue subway.  The buses on the right, according to the photo info at are out of town private buses parked for the day.  The trolley line poles with many wires are seen on the other side of elevated.
  In the shot below by Harry Pinsker (5/9/59), a set of IND "D" train R1-9 cars at the same location turning into West 8th Street station..  Compare how the area looked in 1959 to that of 1972.  Many old building were uprooted to build the big housing developments.  The fence below the el structure at the extreme left and center of the shot is the former location of the trolley right of way.  I believe the white building on the horizon line is Coney Island Hospital on Ocean Parkway.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New Plymouth Trolleybus Map 1950-1967

Source: Harry R. Porter, edit. Trolley Coach News, No. 48, Vol. 12, Number 1, Winter, 1980. In "Down Under: New Zealand, New Plymouth. " pp.34-39.

The two pictures of trolley coaches comes from the British Trolleybus Society. the top picture is dated 8/8/59 by Graeme Bennett and the second one is not dated and is from Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies from the BTS. The map shows their tramway operation from 1916 to 1954 and their trolleybus system from 1950 to 1967. Since I had this material in my archive for over 33 years and the New Zealand transit operations are not that known in the United States , I decided to post the information for those researchers and others that will find this information useful.

  The New Plymouth operation was a small one, and it was quoted in the source above that " ... thus started the smallest municipally - operated  electric streetcar system in the world using the overhead system of current collection, serving a population of only 8,000..."  p. 36.  Although before World War I a trolleybus system was desired but a streetcar system opened on 3/10/16 and consisted of about six cars.   The trolleybus system started in 1950 with four trolleybuses.  The system lasted until 1967.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

New Proposals for Light Rail in Long Island City Queens and Red Hook

Hi Folks: I just looked at Bob Diamond's website and there is new information regarding proposed light rail for Long Island City Queens, New York City along 21st Street to Queens Plaza and to Red Hook later in the future. Just heard about this a half hour ago.

The picture below comes from one of the publications listed in Bob's posting on the subject.  I believe it is a rendition of a proposed light rail line in Queens.
Looks kind of cool?    But,  I do not see any wires.

Deputy Mayor Doctoroff & Other Prominent Urban Planners / Developers Enthusiastically Endorse BHRA's Brooklyn Streetcar Project Former First Deputy Mayor and Current Chairman of Bloomberg LP Daniel Doctoroff, the Chair of Brookfield Associates (and former NYC Planning Commission Chairman) John Zuccotti, and Former NYC Planning Commissioner Alexander Garvin (currently Garvin & Associates), have now whole heartedly embraced and validated our streetcar project. Adopting BHRA streetcar project's route selection, our construction cost estimate of $20 million per route mile, as well as the types of project financing, which we incorporated into the "New Streetcar Possibilities for Brooklyn" (BHRA' PowerPoint presentation on our Red Hook streetcar project), which we gave several months ago at several venues, and which has been publicly available ever since then. The full version of the "Next NYC" forum sponsored by the Regional Plan Association, introducing the streetcar line now being championed by Doctoroff, Zuccotti and Garvin is available here as a PDF or here is the web address. Doctoroff, Zuccotti, and Garvin, are extensively cited in the article above, and Doctoroff even stated that out of the 40 projects featured in their urban planning booklet, The Next New York, that OUR PROJECT (the streetcar project) IS THE BEST ONE - and I quote: "New York has never been a light-rail kind of town—“toy trains,” said a Koch deputy mayor dismissively in the 80s. Yet the time has surely come." "This is the book’s single best idea, said Doctoroff. It would knit together the emerging communities along the 7 and L lines, and would trigger all sorts of incremental growth on the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront, where the greatest potential for growth actually is. What’s more, light rail is cheap—some $20 million [per mile], he guesses." Compare this to the $/per mile figures we cited in Our Presentation. "Zuccotti agreed about light rail, and emphasized that new transportation projects should be in Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, because that’s where housing can be built at reasonable cost in areas that are still zoned industrial. He cited the brilliant precedent of David Walentas, who showed definitively in Dumbo, Brooklyn, how to convert empty industrial space into a thriving mixed-used community. Can the same be done in the Bronx and Queens?" According to Garvin: "The capital cost of the new light rail line could be financed from the tax increment generated by new and renovated housing created on underutilized properties within walking distance of the new light rail line." Doctoroff, Zuccotti and Garvin even seem keen on some of the alternative funding mechanisms we presented. Please read the wording of both documents very carefully, especially the part about financing construction/operation via future real estate tax generated along the route (see slides 12 & 32 of Our Presentation) BTW, their entire booklet, The Next New York, can be downloaded here as a PDF. The streetcar project is on pages 12- 13. Note, the map on PDF page 13 of The Next New York, and compare with the maps page of our website. The light rail plan described in The Next New York even utilizes the exact route we've long advocated - passing through the Borough Hall mass transit nexus, then proceeds through the historic Atlantic Avenue Tunnel, and then down along Columbia Street into Red Hook, ending at a streetcar barn at Gowanus Bay Terminal :-) There's an old saying: no man is an island unto himself. In the spirit of this Election Day season, BHRA stands ready and eager to form new partnerships and coalitions with like- minded groups and individuals who share our common goal: to bring about the return of the streetcar as a key transportation mode in the City Of New York. Crain's New York Business article on "Visions for 'Next NYC'" featuring Red Hook Streetcar as idea #1 -Aug 2013 3.7mb PDF Untapped Next NY - 40 ideas that Could transform NY, from the forum of Urban Design. Aug 2013 Crain's New York Business Article on Red Hook Streetcar -July 7 2013 Red Hook Star-Revue "Bob Diamond is One Persistent Fellow" -July 2013

Sorry for the bad format at this machine. To be upgraded in the future

Friday, August 9, 2013

New York Subway Routes in Relation to Revised Hurricane Zones

The map above was produced using the old subway and subway stop shape files from several years back.  Not to much changes from year to year in New York City regarding new routes.  Currently, the Montague Street Tunnel through which the "R" train passes to Lower Manhattan is closed for 14 months due to flooding damage from Hurricane Sandy.  Even though service was restored after the storm, many of the electronic components have corroded and it was decided to close the tubes for 14 months in order to repair the damage.  At any rate, you an see that many of the subway routes passes through hurricane risk zones.  The Coney Island shop and yard is always in danger of flooding and so are many other transit facilities throughout the city.  The blue area is free from risk of hurricane damage.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Richard Street area of Red Hook with Revised 2013 Hurricane Zones

  In the map below, I brought in the revised New York City Hurricane Zones map for 2013.  This new map calculates the risk of flooding from many factors besides elevation, for example, wind speed, wave height and surface texture and so on.  The higher the alphabetic letter, lesser the risk of flooding.  The zones shown indicate that more residents are now in increased risk of flooding.  Concerning the map, the other layers of the map were used in an earlier posting and I simply brought in the new shape file dealing with flooding.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Flatbush Avenue Trolley Line History

Source: Watson, Edward B. & Linder, B. "Flatbush Avenue Trolley Line-History & Track Map', In New York Division Bulletin, Electric Railroaders' Association. Vol. 19, No. 6,  December, 1976, Pp 2-7.

  The Flatbush Avenue Trolley, the busiest line in Brooklyn had long history from July 1, 1860 as a horsecar from Fulton Ferry to Vernon Avenue (Tilden Avenue) which is the site of the historic King's Theatre that was built after 1919.  The site of the theatre was used as the Vernon Avenue Carbarn until 1919.  Then, the horsecar was not running in the City of New York but in the Town of Flatbush that was settled by the Dutch.  The line was extended eventually southward to several branches.  The line was electrified in 1893 and died on March 4, 1951.

Notice in the middle map the branches and freight sidings.
This photo comes from Brooklyn  You are facing west on Church Avenue looking towards the Dutch Reformed Church at Flatbush and Church Avenues prior to 1951.  To the right of the dairy truck is the former Garfield's Restaurant, a Flatbush icon.  In the distance, is the RKO theatre across the street from the church.  Notice the 90 degree crossing at Flatbush Avenue; no turn outs.
A Flatbush Avenue car at the King's theater.  This was an early site of a Flatbush Avenue Line depot and a place where "Avenue C" trolleys were stored in later years.  Avenue "C" became Cortelyou Road and was the site of the first trolleybus experiments in Brooklyn around 1930.
Source:  Brooklyn pix.
 An early photo of the Church Avenue - Flatbush Avenue intersection around 1914 facing south on Flatbush Avenue.  Notice the turnouts.  The turnouts were removed by 1926.  The white  pointed building on the left is Erasmus High School.  This is a historic high school with one of the original buildings located in the courtyard of the shown building.
Another photo from Brooklyn Pix.  This time we are looking south from a few blocks north of Church Avenue on Flatbush Avenue with the Reform Church on the right.  Flatbush Avenue in the vicinity of Church Avenue is an important retail street in Brooklyn.
Although not near the above pictures, a summer only line called Flatbush - Brighton operated from 1899 to 1903 using the right of way of the Brighton Line that ran mainly on grade south of Malbone Street (Empire Blvd) to Brighton Beach.  This line ended in 1906 and there are track diagrams about this in the above maps.  For a period of time, some Flatbush Avenue cars ran over the Brooklyn Bridge to Park Row.  This service ended in 1937 with the north terminal being Boro Hall or Fulton Ferry.