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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

80? Years Ago in the Red Hook Community Room

  As many of you know, community hearings are starting to take place in waterfront communities regarding the new proposed BQX Light Rail Line.  On of the hearings\workshops was held, I believe in the Red Hook Housing complex as well.  I posted the above picture from the net, which I believe is the picture of the hearing there.

   I believe the Red Hook Projects opened in the 1930's and was one of the first public housing projects in Brooklyn.  A relative of mine was one of the first tenants in that complex occasionally went to hearings and community meetings and classes, perhaps in that very room.

  In the 1930's, perhaps in 1936, 80 years ago, guess who was a guest speaker?  Yes, Mayor LaGuardia, the little flower, who was against streetcars.   What did he speak about?  Here are some of his words as he pounded his fist into the table:

  Get Rid of The Streetcars,  Get rid of them now!  Get Rid of the Slot Machines!

 I asked my relative, what did the audience think of this? They looked at him like he was a crazy man!

In the 1930's in Brooklyn, Brooklyn streetcars were run by the private BMT organization.  The BMT was very pro transit and streetcars.  By the middle thirties, only some minor streetcar lines were bustituted.  The system remained mainly intact then, with huge cars on the Flatbush Avenue, Utica Avenue, Nostrand Avenue, Fifth Avenue lines and so many other lines, fully functioning and doing heavy duty work.  The gasoline buses, were smelly and shook themselves apart after a few years and had few seats at that time compared to streetcars.  In the early 1920.'s, parts of southern Brooklyn was being developed and certain streets, such as Avenue U, 13th Avenue, Foster Avenue and so on were ready for surface transit.  The BMT or BRT at that time wanted to build streetcars lines for these new routes, but the City of NY refused.

It is ironic that in the same room, about 80 years ago, speeches were given to destroy the streetcars and now there a talks to bring them back,  hopefully.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Leeds Trolleybus Plans Rejected

According to one report, Leeds is the biggest city in Europe without a tram or subway system.
In my humble opinion, I think due to new technology that does not use overhead wires, trolleybus systems will start to vanish, but I heard today that San Francisco is ordering about 30 new trolleybuses and Peking will invest in new trolleybuses due to heavy air pollution.  Who knows what the future will bring.  As I said before, I saw a 1959 New York City Transit Authority year book which stated that the Brooklyn trolleybus system, which at that time had vehicles about 11-12 years old, was about to be converted to diesel bus, because the "trolleys were becoming fast obsolete..."  In 1960, the trolley buses were pulled but the life of a trolleybus is much more than that of a smelly diesel bus.  Toronto  Canada also had trolleycoaches built I believe in 1948 but they continued to run to around 1971 when their electric components were transferred to new Western Flyer bus bodies.

Leeds, I feel your pain. Were not trolleys for 42nd Street in Manhattan rejected at the last minute around 1992 after much research and planning because the mayor of New York was concerned about water main breaks on 42nd Street?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

If Sunset Parkers Do Not Want the Waterfront Streetcar, Send it to Ninth Avenue Lower instead, or Ft. Hamilton Parkway

You are facing southwest on Third Avenue Brooklyn, under the Gowanus Expressway.  Instead of the proposed streetcar traveling south on Third Avenue where it is not wanted, let it turn east as shown above to the left, and enter the South Brooklyn yard between Third and Fourth Avenues.  Perhaps at least, the New York City Transit Authority shops may service and store the cars?  Notice the SBRR lead track crossing Third Avenue and leading to the yard.  This is near 37th Street.  The tracks to the left lead into a two track tunnel,  Further east, there is a massive 37th Street Yard that may be able to service the streetcars.  To reach this, some reverse moves may be necessary , including some on the famous ramps that we mentioned previously.  The curved track above is not the original track that crossed Third Avenue at this general location.  Cosco now covers the approximate PRW of the SBRR and the original tracks were at right angles to Third Avenue near this location.  For many years,  under the highway, the trolley wire for this crossing was still intact, perhaps into the 1980's?

  Please go to this beautiful website directly (BQX) = Brooklyn Queens Connector

As you know, there is a proposal to build a waterfront streetcar line from Astoria, Queens to Sunset Park, in Brooklyn.  The organization that is sponsoring it, is beginning to hold hearings with the public regarding routing, costs, design, parking and many other issues.
So far, I believe, two hearings were held: The first in Sunset Park and the second in Astoria.  While I do not have the raw data, from what I heard, Sunset Parkers are concerned about the rise of rents in their working class area and other issues.  "Why not have a bus line?".  There are already several bus routes in the area, not all of them going to Astoria.  As for me, a "stinkbuggy" just does not excite me.
How about missing Sunset Park completely since the public may not want it or say that they do not need it?

      It is interesting that the route of the proposed streetcar, travels on Third Avenue and will cross at right angles the single South Brooklyn Railroad Track around 36-37 Streets near Cosco.  I posted this picture already.    What would happen if:

  • Instead of continuing south on Third Avenue, the streetcar's two tracks turn at 90 degrees and enter the South Brooklyn yard between Third and Fourth Avenues?
  • Continue in the yard and join the "D" subway tracks before entering the elderly, twin track tunnel and proceed east.
  • Continue in the PRW of the West End "D" train to either Ninth Avenue upper middle or Ninth Avenue Lower middle (former Culver Line).
  • If proceeding to Ninth Avenue Lower middle, continue to portal and run via yard to the intersection of Ft. Hamilton Parkway and 37th Street.  This would be a terminal providing sort of a replacement for the Culver Shuttle.

I now that you may think that I am crazy, but there are many things so consider:

  • If the streetcars are operated without wires for the entire or portion of the line, wires do not need to be construction on the South Brooklyn RR or MTA subway sections.
  • An if wires would be required, who would object, since it is going through a yard and PRW?
  • Does the twin track brick tunnel east of Fourth Avenue have enough clearance to handle streetcars and wires?
  • Can streetcars share the same tracks with regular subway equipment?
  • If they do, will they need to be built according to Federal standards for RR operation?
  • Can the tracks handle both subway and streetcar traffic in terms of scheduling?
  • Would streetcar traffic on subway tracks cause a problem with the signaling?

  • I know that in Germany, some streetcars share tracks with subway and suburban trains.

What would the advantages of this be?

  • Perhaps the waterfront streetcar  could use the NYCTA's 37th Street Shops  for storage and repairs, cutting down the need to build new shops and depots for the new streetcar line.
  • If the streetcar would go to Ninth Avenue upper middle,  "D" train users could make a cross platform transfer to the streetcars.
  • If the streetcar woul go to Ninth Avenue lower middle and beyond, former Culver Shuttle users near Ft. Hamilton Parkway and east can have a few minute trip to make connections with the West End "D" train.
  • Perhaps the line can be extended to Ditmas Avenue via 39 th Street, effectively recreating the former Culver Shuttle.
Some questions are:

  • If a rider gets on at Ft. Hamilton Parkway or Ninth Avenue, does that passenger need streetcar service on Third Avenue instead of taking the faster Fourth Avenue  Subway ( R, D and N Trains to Manhattan)?
  • Are Astoria riders or other riders along the route interested in getting to Kensington Brooklyn (Ft. Hamilton Parkway and 37th Street) without taking the subway?
To be continued / Not Proofread    Rough Draft Tramway Null(0)