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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Proposed Waterfront Streetcar Between Brooklyn and Queens may be in Trouble

Hi Folks:

  Sorry for being away, but not too much was happening.   New news recently came about that the proposed waterfront streetcar between Brooklyn and Queens may be in trouble.  One source of trouble is the funding and the second may be the opposition form neighborhood residents and groups.  This may have been predicted.  One trouble source may be the cost of relocating utilities along the many mile right of way.  Why utilities should be relocated if new streetcar tracks do not need to have a base very deep into he ground is a question that I have.  This point killed the proposed 42nd Street Light Rail Line around 1994?   Other bad news, or lack of news, is that of the proposed trolleybus systems for Spokane, Washington and Montreal Quebec.    I think these proposals are dead because the away from the wire technology using batteries and capacitors is really advancing. Who needs wires anymore?  So systems buy battery buses.  The proposed trolley bus system for Leeds in England died about a year ago as well.

For establishing a new streetcar system or line for an area that is hostile towards electric transit or did not have it for many years, I would:


  1. Start with a very small line.
  2. The line should be a very strong feeder to a subway line where no other transportation is available except feed in bus lines.
  3. Development of real estate should not be a factor.  They can be used in built up areas.
  4. The new line should be marketed for efficiency in terms of moving people at a low cost, lower than that of diesel or battery buses.
  5. The new line should be somewhat grade separated from other traffic.
  6. The new line should not be expensive and have  not have all the bells and whistles.  A simple on surface stations should be available will a small canopy.
  7. If possible, used equipment should be used to emphasize low cost and efficiency,  New equipment can come later.
  8. The line should not block the view ( wires ) of  people who are hostile towards any type of wires.
  9. Modern streetcars are much more comfortable than any type of bus.  Conversion of diesel bus lines to streetcar should be put forth on the basis of efficiency, environment and passenger comfort.
  10. If possible, a streetcar line should feed seamlessly into existing heavy rail, such as found in Toronto.  Streetcars at some terminals dive underground and meet heavy rail at platform level for easy transfer between modes.  This can be very expensive for cities like New York.  A candidate would be the Essex Delancey former trolley terminal in the Lower East Side.  Do not use this hidden facility as a park but make it into a trolley terminal for streetcars going over the bridge.  This will help out when the "L' train tubes close down for repairs.
  11. Candidates may be: Streetcars at Pelham Bay Park station (6)  to Co-op City.
  12. End of Queens rapid transit lines:  179th Street Jamaica, Parsons-Archer.
  13. Staten Island routes and former North Shore Line.
  14. Central Bronx:  Former right of way of the Third Avenue El.
  15. Brooklyn:  Pennsylvania Avenue, Nostrand Avenue at Brooklyn College
  16. Lower East Side Manhattan access via a far east avenue to Union Square or 14th Street.


A Comment:
    Earth Day has been around for almost 50 years.  This year we celebrate it on April 22, 2017.
Of course, the City of New York, the various mayors that we had during this time and the Transit Authority are pro environment.  How come rarely or perhaps never, modern streetcars and trolleybuses were proposed as an efficient way to deal with the environment?  There are hundreds of bus lines in New York City; certainly at least one of them meets the criteria from an objective engineering viewpoint to be a good candidate for conversion into trolleybus or streetcar, not because of development but because of efficiency and comfort.


Tramway Null(0)