In a $2.2 billion proposal, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio looks to begin installation of a 16 mile streetcar line connecting Brooklyn and Queens via the East River. The idea is to facilitate transportation for some of New York’s growing, yet still transit-deficient, areas. Imagine a trolley system lining the East River and delivering a long-awaited public transit connection between the bordering boroughs.
Burgeoning industrial urban areas of Queens and Brooklyn are in desperate need of public transit as residents are growing less dependent on commuting to Manhattan – and desire less and less to pass through the island at all. Sunset Park in Brooklyn and the outer reaches of Astoria in Queens remain relatively isolated from MTA subway transit but are growing in prosperity and industry.
“In a major re-imagining of the New York City waterfront, Mayor Bill de Blasio is set to propose a streetcar line that would snake along the East River in Brooklyn and Queens, linking the industrial centers of Sunset Park to the upper reaches of Astoria,” reports Michael M. Grynbaum.
Running on rails, alongside car traffic, the streetcar line may be a costly proposal, but the de Blasio administration believes the cost will be offset by an increased revenue stream generated by increased values of property along the route. Noted neighborhoods such as Greenpoint and Brooklyn Navy Yard have already advanced development.
The billion dollar proposal may seem like a lot of money but it is significantly less than laying a new subway line. However, the investment would be just that – with construction starting as early as 2019 and travel not beginning until almost 2025.
Alicia Glen, the deputy mayor for housing and economic development, acknowledged “some significant engineering challenges when you are putting a modern system like this in a very old city.” She continued, “The old transportation system was a hub-and-spoke approach, where people went into Manhattan for work and came back out,” she said. “This is about mapping transit to the future of New York.”
As New Yorkers commute into the future, surely the structure of public transit will need to adapt to new ventures and growth.