Residents to city: Streetcar can’t be amenity for rich, white yuppies

In the Red: A rendering from a lobby group for the srreercar shows the trolley gliding through Red Hook.
Brooklyn Paper
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They don’t want a gravy train.

The city must design its $2.5-billion Sunset Park-to-Queens streetcar line to help the borough’s neediest, not rich white yuppies, Brooklynites said at public forum in Red Hook on Tuesday night.

“I don’t know if the $2-billion dollar investment should just make it easier to go to a brewery or to go get brunch in Williamsburg, and it kind of feels like that’s what their motivation is,” said Ross Joy, who lives in Windsor Terrace and works in Red Hook.

Joy was one of dozens of Kings County residents who came to share their ideas with city reps at the borough’s first so-called “visioning session” for the trolley, which many have criticized as a boondoggle for the waterfront developers who initially lobbied for the service.

DeBlasio has pushed back against that characterization, stressing the 40,000 public housing residents who will live along the line when the tram starts running in 2024 — but Joy and others said he needs to put his money where his mouth is by creating a route with their needs in mind.

“Racial equity means that we don’t keep building the same systems based on white preference or white taste,“ he said. “Let’s see that it’s based on being connected to property lines of NYCHA developmen­ts.”

Attendees — who broke off into groups for discussions, then presented their ideas to the rest of the room — also agreed the streetcar needs to link up with ferry and subway stops and include free transfers to other modes of transportation.

“We ought to be able to get anywhere in the metropolitan area with a single ticket,” said Roy Howell, who lives in Carroll Gardens and claims to have ridden on more than 30 streetcar systems around the world.

City honchos admitted in February that riders may have to pay a second fare when switching from the tram to their forthcoming ferry service — as well as the state-controlled subway and bus system — and that many of the tram’s subway “transfers” will actually be up to a quarter-mile away.

A spokesman said at that time that it is negotiating with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for the gratis switches, but has yet to announce a deal.

City officials say they’ll host more of the feedback-gathering sessions before designing and announcing the route in 2018.

They plan to begin construction — which could involve building two entirely new bridges — the following year.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Powder from Brooklyn Heights says:
I agree - whites should be forced to sit at the back of the tram. How dare a group that represents about half of the residents in the area expect to be able to use public transportation to get to the places they want to go? No non-white person would ever use a tram to get to a brewery, but if they did that would be valid. Just not these white people!
Says the people who live in publicly funded housing which no white person could ever live in because of the deeply ingrained racism found there.
May 20, 2016, 3:42 am
jjm from c. hill says:
Ya see there? I told alot of people feel the same way i felt about this streetcar thing.
May 20, 2016, 8:17 am
jjm from c. hill says:
i told you*, typo.
May 20, 2016, 8:18 am
Pootie says:
jjm is right! Not only about the tram. I get furious when I see a white person take a bus or subway! And why is there train service between Park Slope and the Village?! White people might travel that route and do yuppie activities?!?!
Why does the city allow transport for white people to do activities that they do?!?! Wouldn't we be better off if they all drove cars and took ubers instead of building cleaner and less infrastructure demanding public transportarion??!!
May 20, 2016, 8:41 am
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from BS, BK, NY, US says:
I am still skeptical because: 1) The majority of the route is on the low lying flood plain area; 2) The majority of the route will be on the street, taking away traffic and parking lanes; 3) The actual ridership numbers will be possibly not meeting the projected ridership numbers, which will make the NYC taxpayers will be footing the bill.
May 20, 2016, 10:04 am
Charles from Bklyn says:
Gentrification is not about race, as the issue is more about new and wealthier people moving into poorer neighborhoods.

In any event, yes. The tram is not for the lower classes of NYC. Let's just call it the pay for play express.
May 20, 2016, 10:19 am
MJ from Bay Rideg says:
why not a streetcar that goes between Bay Ridge and Staten Island.
May 20, 2016, 10:58 am
Huh wha? says:
What does this mean,

many of the tram’s subway “transfers” will actually be up to a quarter-mile away.

May 20, 2016, 11:21 am
Anna K says:
It makes sense... if there are more people, additional efficient public transportation is beneficial.
May 20, 2016, 11:24 am
Mario from Williamsburg says:
Should we stop paying for NYCH residents who want to hold the city hostage?

Who is the guest really?
May 20, 2016, 11:31 am
Trollerskates from Moving Target says:
Who cares if the city sinks billions of dollars down a black hole of corruption, as long as we screw drivers out of parking spots. Priorities, people.
May 20, 2016, 11:35 am
Pete from Windsor Terrace says:
Yuppies may seem dull, affected and stressed. They're also hard working, case in point: rush hour.
May 20, 2016, 11:45 am
Robert from Prospect Park says:
If the logistics are all in line, the arguments against this are nothing but a bunch of emotional blackmail.
May 20, 2016, 12:07 pm
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
Well one thing is certain, the trams should be as close as possible to subway lines.
May 20, 2016, 12:09 pm
Andrew from Bay Ridge says:
If someone has a problem with rising rents, don't hate on public transportation and bike lanes, get mad about rent regulations.
May 20, 2016, 12:18 pm
Marge from Springfield says:
We need a monorail!
May 20, 2016, 12:21 pm
Ralph from Red Hook says:
Actually, I think "rich, white yuppies" -- a gross stereotype -- would be the *least* likely people to ride this streetcar. If there are such people, they are wealthy enough to just use Uber or a cab. These people are busy and don't have the time to waste on such a s--l--o--w mode of transportation. It is *really* slow. It's not really an improvement over buses in terms of time -- and buses are not used to by this demographic much (nor do poorer "hipsters," if I can use another stereotype).

You know who this is for? Tourists! The same people who ride the streetcar in New Orleans and the cable car in San Francisco and the monorail in Seattle. I've done all three as a tourist, but the real people in those cities don't use them as mode of transportation all that much.

If you want to get from Red Hook to, say, Greenpoint, you're much better off getting to the G train on Smith-9th Street and taking it to Greenpoint Avenue. It's faster.

If you want to go from Williamsburg to Astoria, again, get to the G train at Metropolitan Avenue/Lorimer Street or Nassau Avenue or Broadway and make a couple of transfers and it is still quicker than this thing.

Rich yuppies don't do slow things. Likely these are very busy people, often with heavy-duty work and family obligations. So this argument is ridiculous.
May 20, 2016, 12:30 pm
Samuel from Fort Greene says:
Are the new developments helping pay for this?
May 20, 2016, 12:50 pm
Samuel from Fort Greene says:
In light of possible future flooding, monorail sounds not so absurd.
May 20, 2016, 12:54 pm
K. from ArKady says:
Monorail, of course. It's the industry standard for squandering money. If you're too afraid to go into the subway because of the "coloreds" maybe you shouldn't be living in Brooklyn or NYC in general.
May 20, 2016, 1:36 pm
Chantelle says:
K from Arkady- calling us coloreds is RACIST! You are a RACIST!
The term is "people of colors"! Why don't you learn it dummy?!
May 20, 2016, 3:49 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Good to see at least two of you brought up your precious parking! Oh lordy! What will you do without you precious free parking!
May 20, 2016, 3:58 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I honestly couldn't care less if this has to do with yuppies. I just don't see what significance a street car can do considering that NYC eliminating all grade level rails around the beginning of the postwar era after seeing how dangerous they were. Another thing is that many don't see this being any different from using the bus and there are some lines that almost run this route. At least with the bus, there doesn't need to be a special infrastructure for that. Just let this project die already as the Vision42 Rail for midtown Manhattan did especially in saying how unrealistic that was.
May 20, 2016, 5:28 pm
Steven says:
If only existing subway services were up to par.
May 20, 2016, 6:04 pm
Brooklyn Bob from Around says:
Electric rail transit is the way of the 21st century, fossil fuels like natural gas bus fuel are a huge detriment to our environment. Why does the MTA and the City pay 25% above market rate for "CNG" "CO2" belching bus fuel? Why does it cost $250 per hour per bus to operate a NYCT bus in NYC? I think the BQX is a fantastic idea. In addition to "transit oriented development", it will also spark sorely needed new housing opportunities all along its route. It will also go a long way towards helping the City reduce its overall Carbon Dioxide greenhouse gas emissions, as electric streetcars don't have tailpipes. I think the BQX will eventually serve as the "backbone" for future "east west" streetcar loops, springing from the BQX into the "upland areas" adjacent to its route, where middle class working people live. The BQX may even spark renewed interest in completing a half constructed subway and rail freight tunnel between Bay Ridge Brooklyn and St. George on Staten Island, that was begun back in 1922, as well as stimulate the RPA's "RX Plan", that can connect Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx by electric rail passenger service, via a little used existing rail freight line called "The New York Connecting Railroad"/Bay Ridge Branch of the LIRR.

Brooklyn Bob
May 20, 2016, 8:53 pm
Jake The Fake from Court Street Lawyer says:
Relax folks.

The new DiBlasio plan is to head to a country with no extradition. The "streetcar" plan will follow him.
May 21, 2016, 1:04 am
ricky from red hook says:
PLEASE .....without the lily white gentrifiers that this article complains about , there would be no new hot hoods.
reality is ....without white gentrification all hoods would be GHETTOS. deal with it ...truth hurts ? ...too bad
May 21, 2016, 3:54 am
Samir Kabir from downtown says:
Ghettos? You mean like kind Elvis sang about? Or the ones in Poland? How about where the Palestinians live? Where is the truth in ricky from red hook's comment? Economic progress is good, but not when it forces people out of their own neighborhoods.
May 21, 2016, 6:26 am
Kenneth from Greenpoint says:
When 2 people make 3 babies or more, they require to hog more space, which we are running out of.

With exceptions, gentrifiers tend to breed more responsibly, likely driven by financials and not necessarily appreciation of necessities such as water, air and land.
May 21, 2016, 11:58 am
Samir Kabir from Downtown says:
In my homeland women cannot take public transportation. Why are we angry about the white infidels when women will be riding with their hussy un-covered hair?!?
May 22, 2016, 5:58 am
Man from Brooklyn says:
Interesting....I didn't know only white people can be rich.
May 22, 2016, 12:47 pm
Me from Bay Ridge says:
Didn't you know that all white people are rich?
May 22, 2016, 1:32 pm
Lisa W from Westcheter says:
May 22, 2016, 8:14 pm
steph from clinton hill says:
this is for tourism, not for anyone who wants to get anywhere in an efficient way
May 23, 2016, 1:50 pm
any tranportation is good transportation from Brooklyn says:
In a city which we cannot move, that is growing ever more populated by the day, we not only need to improve and expand what we have, but we need to add viable alternatives. The BQX is just that, a new alternative we desperately need.

Too bad they allowed the old streetcar system to be destroyed and the corruption that clouded it making way for rubber tire wearing, fossil fuel consuming, global warming amplifing, carbon monoxide spewing buses - yuck!

And if we loose a few parking spaces along the way, to be able to eliminate a few thousand cars, it's a worth while trade off. And if we loose a few buses along the way, and the bus stops that go along with them, it's all the better.

Streetcars for a clean-sustainable Urban future.

Everyone will benefit, not just those that are smart enough to promote it.
June 1, 2016, 6:15 am
Topsy Turvy from The Zoo says:
Did anyone ever think some of this "pushback" against pure electric streetcars is coming from the CNG bus fuel industry? Are you aware that a private lobbyist firm promoting CNG bus fuel is inside a certain City agency since 1998, and that they dole out $500,000 a year in slush money?
June 1, 2016, 8:48 am

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