Downtown residents to streetcar honchos: We have enough transit already, thanks

And stay out: An early rendering shows the streetcar Downtown on Jay Street, although that isn't actually on the agenda anymore.
Brooklyn Paper
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They’re not on board.

Downtown-area residents neither want nor need Mayor DeBlasio’s streetcar running along their already transit-rich roads, they told city officials at a Community Board 2 Transportation Committee meeting on Tuesday night, slamming the entire Sunset Park-to-Queens trolley as a waste of $2.5 billion that could go much further on less-flashy transit in far needier areas.

“I think it’s an outrageous waste of money and it should be going to other modes of transporta­tion,” said committee member Bill Harris.

Streetcar honchos revealed potential routes for the Brooklyn-Queens Connector earlier this month, and are now visiting community boards for feedback.

In Community Board 2’s district, they want to direct it out of Cobble Hill Downtown-bound along Atlantic Avenue, then onto Court Street. From there, it will either run through Downtown along Willoughby or Tillary streets, or continue along Cadman Plaza East to Dumbo, where it will run along Front and York streets to Gold Street.

But locals said directing the streetcar away from the river and into a neighborhood that’s already lousy with subway and bus stops defeated DeBlasio’s stated purpose of the project, which is to connect transit-starved waterfront neighborhoods and job hubs.

“When you’re getting to subway connections, you’re going away from the waterfront,” said committee member Jon Quinn. “Aren’t you losing the whole concept, which is to serve the underserved communities?”

The streetcar spokespeople countered that they’d lose a large swathe of travelers by only sticking to along the shoreline. Downtown routes will also connect people to more subway stops — something many residents demanded during previous meetings — said project chief Adam Giambrone.

Several residents said they’d rather see the trolley run along Furman Street by Brooklyn Bridge Park, but a Department of Transportation honcho told the community earlier this month that he ordered the streetcar builders to stay away from the stretch, because would interfere with the long-awaited Brooklyn-Queens Expressway reconstruction project.

Once the officials finalize the Brooklyn-Queens Connector route, they will bring it back to affected community boards for a vote, before it goes before Council.

Harris said he doubted it will get past that stage, but advised his neighbors to prepare to fight it anyway.

“I can’t imagine that it’s going to pass, but in any event we have to prepare for the worst,” he said. “It’s very serious, I think we all have to stand up against it.”

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

Dara from Prospect Heights says:
If that were true, Mr. Trump supporter who punched a lady in Boerum Hill would not have driven away in a car.
Nov. 17, 2016, 11:05 am
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
Hell no! We need more trains and transit between Astoria to Sunset Park!
Nov. 17, 2016, 12:12 pm
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from BS, BK, NY, US says:
Let's be realistic: Why not NYC invest $2.5B on improving our own transportation infrastructure that we already have, from roads and bridges, to subways and buses, and the like, 50/50? Never mind, City Hall just focus on their own bureaucratic agenda on a taxpayers dime.
Nov. 17, 2016, 12:45 pm
Hiroko from Bay Ridge says:
Faster than the bus, slower than the subway?
Nov. 17, 2016, 2:16 pm
José from Williamsburg says:
Nov. 17, 2016, 2:38 pm
Jared from Downtown Brooklyn says:
I don't know who were the speakers at the CB2 meeting, but their arguments against the light-rail plan do not resonate with me or most people I know in Downtown Brooklyn. I'm a huge advocate for the BXQ. The G-train is not a great option for traveling between Brooklyn and Queens for the waterfront neighborhoods, and our public housing is severely underserved by transit of any kind. We need light rail to spur new uses, denser uses and higher quality of for all residents along the waterfront. Let's get our people moving!
Nov. 17, 2016, 5:51 pm
William Harris from Boerum Hill says:
Jared, don't speak for "most people" before you
have taken a survey. That's considered bad form
where I come from. Ask yourself how many of
the 30 people at the BQX meeting spoke up in
favor of this disaster. If you and I were at the
same meeting, maybe I should have my hearing
checked. Just saying.
Nov. 17, 2016, 7:12 pm
steve from downtown says:
DT Bk is density rich with jobs and businesses. It would be a Great Idea to Connect the residential and shopping/commercial areas of DT with Queens by this Light Rail. I have asked the 20 business owners along my strip along Atlantic Ave, and they ALL, every one, agrees with me. BUILD TO DT Bk, and they will come !
Nov. 17, 2016, 7:57 pm
Joe from Fort Greene says:
For the information of those commenters who didn't attend the meeting, DOT is talking about running the BQX on Ashland to Willoughby, thence to Court St and Atlantic, then turning on Hicks or Columbia going South through Cobble Hill. This would make deliveries almost impossible for Atlantic Ave businesses (the Sahadis stated it would put them out of business). it would also displace current bus routes, putting those on adjacent streets ill equipped to accommodate them. The width of the installation is 24' for two ways, and requires excavation to pour concrete pads that would take years to accomplish and rival the disruption of the Second Ave subway. It was first proposed by the Friends of the BQX, a group composed primarily of developers whose property values along the route would benefit. Local businesses would not; their buildings would be snapped up and turned into more condos. Sidewalks would be narrowed, curb corners would be cut. People working at the businesses along the route that would go out of business would lose their jobs. This is just a bait and switch; it has nothing to do with providing transportation for underserved communities, as it was originally billed. That was just a stalking horse. Why should we taxpayers foot the bill (it's quaintly called "capturing the increased value of properties along the route," meaning jacking up property taxes - thus displacing more residents and businesses as owners pass the costs along in the form of increased rent) for yet another DeBlasio gift to his developer friends? Vote for a mayor who will stop wasting our money on giveaways to his donors.
Nov. 17, 2016, 9:10 pm
FortGreenero from Fort Greene says:
C'mon, why all the hate toward the streetcar. I live on the fort Greene/Clinton hill border and transportation is abismal. We desperately need more transportation options. Very selfish only to think of yourselves. NYC's population is growing at such a fast pace that we can no longer hold off on transportation expansion. We are behind as it is.
Nov. 18, 2016, 10:57 am
Jared from Downtown Brooklyn says:
Bill Harris, you have an email from me in your inbox. However, I could turn the question back to you. Did you take a survey?
Nov. 18, 2016, 11:22 am
ujh from Downtown Brooklyn says:
Lauren Gill's article reflects accurately what happened at the CB2 transportation committee meeting. Only those who've looked below the surface of the recently issued report and have thought through the many implications of this project should comment.

Consider possible consequences (to name a few): Impediment of traffic flow when the streetcar has priority at intersections; the radius needed for 90-degree turns; loss of on-street parking, narrower sidewalks, problems for merchant deliveries, street closings. As small business fold, the properties are bought up by developers and followed by rezoning to allow high-rise, large capacity residential buildings where no historic preservation exists.

The purported need for this streetcar line (50,000 daily riders (!) was derived from census data, not live surveys of people who live along the proposed route and have less than a direct public transport at their disposal to and from work. One wonders what type of questions the hundreds of people who attended seven earlier "vision" meetings responded to that result in 63% to 79% project approval, as was reported by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

All the ills which this streetcar line is to cure can be cured by more frequent buses for a lot less money. If transit speed is to be improved, with stops spaced 1/4 to 1/2 mile, eliminate bus stops every other block. Furthermore, the projected 2.5 billion dollar price tag will more likely end up costing double or triple this amount. Have you ever encountered a public works project that has come in on time and on budget?
Nov. 18, 2016, 1:05 pm
bklyn84 from Downtown Brooklyn says:
@ujh Who put you in charge of deciding what opinions count???

Stop trying to sound informed— the survey you're referring to wasn't even a part of the seven earlier "vision" sessions. I was at the downtown session last summer and you clearly weren't or you would have known that!

You're certainly entitled to your are the rest of us!
Nov. 18, 2016, 4:34 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Most of those who oppose this idea mainly oppose it because they don't see how different it will be from taking the bus. Meanwhile, others already find many of the streets to be packed with vehicular traffic constantly and this is without the tracks being built. In a densely populated city such as NYC, it's a bad idea to have grade level rails and there is a reason why so many of those tracks were removed in the first two decades of the postwar era, which was for either being much slower than newer forms of public transportation or just being seen as a danger for pedestrians that got hit by them every now and then. Keep in mind why the Vision42 light rail wasn't built and that was mainly due to such high traffic volumes in that area, plus much of 42nd Street already had a subway underneath it for the majority of its route. Overall, if it's slower than the buses, then it does feel like a boondoggle.
Nov. 18, 2016, 5:01 pm
Jim11201 from Cobble Hill says:
DeBlasio met with Trump recently. Trump wants to invest in infrastructure, and DeBlasio wants this streetcar as a gift to his developer friends at taxpayer expense. Anyone else see a potential connection with Jared Kushner, who is both Trump's son in law and senior advisor, as well as a major RE developer in downtown Brooklyn? Inquiring minds want to know.
Nov. 18, 2016, 7:44 pm
Sid from Boerum hill says:
I was a recived a recent call surveying transit issues in nyc. It was clearly slanted to bikes and the bqx. They asked about increase enforcement against cars but nothing against anyone else. A recent report indicated in Europe enforcement against all traffic violator is intense and even handed against all the roads users. In nyc traffic red light cameras has been increased two or three fold. Speed cameras have been added. I saw three pull overs of cars by the pd on my wat to jfk on Atlantic avenue-all targeting cabs or car services and amother cop car stationed to pull over others. None of which I oppose. I just want it to be even handed. The out cry from the biking community when the police cracked down on bikes going through red lights was palpable. Yes I know the biker community doesn't believe going thru red lights is dangerous...and I support the advance green for bikers as long as they remember to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalks. I have issues with the limitations on speed cameras too
Nov. 19, 2016, 5:35 pm

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