Transit advocates, developers want to bring old-timey streetcars to Brooklyn waterfront

red hook trolley cars
Maybe time to pull these off the scrap heap. via The Brooklyn Historic Railway Association

Time was, in the old Brooklyn, the really old Brooklyn, pedestrians didn’t just live in fear of being run down by horses or those newfangled electric horses that traitorous Hitler-lover and anti-Semite Henry Ford popularized. They also tried not getting run over by streetcar trolleys (this “trolley dodging” is where the beloved Brooklyn Dodgers got their name) that existed to move people around the borough.

As you know, we’ve got horses back on the street, so it makes plenty of sense to us that a coalition of transit advocates and developers now want to bring back our old-timey streetcars in order to bring more transportation options to the Brooklyn waterfront. After that? Maybe adding some pre-movie newsreels about our boys overseas and their brave fight against the hated Kaiser Wilhelm!

The news of the throwback transportation advocacy comes from Capital, who reports that executives from Two Trees and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Transportation Alternatives’ Paul Steely White, congestion pricing guru “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz and others are funding a study that would look at the feasibility of either a streetcar route or a lightrail running from Sunset Park to Astoria. This isn’t the first time this has happened, if you’ll remember the Kickstarter for a study advocating a Downtown to Red Hook streetcar, but what’s nice about this is that you don’t have to pony up for it.

The idea is to bring a mass transit link to neighborhoods like Sunset Park, Red Hook, DUMBO and the western edge of Williamsburg without embarking on the process of building more subways. Also to cut the MTA out of the planning process, which Tom Wright of the Regional Planning Association explicitly said was a good thing, telling Capital “One of the attractive alternatives is this wouldn’t necessarily be run and operated by the M.T.A.” Would the city go for it? A spokesman for City Hall suggested they wouldn’t laugh the proposal out of the room, but then they’d probably say that about a mass transit plan involving zeppelins if it means Mayor Tall doesn’t have to deal with Andrew Cuomo to get it done.

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