News & Culture in Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Points Nearby
March 5, 2021
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News + Views

Streetcars for Columbia St?

By Lisa M. Collins

There’s all kinds of exciting news this week regarding the Columbia Street Waterfront District, which sometimes feels like the little orphan of South Brooklyn, and Red Hook. Monday, the city revealed proposals for greening the BQE trench (see our story, Goodbye BQE, Hello Greenery). And now comes news that the city is looking at building electric streetcars along Columbia Street in an effort to finally connect Red Hook to Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and downtown Brooklyn. Current B61 bus service is shoddy and inconsistent, as anyone who’s used it knows.

The city Department of Transportation is undertaking a feasibility study to look at the costs, potential ridership, impacts and benefits of a streetcar system. I went to a Community Board 6 (local government agency) meeting Thursday night during which city DOT officials discussed the study.  It sounded optimistic. For comparison, the city is looking at the trolley systems in Philadelphia, Seattle and Portland; each is a success.

The trolley system, if built, would likely connect riders to F train stops and downtown Brooklyn, and utilize Metro Cards and transfers, said the official who spoke at the meeting.

New York City DOT’s study should be done by late February.

Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez secured money for the study through a Federal Transit Administration grant (go Nydia! She also got the money for the BQE trench beautification study).

Here’s hoping these plans become reality.

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