There’s been a debate happening re: how viable that Brooklyn-Queens Connector streetcar is. A commissioned study seems to say it’s pretty viable.
One reader responded to a recent post on the problems involved in building a bridge over Newtown Creek, suggesting that the article was too negative toward the project and that no infrastructure would ever be built if people only saw the inherent flaws — certainly a valid viewpoint.
However, before we begin a new multi-billion dollar project, we need to evaluate the time, expense and displacement it will create and decide if those billions of dollars might be better spent on subways or other existing forms of mass transportation. The city says that the streetcar will be ready in 2024, but critics feel this is a wildly optimistic timeframe.
John Orcutt, a streetcar critic and spokesman for Transit Center, a non-profit public transportation advocate group, stated, “The biggest concern is these kinds of transit projects haven’t performed well and have been difficult to implement.”
Washington D.C experienced years of delay and large cost overruns on a much smaller streetcar line, and the New York plan is far bigger than what any other American cities have recently built. The de Blasio administration envisions 30 stops over a 16-mile route and 60 streetcar vehicles. The very scope of the project almost ensures many more years of delay than Washington’s tiny system.
Another issue that many have with the streetcar is that in a city already short on parking, the rail line would eliminate hundreds of parking spots, so that drivers all along the route would be vehement enemies. It is hard to imagine City Council members backing a plan that would draw the ire of their driving constituents, especially if they never take the streetcar line.
It is still not clear if the streetcar would be woven into the subway system or if it would be an independent system. There is also the huge question of whether the system would honor MetroCards. It is hard to imagine that many riders who already pay a lot for public transportation would shell out even more money for the tram if the streetcar fare costs extra. A limited ridership would mean that the billion-dollar cost of the streetcar cannot be justified.
There is one other problem with bridges: bureaucracy. Besides the time and expense of constructing a bridge, building spans today mandates conducting long and costly environmental impact studies that could take years and push back the 2024 date even further into the future. Let’s not even begin to contemplate the delays legal challenges to the light rail line would create.
Perhaps the more than $2 billion earmarked for the trolley could be better spent on a renovation of the inadequate G line. Certainly improvements to the G would have a greater impact on the local transportation situation in the near future. Clearly, the city needs to explain how the plan for the streetcar is more positive for Greenpoint than a subway overhaul.
We in Greenpoint know better than to swim in the toxic, bacteria-laden Newtown Creek. We might soon be exposed to the contents of the creek regardless through a proposed aeration plant that would go in the Dutch Kills area of the creek.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is accepting public comment on the matter through Monday, April 4, and the Newton Creek Alliance drafted a letter in strong opposition (PDF) to the current plan.
The process of aeration increases the water’s oxygen content levels to support marine plants and fish, which were depleted after a century’s worth of industrial pollution and wastewater overflow. The air bubbles travel from installed pipes at the bottom of the creek, releasing oxygen bubbles — but the air doesn’t stop there.
A 2012 study by researchers at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory found that the air bubbles transfer bacteria to the air near English Kills, an especially contaminated mile-long area of the creek in Bushwick, Brooklyn. A pilot aeration system was launched at English Kills in 2009. Continue reading
If you walk along Greenpoint Avenue toward Queens, you will eventually approach North Henry Street, which appears to be a private road for the Wastewater Treatment Plant. A little-known fact is that the street is open to the public and leads to a city-owned Newtown Creek access point.
This access point — and the plans to revitalize once-thriving marshlands — were discussed last week at Sunview Luncheonette in Greenpoint. Willis Elkins, program manager at the Newtown Creek Alliance, presented his team’s “18 months of historic analysis” and forward-looking vision for the decrepit shoreline. While the plans are still in their early stages, NCA’s goal is to reintroduce an ecosystem that can also provide natural protection against rising waters. Continue reading
Recent city investigations have revealed new information about two major health concerns for Greenpoint residents: details on the contaminants—and the plans for clean-up—in one of the nation’s most polluted waterways, Newtown Creek; and the locations of and possible health problems associated with Monsanto’s potentially cancer-causing Roundup, which can be found in many of Greenpoint’s green spaces.
When plans were announced by the de Blasio administration for a light rail system running from Astoria to Red Hook, many of us Greenpointers wondered about an important, but perhaps overlooked detail: How do you get your trolley line over Newtown Creek?
For years, Newtown Creek isolated Greenpoint from Queens. It wasn’t until 1855 that Neziah Bliss built a bridge that linked the two areas, but that was when the area around the bridge consisted of farmland. A bridge today would have many more hurdles to clear. Continue reading
Is it the Streetcar Named Desire for the people of New York, or is de Blasio’s proposed streetcar linking Brooklyn and Queens a developer’s fantasy in the making? In either case, here’s what we know so far.
We know slightly more about the L Train Shutdown than we did last week. Brace yourselves, because it seems as though “1 year vs. 3 years” was a generous estimate.
It only took a year, but the reports from the CitiStorage fire investigation have been wrested into public view by The Brooklyn Paper. The fire was allegedly sparked by a light fixture, subdued, and then reignited. Kind of weird that department reps maintained their line that the investigation was ongoing, even though investigators signed off on the report on Jan. 8. Continue reading
The treasure that is Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop is not a secret to anyone who’s lived in Greenpoint for more than two months, but it was recently given the New York Times treatment. Donuts! Must be a Brooklyn thing. Especially when they’re leafed in 24-karat gold.
You’ve seen the gingerbread house on Humboldt Street — now meet the man behind the candy cane trim.
The votes are in and the funds are allocated. Here’s the next batch of projects that will be funded by the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund (also known as ExxonMobil hush money). Here’s a closer look at one of them: the Greenpoint Monitor Museum, which celebrates the history of a Civil War ship built and launched from West Street in 1862. Continue reading
The Newtown Creek Superfund Community Advisory Group (CAG) will be having their quarterly meeting tonight, December 16th from 6:30-8:30pm at McCarren Play Center Community Room (776 Lorimer St.). The existing agenda is set to discuss three main topics: ecological, human health, background data summary, with a Q&A to follow. Continue reading