City eyes putting transit dinosaurs back on track in Red Hook, Brooklyn

Red Hook is ready to move back into the 19th Century: City officials are looking into bringing back the streetcar to the Brooklyn neighborhood. “We’re looking back to the future with our transportation network,” DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said yesterday. Using a federal transportation grant, the department will conduct a five-month study to determine if the old trolley car is the best option for reconnecting the long-isolated neighborhood to the rest of the city. Residents – who rely on a single bus line to connect them to the subway system – say the addition couldn’t come soon enough. “It’s an absolutely positive idea,” said Shayla Sweatt, a 32-year-old events planner. “It’s up-and-coming, and this could really open it up.” Trolley lines were once so common in New York that the death-defying act of getting out of their way gave the Brooklyn Dodgers their name. But competition from faster-moving subways and cars drove the streetcar out of New York for good in 1957. Since then, the trolley has been relegated to the realm of transit buffs – although they have made a resurgence in other other cities in recent years. As part of his reelection campaign last year, Mayor Bloomberg vowed to improve transportation service to the city’s underserved neighborhoods by any means necessary. Red Hook was effectively cut off from the rest of Brooklyn by the construction of the BQE in the 1950s, sending the neighborhood spiraling into poverty and urban decay. It has seen a revival in recent years… [Read full story]

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