NYC DOT Poised to Nix Streetcar Plan in Brooklyn

An old New York streetcar at rest on the Red Hook waterfront. (Photo by nickherber / Flickr Creative Commons)

(New York, NY -- Jim O'Grady, WNYC) The New York City Department of Transportation says it won't support a proposed light rail line in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn because it's not worth the cost.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg promised to pilot a streetcar line along the Brooklyn or Queens waterfront during his 2009 re-election campaign. One possible location was a Red Hook line connecting the transit-starved neighborhood to subways in Downtown Brooklyn and nearby Carroll Gardens.

But a summary of the NYC DOT's study says the line would cost $176 million to build, and nearly $7 million a year to keep going. It also argues streetcars would attract only 12 percent more riders than a local bus route already carries. That's because the study assumes that with Red Hook car ownership rates barely breaking 20 percent, most people take mass transit already.

Mayoral spokesman Stu Loeser said other plans for light rail have been put on hold because of expected cuts in federal and state transportation aid.

Residents in favor of a streetcar line say it would be more durable and reliable than the bus. The department's findings come from a summary given to neighborhood groups. The full report is due out on Wednesday.

Read more on the report here.

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