Mayor Bill de Blasio laid out plans last week for an extensive 16-mile long streetcar line from Queens to Brooklyn, with one stop being near NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering.
For years, New York City’s transportation network has assumed that people needed to get into Manhattan for work during the day and back to another borough at night. However, as neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens have expanded in size and prominence, public transportation has been slow to accommodate. Today, only the G line operates exclusively in Brooklyn and Queens.
Moreover, damage done to subway tunnels by Hurricane Sandy has exacerbated the issue. The Brooklyn-to-Manhattan L train may be shut down for years because of tunnel corrosion brought on by saltwater flooding.
The Brooklyn Queens Connector streetcar attempts to remedy the situation. Running along the East River from Astoria to Sunset Park, the streetcar would provide above-ground service to commuters. The line would feature a Downtown Brooklyn station on the Tandon campus.
At $2.5 billion, it is the most expensive transportation plan put forward by the de Blasio administration thus far. Yet the administration believes that higher property tax revenues along the streetcar’s path could eventually pay for the project.
Either way, current Tandon students are keen to the streetcar idea. According to Tandon freshman Will Nodvik, the streetcar will allow engineering students to venture off campus more easily.
“Since there is no easy subway from the Tandon campus to other parts of Brooklyn, I think it would give students more opportunities to explore the rest of the borough,” Nodvik said.
Tandon freshman Cesar Ponce agreed, and further suggested that the streetcar line could make life easier on commuters.
“I definitely think it is necessary, and could really decrease travel time for commuters from Williamsburg and Astoria,” Ponce said. “While the area around Tandon has adequate access to public transportation, the streetcar would be very useful to students.”
However, no students at Tandon will be riding the streetcar anytime soon. Should the project commence, construction is not slated to begin until 2019 and service will open around 2024.
At $2.5 billion, it is vastly more expensive than expanded bus transportation, which the areas have historically relied on. However, city officials claim it would be significantly less costly than a new subway line.
Current plans for the streetcar’s route do not show many link ups with existing subway lines. Because of this, commuting CAS freshman Ariel Okhtenberg suggests the plan may not be an ideal solution.
“Brooklyn and Queens need more north to south transportation,” Okhtenberg said. “That being said, though, the streetcar might not end up being very helpful for Greenwich Village commuters if they have to ride it for awhile before just getting on a different subway into Manhattan.”
Below is a map which shows the planned streetcar route. The data points on the map are a rough estimate of the streetcar stops based on the map found here, and may not accurately reflect the future proposed streetcar line. The NYU Tandon stop is highlighted in purple.
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