New streetcar plan reignites old Red Hook controversy
A proposal for a streetcar line linking waterfront areas in Brooklyn and Queens from Sunset Park to Astoria resembles, in part, a familiar plan by an outspoken Brooklyn rail advocate known for his tenacity.
New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman, in his column on April 21, praised city planner Alexander Garvin’s proposal for a “desire line.” The line would run along the waterfront from Sunset Park to Red Hook, up Columbia Street and east to the Downtown area, then north to DUMBO. Then it would swing over to the Navy Yard and proceed north across Newtown Creek all the way to the Triboro Bridge. The obvious reference is to Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
The waterfront neighborhoods, says Kimmelman, are poorly served by rapid transit, “even as millennials are colonizing Astoria, working in Red Hook, then going out in Williamsburg and Bushwick.”
Both Kimmelman and Garvin distinguish between “streetcars,” whose tracks share the street with cars, and “light rail vehicles,” which run on their own right of way (i.e., Boston’s Commonwealth Avenue trolley).