links about us archives search home
SustainabiliTankSustainabilitank menu graphic
SustainabiliTank

 
 
Follow us on Twitter

 

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 21st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Fact:  The New York City Transportation was a give away to General Motors that designed the Highway system through their underground partisan Mr. Robert Moses – who did not even have a driver’s license.

 

 

Architecture Critic’s Notebook – A Suggestion For A People Friendly Infrastructure:

Brooklyn to Queens, but Not by Subway!

Imagining a Streetcar Line Along the Waterfront.


By MICHAEL KIMMELMAN – – The New York Times – –  April 20, 2014.

 

The vision of a streetcar route between Red Hook and Astoria would provide much-needed transit to areas where millennials and thousands of less affluent New Yorkers live.

Desire lines, says architecture critic Michael Kimmelman, are marked by economic development and evolving travel patterns. He plots today’s desire line along the waterfronts of Brooklyn and Queens.

There’s a wonderful term for the dirt trails that people leave behind in parks: desire lines.

Cities also have desire lines, marked by economic development and evolving patterns of travel. In New York, Manhattan was once the destination for nearly all such paths, expressed by subway tracks that linked Midtown with what Manhattanites liked to call the outer boroughs.

But there is a new desire line, which avoids Manhattan altogether.

It hugs the waterfronts of Brooklyn and Queens, stretching from Sunset Park past the piers of Red Hook, to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, through Greenpoint and across Newtown Creek, which separates the two boroughs, running all the way up to the Triborough Bridge in Astoria.

The desire line is now poorly served by public transit, even as millennials are colonizing Astoria, working in Red Hook, then going out in Williamsburg and Bushwick — or working at the Navy Yard, visiting friends in Long Island City and sleeping in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

They have helped drive housing developments approved or built along the Brooklyn waterfront, like the one by Two Trees at the former Domino Sugar Refinery. But this corridor isn’t only for millennials. It’s also home to thousands of less affluent New Yorkers struggling to get to jobs and join the work force.

So here’s an idea: bring back the streetcar.

Some of this route is served — barely — by subway lines like the G, the city’s sorriest little railroad.
In Astoria, stations for the N and Q are nearly a full mile or more from the East River, meaning a vast swath of that neighborhood is virtually disconnected from the subway system. It’s an area ripe for growth — for new housing, start-ups and other small businesses and industries — all the more so with the coming of the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island, just across the river and linked to Queens via the F. One can imagine another Silicon Alley spanning Cornell, Astoria, Williamsburg and Sunset Park.

Right now, it’s easier by subway to get from Long Island City to Midtown, or from Downtown Brooklyn to Wall Street, than it is to get from housing projects in Fort Greene or Long Island City to jobs in Williamsburg, or from much of Red Hook to — well, almost anywhere.

 

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a comment for this article

###