If New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has his way, 16 miles along the east side of the East River will have a streetcar line linking Queens and Brooklyn.  The proposed line, dubbed the "Brooklyn-Queens Connector," would cost an estimated $2.5 billion, and would extend from Astoria in Queens to Sunset Park in Brooklyn, providing transit connectivity to a rapidly-growing area not well served by the city's subway system, built many decades ago.  The Mayor was set to propose the new line in his State of the City speech, scheduled for February 4, according to reporting by Michael M. Grynbaum in the New York Times (Feb. 4). The proposal would add the city to an increasing list of cities that have embraced surface rail transit systems, including Newark and the Hudson County waterfront in nearby New Jersey, but previous attempts to build streetcar systems in New York City, notably in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and along 42 Street in Manhattan, have not moved forward. The proposal is a departure from the Mayor's previous stance on transportation, not seen as mass-transit oriented. The plan can expect spirited discussion in neighborhoods it will traverse, and support from real estate developers along the line.

A Times editorial (Feb. 5) provided a mixed review of the plan, wondering if better bus service might not be a cheaper solution, and concluding that implementing the plan "will have to survive the inevitable criticism of urbanites who think they know better ways than a trolley car to get around New York."

Read the complete story here.