Last year we got really excited when the city's Department of Transportation set aside some cash and contracted transportation consultants to look into a plan to install streetcars in Red Hook to connect the isolated 'hood to the Smith-9th Street subway station and Downtown Brooklyn. But according to a DOT report released last week (PDF here) the project isn't viable.
Among other things, the report presented to the Community Advisory Committee on April 14 by the DOT and consultants from URS found that to set up the streetcar system going from Smith-9th Street along Centre Street, Beard Street, Van Brunt Street, Columbia Street, Atlantic Avenue then along Boerum Place to Borough Hall, would cost roughly $176 million. On top of that, the annual maintenance and operating costs would run between $6.2 and $7.2 million.
Meanwhile, the projected benefits amount to a daily increase of 1,822 transit riders, against Red Hook's current transit-riding population of 14,809, so a 12.3 percent increase in ridership—a conservative estimate apparently not sufficient to justify installing a streetcar. Other, more concrete problems with the idea have to do with streetcar turning radii, the widening of streets and reshaping of sidewalks, though it all begins to sound like the excuses given for not burying the BQE—especially when the lame alternative offered by the DOT is to redesign the intersection of Mill Street and Hamilton Avenue. More of the same for Brooklyn's notoriously transit-strapped nabe.