Thursday, August 16, 2007

He Might Be Crazy -- But Wouldn't You Love to Take the Trolley in Brooklyn?

Brooklyn's authentic trolley aficionado Bob Diamond, discoverer of the Atlantic Avenue train tunnel (see McBrooklyn's photos and video of the awesome underground tour here) wants to get Brooklyn's trolleys running again through the famous tunnel under Atlantic Avenue, as shown below, from the waterfront to Boerum Place.

Mr. Diamond has suffered numerous setbacks. The trolley cars stacked up behind Fairway in Red Hook (photo, above) are left-overs from a previous trolley attempt of Diamond's that came just a little too early in Brooklyn's redevelopment.

The powers that be don't appear to be jumping on the concept of real, live trolleys (not those buses painted to look like trolleys) running a loop from, say, Jay Street/Borough Hall, along Atlantic to Brooklyn Bridge Park. According to a recent article in the Daily News, officials say shuttle buses to the park have worked just fine.

But there's something that doesn't want a dream to die. Okay, he might be crazy -- but wouldn't it be fun to take a real trolley in Brooklyn?

See Diamond's Brooklyn Historic Railway Association web site.

See Forgotten-NY Trolleys, Diamond in the Rough, for a tiny glimpse of the history behind Diamond's trolley adventures.

Photos of Atlantic Avenue tunnel and trolley cars by MK Metz

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would LOVE for this to happen.

To bad it's about as likely as Marty getting elected mayor.

BJ said...

Tourists would come to Brooklyn just to ride the trolley!

Anonymous said...

This is the kind of thing I moved to Brooklyn for. Don't kill the dream!

Anonymous said...

Um... Mr. Diamond's idea is that they will cut a hole into the tunnel from above ground to open it up for trolley access to the waterfront.

The tunnel ends at Hicks and Atlantic -- at the entrance to the BQE towards Manhattan and Queens. The trolley would then continue to go down atlantic past the other Entrance/Exit to/from the BQE, along already congested Columbia Street (where the city has plans to rezone and develop). In the other direction it would go down HEAVILY congested, and already barely moving, Atlantic Avenue.

If Mr. Diamond wants to play with trains, he should do it at home, with his little conductor hat on. The idea is irresponsible and thoughtless to the needs of the actual residents in this neighborhood, or to anyone who wants to drive in downtown brookyn.

Anonymous said...

Our over-dependence on cars should not prevent enlightened decisions on mass transit. The tunnel could be extended as one option. Another option is that the maniac drivers on Atlantic Avenue could slow down and hit fewer pedestrians.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why the bitter tone of poster #4? ("If Mr. Diamond wants to play with trains, he should do it at home, with his little conductor hat on.") The point could be made without name-calling. Makes me suspect the poster's motives, and pay less attention to his/her point.

Anonymous said...

No, honestly, I wouldn't want to take the trolley in Brooklyn. I love the public transportation options that already exist in Downtown Brooklyn, and I am glad I don't have (and don't need) a car. But I am also glad that we don't have a trolley, or anything else that would get in the way of -- as a previous poster put it -- "HEAVILY congested, and already barely moving, Atlantic Avenue." I agree that this plan is irresponsible and thoughtless, as it doesn't go to the needs of people who actually live and work here every day.

bj said...

Trolleys take up no more room than buses, and they would help de-congest "already congested Columbia Street" because each one would take the place of several dozen cars.

Anonymous said...

Trolleys can carry more people than buses -- 15,630 per hour vs. 11,130 -- and are easier on motorists than buses because they don't weave in and out. They are non-polluting and are not dependent on oil. They are quieter than buses.
Rights-of-way for trolleys are narrower than for buses. This saves valuable space in cities with high population densities. Unlike buses, trolleys tend to be popular with a wider spectrum of the public, including better-off people who often shun buses.
Sources:
http://www.brooklynrail.net/
images/historic_brooklyn/
L.I.StarJournal_Feb.13.1946.jpg
Also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tram

Anonymous said...

Trolleys would take just too much thinking and planning. And how would a developer make money from them? Naw, just leave the traffic mess alone.