Thursday, 31 March 2016

New York mayor unveils plans for £1.7 billion tram system

The mayor of New York has unveiled plans for a £1.7 billion tram system as the city embraces streetcars for the first time since the Fifties.
Bill de Blasio said the Brooklyn Queens Connector would run for 16 miles and “change the lives” of 400,000 people in the boroughs.
Speaking at his third State of the City address, the mayor said the tram would generate £17 billion in revenue from extra business and tourism.
Mr de Blasio has not made transport a focus since taking office in 2014 but faces an election next year and is looking towards his legacy.
New York had a wide range of trams in the 19th century. But car manufacturers are said to have conspired to buy the lines and shut them down. By the Fifties they were all gone.
The new tram will travel at about 12mph, north to south between Astoria in Queens to Sunset Park in Brooklyn, separated from traffic by a barrier.
New York mayor Bill de Blasio
Journey times between Greenpoint and Dumbo in north and south Brooklyn would be cut to half an hour. If the city grants approval, work will start in 2019 and be completed in 2024.
Critics, however, said specialised buses and more cycle lanes are cheaper and just as effective.
Veronica Vanterpool, director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign said: “The glitzy and the flashy are inspirational, but often they are not practical.”
Recent tram projects have not always run smoothly. By the time it opened three years late in 2014, Edinburgh’s was double its budget and covered less than half the planned network.