A streetcar named quagmire? The Staten Island Economic Development Corporation is calling foul after Mayor de Blasio announced a $2.5B investment for a streetcar system connecting Queens and Brooklyn (BQX). As reported by DNAinfo, frustrated supporters of the West Shore Light Rail, which would link Staten Island to Manhattan and connect to New Jersey light rail lines, are pressing the mayor to reconsider the project, which was initially proposed in 2004.
According to the organization, the light rail would connect Staten Island with Hudson County, New Jersey, Manhattan and potentially Newark-Penn Station and Secaucus Junction. A 2009 study estimated that the light rail would cost around $1.9 billion to build and host a daily ridership of 13,000 or 26,000 trips.
After the news of the Brooklyn streetcar project was announced, the SIEDC sent a letter to the mayor requesting the $5 million needed for an Alternatives Analysis (AA) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the development of a mass transit project along the West Shore Expressway.
“We firmly believe government should be in the business of investing in transportation infrastructure and providing inexpensive, efficient mass transit with priorities going to communities that have experienced strong growth and lack such infrastructure,” the officials wrote.
“That is why it’s so puzzling that your plans for ‘transportation equity’ have left out the borough with the fastest population growth in the previous decade and the fewest public transportation options.”
According to the mayor’s office, the West Shore Light Rail line “has plenty of challenges and does not have many of the advantages that would make light rail work in the city.” Of course, the SIEDC argues that the new light rail system would not only serve the entire New York City community, but would also reduce the number of cars on the road.
Images via SIEDC