RED HOOK — The city's $2.5 billion streetcar system that would traverse waterfront neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens may connect Red Hook to F/G subway stations, according to plans unveiled this week.
The Brooklyn-Queens Connector, known as the BQX, could offer a link to Smith-9th Street's subway station off Mill Street as well as another connection to the Fourth Avenue-9th Street stop, according to a 25-page report from the Department of Transportation and Economic Development Corporation released earlier this week.
In "visioning sessions" held throughout the city this year, many Red Hook locals said connections to existing public transit would be crucial to the success of the BQX in the neighborhood.
Based on community feedback, the city developed the possible route that stretches from Astoria to Sunset Park through neighborhoods such as Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Fort Greene, Downtown Brooklyn and Red Hook.
In Red Hook, Van Brunt Street and Richards Street are highlighted as possible paths for the BQX route. The city notes challenges and benefits of their use in the report — that there would be "longer running time, but larger geographic catchment."
From there, the streetcar could head down Mill Street and offer a connection to Smith-9th Street's F/G station just one block away. Under this option, the city is considering a 10th Street bridge for the route to cross the Gowanus Canal and provide access to the F/G/R subway stop Fourth Avenue and 9th Street, according to the report.
An alternative for crossing the Gowanus would be a 19th Street bridge, the report says. While that would offer a quicker connection to Sunset Park and a possible bike and pedestrian path, it eliminates the connection to F/G stations. Through this option, the route appears to likely wind through Bay Street, Clinton Street and Bryant Street before crossing the canal.
"There's still a number of questions and issues that I think need to be raised," said longtime resident John McGettrick, listing the impact to parking on Van Brunt Street, changes to truck delivery routes and possibly turning the commercial street into a one-way route.
There was also the question of much-needed repairs to the neighborhood’s ageing infrastructure, including sewer systems, utility and gas lines.
"Hopefully we can get some positive answers," he said.
After crossing the Gowanus Canal, the streetcar system would likely travel down Third Avenue into Sunset Park, according to the report. Though the street is wide, its location under the Gowanus Expressway may pose a challenge in construction the transit line.
“Looking at possible routes should not distract us from understanding a streetcar’s full impact on local communities," City Councilman Carlos Menchaca said in a statement Thursday.
"The priorities of my constituents in Sunset Park and Red Hook are guiding my determinations about this project. Their considerations center on MTA fare integration, impacts on land values and taxes, potential displacement of businesses, and factors contributing to gentrification in residential areas.”