Streetcars could make a comeback along Brooklyn-Queens waterfront

For more than 100 years, Brooklyn commuters got around using streetcars that ran along railways via a system that spanned from downtown to Coney Island. It was an efficient means of mass transit that connected communities but had vanished by the middle of the 20th century. 

Now a coalition of transit advocates, businesses and city officials are studying the possibility of bringing back the vaunted streetcar to connect the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts. 

Capital New York reported Friday that the group has commissioned HR&A Advisors to analyze the economic impact of a streetcar or light rail system connecting Sunset Park to Astoria, Queens. 

“It’s a big idea we’re definitely taking a look at,” City Hall spokesman Wiley Norvell told Capital New York. 

The group of supporters of the idea include heavyweights in the redesign of the city’s streets to be more commuter friendly — Sam “Gridlock” Schwartz and Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Paul Steely White — as well as business leaders of  waterfront communities. 

One of the goals of a new streetcar system would be to connect some of the newest technology centers that have sprouted along the waterfront, from Industry city in Sunset Park to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. 

Brooklyn’s old streetcar system lasted from 1854 to 1956.