Can Streetcars Make a Comeback in the Bronx?

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Proposed map of a new streetcar system in The Bronx which would benefit many underserved areas of the borough
Proposed map of a new streetcar system in The Bronx which would benefit many underserved areas of the borough
Proposed map of a new streetcar system in The Bronx which would benefit many underserved areas of the borough
Proposed map of a new streetcar system in The Bronx which would benefit many underserved areas of the borough

A couple of months ago we sat down with Bob Diamond, Chairman of the Brooklyn Historical Railway Association, along with several members of BHRA and Bronxite Richard Garey of the West Bronx. For some time now, Richard and I had been discussing the poor transit options in the West Bronx and the vacuum left behind when the Third Avenue El was ripped, leaving a hole in Morrisania straight up to Fordham forcing millions to make do with buses and transfers leading to longer commutes.

When the Third Avenue El was dismantled, the Bronx had lost over 300,000 people during the burning years but its loss is probably being felt the greatest today now that the population is growing and we are very near our historic high of 1.45 million residents in 1950. Development is rampant in these areas with thousands of affordable housing units being constructed each year yet our transportation network has not kept up with the pace.

Our buses are more crowded than ever and slower, our subway lines have residents packed like sardines and sure the new SB express buses have been introduced in The Bronx and other boroughs but they are just but band-aids on a serious problem.

So the big question is, can the streetcar make a come back in our borough and across the city and make our lives better? After sitting down with the group and pouring over the data it certainly seems like it can, with the right amount of backing from city, state, and federally elected politicians.

Extensive research has been done by Bob Diamond and BHRA showing how cost effective the entire plan is and now, more than ever, there are federal funds to actually achieve these projects. ….

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