The New York City Department of Transportation has announced the start of a five-month study to determine the feasibility of using streetcars to connect the growing neighborhood of Red Hook which currently only has one local bus line with Downtown Brooklyn and its surrounding areas. The study is part of the DOT’s effort to find long term, sustainable solutions to the city’s transportation needs and is part of Mayor Bloomberg’s 2009 campaign plan to improve mass transit.

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The study is being funded through a Federal Transit Administration grant secured by United States Representative Nydia M. Vel�zquez and is being lead by transportation consultant URS. As a leader in streetcar planning and developing, URS will help report on such existing conditions as the area’s needs, demographics, engineering advantages, potential costs, construction issues and effects of economic development. The study will also compare streetcar networks in other North America urban areas and will result in frequent community meetings with the DOT, elected officials, local businesses and other groups to discuss the study’s findings.

“Once ubiquitous in New York City’s streetscape, streetcars remain part of the transportation mix in cities from Toronto to Melbourne, and we need to consider all options to improve transit access in underserved neighborhoods like Red Hook,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

The study is set to be completed by early next year.