New York has been looking to Toronto for transit-related advice lately. In its current subway initiatives, it has taken inspiration from Toronto's space-saving subway car design. Now, it's asking Toronto for advice on how to build an efficient streetcar system.
The New York Times reports that the city is planning to bring the streetcar back with a new $2.5-billion project that connect Brooklyn to Queens via a continuous waterfront route. It has even hired Adam Giambrone, the former chairman of the TTC, to "run the project and sell the concept to residents along the line." Giambrone has gained valuable streetcar expertise from his former projects in other cities like Montreal and Milwaukee.
Two main pieces of advice that Toronto has offered New York in regards to streetcar system development include 1) building lanes that are reserved just for streetcars to separate them from car traffic and 2) informing citizens of the implications the new streetcar line will have on the city's infrastructure (since it is expected that there will be some outrage over the loss of street space). New York officials have taken these advices to heart, and have even stated they would like to see more than 70% of the proposed streetcar line have its own lane.
While it's somewhat flattering that a megacity like New York would turn to Toronto for advice, several people are convinced that Toronto is not the best city to offer guidance on matters regarding transit and public transportation:
Others may argue, however, that Toronto could still have useful insights to offer. If there's any city that has been through the worst of the worst transit woes, it's Toronto; so maybe New York can benefit from Toronto's "mistakes". Rather than encouraging imitation, Toronto could advise New York on, well, what not to do.
Several American cities are beginning to turn to streetcars, which are deemed to be more environmentally friendly than other methods of transportation. Still, some Torontonians, including the late Rob Ford, are convinced that removal of the streetcar system entirely will be good for the city.
You can read the New York Times on this subject here.
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