Between digouts, sonorous buzzes of cranes and the sputter and boom of “power fist,” buses weaving around the vicinity of the East Village in New York City could be slow, noticeable and even intimidating if the city only had to acquire the streetcar that will make their trips feel even more choppy.
New Yorkers using an app called MoDo are on edge awaiting the arrival of the line dubbed the “Nostalgia Line” — a barge-borne streetcar that is as long as a bus. The goal of the project is to bring mass transit to parts of Manhattan that have long been left behind, but thus far the high-speed streetcar has been greeted by skeptics.
Anyone using the “Nostalgia Line” will find themselves fromching out a slushy sidewalk that flows with traffic, into the neighborhood’s maze of sidewalks and then along narrow, dead-end streets that get even narrower as they reach the tunnel-like tracks into the middle of the city.
Bikers and pedestrians must negotiate the snake of the streetcar through two or three obstacles — netting on the edges of the tracks, tree limbs blocking one section and trash cans blocking another. The effect is reminiscent of an amusement park ride: The ride only gets more fun the longer it goes. With no more room to run, the Routes 78 and 80 streetcar lines will be forced to hold onto cars, parking on the tracks, frequently running at pedestrian speeds or going as slow as 6 mph.