Eyes on the Street: Union Street Trolley Tracks Exposed!

Photo: Susan Kille

Construction is moving ahead on one of the summer’s blockbuster livable streets projects, the addition of new pedestrian and bicycle amenities at Grand Army Plaza. As often happens in Brooklyn, in the course of digging up the pavement the crew unearthed some remains from the previous incarnation of the street. Susan Kille posted this shot of old trolley tracks on Union Street, which were briefly exposed over the weekend.

Trolleys running on Union, Grand Army Plaza, and Prospect Park West were part of the surface rail network blanketing Brooklyn and much of Queens before streetcars exited the scene in the 1950s.

Doug at Brooklyn Spoke has a great series of shots from the era when trolleys plied PPW, there was nary a parked car in sight, and the sidewalks were more generous than they are today. It’s a fitting response to opponents of the Prospect Park West redesign who seem to think that preserving the street’s historic charm entails keeping the parking lanes exactly as they were in May, 2010.

  • Mark Walker

    Trolley tracks are also beneath the main street (Route 28) of my hometown in NJ. I remember seeing them — they disappeared around the time I started kindergarten 50 or so years ago. Along with cobblestones, they may come in useful someday, when the supply of cheap-oil-derived asphalt runs out.

  • Guest

    Perhaps the tracks should be preserved at street level since it is “adjacent to two historical districts”

  • Bolwerk

    I’ve been biking around Queens and found some poking out in a lot of unexpected places.  In one case, on Seneca Avenue near Dekalb in Ridgewood, you can see trolley tracks turning towards what is now a suburban-style supermarket parking lot.  Very sad.

  • Xplorer

    This was once part of the most advanced and dedicated transit corporation that made money all its life on a nickle fare. Politic’s killed one of the finish transportation companies after the tax payers purchased all of it assets, including what is being dug up here. It was Brooklyn’s finest and we will never see its like again. 

  • Xplorer

    This was once part of the most advanced and dedicated transit corporation that made money all its life on a nickle fare. Politic’s killed one of the finish transportation companies after the tax payers purchased all of it assets, including what is being dug up here. It was Brooklyn’s finest and we will never see its like again. 

  • Giovanni Grillo

    what the hell are you talking about?

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