BHRA's Green Initiative

Think Globally, Act Locally... in Brooklyn!
BHRA since it's inception has been committed to pollution free electric rail technology, intermodal transportation planning, multimodal transportation design and innovative, non-invasive, cost efficient construction techniques. We use (almost exclusively) recycled and rehabilitated historic materials.

BHRA has participated in Rails-to-Trails conversion programs within the northeast US. In our Lehigh Valley Salvage operation, we were able to remove several miles of track and related materials; making way for a pedestrian and bike trail on this abandoned railroad right-of-way. Instead of ending up in a scrap yard, this historic track (and other salvageable materials) was brought back to Brooklyn, reconditioned and are being re-used on our (currently under construction) light rail line.

Almost all other materials used in the construction of our light rail line are vintage recycled materials. The paving stones used for phase I of the project came from Baltimore's Pennsylvania Station. Recycled (relay) wooden railroad ties have been donated and/or purchased from transit systems and freight railroads across the northeast. Even the trolley poles we use are authentic 100-year-old trolley catenary poles (many were once used in other Brooklyn Neighborhoods).

Our fleet of vintage PCC cars are pollution free electric light rail vehicles. These cars operate on standardized 600v DC electric current, (as does the NYC Subway network and most subway and rail transit systems within North America). PCC cars are one of the most energy efficient light rail vehicles ever produced. They accelerate and brake 2-3 times as faster than a modern city bus and outperform most modern light rail vehicles (LRVs). Furthermore, PCCs use only 6 dollars worth of electricity per hour of operation, far less than a subway car or most LRVs.

Pollution Figures & Data from the MTA

Recent News Articles:

THE FAT OF THE LAND - Study Links Obesity to Suburban Sprawl

No, it’s not a national thyroid problem: The U.S.  obesity epidemic is caused in part by suburban sprawl, according to a study released yesterday by the National Center for Smart Growth.  The study, which involved more than 200,000 people in 448 counties, was the first comprehensive examination of the health effects of sprawl, and was also the first to produce concrete evidence of the relationship between sprawl and weight gain. To wit: People who live in the most sprawling parts of the country spend less time each month walking and weigh about six pounds more, on average, than those who live in densely populated areas. Anti-sprawl advocates have long argued that the spread of isolated subdivisions discourages walking and biking, contributing to an epidemic in which more than two-thirds of U.S.  adults are overweight and nearly one-third are obese.

source: Washington Post, Rob Stein, 29 Aug 2003

A more thorough follow up article on sprawl and Health can be found here

Automobile Pollution Linked to Birth Defects
A new study shows that women exposed to air pollution during pregnancy are more likely to give birth to children with heart defects. The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology on January 1, is the first definitively to link air pollution with birth defects. The team, at the University of California Los Angeles School of Public Health and the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program, said the two pollutants they measured were carbon monoxide and ozone - produced by the city's well-known traffic jams. They looked at 9,000 babies born from 1987 to 1993. Pregnant women who were exposed to the highest levels of ozone and carbon monoxide because their homes were close to busy freeways were three times as likely to have a child with certain heart defects as women breathing the cleanest air.
-Reuters (2002)

Fossil Fuels Are Bigger Killer than Car Crashes
More people are being killed by pollution from cars, trucks and other sources than by traffic crashes, researchers estimate in a report published in the journal Science. The study found that cutting greenhouse gases in just four major cities-Sao Paulo, Brazil; Mexico City; Santiago, Chile; and New York City-could save 64,000 lives over the next 20 years. The study's lead author, Professor Devra Lee Davis, said that ozone, particulate matter, carbon dioxide and other pollutants from the burning of fossil fuels are causing people, particularly in cities, to die prematurely from asthma, breathing disorders and heart disease. "There are more than a thousand studies from 20 countries all showing that you can predict a certain death rate based on the amount of pollution," she said. The data are consistent with a World Health Organization study estimating that air pollution will cause about 8 million deaths worldwide by 2020, she said.
-The Associated Press (2001)

Study finds that 1 out of every 674 persons living in NYC will develop some form of cancer as a result of airborne pollutants
An Environmental Defense Fund report estimates that 360 of every million [1 in 2778] people living in the U.S. will develop some form of cancer as a result of airborne pollutants, with the rate in New York coming in at four times the national average [1 in 674]. EDF found that cars, trucks and small businesses are responsible for more air toxins than previously thought, finding that motor vehicles account for 60% of the risk of cancer and non-malignant ailments from air toxins. Not surprisingly, four of the five leading hazardous chemicals covered by the study are found in motor vehicle emissions.
-Boston Globe (1999)


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