Today’s Headlines

  • Glenn

    One of the items that I just heard about getting cut was that the Second Ave Subway is only getting two rail lines instead of the originally planned three. That would have allowed rush hour express trains or trains to move around stalled trains (e.g. sick passenger).

    Upper East Side, Yorkville and East Harlem residents should be rightfully outraged at this cut from 2 to 3 rail lines on 2nd Ave. It’s a permanent cut in service for the rest of time for everyone living today and for generations to come.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Sorry, but it isn’t doomsday.

    You can have riders pay for little of the cost of transit in a metro area where there are very few of them and many non-transit riders to subsidize them, but not in New York. Part of that massive debt is the result of the fare cuts over the years. Who sacrificed to pay for them? No one then.

    The real question is why bother, since the transit system is going downhill anyway. Why should people pay more when older generations paid less just to postpone doomsday, if it cannot be avoided?

    I had been in favor of higher fares and other measures to preserve the transit system into the future, but now there is really no point.

  • Glenn, the decision to scrap express service on the SAS was made years ago, long before this crisis attracted attention. I think it stinks too. It’s just another sign that we’re not really serious about transit, like the AirTrain stub or the 7 extension that omits the more useful stop.

  • Glenn

    Continuous express service in both directions would have required 4 lines. I knew that wasn’t happening. But in SAS meetings I attended just last year, they promised 3 lines, specifically so that trains could go around a stalled train. That looks like it’s out now.

    With just 2 lines, you can get really long waits if one train stalls or needs to stay in a station for a sick customer.

  • RE: What a Livable Suburb Looks Like

    America has lots of livable suburbs. We just haven’t built them for 60 years is all.

  • > just last year, they promised 3 lines

    Oh, I didn’t know that. I thought it went from 4 to 2. Well, all that tunnel boring ain’t cheap. I suspect if they did cut-and-cover like, oh, every other line, we’d get express service. Oh well.

  • Shemp

    Guys, they are not redesigning the SAS on the fly in the midst of an operating budget crisis, OK? They are two different things.

  • RE: Gehry: Atlantic Yards Not Gonna Happen

    Well, that’s Gehry’s opinion. As I understand it, we (the taxpayers) are still throwing piles of money at Ratner in order to bring his cash cow to fruition. I’ll believe the project is dead when Ratner says it is. Until then, we are still in danger of being sucked dry by this massive boondoggle.

  • Shemp, it seems to me that the capital budget is in crisis too. We’ve been spending like drunken sailors for the last ten years to get some of these new projects going, and as any of Larry’s posts will point out, this has socked the operating budget with huge debt payments in addition to mortgaging our future away.

    Yep, the two budgets are separate, but one does impact the other and both are in shambles.

  • Re. the NYT article about the fare hike:

    “Although Gov. David Paterson has supported the Silver compromise, Malcolm Smith, the Senate majority leader, has been unable to round up his slim majority of Democrats to vote for it.”

    Umm…. what? Last I checked, Smith was one of the ones most opposed to the Silver compromise, rather than simply unable to get enough votes for it. Has that changed since yesterday?

  • Glenn

    Sorry, I should have provided a link sooner if people don’t believe me:

    NEW YORK, NY March 24, 2009 —Faced with the need to cut service and hike fares, the MTA is cutting back on major construction projects. WNYC’s Matthew Schuerman reports that the latest cut is to a section of the Second Avenue subway.

    REPORTER: Originally, the MTA wanted to build an extra bypass track at the 72nd Street station, so traffic could continue to move even if a train stalled while at the platform. But in order to save $90 million, the authority’s capital construction committee voted Monday to go with a simpler two-track version instead.

    The cheaper design may cause a few delays once the subway line gets up and running in the year 2015. But the real rub is that redesigning the station at this stage will cost an extra $26 million. The head of the MTA’s construction company, Michael Horodniceanu, says that still nets a savings of about $65 million.

    Does that help clarify what I’m talking about? Maybe we can have a separate post about this to have proper discussion.

    A net savings of $65 million to have a substantially lower quality level of service FOREVER on the great hope for the East Side of Manhattan’s to relieve heavy overcrowding does not sound like a sound decision to me.

  • Query to whoever knows: Are the Second Avenue subway tunnels wide enough to accommodate a third lane, if the MTA changes its mind later? Also, are the two tracks being laid with space left for a third?

  • “”I don’t think it’s going to happen . . . That would be devastating to me,” he [Gehry] said.”

    Better to devastate Frank Gehry than to devastate Brooklyn by building this project.

  • Glenn

    All of that is unclear.

    I think the idea was that at 72nd street, there would be room for a train to bypass the station in either direction, thus providing a great deal of flexibility to the whole system. I think the new design would only have room for two rail lines and no ability to bypass.

    I think everyone who has sat through the endless SAS meetings we had in Community Board 8 deserves to hear what the implications of this re-design are. This type of big alteration seems very late in the process after countless community input sessions.

  • > “that still nets a savings of about $65 million”

    Well, they could just run only new trains on that line–problem solved!

  • Yes, it’s better that the 2nd Ave subway in any form get built than nothing at all, but it is SO short-sighted not to create (or leave room for) a 4-track line that can support by-passing stations and express trains. Express trains encourage greater population density in further-out areas on the line, which is in keeping with PlanNYC’s vision of sustainably accommodating an expanding population.

  • donny jeffcoat

    Is there anybody on this blog who doesn’t give JSK a blank check?