Today’s Headlines

  • Citing Climate Change and Through Gritted Teeth, Bloomberg Endorses Obama (NYT, Ezra Klein)
  • Felix Salmon: Major Infrastructure Investment the Best Way to Keep New York Running …
  • … and the State Comptroller Doesn’t Know the Cost or Where the Money Might Come From (CapNY)
  • The MTA Is Losing $18 Million a Day (News)
  • NYS DOT Capital Plan Does Not Recognize Biking and Walking as Transportation (MTR)
  • 7 Train Back in Queens; Holland Tunnel to Reopen for Buses; 4/5/F Await Power (DNA, TN)
  • The Times Talks to Bike Commuters; No Whining From This Long Islander
  • Here’s Why Police Are Being Dispatched to Gas Stations (NYT, DNA 12, News)
  • Gas Station Owner to Prospective Customers: Try Biking (WSJ)
  • HOV Enforcement Glitches Clog Streets and Irritate Motorists in Inwood (DNA)
  • Jim Dwyer Sees Hope in Disagreement Between Bloomberg and Cuomo Over Sea Walls

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Bolwerk

    Infrastructure is hard. It’s fairly cheap to build the light rail we really obviously needed before this storm hit, mainly because it probably saves money over continued over-dependence on unreliable buses, but I’m guessing waterproofing existing and building new subways is a pretty big challenge.

    Bloomberg can’t be this stupid. Climate change is no more a reality
    today than it was last week. Being an “independent” or “bipartisan” just
    means you’re incredulous, and while I can see why your average CNN
    viewer is stupid enough to fall for the cult of the
    independent/undecided/bipartisan, I don’t see how Bloomberg could be. His support of “moderate” Republikans is actively harming NYC and the USA.

    Part of the reality of climate change: it’s going to affect red states too, and while they may deny it’s happening, they won’t deny the costs, and they won’t hesitate to take federal (read: our) money to alleviate it. So we should get that federal gravy while you can!

  • Larry Littlefield

    Light rail is expensive.  Bikes are cheap.  We need a bike bridge now.

    During the 20-year outage of subway service on the Manhattan Bridge, I wondered how the bridge might be repurposed if it could not longer carry trains.  One idea was a “bike bridge” like the current “bus bridge.”  The Myrtle Avenue BMT station under Flatbush could be reopened and expanded.  Custom built bikes could be used to ride where the tracks are now, from Myrtle Avenue to Canal Street, where the Manhattan subways would be picked up.  The bikes would be behind gates the whole time, and thus not stolen.  That was the concept.

    I wonder if something like that could be implemented quickly using the 10,000 Citibikes, if the subway tunnels are going to be out for any length of time?  Rather than riding for 20 miles a day, using bicycles they may not have, people could just ride across the river and use subways the rest of the trip.  Trucks would have to carry the bikes back, so they could be re-used in the same rush hour.

    Beats trying to get across on those buses.  And I’d imagine that even if the Mahattan Bridge tracks open, through trains will be packed.

  • Larry Littlefield

    By the way, notice how everyone else’s idea is to keep borrowing and not think about who is going to be made how much worse off to pay back the debts?  Which would be great, if the U.S. had not been borrowing for past consumption for the past 30 years.

    Scott Stringer has proposed borrowing to pay for more early childhood education, in respons to DeBlasio’s idea to raise taxes to do so.  And why not issue pension bonds, and then enrich pensions while having it “cost nothing?”  If you retire and move away, the problems of New York’s infrastructure are solved for you.

  • vnm

    Cuomo’s the one in favor of sea walls and not Bloomberg? Whoa, I would have thought it was the opposite. At any rate, I’m with Cuomo on that one. We should build them.

  • Bolwerk

    Bikes are cheap, but not especially useful to the vast, vast majority of commuters. That said, I really can’t see a good excuse for each bridge not having a dedicated, separated bike lane without pedestrians on it.

    Still, the fact that we don’t have surface rail going over each bridge in a city the size of New York is absurd. And BRT is no substitute for proper surface rail. (Surface rail might even be able to accommodate bikes.)

  • Guest

    I’m not sure why the hate for buses @5c722781552a86235a80e0b5398f59df:disqus , since they were back in service much sooner than rail.  Sure, there are advantages and disadvantages with buses, but it seems like you seem intent on mischaracterizing the whole thing.  Not helpful.

  • Bolwerk

    @abb249055208c7af4d35568e422dfd63:disqus : Is it somehow helpful to mischaracterize me?  I don’t “hate buses” anymore than I hate hammers or saws. Buses certainly have a vital place in a multi-modal transportation mix.

    What buses lack is capacity. And I don’t know why you are comparing the mode that happened to be flooded out to the mode that wasn’t. If buses had run underground in tunnels to Manhattan, they’d have been flooded out too.

    Regardless, my point was that the bridges, which weren’t flooded out, need higher-capacity transit.

  • Guest

    Perhaps you are just confused, then, @5c722781552a86235a80e0b5398f59df:disqus ?  Last time I checked, the buses in the Lincoln Tunnel had a higher capacity than the rail tunnels.  

    Just sayin.

  • Guest

    Resilience matters.  
    So do facts.

    The primary reason so many sections of the subway remain out of service is power, not flooding.  Buses do not have that difficulty for resuming service.

    Also, any flooded section along the rail alignment can put the whole line out of service.  Buses are more flexible with route changes.

    When rail yards are flooded, you’re sunk.  Buses can be temporarily relocated to higher ground more easily.

    Obviously, we wouldn’t want a transit system that relied solely on buses!  But there is a place for them, and more BRT seems like a promising path to a system that has additional capacity and is more resilient to extreme weather.  

    No?

  • Bolwerk

    @abb249055208c7af4d35568e422dfd63:disqus: I wasn’t before, but I am now. Buses have higher capacity than tunnels?

    But, if you mean to ask if the Lincoln Tunnel has capacity to transport more people via buses than two tracks of rail, the answer is an emphatic no.

  • Bolwerk

    @Guest:twitter : sheesh, are you mansplaining now? Yes, the answer is no. Buses are not more resilient, they’re not more flexible, and they’re not more easily relocated or rerouted. Those are all factors that have to do with the medium (track, street), not the mode. The kind of religious claptrap that says they are is exactly why we don’t have an alternative now to feeding our subways into a surface transit system that is woefully under capacity.

  • Guest

    This is an easy lane-to-lane comparison.  The Exclusive Bus Lane carriers more people than either NJT rail or PATH:
    http://www.panynj.gov/bridges-tunnels/lincoln-tunnel-xbl.html

    Again, facts do matter.

  • @5c722781552a86235a80e0b5398f59df:disqus If you can’t engage with people who disagree with you in a more civil manner, your commenting privileges will be revoked.

  • Bolwerk

    @abb249055208c7af4d35568e422dfd63:disqus : You’re confusing capacity with usage statistics. I know the PA sees a lot of usage, probably about the upper limit for the tunnel, but PATH and the North River Tunnels are both rather underutilized pieces of infrastructure. The latter at least is probably Amtrak’s fault for prioritizing its own traffic over NJT’s.

    @BenFried:disqus: what did I do that was “uncivil”? I’m counting at least three separate ad hominems from “Guest” toward me, plus at least one gratuitous implication that I’m deliberately misconstruing “facts” – not true, of course, but not really an ad hominem since it’s topical and he presumably believes it. I really don’t care about being the target of that kind of thing though. AFAIC, he can say anything he wants to me. But I’m still rather confused as to why am I being singled out?

  • Guest

    @5c722781552a86235a80e0b5398f59df:disqus rail as a mode IS inherently less flexible.  Rail is, by definition, confined to its rails.  One tree across the tracks WILL stop the whole line.  A bus CAN drive around a down tree.  Those are just basic facts, aren’t they?

    There are lower labor costs with rail.  There are differences in air pollution (mobile vs point source).  There are many factors to consider when choosing one mode or another in any given situation, but the greater flexibility of buses shouldn’t even be a question.

    Let’s look at the capacity of the XBL once again.  You assert that somehow the rail tunnels to Penn Station are not fully utilized, but want to have us believe that the XBL is running at full capacity?  Last I checked, NJT was already running bi-level rail cars.  But my understanding is that the Port Authority has height limits that do not allow double-decker buses, even though they could use the XBL.  So even if you could squeeze something else out of Amtrak, do you really think that capacity is greater than what could be achieved using an XBL with double-decker buses?  I think that should be a clear ‘no.’

  • Guest

    I think the point is, if you have to slice it that thin, you just can’t say BRT doesn’t provide high-capacity transit.

    I think BRT offers clear improvements over the status quo, and I’m willing to take my transit improvements where I can get them.  A bus bridge is great by me.  Give me a light-rail bridge, I’m not going to complain.

    Better yet, give me one like the new one in Portland, that does light-rail, bus, bikes, and peds!

  • Bolwerk

    @Guest:disqus : I agree there is the odd situation where a bus has some flexibility that rail doesn’t, but there are situations with rail having flexibility buses don’t have. I still don’t see the supposed net advantage buses have with flexibility. Just looking at the real world shows you there is a net disadvantage, and why. Scaling to meet unusual crowding conditions doesn’t factor into your definition of flexibility, but a downed tree, which can be removed in minutes, does?

    In the real world, a bus can drive around an obstacle, but is most likely going to be throttled by the other vehicles that have to divert too. With either mode, the best strategy is obstacle avoidance. The flexibility advantage is not there, or is entirely theoretical. (Frankly, I suspect it’s probably a carryover from fantasies about the supposed flexibility of private automobiles.)

    Also, I’d back off on drawing any conclusions from XBL.  We know that the combined bus flow to PABT is seeing more morning commuters than PATH or NYP. That says nothing about capacity. What is the peak passenger throughput of each? Per-hour? Per-minute?

    even if you could squeeze something else out of Amtrak

    You can’t, of course. That’s why NJT wanted ARC. But it’s a political constraint, not a technical one. The over-dependence on buses is, again, a sign of institutional impoverishment, not a sign of robustness.

    As for BRT, it’s well and good for some things I’m sure. It offers some incremental capacity over the locals anyway. My position on it for NYC is that the locals should have most BRT features anyway, like POP fare collection and multi-door boardings, NYC gets a little stupid when it doesn’t examine putting LRT in Midtown or along the more crowded corridors.

    FWIW, I’m really for an something of an all-three approach. Subways for distance/capacity, LRT for peak surface use, buses for lower surface usage. And they all complement each other, with LRT able to take over cheaply for out of service subways and buses neatly able to handle the off-peak loads of LRT when those tracks need work.

  • Guest

    I simply do not understand how, today of all days, anybody could try to argue that buses are not more flexible than rail.  

    You must have seen the coverage of the bus lines at the Barclay’s Center.  Why do you think they are running all those buses in Brooklyn?
    http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/c98.0.403.403/p403x403/548376_10151144353899091_19709273_n.jpg

    The rail system lacked the flexibility to resume service. Surface rail would be doing nothing to close this service gap, because it would fall victim to the same loss of the electric grid as the subway.

    Meanwhile, the bus fleet offered the flexibility to not only resume its own service, but to make up some (far from all!) of the gap left by rail.  

    So, I’m sorry but I just don’t see how there is any plausible argument that buses aren’t more flexible.  All available evidence seems overwhelmingly clear.

    On my end, I see BRT as a more viable path forward for capturing surface ROW and building more non-subway transit demand.  Over time, some of the highest density end-to-end alignments could be converted to LRT (with the ROW already secured).  But I also see a great usefulness of high-capacity BRT trunk sections with many route ends with mixed operations extending throughout the mid-density sections of the outer boroughs to bring more of the metropolis into full transit ridership.  LRT clearly encounters more obstacles as an immediate start-up, and just doesn’t have the potential for the outer boroughs.  (LRT would also require a full new, separate fleet, which has got to come with new costs and less workforce flexibility for the MTA…)

    I’m not against LRT, but I think it has less potential short-term, and doesn’t have the same long-term benefits either as pushing forward with BRT.

  • @5c722781552a86235a80e0b5398f59df:disqus  It was “mansplaining” and “religious claptrap” that tripped the wire. “Guest”‘s choice of words hasn’t crossed the line.

  • carma

    the point is that the best BRT will never match what a subway can do.  capacity wise, a subway beats hands down.  nyc standards are 600 ft trainsets.  a manhattan block is 265 feet not including intersections.  you will need at least a 2 block length bus in order to match capacity on a subway trunk line.  and last i checked, all the lines are usually filled to close to capacity.

    buses at best supplement the voided niche that is needed.

    if we are arguing for what is the cheapest route, i do give it for the bus to be the cheapest option.

  • carma

    the point is that the best BRT will never match what a subway can do.  capacity wise, a subway beats hands down.  nyc standards are 600 ft trainsets.  a manhattan block is 265 feet not including intersections.  you will need at least a 2 block length bus in order to match capacity on a subway trunk line.  and last i checked, all the lines are usually filled to close to capacity.

    buses at best supplement the voided niche that is needed.

    if we are arguing for what is the cheapest route, i do give it for the bus to be the cheapest option.

  • Guest

    Please, let’s try to stick to the facts.

    By all means, please check the Hub Bound Report:
    http://www.nymtc.org/files/hub_bound/2010_HUB_BOUND_TRAVEL_DATA.pdf
    (See Table 14A)

    From 8:00 – 9:00 am, the Lincoln Tunnel handles just about as many bus commuters as NJT, Amtrak, and the downtown PATH all COMBINED.  It is just impossible to argue that NJT rail AND downtown PATH are so “underutilized” (especially with the potential for double-decker buses to expand the effective capacity of an XBL).  And anybody who says that the downtown PATH is “underutilized” has clearly never been there in the morning.

    “Capacity” of a bus lane is simply not a deficit compared to rail.  Just the facts.

  • Ian Turner

    Does anyone know whether the Brooklyn or Manhattan bridge is better for cycling post-Sandy?

  • Bolwerk

    : Maybe you don’t see it, but it doesn’t mean rail isn’t more flexible.

    Why do you think they are running all those buses in Brooklyn?

    Because the subways are out, and there isn’t an intermediate option that would work better?  That you’re using lack of an intermediate option as evidence that an intermediate option won’t work makes this position you have increasingly bizarre. 

    You also have this odd habit is pointing to reasons that buses aren’t more flexibile to show why they are. That photo you’re for some reason showing me is a perfect demonstration of this. That is inflexibility at work, not flexibility. SBS alleviates this somewhat, but most of that crowd could just board LRVs without the obscene queue.

    Surface rail would be doing nothing to close this service gap, because
    it would fall victim to the same loss of the electric grid as the
    subway.

    Sure, okay, that’s a real problem, but don’t overplay it. There is such a thing as a diesel LRV. And even if the TA didn’t opt for that, just being able to get more people over the Queensboro alone, which has power, would be a massive help today, in this situation, and through the next several days at least.

    And you’re acting like this is a binary choice. I’m arguing for LRVs, not against buses. You can have LRVs and buses working together to do this. In fact, that might be very ideal in this situation.

    On my end, I see BRT as a more viable path forward for capturing surface ROW and building more non-subway transit demand.

    I don’t see why. Whatever evidence I can see is that when offered a choice, people invariably prefer LRT to buses. That is, given the exact same rough featureset, route, and time, people will prefer the LRT.

    Of course, in the land the bus fairy comes from, people’s preferences don’t tend to mean a lot, but I take them pretty seriously. The preference of POV activists often seems to be for more BRT, perhaps because they covet the ROW for themselves and/or they imagine the BRT is cheaper.

    Then the POV activists probably don’t ride buses or LRT.

    LRT clearly encounters more obstacles as an immediate start-up,

    Like? Oh. Politics.

    We don’t need an immediate start-up. We need a start-up, the sooner the better, without cutting corners.

    and just
    doesn’t have the potential for the outer boroughs.

    Oh? People in the outer boroughs don’t need faster, more punctual rides? That’s just for Manhattan?

    On the contrary, I’d say it has more potential in the outer boroughs, especially along routes that can’t conceivably get subways for decades. It’s in the outer boroughs that there might be space for car barns and maintenance shops. Starting in or being exclusively in Manhattan seems like the worse proposal.

    (LRT would also
    require a full new, separate fleet, which has got to come with new costs
    and less workforce flexibility for the MTA…)

    At least over time, one major reason they should be pursuing LRT is it reduces labor usage. If one LRV pulls about one SBS bus worth of capacity, they get a good economy of scale training LRVs together.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that the reason the TA/unions prefer BRT is because it is so much more expensive, and, speak of the devil, most of that additional expense is wrapped up in labor costs.

    I’m not against LRT, but I think it has less potential short-term, and
    doesn’t have the same long-term benefits either as pushing forward with
    BRT.

    That may be, but I would again blame politics. It doesn’t change the fact that we pretty much need it long-term, particularly if we’re facing a situation where need to suddenly change how we move a lot of people at once.

    Though, technically if not politically, ROWs could be up and equipment purchased in months.

    @BenFried:disqus: With all due respect, that’s a rather arbitrary line. I didn’t call him any names, and I don’t know where either of those phrases I used are considered curses. I don’t know what line they could cross that (admittedly mild) character-laced ad hominems don’t. I called out a logorrhea of demonstrably unproven/unprovable positions taken as as axiomatic truth, but I never once attacked his person or character and don’t even get the impression that he thinks I did.

  • Guest

    Further note on the Hub Bound Report…  

    Most subway lines are around 25,000 passengers per hour or less when entering the CBD.  The max is a little under 27,000 through the Fifty-Third Street Tunnel – IND.  

    There’s room for more bus passengers on an XBL if they adopt double-decker buses.  Is there room for another 3,000+ passengers on the IND from Queens?

    Lane density makes a huge difference.  The assumption that you can move more people through a lane on rail is simply incorrect.  

    Based on the facts.

  • Bolwerk

    @d8d46f16f380afef59ca318522397233:disqus : buses aren’t the cheapest option on a per-passenger-km basis, where it counts.

    @abb249055208c7af4d35568e422dfd63:disqus : that’s very interesting, thank you. However, while 30k people in one hour is impressive for 3-4+ lanes of buses, it’s also not outrageous for a single track of rail in a double-track configuration.

    Here is something else to ponder: how usage goes down when rail is cut from the transportation mix (see page 4 of this PDF). Just think what those bus lanes could do if they were each rail tracks. Really, think about it.

  • Anonymous

    I think all this discussion about whether buses are more flexible or not depends on what you mean by flexible, and especially, flexible *for what*. In terms of speed and capacity, perhaps buses are not the most flexible. But in terms of being able to change their route on the fly, they are definitely more flexible than trains, because they are not confined to rails. It’s always a tradeoff: if you want the ultimate in flexibility, I recommend walking. You can walk in places where even buses can’t go, such as your living room! 🙂

  • Guest

    @5c722781552a86235a80e0b5398f59df:disqus you cannot run light-rail at Barclay’s Center.

    That’s because there are no rails at Barclay’s Center.  

    You cannot just flexibly add rails and magically start running trains in response to an incident.

    With buses, however, you can reassign a few cops, put out some stanchions and orange cones, and then start providing service to thousands of commuters first thing in the morning.

    You cannot dispute that.  Please stop trying; it’s just silly.

    Light-rail will NEVER, have the very flexibility that we are seeing, no matter how hard you want to ignore it.  Operational flexibility is not a difficult concept to understand.

  • Bolwerk

    @qrt145:disqus : you don’t really want to change your route on the fly. When you have to, it’s usually a very big problem for buses.

    @abb249055208c7af4d35568e422dfd63:disqus  Is that you, Bill? Really, who said anything about dropping track on the fly? I know I didn’t. I said that if we have track already, we would have a much better option for moving some of those people that buses have neither the capacity nor operational flexibility without massive queues. You cannot dispute that.  Please stop trying; it’s just silly. 

    Operational flexibility is not a difficult concept to understand.

    Which is why I’m wondering why I’m the only one between the two of us who seems to grok it.

  • Guest

    Again, @5c722781552a86235a80e0b5398f59df:disqus , please check the facts.

    The XBL is only a single lane.  The 53rd Street Tunnel has one track in each direction, I believe.

    That makes for a reasonably good lane-for-lane comparison.

    No matter how hard you push your own assertions, the facts are not on your side.
    There is no inherent capacity deficit for a dedicated bus lane.

  • Bolwerk

    @abb249055208c7af4d35568e422dfd63:disqus : Okay, it’s a single lane.  I actually thought it was the two middle lanes. Really doesn’t affect my point too much, so I don’t much care. Either way, a bus can use any inbound lane.  I don’t see where it says that number you showed us isn’t just for one bus lane, and even if it is, that doesn’t say anything about the the capacity limit for a track of rail or bus lanes. It’s simply a statistic about usage.

  • Guest

    A bus “can” use any inbound lane.  But are you really arguing that any significant number choose to sit in traffic instead of blowing by on the express lane?

    Capacity is the most that can be processed with full demand.  I think we all know that the busiest subway lines, NJT rail, and PATH downtown all operate at or near capacity during peak hour (proof positive when the subway and PATH are running the minimum headways and routinely leave passengers in stations!).  So your statement that “It’s simply a statistic about usage” is not true.  It is, in fact, the demonstrated effective capacity of each of these tunnels.

    Why do you keep casting weak doubt on every demonstrated fact here?  

    YOU made the claim that BRT wasn’t high-capacity transit.
    Where is YOUR proof?  Oh, you’d rather just quibble details you think can’t be demonstrated to slip the point, right?

    For the last time, capacity demonstrably is NOT a deficiency for dedicated bus lanes. 
    Those are the facts.

  • @abb249055208c7af4d35568e422dfd63:disqus No need to make it personal.

  • Guest

    Your queuing argument is equally incorrect.

    Queues result when demand exceeds capacity.  

    The queues are forming at the Barclay’s Center because you are taking the demand of several different rail tunnels that have fully-dedicated rights-of-way and are dumping it all onto a surface transit route with at best a partially-dedicated lane.

    There is no rational basis to believe that somehow a single light-rail line would be able to absorb that demand.  (Especially since all available evidence indicates it might actually have a lower operating capacity to absorb that demand!)

  • Bolwerk

    @abb249055208c7af4d35568e422dfd63:disqus: Maybe the XBL is at capacity?  Beats me.

    I think we all know that the busiest subway lines, NJT rail, and PATH
    downtown all operate at or near capacity during peak hour (proof
    positive when the subway and PATH are running the minimum headways and
    routinely leave passengers in stations!).  So your statement that “It’s
    simply a statistic about usage” is not true.  It is, in fact, the
    demonstrated effective capacity of each of these tunnels.

    *sigh*

    No, no, no, and no. We know (well, I do anyway) that a given agency runs a given number of vehicles through a given route at a given time. We know that they say some of those routes are at capacity, but where they happen to be at capacity appears to be Manhattan, the densest county in the USA.

    And, “at capacity” means many things.  In the case of your bus example, 885 buses (per page 58 of the document you cited) make a 0-stop trip through the Lincoln Tunnel at a peak hour, and then disperse to dozens of gates at PABT. At the same time, 22 trains travel through the Cranberry Street Tunnel; probably closer to 30 could, if necessary, with current constraints.

    (Of course, NYCTA has other capacity contraints, like station sizes.)

    Why do you keep casting weak doubt on every demonstrated fact here? 

    Do you even know what a fact is?  You have only demonstrated the rather mundane “fact” that 885 buses can carry ~30k passengers through a tunnel when making no stops for passengers. You’re making a huge logical leap if you think that means buses are capable of the operational capacity of trains in conditions where they have to allow passengers to load and alight.

    They certainly cannot maintain those types of 885/hr headways when they have to stop and do stuff, which is why they disperse at PABT. 

    YOU made the claim that BRT wasn’t high-capacity transit.
    Where is YOUR proof?  Oh, you’d rather just quibble details you think can’t be demonstrated to slip the point, right?

    Do I really need a “proof”? How many people can one BRT vehicle hold? Compare to a train.  And let’s not even go into the insane cost of having that many bus operators when you could have 30 or so train operators instead. Buses are lower-capacity.

  • Bolwerk

    There is no rational basis to believe that somehow a single light-rail
    line would be able to absorb that demand.

    You’re not reading what I’m saying.  You’re responding to what
    you’re imaging I’m saying.   A single light rail line would certainly be
    able to load and alight that many passengers more easily than buses, even if it can’t approach the loads subways could carry.

    Whether it would “absorb” that demand is another question, but…

      (Especially since all
    available evidence indicates it might actually have a lower operating
    capacity to absorb that demand!)

    …all available evidence indicates that it would do a hell of a lot better on the loading and alighting, which your misconceptions about capacity in the Lincoln Tunnel don’t even address.

  • Guest

    I simply cannot engage in an ever-widening set of claims that lack any supporting info.  So let’s just stick to the basic discussion.

    The claim was that space on the bridges should be dedicated to light-rail, and BRT was unacceptable because it wasn’t “high-capacity transit.”  That has been demonstrated to be incorrect.

    Despite your objection, transit treatment through a tunnel is entirely analogous to transit treatment over a bridge.  It was clearly demonstrated with empirical evidence that the transit treatment through the tunnel provided significantly MORE capacity than rail transit.  Therefore, there is no reasonable way to summarily dismiss a BRT alternative from the East River Bridges on the assumption that it could not yield sufficient capacity.

    By all means, you can make whatever claims you choose.  But your opposition to BRT on the bridges is unfounded.  Good evening!

    p.s. There are BRT systems that accommodate bikes.  Check out the EmX in Eugene, Oregon.

  • Bolwerk

     @abb249055208c7af4d35568e422dfd63:disqus : What supporting info do you need?  Help with arithmetic? Do you believe me if I tell you if 60/x = 2, so x = 30?

    Despite your objection, transit treatment through a tunnel is entirely analogous to transit treatment over a bridge.

    I don’t even see where I said it was or wasn’t. Again, you’re responding to things I’m not saying.

    What I roughly said was, maximum throughput for vehicles traveling through a tunnel unhindered is going to be vastly different than throughput for vehicles that make stops. If you want to compare zero stop scenarios, 40 TPH of 10-car IND trains could probably squeeze about 98,000 people through a single tunnel. It’s not what happens, and NYCTA doesn’t even have a reason to do that, but there isn’t anything technically infeasible about it.

    The Lincoln Tunnel involves dozens of bus routes converging into a single lane and then dispersing, never once making a stop during the phase where they are converged.

    It was clearly demonstrated with empirical evidence that the transit
    treatment through the tunnel provided significantly MORE capacity than
    rail transit.

    The only “empirical evidence” you supplied was your own unilateral declaration that a document listing usage statistics demonstrates the practical per-rider capacity limits of a given piece of infrastructure – a claim the document itself doesn’t make, and unsupported by either other actual documentation or arithmetic. Sorry if that leaves me skeptical, especially given how most of your “facts” have been repeating variations on that or responses to comments I didn’t make.

    basic discussion

    OK, your two most basic unfounded claims, again:

    Capacity on the subway tunnels leading to Manhattan is maxed out. How is that possible? How would the 147 subway stations, most of them local in nature, in Manhattan serve their respective neighborhoods if that were true? It’s not all drop-offs once a train passes under the East River.

    885 buses traveling through a tunnel without stopping reflects the throughput achieved when stopping – frequently? – to pick up passengers. Do I really need to go into why that doesn’t make sense?  Again?

    Therefore, there is no reasonable way to summarily dismiss a BRT
    alternative from the East River Bridges on the assumption that it could
    not yield sufficient capacity.

    Who said I was against BRT on East River bridges?  The higher-capacity mode, LRT, should obviously get priority over the lower-capacity mode, but I don’t have a huge problem with BRT on the East River bridges. You’re again supplying your own “facts.”

    By all means, you can make whatever claims you choose.  But your opposition to BRT on the bridges is unfounded.  Good evening!

    Translation: “Your opposition to these things you never commented is outrageous. Now excuse me while turn on Alex Jones and bury my head in the sand!”

  • moocow

    I went over the manhattan 3 times today. It’s a bike highway. Bc it’s a separated path (in theory) from pedestrians, it moved quickly and safely. I avoided the bklyn bridge assuming it was clogged with those on foot. The manhattan was an inspiring glimpse of what real numbers of bike commuters looks like.

  • Ian Turner

    @twowheel:disqus : I went over the Manhattan twice today (for the first time) and I have to agree. I was also surprised how many cyclists have lights, compared to the Queensboro bridge, where people always seem to jump out of the shadows.

  • Guest

    This could go on forever….  Buses don’t really “disperse” at the Port Authority much more than the trains do at Penn Station.  But that’s not even the point!

    Why wouldn’t we use a bridge for buses to converge and then disperse to provide a complete BRT network?  How would that be failing to use the capacity of the bridge lane?

    The simple answer is that it would not.  You were wrong, and have continued to construct an elaborate framework of changing narratives and self-contradicting statements (it’s about mode and not ROW, except when a bus is stuck in traffic, or a train can’t leave it’s tracks, because that’s inconvenient for your story…)  And you conveniently, somehow think it’s ok to cite all the benefits of the subway when making your claims for surface rail?!

    However much you try to rationalize your position, you still cannot produce any facts that would remotely suggest that we should not consider using lane capacity on a bridge for BRT because that would somehow limit capacity.

    That’s because it’s just not true.

    BRT could make full use of a dedicated lane on a bridge, just as well as any surface rail option.

  • Guest

    Remember, capacity on any corridor is ultimately determined by the most constrained point.  

    Silliness aside about people somehow having trouble boarding buses (with prepaid fare), the boarding is simply not where a surface transit system would be facing its real capacity constraints.
    The major constraints are the choke points across the East River.  And all deliberate ignorance aside, a BRT network would provide at least as much system capacity as a surface rail system over the bridges. 

    (Please don’t continue pretending that the XBL doesn’t provide greater capacity than regional rail.  With so many rail tunnels, not a single one approaches its performance.  And they DO have multiple routes that converge as well; local and express routes merge onto single tracks through the tunnels.  This is a very simple matter of vehicle operating characteristics that allow better starting/stopping and don’t need switching, resulting in vastly closer vehicle spacing.  Pretending that the throughput is simply a matter of usage is not credible, as it would have us believe that all buses are maxed out while nobody is taking NJT rail or PATH, things we all know are not true… and you tried to argue that passengers always have a preference for rail to boot.  And please stop with the selective examples of constraints on individual rail tunnels; it is obvious you deliberately avoid recognizing the corresponding constraints on the XBL.  Sorry, but you really have run out of straws to grasp at here.)

    A BRT network with East River Bridge lanes would have the added benefit of operating multiple routes with frequent service, providing direct connections to where people want to be.

    You can insist that capacity only counts if it operates exactly like rail, where it’s confined to one fixed corridor.  There is no rational reason to discount a network with diverging routes.  In fact, that sort of view would result in a worse network, since it would have a lower system capacity and less coverage.

  • Bolwerk

    Buses don’t really “disperse” at the Port Authority much more than the
    trains do at Penn Station.  But that’s not even the point!

    They disperse to dozens of different gates. It’s key to how PABT can work at all. Can that even be achieved on the east side?

    More
    or less, I don’t know. A major problem at Penn is that trains turn
    there, severely limiting capacity. But that is
    besides the point.

    Why wouldn’t we use a bridge for buses to converge and then disperse to
    provide a complete BRT network?  How would that be failing to use the
    capacity of the bridge lane?

    The simple answer is that it would not.

    Assuming
    it’s possible?  I don’t know if it’s possible on the East River
    bridges, but it might not be. The landing side streets have a vastly
    different configurations, at least the three bridges in downtown
    Manhattan do. Ironically, part of the reason for that is they were all
    built for rail.

    Next question: can BRT do the job if it is
    possible? Probably, but certainly not as well. There are probably enough
    people at peak times to fill, say, four-LRV trains, so why limit
    yourself an articulated bus and require 4x as many drivers to carry the
    same number of people?

    So, why would we want to waste the money?
    NJT has a bus network dispersed over medium- and low-density northern
    New Jersey, so bumblefcuk as it is I can understand why they do it that
    way. Transit between some of the most high-density neighborhoods in the
    USA is different, and doesn’t call for local NJT-style commuter buses.

    And,
    why not do both if both are good options?  BRT can even use an LRT ROW.
    A configuration like that would probably be great
    for NJT.

    elaborate framework of changing narratives and
    self-contradicting statements

    You probably think being presented with anything you didn’t already know involves “changing” a narrative.

    Anyway,
    I did no such thing.  I pointed to two places your conclusions were
    absurd, one of which involved drawing wild conclusions based on the
    rather ad hoc nature of the Lincoln Tunnel’s bus configuration. Instead
    of addressing that, you respond with a ream of
    character accusations. My initial premise has held up pretty
    well and your two faulty, rather damned premises still remain
    unaddressed.

    (it’s about mode and not ROW, except when
    a bus is stuck in traffic, or a train can’t leave it’s tracks, because
    that’s inconvenient for your story…)

    Inconvenient
    how? What are you talking about? I don’t see anything remotely hard to
    grok about the mode/medium thing.  A train can no sooner go down I-95
    than a bus can go down the NEC. Do you need a cite for that? You don’t
    think buses have to cope with traffic when they leave their ROWs to
    circumvent an obstacle? Again, I don’t see what is hard to grasp about
    that.  How about: can BRT travel at speed through a narrow tunnel or
    alleyway with inches of clearance on each side? An LRV can. Does that
    factor into “operational flexibility,” that thing you claim to
    understand so well?

    Now, the widespread delusion that buses deal
    well with obstacles does need to end. If you want, go on thinking buses
    net all the operational flexibility trains don’t have. I’ve
    explained, patiently, why it’s a mixed bag, but go on
    believing whatever you want.  It doesn’t matter very much because both
    – nay, all – modes are terrible with obstacles, and
    all efforts should go toward obstacle prevention, not
    obstacle avoidance.

    And you conveniently, somehow
    think it’s ok to cite all the benefits of the subway when making your
    claims for surface rail?!

    Where did I do
    this?  I only cited “benefits” (actually, capacity advantages) of subway
    in response to your misinformation about throughput. You’ve got to get
    over this habit of misconstruing what I say.

    Is this your
    strategy now? Present a red herring, have me address it, and then accuse
    the response of having some meaning it didn’t have? You brought subway
    throughput into question, not me, when you bleated about modal capacity
    limits.

    you still cannot
    produce any facts

    The “facts” you offered have predominantly been misinterpretations, ad hominems, and accusations that I’m
    lying/self-contradicting. Obviously you don’t hold yourself to the same
    standards you hold me with regard to facts.

    So, keep saying it. It won’t make it true, Mr. Ailes.

    that would remotely suggest that we should not
    consider using lane capacity on a bridge for BRT because that would
    somehow limit capacity.

    Thank God, because I never tried to, nor wanted to. My position has been, and remains:

    • that LRT is needed, not that BRT is completely undesirable

    higher-capacity, faster boarding LRT should get priority politically
    over BRT in an either/or scenario (maybe this is the part that pisses
    you off)
    • BRT is probably not worth the incremental long-term cost over LRT, which is
    apparently a point on which you at least partially concur

    You can add:

    • we should not condemn
    future transit riders to daily slower service away from the bridge only for the sake of boosting BRT on the bridge

    In
    other words, if you’re for BRT on the bridge, you need a way better
    reason than just it can theoretically work on a
    bridge
    .  Which, through all your gnashing about my supposed
    lies and self-contradictions, is about the best you’ve come up with so
    far.

    Even though I’m not against BRT on the bridges, I do have
    reasons to think it might not work in those areas. Main reasons besides
    capacity: tighter turns, narrower streets. This is another area where
    (surprise!) LRT actually offers more operating flexibility, at least
    over articulated BRT. At the very least, BRT’s scope on the landing
    sides would be relatively limited.

    Where would I want BRT?
    Personally, I think the best bang:buck ratio for BRT investment would be
    in the kinds of places from Briarwood/Fresh Meadows to central/southern
    Queens (Jamaica?), where you don’t need the scale you can get with LRT
    and probably never will – you know, where bus stops pretty
    much will never could look like this?.
    And, probably, it’s just harder to locate things like car barns and
    maintenance shops (partly due to isolation, partly to NIMBYs).  BRT on
    the bridges is not only underkill for the bridge, but perhaps squanders opportunities where BRT could work splendidly.

    Remember, capacity on any corridor is ultimately determined by the most constrained point. 

    Derrp, so lets go with the more constrained mode.  Brilliant!

    Silliness aside about people somehow having trouble boarding buses (with
    prepaid fare), the boarding is simply not where a surface transit
    system would be facing its real capacity constraints.

    Nobody has “trouble” boarding. They load board as quickly, and that’s a channel limitation. Buses run up on it far faster than trains because buses can’t normally exceed the length of an articulated bus – that limitation is demonstrated rather succinctly here.

    The major constraints are the choke points across the East River.  And
    all deliberate ignorance aside, a BRT network would provide at least as
    much system capacity as a surface rail system over the bridges.

    Get over yourself. Just because you can’t understand why you’re wrong doesn’t mean I’m guilty of “deliberate ignorance.”

    Please don’t continue pretending that the XBL doesn’t provide greater
    capacity than regional rail.

     

    Let’s see your proof for this unsubstantiated claim, please.  Come on. Let’s have it. You keep saying it.  You keep accusing me of not supplying facts, but can’t pony up this simple, basic one.

    And please tell me you’re capable of telling the difference between usage and capacity.

    With so many rail tunnels, not a single
    one approaches its performance.

    Why do you suppose that is?  Could it have nothing to do with tunnel capacity constraints, and everything to do with the fact that there is demand spread out over so many rail tunnels, and only one meaningfully useful bus tunnel into Midtown? Does this possibility (actually, probability) cross your mind at all?

    And they DO have multiple routes that
    converge as well; local and express routes merge onto single tracks
    through the tunnels.

    True, though usually two or so tops. Not nearly every route in the New Jersey. And, they don’t typically converge and diverge.  They usually converge and operate in a single channel, meaning they have to be timed to respect each other’s station dwell times and the like.

    But you know that, since you know so much about operating flexibility, right?

  • Closing this thread in 3, 2, 1…

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