Today’s Headlines

  • Bloomberg’s Substitute for ARC: Extend the 7 to Secaucus (NYT, Post, Transpo Nation, NY1)
  • Gene Russianoff Pens a Transit To-Do List for Incoming Gov Cuomo (News)
  • Trends in Subway Performance Heading in the Wrong Direction (Post)
  • Driver Kills 58-Year-Old Woman Crossing Street in Queens; No Charges Filed (News)
  • Lexus Driver Injures Mother and Child on Astoria Sidewalk; Headline: “SUV Loses Control” (News)
  • Students at PS 261 Know All About Why NYers Should Stop Speeding (City Room, WNYC)
  • Shocker: Southern Brooklyn Motorists Complaining About Nostrand SBS Project (Post)
  • NYC Transit Officials to Riders: Albany Raids Are Killing Us (NY1)
  • Assemblyman Michael Benedetto’s Stimulus Plan: Free Holiday Parking (News)
  • Cyclist Injured on Sixth Ave Says It Was a Door-and-Run (Bklyn Paper)
  • Some Brooklyn CB 10 Members Feeling Grumpy About Bay Ridge Intersection Plan (Bklyn Paper)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Glenn

    The Secaucus 7 train plan makes so much sense that it definitely won’t happen.

  • Larry Littlefield

    It was proposed by City Planning in the mid-1990s.

    It was rejected because the suburban agencies held that suburban residents wouldn’t want to ride it, because the subway was low class transportation full of low class people. And that was before the deterioration that is just getting started.

    So what NYC transit service should be cut to fund the net operating cost of running the train to NJ? That’s my question — why should New York pay for this when Gene Russianoff is proposing to cut back the transit expansions serving New York? If NJ wants to pay and it can be run at a profit, fine,

    There is another aspect that isn’t being considered. If it suceeded, you’d have thousands of more people squeezing out of the Grand Central stop on the Flushing Line. I’m not sure there would be enough capacity at the exits to prevent the plaform from filling and having people be unable to exit the trains. So a mezzanine and many more staircases/escalators would have to be built.

    Which reminds me, $800 million for one local station? Give me a break? How about $100 million?

  • If it was easier to get to Montclair from Grand Central, more families would move to Montclair. They might keep one job in Manhattan, but the second job would probably move to Jersey, and the family would spend child-care and home-improvement money in Jersey. Why should New York pay to move jobs and spending across the river?

  • Yuck

    “Authorities didn’t charge the unidentified 73-year-old driver, who explained that he tried to hit the brakes, but the vehicle didn’t stop.”

    Wow, it is that easy to not get a ticket if you drive a car. Speed with impunity, but – whoops! – I tried to stop and couldn’t even though I was driving recklessly. But NYPD officers can pull over a cyclist and write a ticket for gliding their bike on to a sidewalk and dismounting immediately to get to a store or home. Do you think the NYPD would still write the ticket if the cyclist said – “Oh I lost control of the bike for a moment as I came close to the sidewalk.”?

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Why should New York pay to move jobs and spending across the river?”

    Well the argument would be that transit options were expanding for everyone. But NY is already paying for East Side Access, the Second Avenue Subway, and the Flushing extension. The federal share of the former two projects is something like 30% or less; in the latter project it is zero.

    Bottom line, NJ needs to pay. And NY needs to complete the projects on its side of the river on schedule at a fair price.

  • Shemp

    The 7 plan is just EDC/West Side developers trying to figure out once again how to finance the 10th Avenue Station. It doesn’t make any regional transportation sense at all. Few who are already on a NJ Transit commuter train heading for Manhattan are going to switch to the slower subway in order to get a little further east across Midtown. NJ will not put up money for this, the feds are not going to do anything in NJ while this guy is governor, and locals/enviros will fight any plan to turn Secaucus into a giant park and ride. Also note the total absence of any MTA comment in the Times piece.

  • “The argument would be that transit options were expanding for everyone.”

    A trans-Hudson subway extension would, like ARC, expand transit only on the margins. Speeding trips from Secaucus to Times Square, Grand Central, and Queens would allow people to live farther out in New Jersey and still have reasonable commutes. I’m not sure that NJT would invest heavily enough in the reverse-direction trains necessary to facilitate New Yorkers coming by subway to New Jersey jobs.

    And as you point out, Larry, adding more passengers to the existing subway system would require more operating spending and probably more capital spending too, on those new mezzanines.

  • Shemp

    “Speeding trips from Secaucus to Times Square, Grand Central, and Queens would allow people to live farther out in New Jersey and still have reasonable commutes.”

    No, it wouldn’t. You have to get to Secaucus first. If you’re already on the train, why switch at Secaucus? Times savings to Grand Central remain to be shown and I doubt they exist when you add the wait at Secaucus. Through-market to Queens negligible.

  • J. Mork

    Just noticed at
    that the Grand Army Plaza enhancement are now listed as Summer 2011 (instead of Fall 2010).

    Maybe they are waiting for the PPW kerfuffle to play out a bit more?

  • Shemp, not every train to Secaucus continues on to Manhattan. Since no. 7 trains currently run every 120 seconds or so at rush hour, the wait would be immaterial.

  • kevd

    The 7 would go through hoboken – which in any reasonable world would already be connected to the subway.
    And what’s behind it up the hill, is that part of Weehawken? That too. land use there is a lot like brooklyn and queens and not particularly like lots of more suburban and exurban NJ.

    Subway expansion is preferable to commuter rail, as under current conditions commuter rail can help spur sprawl, why the closer stations of a subway or of light rail spur urban development and infill.

  • capt subway

    NJ spoke as regards the ARC tunnel. They blew it. Why should NYCT and NYC build any sort of tunnel for them?

    NYC, particularly the borough Queens, is starved for adequate proper rail rapid transit. The #7 and Queens Blvd lines are grossly over-crowded and carrying far more passengers than they were designed to handle. How about subway extensions in Queens? There are bell mouths all over the place on the existing subway structures ready for extensions. To wit:

    East (subway north) of 21st/Queensbridge the provisions exist for an extension of the 63rd St line, possibly out Northern Blvd to to Jackson Hts and LaGuardia?

    The right-of-way of the defunct Rockaway Branch of the LIRR, between White Pot Jct (Rego Park) and Liberty Jct sits unused and ready for revival as a possible one seat ride between Midtown & JFK.

    The tunnel connections exist east (subway south) of Euclid Ave (“A” & “C”) for an extension to southeast Queens.

    There are any number of other rail projects in Queens, and the other outer boroughs, that cry out for consideration. Bloomie, you’re the mayor of NYC – all five boroughs of it! Keep the money here.

  • Mike

    Not to mention that neither the E nor the J was supposed to terminate at Jamaica. The purpose of that big construction project was to run them together for two stations, then have them diverge, one to the east and the other to the southeast, through areas of Queens that are starved for subway access.

    The 7 and F trains should both be extended eastward as well.

  • eliot

    I am very disappointed that no one has made a joke about The Return of the Secaucus 7. No John Sayles fans here?

  • Yuck

    The 7 should be connected to a more residential area in addition to Secaucus. After all Hoboken/Jersey City is essentially a borough of NYC. And also NYC anchors should learn that the proper pronunciation of it is “SEE-kaw-kus”!

  • @ J. Mork,

    Yes, and any pedestrian, cyclist or driver injured in Grand Army Plaza between now and next summer can thank the “Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes” for perpetuating the unsafe conditions for nine months more than they needed to be.

  • The Secaucus station would be closer to Manhattan than most subway stations in Queens. Why would it necessarily generate a big park-and-ride lot and more suburbanization, rather than more transit-oriented development?

    It is odd that everyone at this site seemed to back ACR but everyone seems to oppose 7 extension. Why didn’t people make the same arguments against ACR? If the 7 extension would spur suburbanization, overload the subways (per Larry), or not be used (per Shemp), then the same is true of ARC. The only differences are that ARC would cost much more, would add the inconvenience of a transfer at Grand Central, and would displace more local businesses.

    However, I agree with all those who say NJ should pay for this extension, as for ARC. I think Christie was wrong to withdraw the funding for ARC, as most everyone on this site said. I hope he will provide some funding for this much less expensive project.

  • correction: I meant ARC would involve a transfer to the subway at Penn Station, not Grand Central

  • Larry Littlefield

    I’m not against the extension. I just don’t want transit in NY to be cut to pay for it, including any operating subsidy that would be required.

    We are already paying for ours, and without much help from the Port Authority of (percentage wise) from the federal government. Our taxes our higher, and our services are in many cases less than across the river.

  • I’m not a big fan of the 7 line extension as it currently stands, but it makes a lot of sense to me. Connecting through Secaucus makes a trip to Newark Airport a bit faster (and probably cheaper) than a trip from Penn Station for East Siders.

    I saw the Secaucus station right after a NY Giants game this fall when it was full of people waiting for the ‘Train to the Game’ to take them back home. Seems like you’d create an excellent relief valve for football fans connecting from Westchester/Connecticut (or who live in Queens or Long Island).

    New Jersey should pay it’s share for such a project, but New Yorkers will benefit from any resulting mode shift away from cars into Manhattan.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Also, the subway overload problem is at one point — on the stairs and escalators entering and leaving the 42nd Street/Grand Central staion, as trains from both directions could simultaneously unload perhaps half their capacity onto a single platform with limited points of access 80 feet below the street. At the least, more stairs and mezzanines would probably be required along 42nd Street between Lex and Park.

    There is no capacity problem otherwise. The Flushing line carries 107,000 people across the river from Queens, and could presumably do the same across the Hudson. NJT carries 73,000 people direct to Penn.

  • J

    FIrst, I think NJ must pay for some of this. This makes a lot of sense, though. It would provide a much simpler connection to Grand Central (& Metro North) for all sorts of regions:

    1) All NJ transit trains that currently terminate at Penn Station. Instead of getting off at Penn Station & transferring to #1/2/3 then to the shuttle, they can simply transfer to the #7 at Secaucus.

    2) All NJ Transit Trains that terminate in Hoboken (Main Line/Bergen County Line/Meadowlands). Instead of transferring at Secaucus to another NJ Transit train, and then transferring to #1/2/3 then to the shuttle, they can simply transfer to the #7 at Secaucus.

    3) All places served by the HBLR, could transfer to the connection to the #7 via a station in Hoboken. This would ease congestion on the PATH, and would provide a much quicker connection between the densest areas of NJ and the jobs and services in NYC.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “All places served by the HBLR, could transfer to the connection to the #7 via a station in Hoboken.”

    The Flushing Line wouldn’t go to Hoboken, which has PATH. It would go direct to Secaucus. Otherwise, NJT riders would be crush-loaded for too long.

  • @#3

    Exactly Jonathan, methinks Mike hasn’t thought this one out thoroughly. Mayors grow tax bases, not shrink them.

    I’d be all for this extension to another state if the return-on-investment helped bankroll the completion of the five boroughs’ long deferred subway extensions.

  • Mike

    Larry, are you sure the plan is to avoid intermediate stops? This project seems like it would be much more viable — and would do much more for TOD — with intermediate stops in Hoboken or Union City, depending on the route. Union City in particular is a VERY dense city — in fact, it’s the densest city in the US, in large part because it’s pretty much entirely residential land — with no rail transportation.

  • J. Mork

    Thanks for that info, Eric.

    Mike, the HBLR stops in Union City — doesn’t that count as rail? (Not to say that wouldn’t be a good connection to have.)

  • Larry Littlefield

    There was some talk of the MTA’s Doomsday scenario being the measures they have already taken. In Pittsburg, they have a real doomsday scenario, one we may yet see.

    “The 35 percent reduction in March would fully eliminate about 48 routes, end all weekend service on 13 others and cause across-the-board cuts in service on the routes that remain. Some 555 of the authority’s 2,755 employees are expected to be laid off.”

    “We’re now into the mode of looking at next year’s budget and having to cut service further,” spokesman Jim Ritchie said. “It’s likely that we would have to move ahead with a proposal to reduce service again.”

    On the fare side, in a place with a much lower wage level than New York and much worse transit servce:

    “The authority also is planning a Jan. 1 fare increase. The base Zone 1 fare will rise by 25 cents, to $2.25. The Zone 2 fare will go up 50 cents, to $3.25, and the cost of a transfer will rise 25 cents, to $1. Prices for passes and tickets also will go up.”

    “The authority also is in the midst of a comprehensive overhaul designed to eliminate low-ridership routes and concentrate service where demand is highest.”

    In New York, that is the equivalent of limited transit service to the subway and a handful of heavily used bus routes.

  • Mike

    The problem with HBLR is that it’s a 3-seat ride to much of the CBD, and a 2-seat ride at best. I guess I should have said “direct rail to the CBD”.

  • I’ve always thought it was idiotic that the subway trains all cross over to neighborhoods in the east, but stop at the edge of Manhattan because of some invisible human-made line.

    If the other side of the river were part of NYC, they would have had subway service since the 1930s.

  • kevd

    @ #23
    Larry, where did anything say there would not be intermediate stops? Did you see some specific plans that we didn’t?
    Directly across the river from the terminus of the 7 train extension is the northern end of Hoboken.
    No stop in Hoboken would be completely foolish. (not that any of this is ever going to happen)

  • I expect that, if NJ kicks in money, they will want intermediate stops in return. So far, we just have a preliminary proposal, and we have a long way to go to get the final proposal.

  • Doug

    jass: There’s a great book “722 miles” (gosh took me about 20 minutes to figure out how many miles were in the title…) about the construction of the subways. I believe in the 1910s when the IRT was seen as too powerful, the owner of the future PATH system was in discussions to expand the existing cross-Hudson routes into Manhattan. However, financing troubles put an end to that.

    Jordan: A little heeded fact on Streetsblog is that transit does not REDUCE congestion, it simply allows more trips to take place without expanding car capacity. See: LA Streetsblog regarding the LA subway expansion projects. There’s a big difference: Manhattanites are unlikely to get much relief from the present flood of cars; any empty street space will be happily consumed by other commuters. That’s not to say the projects are without merit, but don’t claim the congestion will ever get better.

  • @Yuck Only people who live in Hoboken/Jersey City believe it’s essentially a borough of NYC. Those of us who pay New York City taxes, vote in New York City elections, pay ConEd, and don’t even think of owning a car know otherwise.

    I’m not sure if Secaucus located in one of New Jersey’s enterprise zones but other towns, like Jersey City are. I remember when I used to shop at the Secaucus Home Depot it was well worth the trip because their prices and sales tax was considerably lower than in New York City. The City could find itself in the position of encouraging out of state shopping and losing sales tax dollars in the process.

  • Shemp

    ARC would be very heavily used (as is NJT rail today) because it would provide one-seat rides from all over northern and central NJ to Manhattan. That was the point of it. The #7 extension doesn’t even remotely come close on this score.

  • ARC Alt P would provide a one-seat ride to Penn Station on a slow, overweight train taking a loopy route. Even the 7 to Secaucus, with a faregated transfer and very little reverse-peak traffic, would be far better.

  • Gargamel Tralfaz

    Why don’t we pour the money into flying magic carpets. Now we are talking!!

  • J. Mork

    Is that another way of saying Shweeb?

  • ChrisC

    Another tunnel is needed to NJ, but I think the 7 train should be expanded South, to the World Trade Center. It could either end there, or interline to Brooklyn on one of the existing lines.

    The 7 extension as-is does nothing for people wanting to travel between 11th/34th to downtown.

  • J:Lai

    I’m a big fan of Jersey, but seriously NY can not afford this nonsense right now. Unless NJ both pays for construction costs AND makes permanent contribution to the MTA this is too huge a giveaway. Property values in Secaucus would skyrocket, and unless NY gets a share of that revenue in perpetuity I fail to see how this is a good investment for NY.

    Creating better transit links between job and resi centers in the boroughs would be far more rewarding for NY. (ie a super-G train before a 7 to NJ)