Today’s Headlines

  • DOT May Extend Fulton Street Bus Lanes to Clinton Hill (Bklyn Paper)
  • Third Avenue and Seventh Avenue — Throwbacks to 1950s Street Design (AMNY)
  • Port Authority Mulls $4 Fee for Taxi Pick-Ups and Drop-Offs at Airports (News)
  • Daily News: Forget the AirTrain to LaGuardia and Extend the N Instead
  • DOT Watered Down Its Bike Lane Plan for the DUMBO Section of Jay Street (Bklyn Paper)
  • City Limits Surveys the State of Street Safety in NYC
  • Why Exactly Are These North Brooklyn Merchants So Upset About the L Train Replacement Plan? (DNA)
  • What It Would Take to Complete Cuomo’s 750-Mile Empire State Trail System (NYT)
  • Midtown South Precinct Uses Ninth Avenue Turn Lane as “Overflow Parking” (DNA)
  • Thanks, Robert Moses (Post)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Larry Littlefield

    It wasn’t 9/11 that killed the N to LaGuardia. It was City Council Speaker Peter Vallone of Astoria.

  • Seth Rosenblum
  • Vooch

    Midtown South needs 1/10 the vehicles it currently has.

  • Do you think that you could give descriptive headlines for Post stories, rather than something like “Thanks, Robert Moses”? This would save the need to actually give hits to that “newspaper”.

  • reasonableexplanation

    So regarding that article (it’s the Cross Bronx), given that it’s the road taken to bypass NYC/go over the GWB, rather than go right through midtown, what would have been a better option? Keep in mind this is a main link for longer distance travel and shipping; not necessarily the sort of travel that’s easily replaceable by transit. Route cars to local streets? Better connections to the tappan zee? Route everyone through the VNB/BQE?

  • bolwerk

    Heh. I’ve wondered about that too. Sometimes the Post may have some detail others are lacking, or a scoop, but usually it’s the crappiest at reporting on a given story. Several newspapers around the country covered this, and a cursory Google search finds at least three New York sources.

  • Maybe a road crossing the Bronx right at the City line would be better. The problem with the Cross Bronx Expressway is that it plowed right through existing neighbourhoods, destroying them. But the City line is a border already; so an east-west highway at that location would surely have been less disruptive.

  • bolwerk

    Lots and lots of small things are probably the solution. For instance, the cross-bay freight tunnel is part of the answer. It doesn’t only shorten rail trips for local NYC freight. It’s also a much better route to New England than any that exist now.

  • reasonableexplanation

    At the city line? You mean the Maj. Deegan? Or do you mean at the northern end of Bronx, past van cortlandt park?

  • Larry Littlefield

    Fewer cars, since it is an absolutely critical route for freight? (Same for the BQE).

    The new Tappan Zee, along with the completion of I-287, might influence some trucks to New England to bypass the city. A direct exit was added from I-87 to I-84 not long ago for the same reason. The wider Staten Island Expressway and new Goethals might attract some trucks that way.

    But there are more than 8 million people on Long Island, plus the 3 million in the Bronx and Manhattan. Compared with just 5 million in southern New England. And the GW is the main truck route there.

  • Larry Littlefield

    They built the GW before the Cross Bronx.

  • bolwerk

    Regarding the N, “The right train to the plane: Cuomo’s Willets Point rail connector is the wrong way to help people get to LaGuardia” – why hasn’t everyone been screaming this since Cuomo first proposed the two-seat ride?

    One-seat rapid transit to the CBD is quite literally the most necessary, critical step to getting transit to an airport in a city the size of New York. A transfer is an unnecessary burden, especially when many people will need to yet again transfer in the CBD to get to their destination.

  • I meant the northern end of the Bronx, past both parks (Van Cortlandt and Pelham Bay), at the border between New York City and Westchester County.

  • That is true. So my imaginary City Line Highway would have an exit for the Henry Hudson Parkway to get to the bridge.

  • Joe R.

    We should be screaming this at the top of our lungs. The biggest mistake with the JFK Airtrain was the fact it’s not a one-seat ride. And now we’re making the same mistake with this boondoggle. Even worse, the connection is the second to last stop on the #7 line. Any highly paid consultants who thought of this scheme should be required to give their fees back AND be blacklisted so nobody else will hire them. I’ve seen a lot of brain-dead ideas in my life, but this one tops the list. The best, really only, answer to a rail connection to LGA has always been to just extend the N. The extension would serve more than just people going to the airport.

  • RyanMcShane

    Was the plan always to run the LGA extension from Ditmars, the final stop? If Astorians objected to new elevated tracks running through their neighborhoods, did anyone ever moot a plan to veer off one stop earlier, at Astoria Blvd./Grand Central Parkway?

    If the line branched from that stop shouldn’t there be some way to run tracks above the GCP itself (hint: correct answer is ‘yes’) thus avoiding the rumble and shadows of an elevated line inconveniencing neighborhood residents on the blocks where they live. There’s already a ROW running to the airport’s front door. Build the tracks above that.

    If, as I half suspect, I owe this site more due diligence before spouting off — i.e. this issue and my simplistic alternative has been hashed to death so RTFM already — please feel free to let me know. Links to further reading appreciated.

  • HamTech87

    thinking out loud here: what if JFK had a $5.00 pickup fee for all motorists, not just cabs? Any driver trying to reach the terminals has to pay the $5.00 fee. This might incentivize people to take the AirTrain to Jamaica, and get picked up or take LIRR or subway from there. At the very least, it would level the playing field between motorists and AirTrain riders.

  • reasonableexplanation

    But that would cut up neighborhoods as well; except for the parks, there’s not exactly a natural border. Plus it would still need to get back down to the GW, so what’s the benefit?

  • HamTech87

    Does anyone have a map of the proposed Empire State Trailway?

  • If we take as a given the need for a highway that crosses the Bronx, then I have to assume that the existing border is least bad place for it. I am not sure that there are too many neigbourhoods that cross the City line up there. Generally speaking, highways should skirt the periphery of a city, not cut through a city.

    And, as I mentioned to Larry, the imagined City Line Expressway would have an exit for the Henry Hudson Parkway to connect to the George Washington Bridge.

    Of course, we could remove the assumption that there has to be a highway crossing the Bronx in the first place. Perhaps use of the city streets would be better. There is no doubt that the highway induced more automobile use than there otherwise would have been, and created more trips. Without a highway there, people would have a lesser expectation of a direct across the Bronx; and a portion of those who currently make a trip on the Cross Bronx would simply decide not to, and would do something else with that time.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Was the plan always to run the LGA extension from Ditmars, the final stop?”


    “If Astorians objected to new elevated tracks running through their neighborhoods, did anyone ever moot a plan to veer off one stop earlier, at Astoria Blvd./Grand Central Parkway?”

    And abandon Ditmars, or have only some trains go to LaGuardia? That didn’t seem like a good idea.

    Another idea was to have the Airtrain run from JFK to LaGuardia and onto Long Island City, where a variety of trains could be changed to.

    That’s what was promised with the higher passenger facility charge at all three airports. The money was used to keep PATH fares low in the early 1990s recession instead. And then for other things.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The main role of this route is freight. The Parkway wouldn’t help with trucks.

  • Ah, good point. (I guess I was unduly influenced by interminable Sundays sitting on that f-ing thing as my parents dragged me to visits to retardo relatives in New Jersey.)

    I suppose then that a highway would have to be constructed on the coastline to get trucks down to the bridge. So we’d be trading a highway through the City for one on its periphery. Not a bad swap.

  • RyanMcShane

    Yeah, my not-fully-baked idea was that to have only some portion of the trains go to either destination, not to shutter the
    Ditmars stop. Put an airplane graphic on the front of LGA bound trains, or a diamond ”N” symbol or some such. Ridership studies could determine the precise split/apportionment of the lines.

    The two stations are only half a mile apart, and while Ditmars passengers would obviously end up with less service, the savings in cost (?) and NIMBY hassle could be a huge net benefit for the city, its visitors. Sideline the Vallones. Break ground tomorrow.

    Run an elevated line over the existing surface transit corridor.

  • ohnonononono

    I think they’re being intentionally vague about the exact routing, and I’m skeptical that it means much for us in the NYC area.

    “Construction of the Empire State Trail will be done in phases, starting with the western leg, from Buffalo to Albany.”

    I assume any work from the Hudson Valley to Manhattan won’t happen any time soon.

  • reasonableexplanation

    You know that crowd of people at the arrivals hall waiting for their family and friends? They’re already paying >$5 for the short term parking if they drove in (most probably did).

    Despite the cost of short term parking, it’s still usually pretty full. The whole point of cell phone lots being free, and the whole pick up/drop off line being free is that it gets people moving quickly in and out of the airport. If I had to pay an extra fee to pick up or drop off, it wouldn’t affect my decision to drive to the airport, I’d just maybe park at the short term lot instead.

    If you’re picking up family, you want to pick them up regardless of the fee. If friends, you’ll make them pay you back for the fee anyway.

    I don’t see the point of this.

  • kevd

    So you send the pick up drop off people to the Lefferts Blvd Airtrain, and charge to get right to the terminals.

  • kevd

    “We should be screaming this at the top of our lungs”
    anyone who knows anything has been.

  • kevd

    Or you use one level of the GWB the way it was originally designed to be expanded (for rail), the CB is a transit way & boulevard, and non-local traffic uses the Cross County and the TZB.
    We’re about 70 years past that happening, unfortunately.

  • reasonableexplanation

    Why? JFK is already pretty well suited for auto pick up and drop off, with its own highway and everything.

    Whether you’re driving to the Terminal directly or to the Lefferts station, the vast majority of your trip is the same anyway. So you’re not taking cars away from the rest of the highways, adding car infrastructure to the station, and making a one seat ride a 2 seat ride… for what reason, exactly?

  • kevd

    I always pick people up (its been a few years) from there because you avoid the hassle of driving through the terminals.
    Its just far easier for both parties. Its also free for both.

    If there is a reason for an access fee (like congestion AT the airport, and I’m not sure there is a reason for the fee other than the PA trying to get a few more $$$s where ever they can) then Lefferts is a very easy way to avoid such a fee.

    But mainly, I’m not sure why taxis should be subjected to the fee and personal vehicles aren’t when they’re creating the same amount of congestion. That’s just pandering, really.

  • reasonableexplanation

    Not sure there’s really all that much congestion in JFK itself; I’ve dropped off/picked up, and been dropped off/picked up many many times and the airport itself is generally fine.

    If you’re going to any part of Brooklyn or Queens that’s not right off the airtrain or LIRR route, car makes lots of sense.

    e.g. South Brooklyn: you would take airtrain to jaimaica->LIRR to Atlantic->Subway to home, which takes about an hour an a half, through 3 different train fares, vs. 20-25 minutes by car.

    Even with a 5 dollar fee it would be a no brainer.

  • Joe R.

    I agree with your skepticism. Hudson Valley to Manhattan is a big question mark. Manhattan to the other boroughs is a pipe dream. It’s a pity because I would love some sort of trail, perhaps a series of such trials, in the outer boroughs which connect to one going upstate. It could serve as interborough transportation, or a quick, stress-free route upstate.

  • bolwerk

    The DN editorial is one of the few articles in the media I’ve seen advocate for it. I’ve seen advocates and bloggers write/talk about it, but few people higher profile than Ben Kaback have made it a regular topic of discussion.

  • bolwerk

    JFK AirTrain is a crime of omission. JFK has numerous terminals, so it needs a people mover. The subway should serve the busiest terminal, and otherwise AirTrain should do what it currently does.

    LGA doesn’t need a people mover. It just needs a rail connection.

  • HamTech87

    Interesting. I don’t know anyone who uses the short term parking; everyone just orbits until the plane lands or stays in the cell phone lot.

  • HamTech87

    I find the Van Wyck a traffic nightmare, so reaching JFK is the same as sitting on the Van Wyck. I always wished there were some incentive for people to pick up at Jamaica (or Lefferts as @kevdflb:disqus mentioned — is Lefferts really free?).
    Either way, thanks for the thoughtful response.

  • kevd

    For southern Brooklyn most would do Air train to howard beach to the A to another train line. Huge pain in the ass… I’ve done it many times. Car is much faster.

  • kevd

    Yup. Its free. I promise. Its like the cell phone lot, but like, 8 people do it. The person you’re picking up just has to ride (for free) most of way to Howard Beach.

  • djx

    I do when meeting my wife. My wife did a few days ago when meeting her sister and brother-in-law.

    Those lots are well-used. Open your eyes – they have lots of cars in them and cars are driving in and out of them all the time.

  • ahwr

    Hudson valley-manhattan you have less than five miles from inwood park to brewster to improve. There are stretches closer to the river that aren’t paved and often interrupted, starting north from yonkers. Not sure where the easiest grade from the putnam trail to hopwell junction is, from there you have a trail to poughkeepsie and the walkway over the hudson. There’s a low use tourist railway that railtrail groups are trying to kill (or were a few years ago when I was riding in the area semi often) to extend the bike trail north from its current end just past the walkway over the hudson. In addition to filling in gaps there can be incremental improvements to what’s already built, but don’t expect any new cuts through the mountains or anything. Unless you’re doing multiday touring not many people would ride further than queens-brewster and back.

    Some links you might find interesting:

  • ahwr

    An earlier plan ran a light rail from JFK to LGA, stopping at Jamaica and shea stadium, then west to Manhattan. Maybe they’re trying to build it in phases.

  • bolwerk

    I think they are, or maybe more properly were. I don’t know what Cuomo is thinking, or if he’s putting any thought into this at all beyond “big project! big project! big project! big project! big project!” I haven’t even heard word as to whether the Cuomo LGA link will be compatible with the previous AirTrain work. If it is, maybe some good can come of it one day. But if Cuomo has this logic for siting the LGA route as he is, why doesn’t he say so? I think many would disagree with it, but it would actually show some awareness on his part at least.

    IIRC, what you refer to is the earlier, more ambitious outline of the AirTrain proposal. LGA to JFK by AirTrain may make sense, but building a parallel rail system just to get airport users to Manhattan seems utterly daft. A rail link to Manhattan is too valuable to be dedicated just to airport traffic. Airports can make okay rapid transit stations, but they are rarely abnormally busy ones.

  • redbike

    Thanks for that last link.

    > Not sure where the easiest grade from the putnam trail to
    > hopwell junction is

    Good question! Putnam County is called “Hudson Highlands” for a reason. Nothing in Putnam county is flat (including the reservoirs).

    I’ve noodled my way both northwest and northeast from Carmel. Putnam County also has towns named “Southeast” and “Southwest”. Directions through this region can sound like they were written by the Marx Brothers. Options available today include challenging climbs and precipitous descents which, IMHO, are well-rewarded by the scenery.

    A flatter alternative: A gleam in someone’s eye is “Rails With Trails” adjacent to the still-active Maybrook right-of-way from Danbury to Beacon. North of Melrose in the Bronx, it’s the only connection between Metro North’s New Haven, Harlem, and Hudson divisions. Directly relevant to this discussion: it’s a relatively flat route connecting Brewster and Hopewell Junction.

    > Unless you’re doing multiday touring not many people would
    > ride further than queens-brewster and back.

    The region directly north of New York City offers first-class opportunities for multiday bicycle tours. Superb trails provide secluded routes through densely populated suburbs. Farther north, suburbs change gradually to rural countryside but conveniences of civilization are never far away. It’s a great introduction to light-weight self-supported travel by bike without going far from home.