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  1. Perhaps a good middle ground could be making it an SBS route. That way, at least it wouldn't be slowed down at stops for fare payment. I'm not saying that there shouldn't be a free subway shuttle, but the MTA probably won't budge with something like that. If there's ever going to be a free subway shuttle, it'll have to be run or at the very least subsidized by the Port Authority. The real solution is rail, and when I say rail, I don't mean that stupid AirTrain route to connect with an overcrowded subway and an LIRR station that trains never stop at. I mean a subway to the airport, like every other major city in the world. The N (and Q, although by the time this becomes a thing, IF it becomes a thing, it'll be the W) should be extended along the Grand Central Parkway to LGA. It's the best solution: the N terminates so close to LaGuardia, right along the Grand Central Parkway, and then goes into the heart of midtown Manhattan. Perhaps trains between LGA and Manhattan in the peak direction could use the center express track on the BMT Astoria Line. That way, there can be the business/tourist express between LaGuardia and Manhattan's central business district. It's been proposed many times, many ways. Make it happen. TL;DR: while a free shuttle would be good, what we really need is to extend the N train to LGA. Till then, an incremental improvement such as a Port Authority-operated free shuttle or a Q70 SBS would help. However, the MTA is unlikely to drop the fare unless someone (cough it up, Port Authority!) covers their losses.
  2. They look quite NICE. I saw one or two XN40s at Roosevelt Field yesterday- can't wait to ride one.
  3. I understand both sides. On one hand, suburbanites like their more "premium" service and, already enduring a standing room only commute, especially with timed transfers on the LIRR at Jamaica from several trains to one train heading into Manhattan, don't want more people on their trains. On the other, people also live further out because they can't afford to live in Manhattan, or because of decentralized job/housing growth. Therefore, it's simply a waste of track in many cases to only run infrequent commuter trains. In my opinion, the best solution is to drop the fare and create a common zone-fare system for all MTA rail services along with a MetroCard replacement that supports varied fares based in distance travelled. This would coincide with a proof-of-payment system being introduced on commuter rail, in which passengers would be fined for not tapping in or purchasing a ticket at the station unless there aren't ticket machines at the station. This would mean that staff on commuter trains could be slimmed down, allowing more trains to be run at a lower cost, and more importantly, people can take whatever service makes more sense, without being limited by fare differences on systems controlled by the same authority. Now, people can take whatever service makes the most sense; however, many commuter trains bypass stations, and those that don't are now suddenly significantly more crowded. The solution to this is to start a service akin to the London Overground that provides more subway-like service using either FRA-compliant EMUs outfitted for metro-like service or just normal subway cars with additional seating (depending on if an FRA waiver could be obtained) in addition to commuter trains via the commuter rail lines. This could extend from inner suburbs, through the outer boroughs, and into Manhattan, improving service for all. Within New York City, trains will take loads off the subway and effectively serve as an expansion of the subway system into underserved areas. Meanwhile in inner suburbs, these trains will increase service to suburbs such as Nassau County and Westchester, while also benefitting the whole systems by allowing passengers to transfer at, for example (in the LIRR's case), Valley Stream or Mineola to a commuter train continuing outbound, pushing transfers out of Jamaica (again, LIRR) and reducing crowding on all trains. TL;DR: The solution is to make like Europe and blur the lines between services, allowing an expansion of both suburban service and subway-like services within New York City via a London Overground-type approach. Will it be expensive? Yes. Can it be done faster and cheaper than building new subways while maximizing the use of existing track? Yes.
  4. I just saw one of the new XD40s go by on the N27. Looked pretty slick. Wish I had a need to ride it; I would've if I did. Funny thing is that it was preceded by an Orion V with a broken destination sign. The part where it would normally say the route number said "NOT", as in "Not in Service", while the other side was working as normal, so the destination sign said "NOT GLEN COVE". <3 NICE
  5. Too lazy to copy/paste in the whole article, so here's a link: http://secondavenuesagas.com/2015/10/13/can-we-talk-about-that-other-other-mta-problem-now/ I agree completely. The MTA's outrageously high construction costs, and also the amount of time it takes them to complete these projects, should be investigated and fixed. Take the Jubilee Line extension in London for example: it went over budget, at the equivalent of over $5 billion (£3.3 billion) for a line roughly 10 miles long and 11 stations, built in about seven years. The stations are beautiful- I think Canary Wharf was compared to a cathedral. Compare that to phase 1 of the Second Avenue Subway: $4.5 billion for 2 miles of tunnel and three new stations, and it will have taken around nine years to build when it opens in 2016. When the full 8.5 mile long line opens, if that ever happens, it is predicted to have costed over $17 billion. Compare that to Crossrail, another rail project in London. Admittedly, construction will have costed in the twenty billions when it is complete. However, it'll be almost twice as long as the Second Avenue Line at around 21 km, and will have only taken about 10 years to build. I understand that they have to build around more stuff and under a city with some much taller buildings, but nonetheless, this doesn't justify such a ridiculous cost difference. Something needs to be done to allow the subway to expand at reasonable costs in a reasonable amount of time. Subways are the lifeblood of New York City and the best way to get around, and it'll cripple our region's continued growth if our transit system can't grow with us.
  6. I'd say that the Staten Island north shore BRT should be light rail, but if they're going to build light rail on Staten Island, it should be on the west shore, and connect to the HBLR. That being said, if they're going to build light rail on Staten Island, people will want it in Queens on old LIRR ROW, and on the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront. Then people will want Triboro RX to be a thing. If they can get that done, there's no reason why we can't have the Second Avenue Subway going from the Bronx to Brooklyn with express tracks. While we're at it, let's renovate all of the stations with platform edge doors and high, arched ceilings. Replace all of the R32s, R62s, and R68s with new articlulated trains... oh-oh! They can have vinyl seats. Yaaaaaaas. Okay, now let's build subways up 10th Avenue and across 125th to LaGuardia, and if we're converting SBS routes into subways, let's also do the Bx12. Also, why not extend the 7 out to Secaucus, and the E out to Syosset- yaaas gurl yaaaaaaas! My point is that unless they give the MTA significantly more funding, we can't demand much from them. Ask not what the MTA can do for you, but what you can do for the MTA.
  7. I'm not too knowledgeable about the system, having only ridden three routes, but I am knowledgeable about the need to get people out of their cars. Let's face it: the bus-riding population in Nassau County is a minority, and few people who don't have to ride it do. The buses are decent for those who have no other choice, but aren't convenient or frequent enough to get people who can afford to drive out of their cars. In fact, most people I know don't even know that NICE exists. The idea I'm about to propose is a little more radical than the others here, but I think it can be viable. I realize that lower density suburbs like the majority of Nassau County are harder to serve by public transportation; however, most towns have a few main roads and a few points of interest. For example, the town I live in is highly interlaced with another town; together they have two LIRR stations, a few shopping areas, two of which are located on walkable parts of main roads, a few parks, a few good restaurants, a high school, and two harbor beaches (I live on the north shore, if you're wondering). All of this is located for the most part along three main roads. What if NICE, with heavy subsidies from and perhaps joint ventures with town governments, could build simple, reliable local shuttle bus systems with distinct brands and noticeable stops to link up points of interest within towns? In order to get people out of their cars, they need to be convenient, with buses reliably showing up as often as every ten minutes, visible, with attractive bus shelters and distinct brands, inexpensive, with a fare of around $1 payable with bills or a MetroCard (and perhaps refill machines at major stops), and easy to figure out, with information regarding routes, fares, and schedules located at each stop, and both visible and audible onboard route and stop announcements. The buses would also be equipped with system information brochures, and preferably comfortable seats/outlets/WiFi to further attract riders. These systems could also take cues from the Flex-Bus in Cape Cod, allowing people to both "flag" the bus down, and request in advance for the bus to "flex" off the route to pick them up closer to their house. This way, they'd serve as catalysts, both to encourage awareness and the use of public transportation, and to encourage more walkable transit-oriented development along the routes they serve. The initial fiscal barrier to creating and running these systems would be justified by the reduction in traffic and overall quality of life improvements that public transit and walking can lead to.
  8. I think I'm the only one who doesn't like her. She sounds so sad/angry. Don't get me wrong, aside from the extreme crowding (which only proves that they're necessary), I love the and , but she sounds like she's in an argument with her husband while she's recording these announcements. "This is a Manhattan-bound 5 express train" was said while she was running from him and out of breath, "The next stop is" was recorded while she was crying, "Church Avenue" was recorded as an exclamation, and "Grand Central - 42nd Street" (bolding for emphasis) was recorded with a bit of sass. Sorry if I sound critical, but I'm glad they're replacing her with someone who doesn't sound so sad.
  9. I proposed two solutions: either use gap fillers, or divert the different trains onto different tracks at stations, with a cross-platform transfer, to ensure compatibility. I didn't know that gap fillers weren't ADA compliant; however, aside from the sides of the platforms, which can be solved by diverting onto two tracks with correctly sized platforms or by using gauntlet tracks, as Jcb suggested, and the different location of the train stops, which can be solved with stops on both sides, I don't see why an IND-class line can't handle an IRT train.
  10. My proposal involves one new line, which would officially be two separate lines. More on that later. The first line (or really, part of the line) would be the IRT 125th Street Line, which would diverge from the IRT Broadway/Seventh Avenue Line and run crosstown via a new subway under (you guessed it) 125th Street. There have been several calls for a 125th Street crosstown line, with some even saying that it's more important than the IND Second Avenue Line (which I disagree with). In fact, the Second Avenue Line is planned to include provisions for an extension down 125th (as well as into the Bronx). However, I don't think 125th Street justifies the extra expenses of a B division-caliber line, and since a project as expensive as this would need to have as much of the expenses shaved off as possible, an IRT line is more than sufficient. The line would have two tracks, as express service across 125th Street would be mostly unnecessary, and would share most of it's stops with the M60 Select Bus Service, save for Madison Avenue, Lexington Avenue, and Madison Avenue, which would be merged into one stop at Park Avenue or Lexington Avenue, and connect with Metro-North, the 4, 5, and 6 trains, and the Q and T when those are running, which would probably be before something like this is even considered. It would then extend across to Queens via a new East River tunnel, possibly with a stop on Randall's Island, then go aboveground, most likely prior to the Astoria Boulevard station, where it would connect with the N train. The second part of the line would be called the MTA Grand Central Parkway Line. Why would you call it an MTA line and not an IRT/IND/BMT line, you may ask? Glad you asked. The line would be capable of handling both A division (IRT) trains, and B division (IND/BMT) trains. Now, before you accuse me of a felony and imprison me for 7 years for saying this, allow me to explain how this would work. The two reasons why you can't run an A division train on a B division line are that A division trains are more narrow than a B division trains, meaning that the gap between the train and the platform would be too big, and that the train stops, which activate the emergency break if the train attempts to bypass a red signal, are on different sides. Work trains are built to IRT standard, which is smaller than B division standard and thus will work fine on B division tracks, and have stop switches on both sides so that the functionality will be provided on both A and B division lines. So, the solution is to build an IND-class line, with track or retrofitted trains with train stops on both sides (although a CBTC-enabled line would negate the need for that, except in the case of a malfunction that would require the use of a backup signaling system), and at stations, either diverge the tracks to serve separate A and B division-compatible platforms, or have a moving platform to fill the gap, similar to the system used at the South Ferry loop on the 1 train. An ATS system that can tell trains apart, which would be standard with CBTC, would be able to tell the signaling system and platforms which side to raise the train stop on, and if a gap filler is necessary. The line would be connected to the 125th Street Line as well as to the BMT Astoria Line, and would run either alongside or above the Grand Central Parkway, with stops at Astoria Boulevard (where a free "Transfer is available to the N train") 31st Street, Steinway Street, and 77th Street. These stations would be accessible from the sidewalks of Astoria Boulevard via a footbridge. The line would then either swing north, going near/under/around 81st Street to LaGuardia's marine terminal, or would continue along the Grand Central Parkway, before slightly branching off to provide convenient access to the airport via separate stations at terminals B, C, and D. The line would then terminate at LaGuardia - Terminal D station. An extension of the Astoria Line to LaGuardia via tracks running alongside or above the Grand Central Parkway has been proposed before, and shot down by NIMBYs. The solution that's currently being pursued is building a new AirTrain from Mets - Willets Point on the 7 and LIRR to LaGuardia. However, in my opinion, that's a horrible idea, since it would increase crowding even more on the 7, which would be brutal for the daily commuters, especially if the crowding stems from travelers with bulky luggage. The best way to link the airports with the rest of the city by rail is with New York City's quintessential form of transportation: the subway. If the NIMBYs object, we can tie them up, duct tape their mouths shut, and throw them into an abandoned Culver Shuttle station. The trains serving the 125th Street Line and the Grand Central Parkway Line would be a revived 9 train, and the N train. The new 9 train would provide additional local service on the Broadway - Seventh Avenue Line (local for two reasons: there's already enough express service on that line from the 2 and 3, and local trains are better for tourists who are unfamiliar with the system, since they don't have to worry about if their station is an express stop), extending from the South Ferry loop (giving people from Staten Island easy access via the ferry) up to 125th Street, where it would turn onto the 125th Street Line, continue into the Grand Central Parkway Line, and terminate at LaGuardia Airport. This new 9 train would effectively replace the M60 Select Bus Service, which could then in turn be discontinued or downgraded to a local bus, with the far superior service available from a rail line. Also, the 9 would preferably use R188 stock for two reasons: to take advantage of possible CBTC on the new line, and because it's automated announcement system is good for tourists who are unfamiliar with the system. Meanwhile, the N train would diverge from the Astoria Line onto the Grand Central Parkway Line after the Astoria Boulevard station, and then extend to LaGuardia Airport. This arrangement would be similar to the A train in that you can get on a Ditmars Boulevard-bound N train or a LaGuardia Airport-bound N train. If they decide to bring back the W train to fill the gap in services on the Astoria Line after Q trains begin running up Second Avenue, the N could run to LaGuardia and the W to Ditmars, or the other way around. One more thing: the new stations along the Grand Central Parkway would be fairly normal aboveground stations, however, the stations at LaGuardia terminals would be equipped with a "visitor center" of sorts, which would include a station attendant, plenty of MetroCard machines, and an abundance of maps, brochures, and posters to explain the system. The trains, in addition to the standard "This is a LaGuardia Airport-bound 9 local train. The next stop is..." would have announcements for what airlines serve the terminal. Something along the lines of "This is: LaGuardia Terminal B. Airlines serving Terminal B include: Air Canada, American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, United Airlines, and Virgin America." Travelers would also benefit from an announcement played as the train exits the LaGuardia area to welcome them to New York City and briefly explain the subway system, including local/express trains, number/letter and color/coding, the availability of maps in each car and station as well as online and in brochures available from station ticket agents, and the availability of 511 and MTA.info for information on possible service changes.
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