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A guest columnist in Daily News calls for 'light rail' to replace the 2nd Ave Subway


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Bring light rail to Second Avenue: It's time think beyond the subway on the East Side

 

By George Spitz

Manhattan civic activist

 

NY Daily News Guest Columnist

 

Friday, July 8th 2011

 

"With the decades-in-the-making Second Avenue subway line still a distant dream, it is time to think of new ideas for East Side public transport. Specifically, it is time to examine less costly and otherwise more feasible alternatives, particularly light rail, for relief of serious congestion on Lexington Avenue, especially since the first 1.7 miles of the Second Avenue (from 96th St. to 63rd) line won't be open until 2016, at a cost of several billions dollars.

 

The need for a new plan for East Side public transit relief became obvious on June 22, when MTA Senior Vice President for Capital Construction William Goodrich came to a meeting of Community Board 8 on the upper East Side and pleaded with board members to press local state senators and Assembly members for more money from Albany.

 

"Without additional funding, we won't really have the ability to procure the remaining three contracts," Goodrich told those present. Those three contracts are for stations at 96th, 86th and 72nd. Sts. - amazingly, the only upper East Side stops planned for the Second Avenue subway. So few stops, combined with the time and money it's taking to build them, has caused an overcrowded Lexington Avenue line, not to mention countless frustrated residents of the Bronx and Manhattan who are forced to use it daily as they travel up and down the East Side.

 

And remember, this is only Phase 1 of the project. The rest remains precariously up in the air. It is unclear when, if ever, the Second Avenue line will reach its final destination of Hanover Square in lower Manhattan. New Yorkers have already waited for more than half a century; we shouldn't have to wait much longer.

 

That's why light rail is a perfect solution. With estimated construction time of only two years and stops every two blocks - as opposed to every ten or even twenty - light rail provides faster and more convenient relief for congested Lexington Avenue subway ridership. New York's first grooved-rail tracks were laid in 1852; however, trolleys were soon supplanted by subways. But maybe it's time for that trend to finally reverse."

 

 

For rest of the article:

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2011/07/08/2011-07-08_bring_light_rail_to_second_avenue_its_time_think_beyond_the_subway_on_the_east_s.html

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Another light rail activist. We see a lot of them in this city. I am pro light rail as well, but I think Second Avenue is too dense for light rail. I rather see light rail on Staten Island. Subway service could be sent to Staten Island along with light rail creating a balancing act, and bringing mass transit to an island that lacks in rail service besides the SIR.

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whats the difference between a light rail system and their select bus service, both are going to be at the mercy of traffic lights along 1st and 2nd avenue. The buses are an even cheaper plan because they don't need anything built, just a bus lane painted on the road.

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Light rail proposals aren't like streetcar proposals they run on their own ROW even though they might utilize a street as part of it's route. SBS is actually just like light rail as Fox has pointed out above me.

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I think a better question is why is the LIRR project for East Side Access moving along so smoothly as opposed to the SAS??? I watched a NY1 exclusive about the project last night and Jay Walder was taking in how the project was coming along and things seem to be going well there. I know the SAS project is much longer but still. Maybe more resources should've been given to the SAS project...

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The East Side Access is basically just a tunnel under the East River with several stations that runs for 2 miles. The Second Avenue Subway is an entire subway line that stretches down Second Avenue for nearly 8 miles. That is going to take much longer to build then anything else in NYC.

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The East Side Access is basically just a tunnel under the East River with several stations that runs for 2 miles. The Second Avenue Subway is an entire subway line that stretches down Second Avenue for nearly 8 miles. That is going to take much longer to build then anything else in NYC.

 

Not to mention most of the 2nd or LIRR tracks from the 63rd tunnel was already bulit.

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The East Side Access is basically just a tunnel under the East River with several stations that runs for 2 miles. The Second Avenue Subway is an entire subway line that stretches down Second Avenue for nearly 8 miles. That is going to take much longer to build then anything else in NYC.

 

Trust me, East side Access is much more than a tunnel under the East River with a station at GCT. As far as what's required, it's probably more complex than SAS. the difference is all the Manhattan work for ESA occurs 100+ feet below street level in virgin bedrock and the the public access work is in a exsclusive, already aquired area of GCT. All the excavation spoils gets hauled out through the tunnels to sunnyside, Queens. A complex project with all the right situations.

 

SAS has to contend directly with the streets of Manhattan and all it's traffic, people and utilities. Lord knows the more people you have to deal with the worse your construction situation. However look at the progress, one tunnel bore is done and the second is underway. I would say that's progress.

 

Back to topic. Light rails may be cheap cost wise, but would cripple that area with physical restrictions that come with light rail. If no one has noticed the trend, the way to go for new transportation in the city is down. The SAS is a good investment, and those take time and money.

 

-SPS

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whats the difference between a light rail system and their select bus service, both are going to be at the mercy of traffic lights along 1st and 2nd avenue.

Not necessarily true. Light rail has better signal priority systems than what they're trying to do with +Select Bus Service+.

 

The only thing I see wrong with light rail in Manhattan is traffic blocking the right of way, there are remedies to control that though.

 

 

 

 

 

IMHO, if they run the light rails lines opposite the direction of traffic on the left lane like one of the M15 +SBS+ plans (northbound on 2nd Avenue, southbound on 1st Avenue), it would work much better.

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The point being, one subway car can fit a hell of a lot more than a train of your beloved light rail cars could ever dream of...

 

Also, overhead lines are illegal in Manhattan and that at-grade running rail in the street? Ha.

 

This isn't New ****ing Jersey.

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Light rail in Manhattan will never work. It is simply too dense.

 

Upper Manhattan could work , but the rest wouldn't....as for the ESA moving faster then SAS... Ask the MTA why they decided to join the SAS to the rest of the network? Why not build a separate line , 7-9 stories down like the ESA tunnels that way you wouldn't have to worry about anything like basements , pipes or other subways...

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The point being, one subway car can fit a hell of a lot more than a train of your beloved light rail cars could ever dream of...

 

Also, overhead lines are illegal in Manhattan and that at-grade running rail in the street? Ha.

 

This isn't New ****ing Jersey.

Yeah and guess what, where the hell is the Second Avenue Subway then?

 

Hmm, lets take some time to think about that.........Thought so.

 

I'm not going to argue capacity between a light rail vehicle and a subway car, but a LRV can come VERY close to the capacity of a 60 foot subway car (lords knows I know the capacity of the two since I ride both the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and the NYC Subway, everyday, and lets throw in I ride PATH for the hell of it too).

 

Looneys are everywhere and they'll do anything to off themselves. Someone trying to electrocute themselves with overhead wire carries the same probability of someone jumping in front of a subway car.

 

MAJOR European cities, with downtown areas just as dense as midtown Manhattan, have light rail systems running through them.

 

Think about the fcuking box.

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A subway train carries a higher capacity of people that Bus Rapid Transit and Light Rail which is almost similar to each other due to the fact a subway train can have 8-10 cars while light rail can only carry 2 cars which is the same with the bus. It will not work due to the amount of people that would use the line. The best example is the current existing M15 SBS which runs on Second Avenue. Ride it for a day, and you can tell that light rail will not work, because it's almost the same thing.

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Subway > Light Rail

 

At least in the subway, train operators don't have to deal with cars and the sh*theads that decide to run the red light.

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MAJOR European cities, with downtown areas just as dense as midtown Manhattan, have light rail systems running through them.

 

Name 6.

 

There is NO downtown I can think of that is as dense that has a Light Rail system.

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Why not build a separate line , 7-9 stories down like the ESA tunnels that way you wouldn't have to worry about anything like basements , pipes or other subways...

 

A) Because parts of the line were already started and that's saved $$$.

;) Because building it that deep would be at a MUCH higher cost due to geology issues and station build, not to mention boring through bedrock is way more expensive than cut and cover.

C) Because its a SUBWAY line and should be connected to the whole SUBWAY like a SUBWAY line is supposed to be.

 

BTW, 8 stories below the ground does not an empty earth make. Manhattan has a ridiculously dense below-ground situation, so it is naturally going to be very complicated to redirect all the stuff down there to make way for the subway.

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Name 6.

 

There is NO downtown I can think of that is as dense that has a Light Rail system.

Trams/light rail through busy areas:

 

Milan

Paris

Barcelona

Rome

Prague

Stuttgart

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Trust me it won't work in NYC. The drivers in this city are crazy.

That's little stuff. People are crazy in general on the road (and in everything else).

 

Realistically, makes no sense to have a light rail line on Second Avenue because of how much money has been invested into SAS. I'm not going to deny that fact. A subway line is definitely needed to take pressure off the Lexington Avenue line.

 

Saying light rail would not work in NYC is wrong though. It's all about how it's planned, built and done.

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