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New passenger rail service for the East Bronx gaining steam

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New Passenger Rail Service for the East Bronx Gaining Steam with MTA Bigwigs and Borough leaders all aboard

By Daniel Beekman

 

image.jpg

Metro-North commuters boarding the train at the Fordham station in the Bronx on May, 12 2009

 

Imagine a brand new passenger rail line built over the next decade for $1 billion less than the No. 7 subway extension.

 

It may sound like fantasy, but a game-changing Bronx rail project is on track and gaining steam, transit insiders insist.

 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Bronx leaders are all aboard a plan to bring Metro-North service to the East Bronx for the first time.

 

 

“I'm excited about it, ” said Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., a proponent of the project. “Everybody understands that when you look at the Bronx and economic development, an important component is transportation.”

 

Because the Long Island Rail Road’s ongoing East Side Access project could free up train tracks in Penn Station, Metro-North has launched a study that includes a look at linking the East Bronx to Penn Station. The Federal Environmental Assessment should be complete by 2013, said MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan.

 

Metro-North’s preliminary plan calls for the construction of four new Metro-North stations in Co-op City, Morris Park, Parkchester and Hunts Point. Amtrak’s Hell Gate Line already runs through the East Bronx, but makes no stops.

 

“New stations in the East Bronx would allow residents to commute into west Midtown or to reverse commute to stations on the New Haven Line,” he said. “These new stations would help spur economic development.”

 

The project would require at least $200 million from New York and $100 million from Connecticut money that the states have yet to commit. But at less than $400 million, it would cost far less than current projects, such as the $7 billion East Side Access and the $2 billion No. 7 extension.

 

Charles Moerdler, an MTA board member from Riverdale, said the East Bronx project could start by 2016, and claimed funds won’t be a serious problem.

 

“I have four and a half years left on my term,” Moerdler said. “It will happen before I leave. I’m going to move heaven and earth to get it done.”

 

But Jim Sedore, the board’s Metro-North Committee chairman, warned the planning process could take much longer. He said the project depends on track capacity at Penn Station, and noted that East Side Access won’t be complete for at least five years.

 

Moerdler said the four new stations would be a boon for East Bronx institutions such as Albert Einstein College of Medicine and for East Bronx straphangers who work in Westchester County and Rockland County, as well as Manhattan. For many East Bronx straphangers, the suburbs and other boroughs are now a bus ride and a long subway ride away.

 

The new Metro-North stations would allow “someone could get on the train at Parkchester and move down to Manhattan in 20 minutes,” Moerdler said.

 

Diaz said the new service would also benefit the Hunts Point food distribution center and the Hutchinson Metro Center office complex in Morris Park, both key job hubs.

 

The East Bronx plan is hardly new. Former Borough President Fernando Ferrer pushed the project during the 1990s. But City Council Transportation Chair James Vacca, who represents the East Bronx, said the MTA has finally started to come around.

 

“We have a willingness we never had,” said Vacca. “We have a groundswell of support. The stars could be aligned.”

 

Read more: New passenger rail service for the East Bronx gaining*steam with MTA bigwigs and boro leaders all aboard* - NY Daily News

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Yeah pretty much they would need to go thru Amtrak about this, since Amtrak owns the Hell Gate Line.

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Unfortunately, even if Amtrak approves, we don't really know if ESA will free up enough space to make New Haven service to Penn Station worthwhile - plus there's possible Hudson Line service to Penn Station to think about.

 

There are so many obstacles to starting up New Haven service via Hell Gate... but I'm sure the (MTA) will work something out.

 

What do you think of these places to build stations?

 

- Earhart Lane & Erskine Place [Co-Op City]

- Eastchester Rd & Bassett Rd [Westchester/Morris Park, right near Calvary Hospital and a couple other Hospitals]

- E Tremont Av & White Plains Rd [Parkchester]

- Hunts Point Av & Garrison Av [Hunts Point, a stone's throw away from the (6) train station]

 

Here's how it would look on the map ;)

 

NewHavenLinetoPenninBronxPic1.png

NewHavenLinetoPenninBronxPic2.png

 

Sorry if it's hard to see.

Edited by Mysterious2train

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Unfortunately, even if Amtrak approves, we don't really know if ESA will free up enough space to make New Haven service to Penn Station worthwhile - plus there's possible Hudson Line service to Penn Station to think about.

 

There are so many obstacles to starting up New Haven service via Hell Gate... but I'm sure the (MTA) will work something out.

 

What do you think of these places to build stations?

 

- Earhart Lane & Erskine Place [Co-Op City]

- Eastchester Rd & Bassett Rd [Westchester/Morris Park, right near Calvary Hospital and a couple other Hospitals]

- E Tremont Av & White Plains Rd [Parkchester]

- Hunts Point Av & Garrison Av [Hunts Point, a stone's throw away from the (6) train station]

 

Here's how it would look on the map ;)

 

NewHavenLinetoPenninBronxPic1.png

NewHavenLinetoPenninBronxPic2.png

 

Sorry if it's hard to see.

 

It's pretty good. It's very good for those East Bronx residents up there too. They have no subway line up there so it would act as a subway line for them and although it might be a bit more expensive it's a good thing for them since the (D) was never extended down there.

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This is a great idea and it should be implemented. I don't think it would lower express bus ridership much either in areas like Co-op city and such because those folks will still use their express bus. I'm always surprised at how well the BxM7 is used and the BxM8 too. The only time the BxM7 looks semi-empty is when it's almost at 23rd street, but that bus fills up at the first stop going back to Co-op city.

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East Bronx residents and political leaders approve the on MNCRR stopping around them. Next will be the Empire Corridor, which there is a plan for 2 stations along there. 62nd St & 125th St.

 

Idk how all of these trains will fit in Penn, if ESA isn't even completed.

 

MAYBE limited trains during the rush hour can be sent, but that about it for now or when ever.

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Why wouldn't the ESA be completed its 70% done.....most of the ridership of the LIRR gets off at Jamaica and heads onto the E train towards the Grand Central part of Midtown. Only 50,000 LIRR riders use Penn station , so that continue sending all the trains that would now have a home at GCT would be wasteful. So i'm sure that the LIRR will leave half there slots. This line isn't intended for Manhattan bound commuters but rather Westchester and Fairfield bound Commuters which is where half of the Bronx residents work. Only the Co-Op city station would allow both Manhattan and outbound commuters.

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Any stations other than Co-Op City that actually end up being built, I could picture them as similar to Melrose or Tremont, which only receive Limited service. I would imagine that Melrose and Tremont are not really conducive to Reverse-commuting to Westchester, but more for service to Manhattan. I don't really see a problem with a potential Parkchester/Morris Park/Hunts Point/Whatever station being used the same way.

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Any stations other than Co-Op City that actually end up being built, I could picture them as similar to Melrose or Tremont, which only receive Limited service. I would imagine that Melrose and Tremont are not really conducive to Reverse-commuting to Westchester, but more for service to Manhattan. I don't really see a problem with a potential Parkchester/Morris Park/Hunts Point/Whatever station being used the same way.

 

Yep. A lot of Parkchester residents use the (6) to get to/from Manhattan, especially the express. (Not including the BxM6)

 

Hunts Point, people got the choice of the (2)/(5) via Bx19 or Bx5 or walk, or the (6) train. Both are not far apart.

 

Morris Park and Co-Op, I could see something.

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Yep. A lot of Parkchester residents use the (6) to get to/from Manhattan, especially the express. (Not including the BxM6)

 

Hunts Point, people got the choice of the (2)/(5) via Bx19 or Bx5 or walk, or the (6) train. Both are not far apart.

 

Morris Park and Co-Op, I could see something.

true but parkchester is at I-95 which would create major transit modes along I-95 which can setup some form of transit between GWB and parkchester via west farms.

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Why wouldn't the ESA be completed its 70% done.....most of the ridership of the LIRR gets off at Jamaica and heads onto the E train towards the Grand Central part of Midtown. Only 50,000 LIRR riders use Penn station , so that continue sending all the trains that would now have a home at GCT would be wasteful. So i'm sure that the LIRR will leave half there slots. This line isn't intended for Manhattan bound commuters but rather Westchester and Fairfield bound Commuters which is where half of the Bronx residents work. Only the Co-Op city station would allow both Manhattan and outbound commuters.

 

are you sure about that? Cause every LIRR train I've been on en rte to penn station is very full at AM rush most ppl stay on all the way to Penn. Don't get me started on the weekends and nights when LI folk come to NYC to get drunk NONE of em transferred to the (E) for NYC. Use the LIRR before you speak about it. However sending LIRR to grand central is a brilliant idea as long as penn station bound service remains frequent.

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@qjtransitmaster While I would imagine that a lot people get off at Jamaica to get on the (E), a huge number of people also get on the (E) at Penn to head over to East Midtown. So, in the end, both these groups of people are heading somewhere similar, just taking different routes.

 

@Nexis4Jersey "Most" referring to people getting on the (E) at Jamaica is kinda reaching there, isn't it? Do LIRRers really want to sit on the (E) all the way from Jamaica to East Midtown? Even if it's cheaper then going to Penn, I would imagine they would want to spend as little time on the subway as possible, plus the relative abundance of Rush Hour trains to Penn that skip Jamaica....

 

At first, I used to think that ESA taking away half let enough any service to Penn Station was crazy, but now maybe not so much...

 

But getting back on topic.... supposing an actual opportunity for New Haven line service to Penn comes along, where would the Hudson Line come into this? I would imagine that they would want some service to Penn too. And what about NJT, don't they want more service into Penn as well?

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@qjtransitmaster While I would imagine that a lot people get off at Jamaica to get on the (E), a huge number of people also get on the (E) at Penn to head over to East Midtown. So, in the end, both these groups of people are heading somewhere similar, just taking different routes.

 

@Nexis4Jersey "Most" referring to people getting on the (E) at Jamaica is kinda reaching there, isn't it? Do LIRRers really want to sit on the (E) all the way from Jamaica to East Midtown? Even if it's cheaper then going to Penn, I would imagine they would want to spend as little time on the subway as possible, plus the relative abundance of Rush Hour trains to Penn that skip Jamaica....

 

At first, I used to think that ESA taking away half let enough any service to Penn Station was crazy, but now maybe not so much...

 

But getting back on topic.... supposing an actual opportunity for New Haven line service to Penn comes along, where would the Hudson Line come into this? I would imagine that they would want some service to Penn too. And what about NJT, don't they want more service into Penn as well?

I was trying to tell that to nexis said it better than me

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This is a great idea and it should be implemented. I don't think it would lower express bus ridership much either in areas like Co-op city and such because those folks will still use their express bus. I'm always surprised at how well the BxM7 is used and the BxM8 too. The only time the BxM7 looks semi-empty is when it's almost at 23rd street, but that bus fills up at the first stop going back to Co-op city.

 

It depends on how much service the station gets, and if it's convenient for a lot of the people who live in Co-Op City. A good part of the reason why the BxM1/2/3/18 get decent ridership is because the MNRR station is on the western end of the neighborhood and is blocked by hills to boot. Also, the service is very spotty (I think it's 30 minutes peak and 60 minutes off-peak).

 

The thing is that the station is at the southern end of Co-Op City, so it's still inconvenient for people in the northern section to access.

 

I could see the BxM6 going away, though (or possibly being combined with the BxM10).

 

Any stations other than Co-Op City that actually end up being built, I could picture them as similar to Melrose or Tremont, which only receive Limited service. I would imagine that Melrose and Tremont are not really conducive to Reverse-commuting to Westchester, but more for service to Manhattan. I don't really see a problem with a potential Parkchester/Morris Park/Hunts Point/Whatever station being used the same way.

 

I doubt Hunts Point would get a lot of ridership going to Manhattan, given the demographics of the area, coupled with the fact that the (6)/<6> are on the other side of the Bruckner. You might have some people coming from areas like New Rochelle and Port Chester to work in the food distribution centers, though, and maybe a few people reverse-commuting from Hunts Point out to Westchester.

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It depends on how much service the station gets, and if it's convenient for a lot of the people who live in Co-Op City. A good part of the reason why the BxM1/2/3/18 get decent ridership is because the MNRR station is on the western end of the neighborhood and is blocked by hills to boot. Also, the service is very spotty (I think it's 30 minutes peak and 60 minutes off-peak).

 

The thing is that the station is at the southern end of Co-Op City, so it's still inconvenient for people in the northern section to access.

 

I could see the BxM6 going away, though (or possibly being combined with the BxM10).

 

 

 

I doubt Hunts Point would get a lot of ridership going to Manhattan, given the demographics of the area, coupled with the fact that the (6)/<6> are on the other side of the Bruckner. You might have some people coming from areas like New Rochelle and Port Chester to work in the food distribution centers, though, and maybe a few people reverse-commuting from Hunts Point out to Westchester.

 

I think if they are going to do this they should at least increase the amount of trains running to several minutes.

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But not enough to build a whole station with parking lots, etc.

 

IMO a station should only be built at Parkchester and Co-op (it IS a railroad, the idea of having subway distance stops already might be a waste of money). The "if you build it the area will improve and they will come circa early 20th century" doesn't apply anymore (ask those who live on the Harlem and Hudson line stations NOT named Fordham). Both areas have a sustainable working class that have formidable commute times and can afford to take reasonably priced railroad service (note: BxM6), especially to the west side of Manhattan. If the service goes into Penn, BxM6 service will not be affected much as it goes down the east side making several stops, whereas the train MUST be taken at Penn. If it goes into Grand Central (or both), ridership on the express bus may decrease but not so much as the line should be eliminated entirely.

 

As far as Parkchester vs the Calvary/Einstein/Jacobi hospital complex, Parkchester (and the surrounding area of Morris Park, even more middle class and lack subway service at the moment) has more people. The hospitals can always run shuttle bus service to and from the complex. No, a station in both areas is a waste of money.

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But not enough to build a whole station with parking lots, etc.

 

IMO a station should only be built at Parkchester and Co-op (it IS a railroad, the idea of having subway distance stops already might be a waste of money). The "if you build it the area will improve and they will come circa early 20th century" doesn't apply anymore (ask those who live on the Harlem and Hudson line stations NOT named Fordham). Both areas have a sustainable working class that have formidable commute times and can afford to take reasonably priced railroad service (note: BxM6), especially to the west side of Manhattan. If the service goes into Penn, BxM6 service will not be affected much as it goes down the east side making several stops, whereas the train MUST be taken at Penn. If it goes into Grand Central (or both), ridership on the express bus may decrease but not so much as the line should be eliminated entirely.

 

As far as Parkchester vs the Calvary/Einstein/Jacobi hospital complex, Parkchester (and the surrounding area of Morris Park, even more middle class and lack subway service at the moment) has more people. The hospitals can always run shuttle bus service to and from the complex. No, a station in both areas is a waste of money.

For service to manhattan yes but if the triborough branch was restored then if the trains went over that branch then those stations wouldn't be so much of a waste but for service to manhattan useless service to the other boroughs not so much jobs are increasing fot the outer boroughs and the triborough branch would cut travel times by a HUGE margin.

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