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Department of Subways - Proposals/Ideas

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49 minutes ago, bobtehpanda said:

I don't know about this. Some stations would be challenging to extend; 34-HY was a massive pain in the ass to build and the bored tunnels don't make it very easy to extend past. Main St has a station entrance blocking its end of the tracks. Both terminals have switches that would need to be moved, and probably most other switches would need to be moved as well. QBP is tightly nestled between a curve and a flying junction of sorts. And this is just what I'm thinking of off the top of my head.

I mean, I did say "substantial" for a reason...

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Caelestor said:

Station lengthening isn't as effective because there are just so many stations in the subway, even if it's only IRT division. Better signaling, select deinterlining, and better passenger distribution at chokepoints such as GCT would go a long way to achieving 30 tph, which is the practical limit of a heavily branched subway system.

Well they did do it for the southern division BMT stations in Manhattan, south Brooklyn and Astoria, so Flushing’s outdoor stations probably wouldn’t be that problematic. How they would do it underground is a different story. Adding more staircases to better distribute (7) passengers at GCT would be somewhat of a challenge too.

Deinterlining certainly ought to be considered for running more trains per hour on the lines not called the (L) or (7) that currently run below capacity. Though some real research/studying needs to be done to show where it’s practical and effective to do so.

5 hours ago, bobtehpanda said:

I don't know about this. Some stations would be challenging to extend; 34-HY was a massive pain in the ass to build and the bored tunnels don't make it very easy to extend past. Main St has a station entrance blocking its end of the tracks. Both terminals have switches that would need to be moved, and probably most other switches would need to be moved as well. QBP is tightly nestled between a curve and a flying junction of sorts. And this is just what I'm thinking of off the top of my head.

Yeah, CBTC Steinway has more capacity than 60th St due to the interlining mess on Broadway and DeKalb. 

60th St really should've been four tracks (which was the point of 63rd), but if you're going to go to the trouble of building two new tunnels you'd be better off building a parallel line somewhere else to draw people away from the Flushing Line corridor in general, serve more people, etc.

Any practical conversion of the (7) to B-Division clearances would likely result in cutting it off between 33rd and Queensboro Plaza (connecting Flushing to the 60th St tubes is not practical and you’d still lose Court Square anyway). But yes it would be much better to  spend that money to build a new, parallel line to draw riders off the (7)

Edited by T to Dyre Avenue

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6 hours ago, T to Dyre Avenue said:

Well they did do it for the southern division BMT stations in Manhattan, south Brooklyn and Astoria, so Flushing’s outdoor stations probably wouldn’t be that problematic. How they would do it underground is a different story. Adding more staircases to better distribute (7) passengers at GCT would be somewhat of a challenge too.

At (7) Manhattan stations, the only practical way to do any sort of platform improvement would probably be to excavate a new side platform next to one of the tracks and have the existing island platform become a side platform.

A similar project was done at Toronto Union Station. Here's then TTC CEO Andy Byford opening the new platform.

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A random thought proposal:

Given all the valid and correct criticism of Andy’s model train build to LGA recently, how feasible is it to extend (G) to LGA?

What I’m thinking is move Court Square to Jackson/45th, run tracks along or under the LIRR to 39th St, under the IND on Steinway St, then along 31st Av to 82nd St to LGA, with stops at each terminal.

A lot of tunneling, but avoids the El that bothered some folks regarding (N) to Astoria, and gets people a backup if (7)<7> and or QBL short turns.

Thoughts?

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49 minutes ago, Deucey said:

A random thought proposal:

Given all the valid and correct criticism of Andy’s model train build to LGA recently, how feasible is it to extend (G) to LGA?

What I’m thinking is move Court Square to Jackson/45th, run tracks along or under the LIRR to 39th St, under the IND on Steinway St, then along 31st Av to 82nd St to LGA, with stops at each terminal.

A lot of tunneling, but avoids the El that bothered some folks regarding (N) to Astoria, and gets people a backup if (7)<7> and or QBL short turns.

Thoughts?

If you're gonna spend all that mileage tunneling you may as well put it under places that don't have subway access as it is.

Given how hot the waterfront is these days, it would probably be easier to reroute under 21St St and then go east on Ditmars to the airport. Court Square is relocated under 21st and 44th. Either close 21 St Van Alst outright or move it in the direction of Vernon Jackson. The benefit of this is that it avoids digging under or next to active tracks; all major infrastructure impediments can be crossed at a perpendicular angle underground.

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3 minutes ago, bobtehpanda said:

If you're gonna spend all that mileage tunneling you may as well put it under places that don't have subway access as it is.

Given how hot the waterfront is these days, it would probably be easier to reroute under 21St St and then go east on Ditmars to the airport. Court Square is relocated under 21st and 44th. Either close 21 St Van Alst outright or move it in the direction of Vernon Jackson. The benefit of this is that it avoids digging under or next to active tracks; all major infrastructure impediments can be crossed at a perpendicular angle underground.

I was thinking along the lines of creating transfer points that would give people an alt route if QBL or Flushing Lines fail and make (G) useful for Manhattan riders to get to LGA from 6/8 Av and B-Way as a two-seat ride.

(I’m in a redundancy building mindset on the job at the moment, so it’s spilling over to fantasies.)

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, Deucey said:

I was thinking along the lines of creating transfer points that would give people an alt route if QBL or Flushing Lines fail and make (G) useful for Manhattan riders to get to LGA from 6/8 Av and B-Way as a two-seat ride.

(I’m in a redundancy building mindset on the job at the moment, so it’s spilling over to fantasies.)

It's better to provide redundancy in different places; a water main break on Steinway St, for example, would f**k both QBL and this new (G) up. On a similar note, if you're running it next to the BQE at ground level after 31st a bad enough car accident on the BQE could block the (G) as well.

By providing transfer points that currently don't exist (to the (N)(W) at Astoria Ditmars and to the (F) at 21 St Queensbridge) it does provide some level of redundancy.

Edited by bobtehpanda

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Wait. If we’re on the topic of extending the (G) to LGA, wouldn’t it be easier to upgrade 36th Street Station and swinging the (G) under Northern Blvd? That way, it’ll be possible to Deinterline QBL, Give Subway access to places where the (7) can’t reach, and giving Passenger Train Access to LGA. Effectively killing 3 birds with one stone!

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Deucey said:

A random thought proposal:

Given all the valid and correct criticism of Andy’s model train build to LGA recently, how feasible is it to extend (G) to LGA?

What I’m thinking is move Court Square to Jackson/45th, run tracks along or under the LIRR to 39th St, under the IND on Steinway St, then along 31st Av to 82nd St to LGA, with stops at each terminal.

A lot of tunneling, but avoids the El that bothered some folks regarding (N) to Astoria, and gets people a backup if (7)<7> and or QBL short turns.

Thoughts?

Just so happens, I was thinking about the (G) as a viable option for LGA to assuage the Astoria NIMBY’s (if they’re still there after 25 years - when we last considered extending the (N)). What I do like extending the (G) this way is that it goes a bit deeper into Queens versus 21st Street and would serve a busy corridor on Steinway Street. It would provide a great cross-platform transfer at Steinway from the (M)(R) to the (G) (assuming QBL isn’t deinterlined). But 21st-to-Ditmars would also pick up a lot of people along the way and provide direct service to what is quickly become Queens’ new downtown area. 

3 hours ago, bobtehpanda said:

It's better to provide redundancy in different places; a water main break on Steinway St, for example, would f**k both QBL and this new (G) up. On a similar note, if you're running it next to the BQE at ground level after 31st a bad enough car accident on the BQE could block the (G) as well.

By providing transfer points that currently don't exist (to the (N)(W) at Astoria Ditmars and to the (F) at 21 St Queensbridge) it does provide some level of redundancy.

The LIC waterfront is a hot spot, so a train running north-south along 21st would certainly be an asset. And it would really make a case for why a waterfront streetcar would be unnecessary. 

As for running alongside the BQE, we shouldn’t rule it out because of severe car accidents. You could run the line on a concrete el over one of the service roads once you get east of where Amtrak crosses over the BQE. You might have to anyway. Or in subway. There isn’t much space to add tracks on the same level as the expressway or the GCP. From 21st you can turn onto Astoria Blvd. It’s more direct. And I’ve yet to hear of a really bad car accident on a Chicago expressway or an LA freeway knocking out rail service in either city.

Edited by T to Dyre Avenue

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4 hours ago, LaGuardia Link N Tra said:

Wait. If we’re on the topic of extending the (G) to LGA, wouldn’t it be easier to upgrade 36th Street Station and swinging the (G) under Northern Blvd? That way, it’ll be possible to Deinterline QBL, Give Subway access to places where the (7) can’t reach, and giving Passenger Train Access to LGA. Effectively killing 3 birds with one stone!

Building a new train line underneath currently active train tracks is ridiculously expensive. It's why the IND went over budget the first time around; the hijinks they pulled with PATH were extremely costly.

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17 hours ago, T to Dyre Avenue said:

And I’ve yet to hear of a really bad car accident on a Chicago expressway or an LA freeway knocking out rail service in either city.

There’s been a few on the LA Gold Line’s trackage on the 210 Freeway: https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-metro-gold-line-freeway-truck-crashes-20190407-story.html

But to be fair, the Construction Authority that built the Gold Line didn’t raise the Jersey Barriers or lower the old Santa Fe Railroad trackbed.

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44 minutes ago, Deucey said:

There’s been a few on the LA Gold Line’s trackage on the 210 Freeway: https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-metro-gold-line-freeway-truck-crashes-20190407-story.html

But to be fair, the Construction Authority that built the Gold Line didn’t raise the Jersey Barriers or lower the old Santa Fe Railroad trackbed.

After doing the Google search I should've done last night when I posted, I learned a truck had crashed onto the Red Line tracks on the Dan Ryan in Chicago back in 2013, similar to the 210 Freeway crash you linked to. Now, I know.

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1 hour ago, T to Dyre Avenue said:

After doing the Google search I should've done last night when I posted, I learned a truck had crashed onto the Red Line tracks on the Dan Ryan in Chicago back in 2013, similar to the 210 Freeway crash you linked to. Now, I know.

I can understand why you’d put transit in highway medians, but I never understood why the Dan Ryan and the 210 never had higher barriers - like Georgia 400 in Atlanta or the 105 in LA.

Even more, I don't understand why the 210 had the Santa Fe railroad in the median before the Gold Line took it over.

Definitely an argument about why government funding levels and the difference between ‘value for money’ and lowest bidder need to be a loud public argument.

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On 1/10/2020 at 2:21 PM, Deucey said:

I can understand why you’d put transit in highway medians, but I never understood why the Dan Ryan and the 210 never had higher barriers - like Georgia 400 in Atlanta or the 105 in LA.

Even more, I don't understand why the 210 had the Santa Fe railroad in the median before the Gold Line took it over.

Definitely an argument about why government funding levels and the difference between ‘value for money’ and lowest bidder need to be a loud public argument.

It seems like there is bad design in Chicago and Los Angeles that allows for an accident to end up on the tracks.  IMO, they need more strudy barriers to keep the trucks off the rails.

ANd if it seems like this is a good idea for certain corridors in NY, then it should be built to top standards to avoid the impact of collision.  Realistically speaking, a highway may be the only place one can put a surface train or el route these days, and many more extension could probably be built if such corridors were used.  Subway tunnels are really expensive and probably won't be utilized for anything other than small connectors and whatever happens to the 2nd Ave subway.

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25 minutes ago, mrsman said:

It seems like there is bad design in Chicago and Los Angeles that allows for an accident to end up on the tracks.  IMO, they need more strudy barriers to keep the trucks off the rails.

They just did it lazy on the Dan Ryan and the 210.

LA’s Green Line is in the median of the 105 Fwy and has never had a collision impact it’s service, but that’s because it has fencing on top of the Jersey Barriers (and it’s trackbed was built as part of the 105’s construction).

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1 hour ago, mrsman said:

It seems like there is bad design in Chicago and Los Angeles that allows for an accident to end up on the tracks.  IMO, they need more strudy barriers to keep the trucks off the rails.

ANd if it seems like this is a good idea for certain corridors in NY, then it should be built to top standards to avoid the impact of collision.  Realistically speaking, a highway may be the only place one can put a surface train or el route these days, and many more extension could probably be built if such corridors were used.  Subway tunnels are really expensive and probably won't be utilized for anything other than small connectors and whatever happens to the 2nd Ave subway.

Most of the highways in the metro area were not designed from the outset to have rail lines, and you'd need to buy up property to widen the highway, redo all the bridges and tunnels to fit tracks, etc. 

You'd probably wind up with a similar cost as just building a subway. Subway construction in New York is expensive mostly because of incompetence and bad practices. In other countries you could build 10+ miles of subway for what SAS Phase I cost.

Edited by bobtehpanda

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It would be nice if we had a half-decent place to short-turn (2) trains in Lower Manhattan. We'd be able to increase Manhattan/Bronx service without flooding Brooklyn.

(For all its flaws, Bowling Green is at least somewhat capable for Lexington Avenue.)

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I had an idea to reconstruct the :SS: Culver Shuttle. Here it is:

Newkirk Plaza (B)(Q)

runs on a new el

Coney Island/Ditmas Av

Ditmas-McDonald Avs (F)<F>

13 Av/37 St

Fort Hamilton Pkwy/37 St

uses existing tracks from Fort Hamilton, with a new station at Fort Hamilton

9 Av (Lower Level) (D)

36 St/4 Av (D)(N)(R)

 

Thoughts?

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On 1/12/2020 at 11:25 AM, Jova42R said:

I had an idea to reconstruct the :SS: Culver Shuttle. Here it is:

Newkirk Plaza (B)(Q)

runs on a new el

Coney Island/Ditmas Av

Ditmas-McDonald Avs (F)<F>

13 Av/37 St

Fort Hamilton Pkwy/37 St

uses existing tracks from Fort Hamilton, with a new station at Fort Hamilton

9 Av (Lower Level) (D)

36 St/4 Av (D)(N)(R)

 

Thoughts?

You might have to do such as two single-track levels of elevated tracks over streets that are more narrow than the original line was on (in such spots), especially since some of the old ROW now has buildings on it.

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On 1/12/2020 at 11:25 AM, Jova42R said:

I had an idea to reconstruct the :SS: Culver Shuttle. Here it is:

Newkirk Plaza (B)(Q)

runs on a new el

Coney Island/Ditmas Av

Ditmas-McDonald Avs (F)<F>

13 Av/37 St

Fort Hamilton Pkwy/37 St

uses existing tracks from Fort Hamilton, with a new station at Fort Hamilton

9 Av (Lower Level) (D)

36 St/4 Av (D)(N)(R)

 

Thoughts?

The only reason for the Culver shuttle being useful today would be its presence as a track connection in the event or service changes or yard moves. Even with that, it’s not worth rebuilding in its original state and a new extension to it is pointless.  

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Going to put up a question with some realistic possibility of being implemented: Coney Island and the surrounding areas are going to get built-up within the next two decades. It’s also going to be more of a tourist destination than it already is. That’s going to change the calculus of how the MTA budgets its resources to best serve the area. With existing facilities and very minor additions, what is the most efficient way for the MTA to increase service frequency/speed to an attractive level? (Assume travel between Manhattan and Coney Island.)

Some incomplete thoughts:

  • The MTA has some existing facilities that are equipped to short-turn trains so that overall frequency of service could be increased to allow for an express option to/from Coney Island:
    • Bay Parkway ((D)), which is underutilized at all times;
    • 9 Avenue ((D)), which is underutilized at all times and may or may not be equipped to turn trains;
    • Kings Highway ((F)), which is underutilized outside of weekday rush hours; and
    • Brighton Beach ((B)(Q)), which is underutilized outside of weekdays.
  • Some routes are not running even near maximum capacity along their main thoroughfares, but there are some elements that may limit throughput.
    • (B): Bedford Park Boulevard and 145 Street (both single-track terminals)
    • (D): Norwood–205 Street (non-trivial turns) and Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue (hence the suggestion to short-turn trains)
    • (N): Astoria–Ditmars Boulevard (shared with (W) on weekdays) and Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue (switches too far away)
    • (Q): Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue (switches too far away)
  • Some routes run along corridors that do not have any spare capacity:
    • (F): the (E) along Queens Boulevard precludes additional (F) service. But it may be okay to divert additional (F) trains to run express in light of population shifts.
  • Some corridors are prone to be unreliable because of lack of redundancy. Longer segments of track with no redundancy to guard against traffic jams/BIEs increase the probability of an entire route going down for Coney Island:
    • The <Q> or <B> would have two significant two-track segment that all trains must go through:
      • between Prospect Park and Atlantic Avenue–Barclays Center (major liability);
      • between Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue and West 8 Street (minor liability); and
      • additionally for the <B>, the Manhattan Bridge (major liability)
    • The <F> would have one significant two-track segment that all trains must go through:
      • between Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue and Avenue X
    • The <D> would have three significant two-track segments that all trains must go though:
      • the Manhattan Bridge (major liability);
      • the short tunnel connection between 9 Avenue and 36 Street (minor liability); and
      • between Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue and just south of Bay 50 Street (minor liability)
    • The <N> would have two significant two-track segments that all trains must go through:
      • between Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue and just south of 86 Street (minor liability); and
      • the short tunnel connection between 8 Avenue and 59 Street (minor liability)
  • Ranking the proposed options by speed:
    1. <N> (express between Kings Highway and 59 Street, and to/from 96 Street) with the (N) as it currently runs
      • Advantages: very fast
      • Disadvantages: takes a small amount of service from local stations due to terminal capacity constraints at Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue combined with the lack of a short-turn facility along the Sea Beach Line to turn the (N)
    2. <F> (the (F) express between Kings Highway and Jay Street–MetroTech) with the (F) truncated to Kings Highway
      • Advantages: fast
      • Disadvantages: takes a large amount of service away from local stations as maximum frequency is constrained by Queens Boulevard; and requires a switch installation to make feasible
    3. <Q> (taking the place of the (Q), but as the express) with the (Q) short-turning at Brighton Beach
      • Advantages: simple reroute from local to express
      • Disadvantages: (see <B>)
    4. <B> (the (B) extended to Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue) with the (B) as it currently runs
      • Advantages: simple extension of the express
      • Disadvantages: reduces much-needed (Q) service due to terminal capacity constraints at Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue and the higher frequency of (Q) service; and not many places with spare capacity to easily turn local trains in Brooklyn, further limiting how much express service can be offered without neutering local services along the Brighton Line
    5. <D> (the (D) express between Bay Parkway and 9 Avenue) with the (D) truncated to Bay Parkway
      • Advantages: uses spare capacity along West End left over from the (brownM)’s discontinuance
      • Disadvantages: slowest and least attractive option of the five (somewhat faster than the contemporary (N), but not by much)
Edited by CenSin
  • Upvote 1

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8 hours ago, CenSin said:

The <F> would have one significant two-track segment that all trains must go through:

  • between Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue and Avenue X

 

Actually, it’s two. The other one would be the short two-track segment at Jay Street–MetroTech. North of that station, the Cranberry Street tunnel provides redundancy.

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I don't think CI needs express service. There are one or two new devs coming up down there, but the center of ridership growth on Brooklyn routes over the past 15 or so years has been in Sunset Park, Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, etc, and without other routing interventions, the Dekalb/Manhattan/Queens segments of these routes basically mean they're maxed out, save for maybe 1tph here or there.

For example, on the (F), while back in the '70s only about 60% of ridership was on the IND portion of Culver, today over 75% is. Obviously in the specific case in the (F) riders at Church and 7th would benefit from express trains, but generally speaking the center of line ridership is too far north (and is tending further northwards) to sustain express service at the expense of local service from Church north -- let alone from Kings Highway north. The same goes for any <N>. On Sea Beach, even if _every single_ Stillwell rider used this <N> and this <N> ran local from Stillwell to Kings Highway, you'd only be serving 22% of Sea Beach ridership. The <D> fares a bit better -- 28%, and 62nd could be a legit transfer opportunity if scheduled right -- but still, not great. And this is all before we discuss the operational barriers to some of these issues, whether that be the complexities that come with trying to run a short turn op and an express/local crossover without a grade separated junction (hello Parkchester), or scheduling challenges given time savings, or otherwise. None of those barriers are _intractable_ but they make an unattractive ridership proposition seem suboptimal operationally too. Really unless you can increase the size of the capacity pie, you're robbing one area to serve another -- and are making a poor tradeoff at that. My question is why not focus on non-express service improvements in runtime? There is a lot of messy signaling and merging on BMT south; cutting down some of that could save all riders time. 

Now, the above is qualified with the assumption that we can't increase the size of the capacity pie. But say we went ahead with ops fixes, and ended up with the ability to run 30tph down the 4th Ave express tracks. Then what? I'd suggest <D>. West End express has intermediate stops, which allows for transfers and larger catchment, has bad-but-not-terrible short turn facilities at Bay Parkway, and is really quite fast. I don't think you'd necessarily want to split the (D) evenly, but I can see a world in which it'd work. 

  • Upvote 3

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40 minutes ago, RR503 said:

I don't think CI needs express service. There are one or two new devs coming up down there, but the center of ridership growth on Brooklyn routes over the past 15 or so years has been in Sunset Park, Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, etc, and without other routing interventions, the Dekalb/Manhattan/Queens segments of these routes basically mean they're maxed out, save for maybe 1tph here or there.

For example, on the (F), while back in the '70s only about 60% of ridership was on the IND portion of Culver, today over 75% is. Obviously in the specific case in the (F) riders at Church and 7th would benefit from express trains, but generally speaking the center of line ridership is too far north (and is tending further northwards) to sustain express service at the expense of local service from Church north -- let alone from Kings Highway north. The same goes for any <N>. On Sea Beach, even if _every single_ Stillwell rider used this <N> and this <N> ran local from Stillwell to Kings Highway, you'd only be serving 22% of Sea Beach ridership. The <D> fares a bit better -- 28%, and 62nd could be a legit transfer opportunity if scheduled right -- but still, not great.

Another reason to rezone South Brooklyn! Especially along 4th Avenue.

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17 minutes ago, Union Tpke said:

Another reason to rezone South Brooklyn! Especially along 4th Avenue.

To add on, tearing down the Gowanus Expressway would really unlock the western half of station catchment areas along Fourth Avenue. Add a dedicated busway in the median of Third Avenue, and provide direct access to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, and transit will improve dramatically for these areas.

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