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Rockaway Beach Branch

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1 hour ago, RR503 said:

The chatter I'm hearing suggests that Governor Magpie wants the RBB to be NYC's 'airport link' route. What a waste of money on a corridor with already-questionable utility...

 

And if the corridor is proven that it can be used again...

The only way I can see this being effective is if the route goes directly INTO JFK Airport with direct paths to each terminal with the addition of intermediate stops along the ROW itself. Though, to be honest. I don’t want to jump to any conclusions as of yet.

I know some of you would say that splitting the Southern Half of the ROW, in half, wouldn’t be feasible because of FRA regulations wouldn’t allow such, but is there any confirmation on that? I’m just curious

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I doubt sharing the ROW would be a problem, if it comes to that. Keep the (A) where it is, and make the LIRR use the two inner tracks. Maybe have some fences between the NYCT and LIRR tracks.

Personally I think it would make more sense to reactivate the line for subway service, though.

Edited by P3F

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3 hours ago, RR503 said:

The chatter I'm hearing suggests that Governor Magpie wants the RBB to be NYC's 'airport link' route. What a waste of money on a corridor with already-questionable utility...

Except his PANYNJ already could've done that by building the useless LGA AirTrain to Jamaica Center and linking it with the JFK AirTrain. Then it could've made PANYNJ more money by charging higher fare for going between the two airports as well as more landing fees at LGA because some folks would save a few dollars and time flying from their regional airport to LGA instead of to a regional hub to JFK.

But politicians don't plan here in NY.

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2 hours ago, P3F said:

I doubt sharing the ROW would be a problem, if it comes to that. Keep the (A) where it is, and make the LIRR use the two inner tracks. Maybe have some fences between the NYCT and LIRR tracks.

Personally I think it would make more sense to reactivate the line for subway service, though.

Yeah FRA wouldn’t be an issue. The only place it could get a bit gnarly is at Howard Beach itself — if the line isn’t routed over into the airport proper, wedging a separate LIRR platform in there could be difficult. 

Generally, though, I remain unconvinced about the RBB’s viability as a corridor. An LIRR rebuild is frankly stupid. Literally the last thing we need to be doing at this moment is to steal track capacity from the Island for the benefit of a glorified shuttle subway — one duplicated, no less, by Jamaica Air Train. 

If you do it as a subway, the prospects don’t get much better. 

For core bound travelers, it’s a poor investment not only not in the fact that it barely saves time, but also in that it drives more folks towards QB. Yes, Rock wait times are an issue, but you can fix that with the (C) if you must, and you can deal with the northern half Ozone Park by restructuring (J) service — both investments that would drive riders towards undercapacity line segments. Longer term, in the Rockaway context at least, I’d be interested to see a cost benefit comparison between RBB and that Whitehall-Hoyt Schermerhorn tunnel idea I love so much. Both would decrease Rockaway wait times — one just does so with a larger impact radius. (In the spirit of even-handedness, I feel compelled to mention that deinterlining QB inadvertently helps (I wouldn’t say solves) the RBB QB issue. Riders are forced to choose Manhattan destinations at Roosevelt, meaning that there’s a legitimate incentive to remain on the local. That said, I don’t believe it is at all defensible to screw QB riders so you can make a C grade plan into a B minus.)

Where I think the RBB case can be made best (as it was to me by Vanshnook) is as a crosstown investment — but one paired with (J) and (A) changes so as to not kill QB. The Q52/53 are crowded buses, the QB/LIC corridor is economically rich, and north/south Queens are currently minimally linked. I would absolutely believe that you could (with some TOD in Ozone Park) create a 50k+ market there, but I need to see numbers. Q52/53 ridership is currently distorted by their use to escape (J)landia for the warm embrace of QB express, and thus I’m suspicious of “oh look here crowded bus line and abandoned rail corridor” type arguments...

Edited by RR503
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14 minutes ago, BreeddekalbL said:

I have a question is the subway track gauge and lirr track gauge the same?

Yes, should be 4 foot 8.5 inches for both systems today.

Edited by NoHacksJustKhaks

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On 11/18/2018 at 11:28 PM, RR503 said:

Where I think the RBB case can be made best (as it was to me by Vanshnook) is as a crosstown investment — but one paired with (J) and (A) changes so as to not kill QB. The Q52/53 are crowded buses, the QB/LIC corridor is economically rich, and north/south Queens are currently minimally linked. I would absolutely believe that you could (with some TOD in Ozone Park) create a 50k+ market there, but I need to see numbers. Q52/53 ridership is currently distorted by their use to escape (J)landia for the warm embrace of QB express, and thus I’m suspicious of “oh look here crowded bus line and abandoned rail corridor” type arguments...

It’s come up on past RBB threads to run it as an intra-Queens service. I certainly think that’s an option worth considering. It’s just once you get to the LIRR main line, you then have to figure out where to go from there. The amount of new construction will vary, depending on where you go from there.

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20 hours ago, T to Dyre Avenue said:

It’s come up on past RBB threads to run it as an intra-Queens service. I certainly think that’s an option worth considering. It’s just once you get to the LIRR main line, you then have to figure out where to go from there. The amount of new construction will vary, depending on where you go from there.

People wouldn't use it as just intra-Queens service though. And why would they? It'd be a glorified QCM shuttle.

Unless you managed to physically restrain people from doing so, people will use it to fill QB and the Main Line, both of which are already full.

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21 hours ago, bobtehpanda said:

People wouldn't use it as just intra-Queens service though. And why would they? It'd be a glorified QCM shuttle.

Unless you managed to physically restrain people from doing so, people will use it to fill QB and the Main Line, both of which are already full.

The other suggestion is to free the 71st conga line send something down the rbb (M) or (R)

Edited by BreeddekalbL

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1 hour ago, BreeddekalbL said:

The other suggestion is to free the 71st conga line send something down the rbb (M) or (R)

71st conga is only an issue because we suck at terminal ops. Padding and fumigation ruin capacity there, not some inherent incapability. 

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1 hour ago, RR503 said:

71st conga is only an issue because we suck at terminal ops. Padding and fumigation ruin capacity there, not some inherent incapability. 

How does padding ruin capacity there?

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5 minutes ago, Union Tpke said:

How does padding ruin capacity there?

If a train arrives at the terminal early (which is what padding accomplishes for trains that stick to schedule elsewhere on their routes -- it really just is an obfuscatory measure for merge delays/'major incidents'), then it will enter the relays early, and arrive at the departing platform early. Because you can't leave ahead of schedule, you then have to sit and wait for your time -- effectively and unnecessarily creating massive dwell.

I've heard this is a big issue on the (L). Post-CBTC, the schedules were barely changed despite the elimination of Snediker Curve and all those one shots, meaning that (L)s generally run at least a bit ahead. Then, they get to 8th Avenue and sit, taking up valuable pocket space and creating a need for the very padding that they are working off as other incoming trains hold at 6th for lack of a terminal track. (For schedules, compare the 9:44 AM n/b trip on this 2002 timetable, and the 9:42 today -- today, they give 2 mins more time). 

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On 11/28/2018 at 7:09 PM, bobtehpanda said:

People wouldn't use it as just intra-Queens service though. And why would they? It'd be a glorified QCM shuttle.

Unless you managed to physically restrain people from doing so, people will use it to fill QB and the Main Line, both of which are already full.

Of course they wouldn’t use it as just an intra-Queens service. We don’t need to physically restrain people from transferring. We don’t do that with the Q52/53 buses or any of the other bus routes that connect to the QB line. Why would this be any different? 

But to make RBB an effective crosstown Queens line, it would require a significant amount of construction of new (underground) right-of-way on top of all the reconstruction needed to make the existing right-of-way usable again...including transfers to the QB line, maybe also the (7). And that could certainly be a problem, because it’s quite possible the ridership won’t justify the amount of money needed for all that work. 

19 hours ago, RR503 said:

If a train arrives at the terminal early (which is what padding accomplishes for trains that stick to schedule elsewhere on their routes -- it really just is an obfuscatory measure for merge delays/'major incidents'), then it will enter the relays early, and arrive at the departing platform early. Because you can't leave ahead of schedule, you then have to sit and wait for your time -- effectively and unnecessarily creating massive dwell.

I've heard this is a big issue on the (L). Post-CBTC, the schedules were barely changed despite the elimination of Snediker Curve and all those one shots, meaning that (L)s generally run at least a bit ahead. Then, they get to 8th Avenue and sit, taking up valuable pocket space and creating a need for the very padding that they are working off as other incoming trains hold at 6th for lack of a terminal track. (For schedules, compare the 9:44 AM n/b trip on this 2002 timetable, and the 9:42 today -- today, they give 2 mins more time). 

I realize the need to keep to a schedule, but I mean, if it’s rush hours and the line runs on tight headways, the train is full (a not uncommon occurrence on the (L) and (7)), the crew are on board and the train is properly signed up, is it really necessary for the train to stay there and wait?

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11 hours ago, T to Dyre Avenue said:

Of course they wouldn’t use it as just an intra-Queens service. We don’t need to physically restrain people from transferring. We don’t do that with the Q52/53 buses or any of the other bus routes that connect to the QB line. Why would this be any different? 

The Q52 and Q53 are busy but not to the point where it creates severe problems on the LIRR or on QB.

RBB would funnel people away from rail lines with capacity (A)(J)(Z) to QBL, which has no spare capacity, so I actually view it as a negative value project.

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Don’t get me wrong here. I definitely agree we don’t need to funnel more people onto QBL, which as a former daily rider, I can attest to how crowded it was, especially the (E)(F). I’m also very much in favor of doing improvements on the (A) and (J)(Z) first. Previous ideas to scrap the current (J)(Z) skip-stop service (which runs only about an hour in the morning and afternoon) in favor of peak local/express are worth considering.

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On 11/29/2018 at 3:40 PM, RR503 said:

If a train arrives at the terminal early (which is what padding accomplishes for trains that stick to schedule elsewhere on their routes -- it really just is an obfuscatory measure for merge delays/'major incidents'), then it will enter the relays early, and arrive at the departing platform early. Because you can't leave ahead of schedule, you then have to sit and wait for your time -- effectively and unnecessarily creating massive dwell.

I've heard this is a big issue on the (L). Post-CBTC, the schedules were barely changed despite the elimination of Snediker Curve and all those one shots, meaning that (L)s generally run at least a bit ahead. Then, they get to 8th Avenue and sit, taking up valuable pocket space and creating a need for the very padding that they are working off as other incoming trains hold at 6th for lack of a terminal track. (For schedules, compare the 9:44 AM n/b trip on this 2002 timetable, and the 9:42 today -- today, they give 2 mins more time). 

Why not just send the train out early? If every train is early by five minutes and the trains run every ten, who cares?

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1 hour ago, bobtehpanda said:

Why not just send the train out early? If every train is early by five minutes and the trains run every ten, who cares?

bEcaUse wE cAre sO mUCh aBouT scHeDuLEs

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2 hours ago, bobtehpanda said:

Why not just send the train out early? If every train is early by five minutes and the trains run every ten, who cares?

It's like my issue with buses on SI: why make buses be on time to the ferry - vs early - if it passed the previous timepoint on time?

(But keep in mind they schedule these buses to arrive 2 minutes after the previous ferry leaves.)

There comes a point where devotion to schedule adherence causes more problems than it solves.

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16 hours ago, Deucey said:

It's like my issue with buses on SI: why make buses be on time to the ferry - vs early - if it passed the previous timepoint on time?

(But keep in mind they schedule these buses to arrive 2 minutes after the previous ferry leaves.)

There comes a point where devotion to schedule adherence causes more problems than it solves.

Depending on how frequent buses are, early buses are a legitimate issue. Back when I was at Stony taking SCT, buses would show up to ten minutes early, but very inconsistently, and those buses ran every 45 minutes or worse.

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On 12/3/2018 at 6:48 PM, bobtehpanda said:

Why not just send the train out early? If every train is early by five minutes and the trains run every ten, who cares?

Trains do get “pushed” out of terminals early if both pockets are full and they have a train sitting outside the station that needs to get in. I can’t speak for the B div since I don’t work over there, but atleast over here in the IRT if you’re running hot especially if it’s something crazy like 5+ mins RCC is going to harass you over the radio to hold at a station with your doors open, or if you’re at a gap station they’ll (ATS) give you lights. 

They generally like to stick to the schedules/supplements though. & if you’re on the (1) it doesn’t matter if both pockets are full at VC if you’re running hot. Your butt will sit st 238 until you’re scheduled to arrive at VC, forget about a push. 

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Hey, so I live in Ozone Park and I read the forum. I just want to give my personal opinion on the RBB from the perspective of someone who would be greatly impacted by its construction. Sorry for the skyscraper of text; I have a lot to say. I hope you can read through the mountain of text since it contains many arguments and a lot of information.

First, I want to start off by saying that the demand from Ozone Park residents for the reactivation of the Rockaway Beach Branch is mainly there because of how much the MTA has neglected the A, J, and Z trains.

To sum it up:

The A train can be SUPER SLOW at times, and often stops in the middle of tunnels for no reason due to timers. The A also features a lovely fleet of ancient trains that smell and require more maintenance. We have some of the oldest trains in the system. Most other subway lines already have at least some New Technology Trains. The A is being treated as if it doesn't matter- which is why we avoid using it- because it can sometimes run very slow and features terrible trains. I can't imagine how unbearable it would be to take the A all the way from Rockaway to Manhattan. It's obvious why Rockaway Residents would want to go for the QBL route instead.

The J train is also VERY SLOW. When I say slow- I mean walking speed slow. Even the A train looks like luxury compared to the J. Nobody here likes the J. The rumor in town says that the J stands for Junk and that the train has a brown bullet for that specific reason. The stations along the J (Especially in Manhattan) look like horror movie film sets- and the trains barely get any speed before having to stop again. Even in long sections with no stations- the J train seems to move at 10 miles per hour. The Z "express" service only runs during peak hours and most of us residents haven't even seen a Z train in our lives. They are very infrequent. If you use the J- Chances are you will be late to work or school unless you wake up ridiculously early.

If you only look at the NY subway map- then a lot of the area around the RBB is not a subway desert. If you look at the reality though, two slow and ancient-looking train lines and another line that never runs do not make for quick access to the rest of New York City. Again- I cannot begin to fathom the struggle the Rockaway riders go through to get to Manhattan. Most of them drive or take the 52/53 to avoid taking the atrocious A. On good days it takes Ozone Park residents about an hour to get to Midtown on the A. That becomes an hour and a half for Rockaway residents and J train riders.

If the A and J were brought up to 21st century standards- and the Z was resurrected- the demand for a RBB reactivation would be reduced- since we would have GOOD subway lines. The problem is that this will most likely never happen. The MTA is more likely to act on a proposal for the restoration of a train line than to speed up Fulton St. and Nassau St. Lines or give them CBTC. We will probably be the last lines to get the technology- in the same way that we are some of the last to get New Technology Trains. The Rockaway Beach Branch appears to us like the best solution- especially since politicians are debating it now.

Some people say we should just leave the line abandoned and let it sit there until something happens- but that argument ignores the fact that the abandoned rail line is hurting the communities around the line. People commit crimes and do drugs near the abandoned tracks- and the tracks give the area a bad appearance. They are also breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other insects- which come flying out during the summer. There are times when you cannot walk near the tracks because of the wildlife that has developed there. Leaving the branch like this would only further dilapidate the state of some of the areas near the track. This isn’t just about a subway line- it is about fixing up a part of Queens that is in dire need of revitalization. Our politicians have decided to fix it now- and the four options are a park, subway, LIRR, or a hybrid of subway and a park. One of these will get built. Most people want the hybrid- because it includes the park and subway.

Without further ado, here are my rebuttals to some of the arguments brought up against the reestablishment of the RBB as a subway:

Note: I am arguing in favor of a subway since no one would use the LIRR because it would cost too much and go only to Penn Station or Grand Central

 

Argument 1: “The Woodhaven and Cross Bay corridor doesn’t have enough riders to warrant a subway”

Many people say that the Woodhaven/Cross Bay corridor isn't crowded- but it most definitely is. Most of this area is filled with apartment buildings. To the naked eye- it may look like most of the area is filled with homes- but the majority of these “homes” feature 3 or 4 apartments in them. These “houses” are apartments disguised as full-family homes. When you add the homes in the Rockaways to the apartments here- the population around the RBB is close to that of Anchorage, Alaska. The U.S. Census estimates that there are about 220,000 people living within walking distance of the RBB. This number may be distorted since many undocumented immigrants also live here- but don’t get counted in the census due to fear of being deported.

People testify that the area isn’t crowded because the A and J trains become less full when they reach Ozone Park- but that can be explained by the simple fact that most people either think the A and J would be too long of a commute- think the lines are too long- or live along Woodhaven Blvd but nowhere near either line. On top of that- a lot of people here work in North Queens- which means that the A and J wouldn’t work since you would have to use the shoot-in-shoot-out method (going into Manhattan and then shooting back out). The RBB would go to both Manhattan AND North Queens- solving both issues. Since it would be faster and feature New Tech Trains (due to CBTC)- it would also be very attractive to the people living here. It would also provide a quick link the Queens Center Mall- which is arguably the corridor's most popular destination. People would take the train and get to the mall in 15 minutes! On top of the population- there are many businesses in this area- especially near streets like 101, Liberty, Jamaica, Metropolitan, and Yellowstone. The Woodhaven and Cross Bay corridor is not in Suffolk- it is in an urban area. People live here- and businesses thrive here. The RBB would only ADD to the value of these already thriving neighborhoods. People also seem to forget that it wouldn’t just be people in the Rockaways or Cross Bay who would use this line. People would take the line to access South Queens, Brooklyn, and JFK, and to go to the Rockaways in the summer. The line would also connect people to the various businesses along the corridor as well as the casino.

The whole "but Forest Park takes up all the space" argument is not accurate either. Forest Park takes up only 1/8 of the entire Cross Bay/Woodhaven route- and that isn’t even including the Rockaways. The other 7/8 of the route is full of businesses and apartments. Arguing that the line isn’t worth it because 1/8 of the Cross Bay and Woodhaven section is parkland is like saying that the 7 train shouldn’t have been extended to Main St. because it has to pass through Flushing Meadows Park to get there (The park is only crowded when the Mets play or during Tennis matches). Just because a line needs to go through a park to reach very thriving neighborhoods does not mean that it should not be extended. Besides, a quick look on Google Earth reveals that most of Forest Park along the RBB has been converted into 8-story apartment buildings. This further proves that people live along the RBB.

To those saying that Jamaica Bay is empty- well the rail line crossing Jamaica Bay has already been built- so it wouldn’t add costs to the construction of the line. The main costs would occur while connecting RBB to QBL in Rego Park.

There is a reason why Cross Bay and Woodhaven Boulevard is one of the busiest through-fares in Queens. It's not a lucky coincidence. People use this corridor on a day-to-day basis. A train line running directly parallel to this boulevard WOULD be used.

Argument 2: “It will make QBL even more crowded!”
This is the part I find ironic. If you claim that the Rockaway Beach Branch will have no riders- then how can you say that it will cause overcrowding on the QBL? It is contradicting.

Nevertheless- the concerns over this extra line causing overcrowding on QBL are warranted since a lot of people do in fact live along Cross Bay and Woodhaven Boulevard (I am one of the 180,000 - 200,000, not including the Rockaways).

Here is the reality, though- there are many lines in this city that carry MORE people than QBL and branch out to MORE places than QBL. QBL carries 460,000 people per day on a weekday and ONLY branches out to Jamaica-179 and Jamaica Center (on the east side). Compare that to the 6th Av Line(B,D,F,M)- which carries 670,000 riders on a weekday and branches out to the Culver Line, the Brighton Beach Line, the Nassau St. Line, AND the 4th avenue Line- or the Broadway Line(N,Q,R,W)- which carries over 700,000 riders on a weekday and branches out to the QBL, Astoria Line, and 2nd Av Line. These stats come straight from the MTA. Are the 6th Av and Broadway lines crowded during rush hour? Yes- they are- but that is just the side effect of having a subway line in New York. Most subway lines will be crowded- and we will have to deal with that. CBTC- which would be completed on QBL by the time the RBB reactivates would help mitigate some of the overcrowding- and it would also increase speeds (making the commute for everyone, including those along the RBB, faster). The potential conversion of Woodhaven into an Express stop would further help reduce overcrowding- since most of the crowding comes from the platform- as opposed to the trains themselves.

More overcrowding on the QBL would not be the issue here. If anything- the line would simply become as populated as some of the other lines in NYC. As other subway lines have proven- you can have a subway line branch out in more than 2 directions while carrying a lot of people. This is nothing new. QBL will be able to handle another branch once CBTC comes. A new branch might actually HELP increase train frequency- since the RBB would direct one train line to a new terminus- making trains turnover at Forest Hills more quickly.

 

“The line won’t connect North Queens and South Queens properly because there can’t be a good connection to the A or J!”

Yes, there can be. As someone who uses the Rockaway Blvd Station daily- it is literally 1-2 minutes from the abandoned Ozone Park station. Two things could be done: first- an “elevated walkway” could be built connecting Rockaway Blvd to the Ozone Park Station. Humanity has built a bridge that crosses Lake Pontchartrain- so we can definitely handle an elevated walkway from one station to the other. The second and cheaper option would be an out-of-system transfer- which would work since the stations are very close. The  J train situation is similar. You can build an elevated walkway to a nearby station and connect it to the Jamaica Av station or have an out-of-system transfer that would require little effort.

Planning and constructing transfers would not be a mindblowing task. It would actually be pretty simple. People in North Queens would now be able to get to Brooklyn without using the shoot-in-shoot-out method.

“The line wouldn’t be used because it is too far from Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevard!”

Outside of Howard Beach- the line is literally within walking distance of Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevard. I can attest as I have lived in Ozone Park for 11 years. Stations in Metropolitan Av would be especially close to Cross Bay and Woodhaven. And we shouldn’t act like Woodhaven and Crossbay Blvd are the only populated areas in this Queens area. The areas around Atlantic, 101, Jamaica, and Lefferts have a very high population concentration near the abandoned rail line- and those citizens would use the RBB. For Howard Beach residents (and maybe some parts of Ozone Park)- entrances for the RBB could be placed on Cross Bay Blvd- and below ground, there would be moving walkways like those in airports (that speed up)- allowing Howard Beach residents to more easily access the line. NYC has had to connect areas with long walkways before- like those that appeared when they shut down 18th st station on the Lexington Line- or the long pathway at Woodhaven Blvd. We have also seen moving walkways at stations like Court Sq. Again, none of this is new. A walkway would not only allow Howard Beach (and possibly Ozone Park) residents to access the line faster- but it would also allow people to cross Cross Bay Blvd without actually having to cross the road (if the walkway is placed before the payment zone). This would greatly benefit the community.

“Other areas need subway lines more urgently”

There are more densely populated areas in NY that could use subway lines- but they don't have an atrocious and abandoned rail line near them that needs repair. The fact that there are more densely populated areas also does not mean that the Woodhaven/Cross Bay corridor isn’t dense. Think about it - what would the MTA most likely do?- build a new line from scratch- or reestablish an abandoned line. The latter would be the most convincing plan. The RBB becoming real means removing the trees on the RBB- building a stable platform- and installing the track and stations. Building a line like an extension on the F takes the shutdown of streets, rerouting of buses, digging machines, and a lot more money. We should start with RBB to set a precedent- and then go for more ambitious projects. The MTA spent 2 billion on Fulton Center- so the prospect of spending that much money on a full-fledged line isn’t insane. When RBB is completed- people will feel more incentivized to start work on other subway lines. Also, again, the RBB debate is occurring NOW- we cannot wait until later- or the park will get built. It’s one, or the other, or both. If the subway doesn’t get built, the park will get built- and we will have to deal with a park that does not at all help the community.

“LIRR wouldn’t have abandoned the line if it were popular”

That was 70 years ago. It is almost 2020. The area has changed greatly- and a lot more people have moved into the area surrounding the RBB. We cannot use examples from long ago to argue against the reactivation of the RBB.

“What train do you propose would run along the RBB?”

That is a question that is up for debate.

Here is my not-so-perfect-proposal - which I don’t mind anyone criticizing.

I would run the E on the RBB, the F to Jamaica Center, the R to 179st- and the M to Forest Hills. The E would go to Far Rockaway- the A to Rockaway Park, and the C to Lefferts.

The F would run to Jamaica Center to take place of E- which would go to RBB. This would mean that Jamaica would continue to be provided by Express trains. The reason why 179 would have a local train going there is that riders there would be able to transfer to an express train at Union Turnpike. The RBB would have more customers than the small section between 179 and Union Turnpike- so it would warrant an express more than 179st. The R would have a new terminus which would take loads off of Forest Hills-71av- allowing more trains on the local track.

My proposal would result in the construction of 6 stations- Ozone Park, 101-Atlantic, Jamaica Av, Forest Park, Metropolitan-Yellowstone, and Rego Park. Each station serves either a commercial center, a populated area, or both.

Tl:dr If the RBB got re-established as a subway line instead of or with a park- it would provide service to an area of Queens that greatly needs it (since the A and J are crumbling, and many people in South Queens work in North Queens). The demand is here, the space is there, the QBL will be able to handle it, and the transfers can be made. All we need is the funds to build the line. It can set a precedent for the construction of more lines in the future.

This line would provide a vital thru-fare from North Queens to South Queens- and would give tons of people easier access to the rest of New York City. Thanks for reading.

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@MrQuesada

Thank you for posting that. 

For space's sake, I'm not gonna quote directly, but will instead go through the broad points independently.

A lot of your argument hinges on the RBB's ridership potential. I think it has it. Not as much as an investment in the 3rd Ave corridor in the Bronx would, or one on Utica in Brooklyn (they are statistically denser corridors -- I can provide a *very* detailed Census analysis if you like), but it would get riders, and I think your point about opportunity costs is completely valid. 

I don't think that's the issue as much as the fact that it's an avoidable investment. You talk about this in your post, actually -- the current services to your area are, well, shit. I think before we get all caught up in building new lines, we need to address the fact that there are some low-cost changes to (A)(J)(Z) service that could be made that would dramatically improve them. 

Top on my list is sending the (C) to Lefferts Boulevard during the off peak. As I'm sure you know, service there is lacking during off hours -- trains every 15-20 minutes, and that is if there isn't the proverbial sick customer in Washington Heights. (C) is local, yes, but it affects a doubling of service frequency on the (A)'s branches. During the peak, I say leave the (C) alone -- (A) is frequent enough, and that's when expresses are most useful. 

On the (J) end, service also needs to be restructured. Skip stop is a crime that harms residents of Woodhaven and Ozone Park to the benefit of Jamaica riders -- who really don't use the (J) anyway. My thoughts:

We can today run 24 trains an hour over the Williamsburg Bridge (that's an issue in and of itself, but one that can really only be solved with redesigned signals/reconfigured tracks), so I suggest we split it 8, 8 and 8 (or 10, 8 and 6) -- 8 to the (M), 8 to the (J), 8 to the (Z) (or 10 (M) 8 (J) 6 (Z)). This imaginary (J) would run express from Broadway Junction to Marcy, then local to Jamaica, while the (Z) would operate full local from Marcy to Bway Jct, and would turn at Crescent. If you're confident in your ability to keep things fluid, you could have your express (J)s and local (Z)s merge west of Bway Jct rather than east of the station, and then you could run supplemental trains from Bway Jct to the east to serve the deluge of folks that transfer at the Junction. If this is successful, then you can really go to town -- build out a 3rd track from Bway Jct to Crescent or Woodhaven, and run expresses thus. This, of course, would be coupled with an effort to run the (J) frequently during the off-peak. 

Now, I don't believe that the potential to fix service patterns is the entire counterargument here. Queens Boulevard is extremely crowded You cite other trunks that have higher ridership figures, but keep in mind that they are, by and large, core segments, which receive riders from both directions, basically doubling their relevant capacity. Queens Boulevard does not have that luxury; its flow is highly polarized in that everyone wants to go to Manhattan in the AM, and everyone wants to get east in the PM. This isn't to say we have a Gordian knot here -- the local tracks are well under capacity, something that some smart service restructuring/good terminal operation could solve -- but it is worth being cognizant of the fact that whether it be in the short term or the long, you are inducing demand towards a corridor which already has its hands full. 

The caveat to all this is intra-Queens ridership. This, to me, is an open question. If someone can come with data showing that there is indeed a large market for intra-Queens ridership that could be directed to this corridor, the whole discussion gets recast. All of my talk about the (A)(J)(Z) is predicated on the fact that I believe the RBB's ridership would use it as a matter of convenience -- it would be going to the same places (A)(J)(Z) take them today, just via QB rather than Fulton or Jamaica. If, however, the bulk of corridor ridership would be commuting to, say, Queens Center Mall, then the expense becomes infinitely more justifiable. You're serving a now-unservable market, are increasing intra-boro connectivity, and you're doing that without affecting too much harm on QB, as the traffic wouldn't cross the peak load points headed into Manhattan. 

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12 hours ago, RR503 said:

@MrQuesada

Thank you for posting that. 

For space's sake, I'm not gonna quote directly, but will instead go through the broad points independently.

A lot of your argument hinges on the RBB's ridership potential. I think it has it. Not as much as an investment in the 3rd Ave corridor in the Bronx would, or one on Utica in Brooklyn (they are statistically denser corridors -- I can provide a *very* detailed Census analysis if you like), but it would get riders, and I think your point about opportunity costs is completely valid. 

I don't think that's the issue as much as the fact that it's an avoidable investment. You talk about this in your post, actually -- the current services to your area are, well, shit. I think before we get all caught up in building new lines, we need to address the fact that there are some low-cost changes to (A)(J)(Z) service that could be made that would dramatically improve them. 

Top on my list is sending the (C) to Lefferts Boulevard during the off peak. As I'm sure you know, service there is lacking during off hours -- trains every 15-20 minutes, and that is if there isn't the proverbial sick customer in Washington Heights. (C) is local, yes, but it affects a doubling of service frequency on the (A)'s branches. During the peak, I say leave the (C) alone -- (A) is frequent enough, and that's when expresses are most useful. 

On the (J) end, service also needs to be restructured. Skip stop is a crime that harms residents of Woodhaven and Ozone Park to the benefit of Jamaica riders -- who really don't use the (J) anyway. My thoughts:

We can today run 24 trains an hour over the Williamsburg Bridge (that's an issue in and of itself, but one that can really only be solved with redesigned signals/reconfigured tracks), so I suggest we split it 8, 8 and 8 (or 10, 8 and 6) -- 8 to the (M), 8 to the (J), 8 to the (Z) (or 10 (M) 8 (J) 6 (Z)). This imaginary (J) would run express from Broadway Junction to Marcy, then local to Jamaica, while the (Z) would operate full local from Marcy to Bway Jct, and would turn at Crescent. If you're confident in your ability to keep things fluid, you could have your express (J)s and local (Z)s merge west of Bway Jct rather than east of the station, and then you could run supplemental trains from Bway Jct to the east to serve the deluge of folks that transfer at the Junction. If this is successful, then you can really go to town -- build out a 3rd track from Bway Jct to Crescent or Woodhaven, and run expresses thus. This, of course, would be coupled with an effort to run the (J) frequently during the off-peak. 

Now, I don't believe that the potential to fix service patterns is the entire counterargument here. Queens Boulevard is extremely crowded You cite other trunks that have higher ridership figures, but keep in mind that they are, by and large, core segments, which receive riders from both directions, basically doubling their relevant capacity. Queens Boulevard does not have that luxury; its flow is highly polarized in that everyone wants to go to Manhattan in the AM, and everyone wants to get east in the PM. This isn't to say we have a Gordian knot here -- the local tracks are well under capacity, something that some smart service restructuring/good terminal operation could solve -- but it is worth being cognizant of the fact that whether it be in the short term or the long, you are inducing demand towards a corridor which already has its hands full. 

The caveat to all this is intra-Queens ridership. This, to me, is an open question. If someone can come with data showing that there is indeed a large market for intra-Queens ridership that could be directed to this corridor, the whole discussion gets recast. All of my talk about the (A)(J)(Z) is predicated on the fact that I believe the RBB's ridership would use it as a matter of convenience -- it would be going to the same places (A)(J)(Z) take them today, just via QB rather than Fulton or Jamaica. If, however, the bulk of corridor ridership would be commuting to, say, Queens Center Mall, then the expense becomes infinitely more justifiable. You're serving a now-unservable market, are increasing intra-boro connectivity, and you're doing that without affecting too much harm on QB, as the traffic wouldn't cross the peak load points headed into Manhattan. 

I agree with many of your points, especially the ones about the A, J and Z trains. Sending the C to Lefferts would greatly help Rockaway  Riders. There would still have to be a way to speed up the A train though. The sections that mainly concern me are the two bridges that cross from Howard Beach to the Rockaways, and sections from Euclid to Jay St. The A trains also tend to run extremely slow in Manhattan- but CBTC is coming to Eighth Avenue soon- which means that the A will get faster in Manhattan. It also means that we will recieve NTT soon. If we speed up the A outside of Manhattan and send the C to Lefferts- A train ridership would increase- mostly in the Rockaways, but some in Ozone Park.

About the J- I again agree with your points. Constructing an Express track would really increase the attractiveness of the line- especially if the new track had CBTC on it and avoided that super sharp turn on to Crescent St. (the line would go over Jamaica Av until Broadway Junction, speeding up the Z).

While these solutions do provide quick access to Manhattan- these still don't help trying to get from North to South Queens. I think a lot of the North-South Queens market can't been seen specifically due to the fact that people purposefully go out of their way to not go to North Queens or to South Queens due to how difficult it is via transportation. There is some proof that the market is there, though, both anectodal and statistical. A lot of the evidence comes from the car ridership on Cross Bay &Woodhaven, and the bus ridership on North-South Queens bus routes. The Q10 was the busiest bus route in the city in 2017- and that is mainly because it is one of the fastest North-South bus routes. It carried over 20,000 riders per weekday. Many people here work in Kew Gardens or in areas along QBL (Jamaica, Elmhurst, Briarwood). People also tend to go to North Queens to hang out in places like Queens Center Mall. Most people who take the Q10 Get on in South Queens and get off either in Kew Gardens, or at one of the stops along QBL (the Mall, Jamaica). A lot of airport employees also use the Q10 Because it quickly gets to the airtrain (Though the RBB would go to the airtrain too) The Q41 Is another bus that tries to mitigate the North/South divide by giving us access to Jamaica Station- where we can transfer to A MILLION BUSES and the E train to access the same areas intended by the Q10. The Q41 Only carried 7,000 riders a day- but that number is misleading since a lot of people refuse to go North due to the difficulty. The Q41 is consistently crowded (even outside of Rush hour). 

More buses that do the North/South include the Q37 (7,000 riders)- and of course, the Q53/52/21/11, which carry over 30,000 riders a weekday. The buses are pretty crowded in Ozone Park- and by the time they get to Metropolitan there is no room to breath. At Queens Center people either stay at the mall, transfer to a bus like the Q88- Or go to QBL to go to some of the areas along North Queens. Again, all of these buses get very crowded- even OUTSIDE of Rush hour. The fact that the buses get crowded outside of Rush hour is proof that people take these buses to get to leisurely activities that don't include working in Manhattan. The RBB diverts these riders to the the same train- since these bus lines listed are all within reach of the RBB. 30,000+(7,000x2)+20,000 makes for over 64,000 riders who take the North-South bus routes daily. This does not include people who drive (again, because buses are full), or people who outright go out of their way to not go to North Queens because of the difficulty of the ride.

When speaking about drivers- Woodhaven/Cross Bay continues to be "one of the top North South arteries in Queens" as highlighted in a DOT report. Many pedestrian deaths occur on these streets due to the large amount of drivers. A Subway line would take drivers off of the road and on to the Subway Line (again, to access North Queens), while helping reduce pedestrian deaths

The RBB debate is occuring now- so the line either gets built now or a park gets built. One thing residents don't want is that abandoned line sitting there and collecting drugs, crime, and new mosquito species.

Outside of improvements to accessing Manhattan- I think the demand for a North-South artery is definitely there. Once CBTC is put on QBL- I also think it will help reduce the impact of the RBB. If the A, J and Z get improved alongside the construction of the RBB- That would help divert Manhattan-bound riders and seperate them from North Bound or South Bound Queens riders. 

I also haven't factored in people in North Queens who might continue to use the Shoot-In-Shout-Out method to access Brooklyn. If the RBB and the A/J get improved- then people in North Queens would likely take the RBB, change to the A, and get to Brooklyn.

I do believe the demand is there.

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@MrQuesada 

I agree with all the your counter arguments and as a Rego Park Resident and someone who regularly uses the Q52/53 Select (and Woodhaven Blvd in general), I can say that this route is crowded alright. You’ve also stated the arguments WAY better than I could! However, I have one Question about your service pattern that you laid out for a QB-RBB connection. 

Which services have you outlined as Local and Express? I’ll get the obvious out of the way first...

(M) - Local to Forest Hills

(F) - Express to Jamaica Center

Since the RBB provisions on Queens Blvd only connect to the local tracks, does this mean that you’re switching the service alignments of the (E) and (R)? Cause if so, then I don’t fully agree with such an argument. I’d prefer it if the (R) was booted to Astoria (for an unrelated project) and have the (N) or (W) take its place. I may be missing something here since your service alignments are not clear. Is your (R) train express west of 71, or is it still a local? What I’d do with the current alignment is this:

(E) QB local via RBB for the reasons you stated above. Though I don’t fully agree with this idea for an unrelated reason. 

(F) QB Express to Jamaica Center. One important thing to note is that Jamaica Center can only turn around 12 trains per hour. So some (F) trains might have to short turn at 179th Street. 

(M) QB Express to 179th Street. As you’ve stated earlier, the section between 179th and Union Tpke has Lower ridership than the areas sorrounding the RBB. So sending the (M) train instead of the (R) would still allow Jamaica Riders to access 6th Avenue. (Though that’s not a big deal). 

(W) QB local to Forest Hills/Jamaica 179th Street. The (R) and (W) would swap roles in Queens for an unrelated project. Sending the (W) to Queens would keep some level of reliability for riders along QBL. 

Those are just my thoughts on the matter. Other than that, I like the arguments that you’ve made in support for the RBB. 

 

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Thanks for the support!

And sorry for the confusion in that plan 😅. That's why it was "not-so-perfect". In the plan I highlighted earlier I meant to say that the E and F would be express and the M and R would be local

E- Express to Far Rockaway

F- Express to Jamaica Center

R- Local to Jamaica-179 (or W if that is better)

M- Local to Forest Hills

It seems that that plan wouldn't work though since it appears that the stub only connects to the local tracks. My bad. I don't know if it would be possible to change the layout of the tracks during construction though.

If not, then it would be harder for me to come up with a plan...

 

 

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