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Union Tpke

Time for more crowded subway lines through LIC because of Prince Andrew and Amazon

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https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/05/technology/amazon-second-headquarters-split.html?action=click&module=Top Stories&pgtype=Homepage

SEATTLE — After conducting a yearlong search for a second home, Amazon has switched gears and is now finalizing plans to have a total of 50,000 employees in two locations, according to people familiar with the decision-making process.

The company is nearing a deal to move to the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, according to two of the people briefed on the discussions. Amazon is also close to a deal to move to the Crystal City area of Arlington, Va., a Washington suburb, one of the people said. Amazon already has more employees in those two areas than anywhere else outside of Seattle, its home base, and the Bay Area.

Amazon executives met two weeks ago with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in the governor’s Manhattan office, said one of the people briefed on the process, adding that the state had offered potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies. Long Island City is a short subway ride across the East River from Midtown Manhattan.

“I am doing everything I can,” Governor Cuomo told reporters when asked Monday about the state’s efforts to lure the company. “We have a great incentive package,” he said.

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Well, think of the boon to all the (G) riders downstream! But first, that (L) shutdown is going to make it hell if Amazon brings in employee traffic in the same time frame. Depending on where in Long Island City, this could be very bad for the (7)<7>(E) which are already very crowded. If Broadway gets sucked in, it will have a very hard time maintaining its current service patterns as it would have to provide high throughput for both Queens and the Upper East Side.

But realistically, how much of a burden will this place on the subway?

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25 minutes ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

This guy should provide a incentive package for our transportation system.  What nerve.  

It's just another stunt. Cuomo doesn't have any actual solutions to offer so he prefers the big stunts that'll land him media attention and have people think he's doing a lot.

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Just now, U-BahnNYC said:

It's just another stunt. Cuomo doesn't have any actual solutions to offer so he prefers the big stunts that'll land him media attention and have people think he's doing a lot.

Except we, the taxpayers, will have to bite the bullet when the money could be better spent on things such as the MTA.

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Just now, U-BahnNYC said:

It's just another stunt. Cuomo doesn't have any actual solutions to offer so he prefers the big stunts that'll land him media attention and have people think he's doing a lot.

Not so much that.  He ran on a platform of NOT taxing New Yorkers to death which is why so many New Yorkers have been fleeing the state in droves between the endless taxes and the never ending rising cost of living.  Instead he's done just that over time.  Your payroll tax has increased under him if you work thanks to his initiatives to "improve" our quality of life.  Sure, lure Amazon here, but there's no investment in infrastructure, and no stipulations in place in exchange for the "freebies" this guy is handing out left and right.  Amazon doesn't need any tax breaks. They're already loaded. Meanwhile the tax incentives that he passes on to them will be hurled on us to pay.  

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What's concerning is the over-development of these neighborhoods. The last thing this city needs is more hipsters moving in, overcrowding the already struggling trains, and raising the rents even further to have even more homeless stinking up the streets and the subways. There's a shortage of 300K housing units in this city.

I've only got two more years left in this idiotically run "world class" city, thankfully. Maybe move to Chicago or Houston.

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3 minutes ago, U-BahnNYC said:

What's concerning is the over-development of these neighborhoods. The last thing this city needs is more hipsters moving in, overcrowding the already struggling trains, and raising the rents even further to have even more homeless stinking up the streets and the subways. There's a shortage of 300K housing units in this city.

I've only got two more years left in this idiotically run "world class" city, thankfully. Maybe move to Chicago or Houston.

I don't plan on leaving but I do agree that the cost of living has skyrocketed while the overall quality of life is worsening, especially if you need transportation. Funny thing is there are so many people willing to pay a premium to walk to work so that they can completely avoid using any public transportation, OR they want to be able to bike to work. I see it every morning.  It used to be that you paid a premium to be close to good transportation. God what this City is turning into is crazy.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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2 minutes ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

Not so much that.  He ran on a platform of NOT taxing New Yorkers to death which is why so many New Yorkers have been fleeing the state in droves between the endless taxes and the never ending rising cost of living.  Instead he's done just that over time.  Your payroll tax has increased under him if you work thanks to his initiatives to "improve" our quality of life.  Sure, lure Amazon here, but there's no investment in infrastructure, and no stipulations in place in exchange for the "freebies" this guy is handing out left and right.  Amazon doesn't need any tax breaks. They're already loaded. Meanwhile the tax incentives that he passes on to them will be hurled on us to pay.  

Of course. What makes my blood boil is these politicians bending over backwards to rich giants like Amazon and giving them even more tax breaks in the name of economic stimulation.

Indeed the NY taxpayers will foot the bill for Amazon and their 25K employees moving here and will suffer even more hipsters congesting the arteries of this city and pushing rents to unbearable levels.

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My thoughts on this:

LIC throughput 4/2019:

63rd St: 14tph (F) 

60th St: 25tph (N)(R)(W) 

53rd St: 29tph (E)(M) 

Steinway: 32tph (7) 

Crosstown: 15tph (G) 

I daresay there's room for improvement there...

Longer term, why don't we re-purpose those phantom billions for the BQX to extend the (G) to Queensbridge via QBP? Sure would make Crosstown commuting/deinterlining easier.

12 minutes ago, U-BahnNYC said:

Indeed the NY taxpayers will foot the bill for Amazon and their 25K employees moving here and will suffer even more hipsters congesting the arteries of this city and pushing rents to unbearable levels.

Why do hipsters get so much shit? I hate to say it, but it's much more the 'complaining about hipsters' crowd that causes the issues here (through NIMBYism, machine politics, etc) than it is the hipsters themselves. They actually have done a defensible job increasing awareness of transit/housing problems.

Regardless, I think this othering speaks to many tropes at play in society at large these days. Really the whole western world is being pressured to see newcomers--the human emblems of change--as the roots of our problems, rather than the economic/political institutions that really are. Hipsters have little to do with tax burden and rising rents--but the politicians/developers/NIMBYs who frequently purvey those narratives have everything to do with them. This focus on new populations is just obfuscating deeper mismanagement of the city, to the benefit of those who are in charge of the rot. 

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Update 10:39 pm

Vox is reporting its pretty much a done deal

https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/11/5/18066814/amazon-hq2-locations-selected

God help us all since our electeds are just fine with the status quo...

Philly is looking more and more attractive by the day

Edited by Around the Horn

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1 hour ago, U-BahnNYC said:

Of course. What makes my blood boil is these politicians bending over backwards to rich giants like Amazon and giving them even more tax breaks in the name of economic stimulation.

Indeed the NY taxpayers will foot the bill for Amazon and their 25K employees moving here and will suffer even more hipsters congesting the arteries of this city and pushing rents to unbearable levels.

If he was a better governor/POTUS candidate, he would've offered incentives if they moved the HQ upstate - Rochester or Buffalo - just because that'd boost either local economy and stem the population loss.

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1 hour ago, RR503 said:

They actually have done a defensible job increasing awareness of transit/housing problems.

Problems that their presence contributed to, if not outright caused.

Then they lecture us about how WE need to find solutions. Plus, these are people who usually move out of the city once they reach mid-age, so they feel no real attachment to it.

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5 minutes ago, U-BahnNYC said:

Problems that their presence contributed to, if not outright caused.

Growth highlights mismanagement. Shocking, right? Should we have set the city in wax in 1997? 

6 minutes ago, U-BahnNYC said:

Then they lecture us about how WE need to find solutions. Plus, these are people who usually move out of the city once they reach mid-age, so they feel no real attachment to it.

Funny. I feel a good percentage of today’s innovative transit proposals/dialogue comes from them... Regardless, isn’t it, well, kinda the government’s purpose to find mitigations to problems of the citizenry? 

Funnier still, I have met precious few hipsters who have decamped. All the folks who I know to be moving are of the old NYC stereotype — Italians to Florida, and the like. And I don’t think I need to remind you that hipsters and artists and counterculture types played a sizable role in making cities cool again. The ‘old guard’ was invariably saving for that nice single family home in suburbia. I also think that there’s something to be said for the circularity here. Are hipsters moving because they feel no attachment to NYC? Or is it because our country saddles young folks with unbearable debt loads and then expects them to live in high cost environments like NYC on middling/inconsistent wages... 

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9 minutes ago, RR503 said:

Funny. I feel a good percentage of today’s innovative transit proposals/dialogue comes from them...

Millennials and Gen X (or whatever they call my generation now) yes, hipsters in particular not so much...

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1 hour ago, RR503 said:

...Are hipsters moving because they feel no attachment to NYC? Or is it because our country saddles young folks with unbearable debt loads and then expects them to live in high cost environments like NYC on middling/inconsistent wages... 

I just wish they didn't bring suburban values to the neighborhoods they gentrify. 

But I feel the same way about them in every city I've lived in - Atlanta, LA, SF, Detroit...

And I also wish they'd curb their dogs.

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I think we're all in agreement here that incentivizing Amazon to come to New York should not be done on the backs of New Yorkers, so here's my take on the other half of the issue at hand, the potential for more subway and general traffic problems. For far too long, we (and by we, I mean the local and state politicians) have acted as though the transit infrastructure in this city is adequate for the city's population, where in fact it hasn't and it isn't. And this isn't even something we can blame Cuomo or DeBlasio on. We can blame them for their inaction in the latest problems plaguing the system due to mismanagement and way too many deferments, but the real crux of the issue has been here, lying in wait for decades.

Since the inception of the MTA and for quite some time prior to it, we've always been behind the curve when it comes to population vs. transportation capacity. We're able to draw up big expansion plans like the '68 Program for Action, but just like the maps and ideas thought up here on this forum, they mean absolutely nothing if there is no capital behind them, political or otherwise. Sure, we can blame Amazon for potentially exacerbating the issue, but whether it's them or some other big company looking to expand their footprint in New York, the fact remains that our transit network hasn't really changed since the 1950s. We've had a couple of major extensions built in the intervening years, but if  you were to overlay a subway map from 1955 on top of one from today, you'd see very little difference in the two, which is a major problem.

Companies, and real estate developers for that matter, aren't vying solely for midtown or the World Trade Center area anymore, either because they're being priced out of Manhattan or simply because there's a distinct lack of space on the island these days. They're looking at Queens, Brooklyn, even The Bronx to a certain extent these days, an unfathomable thought a few decades ago, which means we have to build the transit network to match. To persist with this Manhattan-centric way of transit planning ignores the shifts that have been occurring over the past decade or so, and while it won't lead to the city's downfall, it will make everyone's fears of a much more challenging commute all the more possible.

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Hello people - 1. Most new Amazon employees will be reverse commuters, traveling from Manhattan to LIC.

 

2. Others will be hipsters from Brooklyn on the G.

 

3. Others will be locals who've moved in to LIC or Astoria, who can walk, ride bikes or take buses.

 

4. Many Amazon employees will work non-traditional hours.

 

Bottom line - not much impact on crowding of Manhattan-bound peak trains .

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13 hours ago, Lance said:

I think we're all in agreement here that incentivizing Amazon to come to New York should not be done on the backs of New Yorkers, so here's my take on the other half of the issue at hand, the potential for more subway and general traffic problems. For far too long, we (and by we, I mean the local and state politicians) have acted as though the transit infrastructure in this city is adequate for the city's population, where in fact it hasn't and it isn't. And this isn't even something we can blame Cuomo or DeBlasio on. We can blame them for their inaction in the latest problems plaguing the system due to mismanagement and way too many deferments, but the real crux of the issue has been here, lying in wait for decades.

Since the inception of the MTA and for quite some time prior to it, we've always been behind the curve when it comes to population vs. transportation capacity. We're able to draw up big expansion plans like the '68 Program for Action, but just like the maps and ideas thought up here on this forum, they mean absolutely nothing if there is no capital behind them, political or otherwise. Sure, we can blame Amazon for potentially exacerbating the issue, but whether it's them or some other big company looking to expand their footprint in New York, the fact remains that our transit network hasn't really changed since the 1950s. We've had a couple of major extensions built in the intervening years, but if  you were to overlay a subway map from 1955 on top of one from today, you'd see very little difference in the two, which is a major problem.

Companies, and real estate developers for that matter, aren't vying solely for midtown or the World Trade Center area anymore, either because they're being priced out of Manhattan or simply because there's a distinct lack of space on the island these days. They're looking at Queens, Brooklyn, even The Bronx to a certain extent these days, an unfathomable thought a few decades ago, which means we have to build the transit network to match. To persist with this Manhattan-centric way of transit planning ignores the shifts that have been occurring over the past decade or so, and while it won't lead to the city's downfall, it will make everyone's fears of a much more challenging commute all the more possible.

Preach. I would go further than to say that its just making commuting a nightmare, though. The regionwide housing crisis we're seeing is, I believe, a direct result of this lack of expansion; the amount of buildable land in NYC hasn't really changed since the IND went to the Rockaways. Sure, there are underdeveloped areas along extant subway lines (BMT South, Jamaica Line, Dyre), but those areas themselves serve a market purpose, and thus it would seem a shame (and a disservice to urban diversity) to completely override demand for certain types of living in obfuscation of our myopia. We should seek to develop what we have, yes, but we should also grow the pie. 

All of that said, I do want to push back against the notion that what we're suffering from is a simple lack of (especially core-bound) infrastructure. Speaking in the most reductive of terms, we have twenty two track pairs entering the Midtown core (4 tracks each on Lex, 6th, Broadway, 7th, 8th, plus Canarsie and Flushing), meaning that if we ran thirty trains per hour per track (a number around which  the signal system was generally designed; whether it is operated thus today is a whole different discussion), we'd have six hundred and sixty trains per hour entering Manhattan each rush. Today, we only schedule around 377. 

Now, as I'm sure some of you are just itching to point out, assuming every track can reach capacity ignores the realities of interlining, terminal operations, timers, and dwell, but I again want to push back against this simple acquiescence to operational failure. At various points in NYCT's history, the Williamsburg Bridge carried 27tph, Canarsie 26, WTC 26, Lex express 32, Dekalb north 50+, Forest Hills 30. In a similar vein, interlining is an issue, but speaking in absolute terms, it only is killing 30tph of core capacity. So sure, with changing track configurations (really only a factor on the WillyB) assumptions about operator performance, and safety margins, some of these capacities are no longer replicable, but I don't think that at all negates the larger point here: namely, that what our system suffers today isn't so much a lack of capacity, but a misuse thereof. We have a handful of overcrowded lines (really, line segments), yes, but they are thus largely because our circularized service planning (ridership->more frequency->more ridership) has led them in that direction.

Instead of throwing money at duplicating/changing these capacitally strained lines, we should first be trying to solve operational issues, and then leverage the massive amount of redundancy contained in the network. Amp up (B)(D) frequencies to suck riders off the (4) -- the (D) will get you to midtown faster anyway. Do the same on the (J) -- add frequencies and Broadway Jct-Myrtle express service to intercept every possible Queens Boulevard bound trip originating south of Forest Park with the promise of a less crowded train. Then play with Brooklyn -- the (B)(D)(N)(Q)(R) all duplicate the (4)(5) in full or in part on the trip to Midtown, so if we're still worried about crowding at places like Union Square, kill the homeball CCTV at Dekalb and push frequencies so all those new apartments coming up in Downtown Brooklyn don't end up poisonous to the IRT. 

Beyond the crowding reduction angle, spreading ridership across all the system's lines does wonders for resiliency. The fact that about half of all ridership interacts with the IRT makes that portion of the system not only brittle, but also unnecessarily impactful on people's commutes. If we could get people off the Lex, say, major delays there would be easier to mitigate and simply less dangerous to system function; there would no longer be such a single point of failure. 

But I digress, and as always, overwrite. TL;DR, there's a lot (300tph+) of hidden capacity in the core-bound system that we are either operating away or simply not using. 

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