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Via Garibaldi 8

Ideas to Alleviate Severe 7 Train Overcrowding

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51835744_10216966240728768_6702989213568

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Crowds like the ones above are becoming all too common for (7) train riders.  I've been interacting with some of them via social media on some ways to alleviate the problem with IMMEDIATE results.  Yes, we know the subway could be better, but for those riders who ONLY have the (7) line and need relief NOW, there should be alternatives.  I think a good idea would be to provide MORE QM3 service and have a branch that serves more of the Little Neck and Douglaston crowd and then another branch make the other stops along Northern or just under the (7) line if possible.  I haven't even looked at the particulars yet, but it is something that I would like to pitch to the (MTA) for future consideration.  Additionally more Q32 service would help in parts.  Looking for feedback from (7) train riders for the here and now, NOT more subway proposals down the line. That's separate... We're talking about actual solutions that can be implemented in the very near future.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8
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This is kind of "pie in the sky", but if the all the R188's on the (7) were retrofitted with open gangways, the line would gain 9-10% more capacity without having to add a single train to the line.

(The article below uses Lex as it's example, but the premise is the same)

Quote

Back in 2013, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced in its long-term capital needs assessment that “consideration should be given to” trains with open gangways. We’ve heard no more on this subject in the intervening time, despite some positive coverage of the news.

Yet the agency, like others around the country, has the opportunity to address some of its problems through the purchase of these trains. On the congested Lexington Avenue Line, which I discussed at the beginning, about 45.6 feet of each train’s 513.3-foot length is used up by the empty four feet between each car and the 10 feet reserved for the cabs at the center of the trains.

That means that, if the Lexington Avenue Line were transitioned to trains with open gangways, the line could gain almost an entire car-length of capacity on every train. That’s practically as much relief as the Second Avenue Subway will provide—at the cost of trains that would be purchased anyway.

https://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2015/04/06/when-american-transit-agencies-ignore-the-worlds-move-to-open-gangways/

We've seen many cities go with brand new open gangway trains, but the idea of retrofitting cars that were built "closed" is still somewhat unproven but I think the MTA should give it a look.

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38 minutes ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

 

51835744_10216966240728768_6702989213568

51725347_10216216409702000_5339496796857

Crowds like the ones above are becoming all too common for (7) train riders.  I've been interacting with some of them via social media on some ways to alleviate the problem with IMMEDIATE results.  Yes, we know the subway could be better, but for those riders who ONLY have the (7) line and need relief NOW, there should be alternatives.  I think a good idea would be to provide MORE QM3 service and have a branch that serves more of the Little Neck and Douglaston crowd and then another branch make the other stops along Northern or just under the (7) line if possible.  I haven't even looked at the particulars yet, but it is something that I would like to pitch to the (MTA) for future consideration.  Additionally more Q32 service would help in parts.  Looking for feedback from (7) train riders for the here and now, NOT more subway proposals down the line. That's separate... We're talking about actual solutions that can be implemented in the very near future.

I'm curious as to what the countdown clock said.

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27 minutes ago, Around the Horn said:

This is kind of "pie in the sky", but if the all the R188's on the (7) were retrofitted with open gangways, the line would gain 9-10% more capacity without having to add a single train to the line.

(The article below uses Lex as it's example, but the premise is the same)

https://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2015/04/06/when-american-transit-agencies-ignore-the-worlds-move-to-open-gangways/

We've seen many cities go with brand new open gangway trains, but the idea of retrofitting cars that were built "closed" is still somewhat unproven but I think the MTA should give it a look.

I can't imagine, from a structural standpoint, why it wouldn't be possible, but it would be one hell of an expense to chop up some brand new subway cars for an experiment like this.

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1 minute ago, N6 Limited said:

I'm curious as to what the countdown clock said.

Yesterday there were severe delays.  Eventually some people got so fed up that they crossed over to the other side of the platform to get a (7) towards Queens to then come back so that they could get on, and this severe overcrowding is becoming a daily problem. It doesn't take much for the crowds to pack onto the platform now either.

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1 minute ago, ttcsubwayfan said:

I can't imagine, from a structural standpoint, why it wouldn't be possible, but it would be one hell of an expense to chop up some brand new subway cars for an experiment like this.

Seems retarded. They already "retrofitted" some of these cars to run on the (7) as it is.  In any event that's more of a long-term thing. I don't see the monies available now for that, not to mention the amount of time needed to retrofit the cars. We're just talking about ways in the HERE and NOW to alleviate some of the overcrowding.

I've heard more Q32 and local bus service, more QM3 service and more local bus service on other lines.  It would make sense particularly when the (7) has a meltdown. Open gangways won't matter then if the trains are stuck.

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More QM3 service definitely is a no-brainer that could "theoretically" be implemented at the next pick. But knowing MTA, they will say there aren't enough buses or drivers or fuel or tires LOL

I also think it would be somewhat feasible to have some buses and B/O that are on standby (like an extra list) to go into service parallel to a subway when that subway line breaks down, sort of like a shuttle on-demand. But this would require a level of flexibility and ingenuity the MTA seems to lack. 

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You’re not really gonna be able to do that much with bus service. Even if you fill 5-6 more peak hour trips on the QM3, that’s only 250-300 peak riders, or about 2 cars worth of capacity. I also don’t think that folks from that far out are taking the (7); probably LIRR. Further in, demographics and speed work against you. Folks don’t want to pay for the exp bus, and the <7> is faster/more frequent anyway. By all means go for it, but that’s gonna be just a drop in the swimming pool of ridership. 

Q32 faces the same issue. It’s much slower than the (7), and faces reliability issues an order of magnitude or larger than its subway counterpart. It may be able to do something with highly local trips, but those are relatively scarce. In disruptions, more bus service would be nice, but keep in mind that replacing even a quarter of peak-hour (7) capacity would require you to run the Q32 on 2 min headways, so I’m frankly unsure how sustainable that is. 

I would attack this from two directions: LIRR fares/frequency and subway operations. If you can get LIRR to expand Atlantic Ticket onto the PW, then you have an extremely fast route at a more reasonable price that may be able to pull some folks at Flushing and Woodside. Yes, this is the same price as express bus, but with a larger time advantage, better route placement and more capacity, it is IMO a better push. 

The subway ops side is more complex. The real fix for this is of course getting NYCT out of its spiral, but that isn’t exactly a quick solution. I’d suggest gap trains. Sadly you can only put those at Corona and HY, but having trains on the ready to fill service gaps is a plus — especially when those holes ricochet through a terminal. Problem with gap trains is of course car equipment — I don’t know if the (7) has enough rolling stock on hand to run full peak hour service and have 2 gap trains at the ready. 

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9 minutes ago, RR503 said:

You’re not really gonna be able to do that much with bus service. Even if you fill 5-6 more peak hour trips on the QM3, that’s only 250-300 peak riders, or about 2 cars worth of capacity. I also don’t think that folks from that far out are taking the (7); probably LIRR. Further in, demographics and speed work against you. Folks don’t want to pay for the exp bus, and the <7> is faster/more frequent anyway. By all means go for it, but that’s gonna be just a drop in the swimming pool of ridership. 

Q32 faces the same issue. It’s much slower than the (7), and faces reliability issues an order of magnitude or larger than its subway counterpart. It may be able to do something with highly local trips, but those are relatively scarce. In disruptions, more bus service would be nice, but keep in mind that replacing even a quarter of peak-hour (7) capacity would require you to run the Q32 on 2 min headways, so I’m frankly unsure how sustainable that is. 

I would attack this from two directions: LIRR fares/frequency and subway operations. If you can get LIRR to expand Atlantic Ticket onto the PW, then you have an extremely fast route at a more reasonable price that may be able to pull some folks at Flushing and Woodside. Yes, this is the same price as express bus, but with a larger time advantage, better route placement and more capacity, it is IMO a better push. 

The subway ops side is more complex. The real fix for this is of course getting NYCT out of its spiral, but that isn’t exactly a quick solution. I’d suggest gap trains. Sadly you can only put those at Corona and HY, but having trains on the ready to fill service gaps is a plus — especially when those holes ricochet through a terminal. Problem with gap trains is of course car equipment — I don’t know if the (7) has enough rolling stock on hand to run full peak hour service and have 2 gap trains at the ready. 

I don't think that's the point. The idea here is to provide MORE viable options instead of everyone packing on the (7) train. You telling me that buses aren't going to fill the void is obvious (buses can't ever fully handle subway loads and never will), but having options still gives people the luxury to not ALL pack on the damn (7) train. That's the point, and while I agree about the LIRR, the LIRR and the (7) don't go to the same place. I hate it when people say MORE trains and then leave out the fact that the trains go to different places.  One of the things that I have in my neighborhood is OPTIONS. I can take the (1) train, Metro-North or choose from three express buses, and they all go to different places and serve their role in the overlook structure of things. If the subway goes down, I have another option. When the (7) goes down, people are SOL.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8
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16 minutes ago, QM1to6Ave said:

More QM3 service definitely is a no-brainer that could "theoretically" be implemented at the next pick. But knowing MTA, they will say there aren't enough buses or drivers or fuel or tires LOL

I also think it would be somewhat feasible to have some buses and B/O that are on standby (like an extra list) to go into service parallel to a subway when that subway line breaks down, sort of like a shuttle on-demand. But this would require a level of flexibility and ingenuity the MTA seems to lack. 

Yes, there are already some people in the (7) train group that said they would LOVE QM3 service and would use it.  Obviously most want the subway or something in that price range and those people you won't get but you spread some of that (7) train ridership up between express bus riders, LIRR riders, Q32 riders and so on. Long-term the (7) will remain a mess unless you move some of the riders to other alternatives. This would allow for the (MTA) to work on the line more and inconvenience fewer people to do so.

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15 minutes ago, RR503 said:

You’re not really gonna be able to do that much with bus service. Even if you fill 5-6 more peak hour trips on the QM3, that’s only 250-300 peak riders, or about 2 cars worth of capacity. I also don’t think that folks from that far out are taking the (7); probably LIRR. Further in, demographics and speed work against you. Folks don’t want to pay for the exp bus, and the <7> is faster/more frequent anyway. By all means go for it, but that’s gonna be just a drop in the swimming pool of ridership. 

Q32 faces the same issue. It’s much slower than the (7), and faces reliability issues an order of magnitude or larger than its subway counterpart. It may be able to do something with highly local trips, but those are relatively scarce. In disruptions, more bus service would be nice, but keep in mind that replacing even a quarter of peak-hour (7) capacity would require you to run the Q32 on 2 min headways, so I’m frankly unsure how sustainable that is. 

I would attack this from two directions: LIRR fares/frequency and subway operations. If you can get LIRR to expand Atlantic Ticket onto the PW, then you have an extremely fast route at a more reasonable price that may be able to pull some folks at Flushing and Woodside. Yes, this is the same price as express bus, but with a larger time advantage, better route placement and more capacity, it is IMO a better push. 

The subway ops side is more complex. The real fix for this is of course getting NYCT out of its spiral, but that isn’t exactly a quick solution. I’d suggest gap trains. Sadly you can only put those at Corona and HY, but having trains on the ready to fill service gaps is a plus — especially when those holes ricochet through a terminal. Problem with gap trains is of course car equipment — I don’t know if the (7) has enough rolling stock on hand to run full peak hour service and have 2 gap trains at the ready. 

Demographics are changing and so is ridership.  Last weekend the (Q) was knocked out. My express bus was packed.  If marketed correctly you can get those riders to use alternatives over just the subway to allow for more work to be done. Right now every time there's a problem with the (7) people complain and little to no work can be done as a result.

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17 minutes ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

I don't think that's the point. The idea here is to provide MORE viable options instead of everyone packing on the (7) train. You telling me that buses aren't going to fill the void is obvious (buses can't ever fully handle subway loads and never will), but having options still gives people the luxury to not ALL pack on the damn (7) train. That's the point, and while I agree about the LIRR, the LIRR and the (7) don't go to the same place. I hate it when people say MORE trains and then leave out the fact that the trains go to different places.  

I have no problem with offering more options. What I’m cautioning you against is the notion that offering more bus options will have much of an impact on (7) crowding. From a pure, money spent/benefit provided standpoint, I don’t think that is necessarily the best way to go.

Re: LIRR. Yes, it doesn’t go to the same places as the 7. But it shares a common end market with the line — ie Midtown — which is where many, many (7) riders are going. It does so with a good sized speed advantage over the (7) and has capacity on the scale where it can make an impact. That’s why I’m suggesting it. 

7 minutes ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

Demographics are changing and so is ridership.  Last weekend the (Q) was knocked out. My express bus was packed.  If marketed correctly you can get those riders to use alternatives over just the subway to allow for more work to be done. Right now every time there's a problem with the (7) people complain and little to no work can be done as a result.

Not sure what part of the (Q) you’re referring to, but generally that line’s service area is pretty wealthy. Not so much for the (7), and again, the exp bus is never gonna offer faster service than the (7) from on-line areas. 

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4 minutes ago, RR503 said:

I have no problem with offering more options. What I’m cautioning you against is the notion that offering more bus options will have much of an impact on (7) crowding. From a pure, money spent/benefit provided standpoint, I don’t think that is necessarily the best way to go.

Re: LIRR. Yes, it doesn’t go to the same places as the 7. But it shares a common end market with the line — ie Midtown — which is where many, many (7) riders are going. It does so with a good sized speed advantage over the (7) and has capacity on the scale where it can make an impact. That’s why I’m suggesting it. 

Not sure what part of the (Q) you’re referring to, but generally that line’s service area is pretty wealthy. Not so much for the (7), and again, the exp bus is never gonna offer faster service than the (7) from on-line areas. 

It's funny that you are so gung-ho for the LIRR which is not cheap but finding every way to discredit the viability of an express bus, when some (7) riders have already said they would take it. They obviously know it is more expensive and don't care about that. I think there's a market for both the LIRR, the express bus AND more local bus service if done right.  Buses will NEVER replace trains, and I hope you get that. This is about giving riders OPTIONS that currently ONLY have the (7) train. Some WILL use the bus. Some will use the LIRR. Some will use the (7) no matter what.  That's the point.  OPTIONS dude...

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1 hour ago, RR503 said:

I have no problem with offering more options. What I’m cautioning you against is the notion that offering more bus options will have much of an impact on (7) crowding. From a pure, money spent/benefit provided standpoint, I don’t think that is necessarily the best way to go.

Re: LIRR. Yes, it doesn’t go to the same places as the 7. But it shares a common end market with the line — ie Midtown — which is where many, many (7) riders are going. It does so with a good sized speed advantage over the (7) and has capacity on the scale where it can make an impact. That’s why I’m suggesting it. 

Not sure what part of the (Q) you’re referring to, but generally that line’s service area is pretty wealthy. Not so much for the (7), and again, the exp bus is never gonna offer faster service than the (7) from on-line areas. 

This is something I have been working on. Suggestions are appreciated.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=1eZkhf5AE_6q5m5A5GEzYDE0U09-v-AXY&amp;ll=40.75023632324471%2C-73.85689764436518&amp;z=14

 

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The solution to relieving a crowded line isn't to pack even more trains or riders on it, but to build a parallel line. Northern Blvd isn't going to have a subway for many years, but the LIRR PW branch can be a reasonable alternative. Just offer a standing room ticket + a free transfer for all riders in Eastern Queens to Penn Station for the cost of a regular subway ride, and I imagine a lot of riders would gladly hop over instead.

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Honestly the PW Branch could really be turned into an higher capacity line. Replace all seats with bench and run trains more frequently. That is the only way to reduce crowding on the (7). The simple problem with that area is that there are too many people, and not enough trains (that also applies to the QBL) 

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3 hours ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

 

Crowds like the ones above are becoming all too common for (7) train riders.  I've been interacting with some of them via social media on some ways to alleviate the problem with IMMEDIATE results.  Yes, we know the subway could be better, but for those riders who ONLY have the (7) line and need relief NOW, there should be alternatives.  I think a good idea would be to provide MORE QM3 service and have a branch that serves more of the Little Neck and Douglaston crowd and then another branch make the other stops along Northern or just under the (7) line if possible.  I haven't even looked at the particulars yet, but it is something that I would like to pitch to the (MTA) for future consideration.  Additionally more Q32 service would help in parts.  Looking for feedback from (7) train riders for the here and now, NOT more subway proposals down the line. That's separate... We're talking about actual solutions that can be implemented in the very near future.

The most immediate solutions would be a Q66 SBS that goes into Manhattan along 5th/Madison Aves along with making the PW branch cost the same as a subway ride w/ Metrocard access. Other solutions in the near term involve bus redesign such as combining the Q33 into the Q32 and making it SBS as well as extending the Q60 deeper into Manhattan to draw Sunnyside riders. 

What gets me is your quote:  NOT more subway proposals

To me, that sounds like we as a city have given up on the idea of ever expanding the subway system. If that's the case, then we're just putting band aids on bullet holes because NY will just keep growing and the subway will just keep breaking down. 

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1 hour ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

It's funny that you are so gung-ho for the LIRR which is not cheap but finding every way to discredit the viability of an express bus, when some (7) riders have already said they would take it. They obviously know it is more expensive and don't care about that. I think there's a market for both the LIRR, the express bus AND more local bus service if done right.  Buses will NEVER replace trains, and I hope you get that. This is about giving riders OPTIONS that currently ONLY have the (7) train. Some WILL use the bus. Some will use the LIRR. Some will use the (7) no matter what.  That's the point.  OPTIONS dude...

How many is some? 

I have no problem with more bus service. The thing is that from the areas that generate most (7) ridership (Flushing-Woodside), they’re not time competitive with the subway — to say nothing of being more expensive in the case of the express bus. The LIRR is more expensive, yes, but it’s faster, more frequent, and the marginal cost of implementing Atlantic Ticket type fares is in all likelihood lower than that of adding bus service (the trains already exist/have empty seats). So if your goal is *strictly* making an impact on (7) ridership as efficiently as possible, I’d start there. 

Generally, I see the value of options. But you’ve also gotta remain cognizant that if NYCT got their shit together on the (7), we’d never be having this conversation. The (7) once ran more trains and carried vastly more riders than today, and while we need to address the short term pain of total managerial intransigence, the more valuable strategic questions to ask about the (7) surround why that line’s nearly-billion-dollar signal system seems to be less capable than the blocks it replaced, why they have no disruption mitigation plan, etc. No other city spends so much time discussing ways to duplicate existing services, and while I think said discussions are, in the short term, justified, we can’t lose sight of the larger issue. 

56 minutes ago, Union Tpke said:

This is really important, as is planning bus networks that integrate well with LIRR stops. 

***

One data point I’d love to have is the number of NICE riders that end up on the (7). Could targeted fare reductions on LIRR have an impact here? 

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If the service is that bad, I would consider creating an express bus route (let's call it the QM9) underneath the (7) train and adding bus lanes onto Queens Blvd and Roosevelt Ave to speed things quicker.

In my plan, bus lanes would be enforced during peak hours (6 AM-10 AM) and (3 PM - 7 PM) with the QM9 covering service east of 74th street and the Q32 covering west of 74th street. 

The QM9 would first start as a peak route via 6th Ave, running non-stop from 57th Street (Manhattan) to the 74th Street station (Queens). Then it would stay on Rosevelt ave until Flushing and mainly use College Point Blvd to reach College Point (Q25 bus terminal) and run every 10-15 minutes in the heart of rush hour and every 20-30 minutes during shoulder periods. Some trips will short-turn in flushing. If ridership grows, off-peak service can be added. Routes like the BxM11 run under a subway line for most of its route but still get good ridership because of how poor (2)(5) service is over there.

QM9 Bus Map: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Wu7J7h6judAnkS2OhfEQdjFwqXqFBzx2&amp;usp=sharing

QM9 mock schedule (Trips with a * originate/terminate at the Flushing-Main Street (7) station.) Travel time from College Point to Flushing is 20 minutes so they still match up with the headways.

PM times are marked in bold.

QM9 AM service (Towards 57th Street)

5:20*

5:30

5:50

6:05

6:20

6:35

6:50

7:00

7:10

7:20

7:30

7:40

7:50

8:20*

8:12

8:44*

8:36

9:08*

9:00

9:35*

9:30

10:00

QM9 PM service (Towards College Point)

2:00*

2:30*

3:00

3:20

3:40

4:00

4:15

4:30

4:45

5:00

5:10

5:20

5:30

5:40

5:50

6:00*

6:12

6:24*

6:42

7:00

7:20

7:40

8:00

8:30

9:00

 

Edited by Lil 57
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1 hour ago, RR503 said:

1. How many is some? 

I have no problem with more bus service. The thing is that from the areas that generate most (7) ridership (Flushing-Woodside), they’re not time competitive with the subway — to say nothing of being more expensive in the case of the express bus. The LIRR is more expensive, yes, but it’s faster, more frequent, and the marginal cost of implementing Atlantic Ticket type fares is in all likelihood lower than that of adding bus service (the trains already exist/have empty seats). So if your goal is *strictly* making an impact on (7) ridership as efficiently as possible, I’d start there. 

2. Generally, I see the value of options. But you’ve also gotta remain cognizant that if NYCT got their shit together on the (7), we’d never be having this conversation. The (7) once ran more trains and carried vastly more riders than today, and while we need to address the short term pain of total managerial intransigence, the more valuable strategic questions to ask about the (7) surround why that line’s nearly-billion-dollar signal system seems to be less capable than the blocks it replaced, why they have no disruption mitigation plan, etc. No other city spends so much time discussing ways to duplicate existing services, and while I think said discussions are, in the short term, justified, we can’t lose sight of the larger issue. 

This is really important, as is planning bus networks that integrate well with LIRR stops. 

***

One data point I’d love to have is the number of NICE riders that end up on the (7). Could targeted fare reductions on LIRR have an impact here? 

1. Well to get a better picture, you'd obviously need a bigger sample. I just asked in a casual way in a (7) group page on social media and got some responses.  

2. Oh I'm sure of that. You talked about "changing demographics" earlier in this thread. The same crap is happening in my area. All of the people from Westchester are packing onto the (1) train and the trains are now packed by 231st in some cases.  The fares are too high and people from the suburbs are now coming to take whatever subway service they can, OR they are driving to the express buses. You may think it's crazy, but numerous people have given up on the LIRR (you talk about how "fast" it is, but believe me, the LIRR has its own problems with canceled trains, PACKED cars, etc. - I'm in a LIRR group and I see the mess daily, and know some LIRR riders as well that drive to the express bus - it's not as rosy of a picture as you're painting it - MNRR is better - miles better in fact)

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8
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4 hours ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

Crowds like the ones above are becoming all too common for (7) train riders.  I've been interacting with some of them via social media on some ways to alleviate the problem with IMMEDIATE results.  Yes, we know the subway could be better, but for those riders who ONLY have the (7) line and need relief NOW, there should be alternatives.  I think a good idea would be to provide MORE QM3 service and have a branch that serves more of the Little Neck and Douglaston crowd and then another branch make the other stops along Northern or just under the (7) line if possible.  I haven't even looked at the particulars yet, but it is something that I would like to pitch to the (MTA) for future consideration.  Additionally more Q32 service would help in parts.  Looking for feedback from (7) train riders for the here and now, NOT more subway proposals down the line. That's separate... We're talking about actual solutions that can be implemented in the very near future.

I want to thank you for posting this thread. I’ve been a regular (7)<7> rider for most of my time living in Queens (during 2010-12 and 2015-present). I’m a train buff, no doubt, but to perfectly honest with everyone here, the (7) is the train that I’ve really grown to hate. And it’s almost entirely because of the overcrowding and the resultant delays (or is it the constant delays and the resultant overcrowding? I don’t even know anymore!). Whether at Main Street, 74th Street, Queensboro Plaza, Times Square and most everywhere in between, there’s overcrowding. Always. No matter what exit or shortcut you take when you transfer or leave the subway. 

During my first go-around with the (7), I lived in Bayside just off Northern and Francis Lewis boulevards. I thought I had hit the jackpot transit-wise. The LIRR at Auburndale, the Q12, Q13, N20 and N21 local bus routes, and the QM3 express bus. Wow, right? But no, how wrong I was. The LIRR costs an arm and a leg to commute during the rush, the N20 and N21 buses run “sealed” through Queens and the QM3 runs only three inbound buses in the morning and three outbounds in the evening. So, Q12, or worse, Q13, it usually was to get to the (7) at Main Street. With about half a million other people or so doing the same from about two dozen other bus routes. The same goes today with the Q16, although at least I now have the more frequent running QM20 express bus for when either I’m running late or the (7) melts down. The LIRR is not an option, as it’s not anywhere close to where I live in Whitestone. It might be, if not for the City deciding not to incorporate the Whitestone Branch into the subway system and the LIRR abandoning it back in 1932. 

Putting “what might have been” aside, I do think expanding the QM3 and QM20 routes to full seven-day service would be a good start for riders east of Flushing. Maybe another express bus route on the Q26/Q27 route. Possibly running the Q32 as Select Bus Route and extending the Q66 into Manhattan, also as a Select Bus Service But that’s exactly it, a start. It can’t end there. We still have to think long term and the MTA have to start turning their attention to the boroughs not named Manhattan.

2 hours ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

It's funny that you are so gung-ho for the LIRR which is not cheap but finding every way to discredit the viability of an express bus, when some (7) riders have already said they would take it. They obviously know it is more expensive and don't care about that. I think there's a market for both the LIRR, the express bus AND more local bus service if done right.  Buses will NEVER replace trains, and I hope you get that. This is about giving riders OPTIONS that currently ONLY have the (7) train. Some WILL use the bus. Some will use the LIRR. Some will use the (7) no matter what.  That's the point.  OPTIONS dude...

Options are indeed great. And you’re quite right that when the (7) goes down, its riders are SOL. I for one, frequently forgo the (7) in favor of the QM20, especially in the morning, when I can’t risk yet another signal problem completely KO’ing the line. But remember, buses have their disadvantages too. Traffic being the biggest one. I’ve already stated that I’m more likely to ride the QM20 in the morning versus the evening. Heavy traffic in both Manhattan and Queens is the reason why. You see, unlike the express buses from The Bronx (I used to ride the BxM11 bus semi-frequently before I moved to Queens), the Queens express buses enter Manhattan from the Midtown Tunnel and do a one-way loop up 6th Avenue and 57th or 59th streets. So they have to suffer through heavy traffic once in Manhattan and also over the Queensboro Bridge. They also can get bogged down in heavy traffic on either Northern Blvd or Astoria Blvd through Jackson Heights. Makes you wonder if it really is faster than the (7) and worth the higher fare, like @RR503 pointed out about buses versus trains. Unless I get one of the three QM20 Super Expresses. These make only one stop at Herald Square, then head straight to the Midtown Tunnel. Even then, it can sometimes take a long while to get to the tunnel, and then you’ve got BQE and GCP  traffic to contend with. The biggest advantage for the afternoon express bus is not having to contend with the hordes exiting the (7) at Main Street and having to cross busy streets and wait out in the elements for a bus that may or may not show up when the schedule says it’s supposed to. 

1 hour ago, Mtatransit said:

Honestly the PW Branch could really be turned into an higher capacity line. Replace all seats with bench and run trains more frequently. That is the only way to reduce crowding on the (7). The simple problem with that area is that there are too many people, and not enough trains (that also applies to the QBL) 

I agree with you that it can be. Come to think of it, we might be able to put more people on the PW trains LIRR already runs, especially the ones that short-turn in Bayside. Now, it’s been quite a few years since I’ve taken the PW Branch on even a semi-regular basis (my wife and I moved from Bayside to Forest Hills in 2012, just before our first daughter was born). From 2007 to 2012, I took PW on a semi-regular basis... and I found something quite peculiar. Often I’d get on a rush hour PW train whose final destination was Bayside and it would have plenty of seats available. Now just think about that for a moment! You’ve got (7) and <7> express trains that are crush-loaded, with the expresses being crush-loaded all the way to the end. But over on the railroad, there are some trains (not the majority, but still) that have seats available.   This is exactly the kind of situation where an “Atlantic Ticket” would come in handy and should absolutely be considered! With a free transfer to the subway! I mean, unless LIRR eliminated those Bayside short-turns or ridership on them ticked up significantly over the past seven years (are there really that many more people who want to pay LIRR’s criminally high Zone 3 fares?), then this needs to be the next step in the Atlantic Ticket program. Along with stations in at least Corona and Elmhurst.

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15 minutes ago, T to Dyre Avenue said:

I want to thank you for posting this thread. I’ve been a regular (7)<7> rider for most of my time living in Queens (during 2010-12 and 2015-present). I’m a train buff, no doubt, but to perfectly honest with everyone here, the (7) is the train that I’ve really grown to hate. And it’s almost entirely because of the overcrowding and the resultant delays (or is it the constant delays and the resultant overcrowding? I don’t even know anymore!). Whether at Main Street, 74th Street, Queensboro Plaza, Times Square and most everywhere in between, there’s overcrowding. Always. No matter what exit or shortcut you take when you transfer or leave the subway. 

During my first go-around with the (7), I lived in Bayside just off Northern and Francis Lewis boulevards. I thought I had hit the jackpot transit-wise. The LIRR at Auburndale, the Q12, Q13, N20 and N21 local bus routes, and the QM3 express bus. Wow, right? But no, how wrong I was. The LIRR costs an arm and a leg to commute during the rush, the N20 and N21 buses run “sealed” through Queens and the QM3 runs only three inbound buses in the morning and three outbounds in the evening. So, Q12, or worse, Q13, it usually was to get to the (7) at Main Street. With about half a million other people or so doing the same from about two dozen other bus routes. The same goes today with the Q16, although at least I now have the more frequent running QM20 express bus for when either I’m running late or the (7) melts down. The LIRR is not an option, as it’s not anywhere close to where I live in Whitestone. It might be, if not for the City deciding not to incorporate the Whitestone Branch into the subway system and the LIRR abandoning it back in 1932. 

Putting “what might have been” aside, I do think expanding the QM3 and QM20 routes to full seven-day service would be a good start for riders east of Flushing. Maybe another express bus route on the Q26/Q27 route. Possibly running the Q32 as Select Bus Route and extending the Q66 into Manhattan, also as a Select Bus Service But that’s exactly it, a start. It can’t end there. We still have to think long term and the MTA have to start turning their attention to the boroughs not named Manhattan.

Options are indeed great. And you’re quite right that when the (7) goes down, its riders are SOL. I for one, frequently forgo the (7) in favor of the QM20, especially in the morning, when I can’t risk yet another signal problem completely KO’ing the line. But remember, buses have their disadvantages too. Traffic being the biggest one. I’ve already stated that I’m more likely to ride the QM20 in the morning versus the evening. Heavy traffic in both Manhattan and Queens is the reason why. You see, unlike the express buses from The Bronx (I used to ride the BxM11 bus semi-frequently before I moved to Queens), the Queens express buses enter Manhattan from the Midtown Tunnel and do a one-way loop up 6th Avenue and 57th or 59th streets. So they have to suffer through heavy traffic once in Manhattan and also over the Queensboro Bridge. They also can get bogged down in heavy traffic on either Northern Blvd or Astoria Blvd through Jackson Heights. Makes you wonder if it really is faster than the (7) and worth the higher fare, like @RR503 pointed out about buses versus trains. Unless I get one of the three QM20 Super Expresses. These make only one stop at Herald Square, then head straight to the Midtown Tunnel. Even then, it can sometimes take a long while to get to the tunnel, and then you’ve got BQE and GCP  traffic to contend with. The biggest advantage for the afternoon express bus is not having to contend with the hordes exiting the (7) at Main Street and having to cross busy streets and wait out in the elements for a bus that may or may not show up when the schedule says it’s supposed to. 

I agree with you that it can be. Come to think of it, we might be able to put more people on the PW trains LIRR already runs, especially the ones that short-turn in Bayside. Now, it’s been quite a few years since I’ve taken the PW Branch on even a semi-regular basis (my wife and I moved from Bayside to Forest Hills in 2012, just before our first daughter was born). From 2007 to 2012, I took PW on a semi-regular basis... and I found something quite peculiar. Often I’d get on a rush hour PW train whose final destination was Bayside and it would have plenty of seats available. Now just think about that for a moment! You’ve got (7) and <7> express trains that are crush-loaded, with the expresses being crush-loaded all the way to the end. But over on the railroad, there are some trains (not the majority, but still) that have seats available.   This is exactly the kind of situation where an “Atlantic Ticket” would come in handy and should absolutely be considered! With a free transfer to the subway! I mean, unless LIRR eliminated those Bayside short-turns or ridership on them ticked up significantly over the past seven years (are there really that many more people who want to pay LIRR’s criminally high Zone 3 fares?), then this needs to be the next step in the Atlantic Ticket program. Along with stations in at least Corona and Elmhurst.

I use the QM express buses extensively, and in fact use them a TON now that I run the Express Bus Advocacy Group.  We have some ideas to discuss with the DOT and the (MTA) next week to improve express bus service Citywide. There is no magical fix, but we are looking at some things to improve the commutes. I'll list some of them below for the QM lines: 

-Double bus lanes on 6th Avenue WITH Transit Signal Priority (TSP) AND increased enforcement, similar to what is taking place on 5th Avenue.

-Return QM2, QM3 and QM20 to 57th street. 59th street is KILLING ridership and the commute times!! Enforced bus lanes on 57th street with TSP where possible.

-HOV lanes in Queens where possible

-TSP for Queens Blvd and more bus lanes where possible.

I should point out that not a single express bus has Transit Signal Priority in use, so that can shave minutes off of the commute here and there, along with the HOV lanes and bus lanes. We'd like to save anywhere from 20 - 30 minutes if possible off of the commute each way and I think it can be done.  Have the loop done in 10 minutes like the QM1, QM5 and QM6 get during the week.  Some lines get 25 minutes on weekends. That's 15 minutes right there. Another 15 minutes going into Queens and there's your 30 minutes, but we need an aggressive plan in place.

-We're also going to be discussing where the agencies are with installing cameras. That was discussed in our last meeting as part of a long-term solution to start ticketing drivers that are abusing bus lanes and using them as their personal parking spots.

-Pushing for a cap on for-hire vehicles. Too many of them... I've discussed this now with several elected officials, and we'll be pushing for this hard in the near future.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8
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5 hours ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

I don't think that's the point. The idea here is to provide MORE viable options instead of everyone packing on the (7) train. You telling me that buses aren't going to fill the void is obvious (buses can't ever fully handle subway loads and never will), but having options still gives people the luxury to not ALL pack on the damn (7) train. That's the point, and while I agree about the LIRR, the LIRR and the (7) don't go to the same place. I hate it when people say MORE trains and then leave out the fact that the trains go to different places.  One of the things that I have in my neighborhood is OPTIONS. I can take the (1) train, Metro-North or choose from three express buses, and they all go to different places and serve their role in the overlook structure of things. If the subway goes down, I have another option. When the (7) goes down, people are SOL.

You're contradicting yourself. You say the LIRR is not an option because it goes to a different place than the 7. Then you say in Riverdale you have options; if the subway is down you have another option. But you also say the subway and MNRR and Express Bus "ALL GO TO DIFFERENT PLACES." So how is that any different from the 7 riders having the LIRR as an option?

 

And you know, the LIRR and the 7 actually go to the same place - midtown Manhattan. Most people transfer to another line once they get to Manhattan, whether they start with the 7 or the LIRR.

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24 minutes ago, Italianstallion said:

You're contradicting yourself. You say the LIRR is not an option because it goes to a different place than the 7. Then you say in Riverdale you have options; if the subway is down you have another option. But you also say the subway and MNRR and Express Bus "ALL GO TO DIFFERENT PLACES." So how is that any different from the 7 riders having the LIRR as an option?

 

And you know, the LIRR and the 7 actually go to the same place - midtown Manhattan. Most people transfer to another line once they get to Manhattan, whether they start with the 7 or the LIRR.

Are we going to play dumb now?  Why don't you look at a map and perhaps you can explain it then? <_<

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