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LaGuardia Link N Tra

Why New York can’t have nice things.

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Also see Alon Levy's exceptional work. He has kept the conversation alive and always has the math to back it up and knows overseas best practices.

https://pedestrianobservations.com/construction-costs/

https://pedestrianobservations.com/2019/05/03/construction-costs-in-the-nordic-countries/

https://pedestrianobservations.com/2019/05/29/assume-nordic-costs/

 

nysubwaycrayoncostssmall.png

nyc7linecostssmall.png

 

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That was a very interesting article.  It shows how little cooperation there really is between agencies and how that alone drives up costs along with everything else. 

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Quite frankly, I don't understand why he has such a fixation with New Jersey. 

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5 hours ago, bobtehpanda said:

Quite frankly, I don't understand why he has such a fixation with New Jersey. 

Well, it happens to be the only part of the New York region that's really growing its housing supply, and also is the part that has the least Manhattan access relative to the number of Manhattan commuters...

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6 hours ago, bobtehpanda said:

Quite frankly, I don't understand why he has such a fixation with New Jersey. 

Let me guess, he's anti-car?

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, B35 via Church said:

Let me guess, he's anti-car?

Is this a bad thing? (Massive) environmental impacts aside, the spreading effect of car dependence puts a big damper on regional growth/dynamism/progress towards various sorts of equity, and simply makes us less safe. This is, to be fair, as much of a development policy and transit operation issue as it is an expansion issue, but still a worthy cause for investment. 

Edited by RR503
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, RR503 said:

Is this a bad thing? (Massive) environmental impacts aside, the spreading effect of car dependence puts a big damper on regional growth/dynamism/progress towards various sorts of equity, and simply makes us less safe. This is, to be fair, as much of a development policy and transit operation issue as it is an expansion issue, but still a worthy cause for investment. 

But is he anti-car? I don't pedestalize. or otherwise follow/peruse this character's material nearly enough...

Anyway, to what you're asking me here though, Well yes - if we're being pragmatic about the matter...

To expect everybody to get around by way of public transportation is utopic... The personal vehicle is just as necessary as (making strides to better) public transit, whether any of these [pro-transit, anti-car] folks like it or not.... I wouldn't want to live in a city where there's a complete dependency by all its inhabitants on public transportation....

I refuse to deal with anti's on either side of the spectrum, as quite frankly, their talking points are too rooted in theoretics....

 

Edited by B35 via Church
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, B35 via Church said:

But is he anti-car? I don't pedestalize. or otherwise follow/peruse this character's material nearly enough...

Anyway, to what you're asking me here though, Well yes - if we're being pragmatic about the matter...

To expect everybody to get around by way of public transportation is utopic... The personal vehicle is just as necessary as (making strides to better) public transit, whether any of these [pro-transit, anti-car] folks like it or not.... I wouldn't want to live in a city where there's a complete dependency by all its inhabitants on public transportation....

I refuse to deal with anti's on either side of the spectrum, as quite frankly, their talking points are too rooted in theoretics....

Yes, he is. Not as out there as some commentators (looking at Cap'n Transit) but certainly a good old fashioned urbanist. 

See this is where I get lost in the "but we need cars too" arguments. I agree that to expect the city (or the country or the world) to reach an absolute is to completely divorce oneself from reality (though an absolute was reality until the 1930s or so). But where do we draw the line when making investment decisions? Do we believe that we should preserve options for options' sake, or should we put all transport projects on a single yardstick and choose those that are most impactful?

Pretty much everyone on this forum has shat on NYC ferry at some point as being a waste of money that serves a select few and stems from a fundamentally flawed narrative that prioritizes the existence of options over the function and efficiency thereof. Much of the same could be said about many of the highways in NYC: they carry mostly intra-city car traffic that could be much more cheaply/safely/efficiently accommodated on other modes. Yet despite the relative rarity of SOV commuting in NYC, massive sums have been spent in the last few years to not just preserve but augment their capacity (looking at the new Kozcuzico here), while transit improvements that by and large would serve vastly more people have been left in the dust. I'm sure that, if some of the choices that have been made over the past few decades were rendered into equivalent transit projects, we'd be laughing them out of the house....but crickets. More than I believe in any ideological imperative to deify a certain mode, I think we need to be using a single yardstick when analyzing transport investments so that we're making truly sound decisions. 

But this is WILDLY off topic. 

Edited by RR503
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Posted (edited)

It's not necessarily about being anti-car, it's about expanding capacity and increasing mobility. Right now, getting into and around NYC by car, bus, taxi, train, ferry, etc. are all slow and if everyone's QOL is to improve, more modes of transportation are needed. Typically rail is preferred because it's the most cost-effective and there's existing pre-war infrastructure that can be used, but in NYC costs are so outrageous that everyone will be stuck in gridlock for the foreseeable future.

The map that Alon drew is a fantasy map, but it represents what could be possible if costs were about the same as other developed countries. Existing rail infrastructure is leveraged and modernized to create a set of efficient through-running lines that offer subway-like service in the regional rail's core system. He based this system on two cities he's lived in, Paris and Berlin, with some inspiration from Tokyo. Also Alon grew up and lives internationally so he's not fixated as much on the NJ / NY state divide, which geographically doesn't exist. Not all of it is logical like the Staten Island tunnel that should just be an (R) extension, but the gist of his proposal is fundamentally sound and 4 regional rail lines can and should be built in Manhattan.

Unfortunately, the politics are the biggest obstacle to actually implementing any of this. Ideally, a central agency such as in DC, Philly, or Boston administers the transportation network of the entire area. If NJT and LIRR can't ever be merged to form Regional Rail line 1, then none of this is actually worth talking about.

Edited by Caelestor
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The major problem I see is that states are far too powerful as political entities to work together. We don't have very many examples of cross-state cooperation, and where it has been attempted for transit it has been a relative disaster (DC Metro being exhibit A).

I think the best you could get is building a six track trunk down Third (two tracks for Metro North, two tracks linking Penn to Hoboken for NJT, and two tracks linking GCT to Atlantic for LIRR).

15 hours ago, RR503 said:

Well, it happens to be the only part of the New York region that's really growing its housing supply, and also is the part that has the least Manhattan access relative to the number of Manhattan commuters...

The problem I see is that a lot of PABT commuters come from areas not well served by the train, so to serve them you need to build a lot of greenfield rail. And there's a lot of housing supply in the coastal areas of Hudson and Bergen, sure, but anything past the Meadowlands is kinda overkill. I don't really understand, for example, what that Route 4 line is going to achieve when there's a more direct rail line to Midtown.

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Posted (edited)
37 minutes ago, bobtehpanda said:

The major problem I see is that states are far too powerful as political entities to work together. We don't have very many examples of cross-state cooperation, and where it has been attempted for transit it has been a relative disaster (DC Metro being exhibit A).

I think the best you could get is building a six track trunk down Third (two tracks for Metro North, two tracks linking Penn to Hoboken for NJT, and two tracks linking GCT to Atlantic for LIRR).

Luckily for us, we have a relatively functional bi-state public authority that already operates a successful rapid transit system across state lines. I’d imagine that if some of these lines were to come to pass, they would be operated by PATH (or through run from PATH to NYCT, with some funding agreement made between agencies) and simply have cross-ticketing at transfer stations. The only hitch would be, if operating subsidies are necessary, getting around PANYNJ’s independent funding provison. 

To the larger point about interstate agreements, though: they work, provided they’re managed by political classes that care enough about them. WMATA suffers not so much from a fundamental flaw in structure, but from apathy and — uniquely — from the recently added burden of federal interventionalism. While interstate sniping absolutely exists in NYC, there is both a greater understanding of the importance of transit and a slightly greater willingess to cooperate on interstate projects/services, both qualities that lend themselves to good system operation.

37 minutes ago, bobtehpanda said:

The problem I see is that a lot of PABT commuters come from areas not well served by the train, so to serve them you need to build a lot of greenfield rail. And there's a lot of housing supply in the coastal areas of Hudson and Bergen, sure, but anything past the Meadowlands is kinda overkill. I don't really understand, for example, what that Route 4 line is going to achieve when there's a more direct rail line to Midtown.

It’s hard to overstate how dependent those coastal areas of Hudson/Bergen are on buses, and how many people live there. Yeah, I don’t totally follow the Rte. 4 crayon, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater here. 

Edited by RR503

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21 hours ago, bobtehpanda said:

Quite frankly, I don't understand why he has such a fixation with New Jersey. 

There's a lot of areas in New Jersey that frankly should have commuter rail but are only stuck with buses to Port Authority. A frequent train directly to Midtown would make these buses pretty much obsolete.

I don't agree with his plan for subways to Jersey, but they absolutely should be commuter rail.

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2 minutes ago, RR503 said:

Luckily for us, we have a relatively functional bi-state public authority that already operates a successful rapid transit system across state lines.

By what definition of successful? The delay situation is still not attractive, the PATH has the highest cost per rider of any rail transit in the US despite its high ridership, the agency mostly makes up for it by socking it to Hudson River drivers with rate increases well above inflation, and they get pushed hard with political interference all the time, like

  • World Trade Center is one giant pet project
  • those Pulaski Skyway bonds getting investigated by the SEC
  • PATH to Newark
  • the purchases of Stewart and Atlantic City airports
  • "time for traffic problems in Fort Lee"

To be clear, I'm not saying that New Jersey should not receive any rail transit. I don't even think that cross ticketing is a terrible idea. But actual interoperation and deep mixing of funding streams is a recipe for disaster. Paris is the mother of all modern regional rail systems, the RER, and their interoperation of RER B and RER D with RATP and SNCF is a disaster.

New Jersey's rail projects to me would be in the form of HBLR extensions, PATH expansion, and maybe a regional rail tunnel loop via Third. I don't think that actual interoperation is desirable or feasible.

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3 hours ago, Around the Horn said:

There's a lot of areas in New Jersey that frankly should have commuter rail but are only stuck with buses to Port Authority. A frequent train directly to Midtown would make these buses pretty much obsolete.

I don't agree with his plan for subways to Jersey, but they absolutely should be commuter rail.

Bus 163 is a mirror of Pascack Valley line which has 1 track and 2 hour headways, and Teterboro station was intentionally walled off from its residential neighborhood to make sure it was a programmed death. NJT long also decided to abandon diesel rail and replace it with Cruisers that pickup in the heart of residential areas, which rail lines which are surrounded by commercial uses, cant.

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7 hours ago, bobtehpanda said:

By what definition of successful? The delay situation is still not attractive, the PATH has the highest cost per rider of any rail transit in the US despite its high ridership, the agency mostly makes up for it by socking it to Hudson River drivers with rate increases well above inflation, and they get pushed hard with political interference all the time, like

  •  World Trade Center is one giant pet project
  •  those Pulaski Skyway bonds getting investigated by the SEC
  • PATH to Newark
  • the purchases of Stewart and Atlantic City airports
  •  "time for traffic problems in Fort Lee"

Are these PANYNJ issues or large NYC area public authority issues? Inefficency is rampant in regional transit systems, and the MTA, city government, EDC, etc, have all had their fair share of scandals. 

7 hours ago, bobtehpanda said:

 To be clear, I'm not saying that New Jersey should not receive any rail transit. I don't even think that cross ticketing is a terrible idea. But actual interoperation and deep mixing of funding streams is a recipe for disaster. Paris is the mother of all modern regional rail systems, the RER, and their interoperation of RER B and RER D with RATP and SNCF is a disaster.

New Jersey's rail projects to me would be in the form of HBLR extensions, PATH expansion, and maybe a regional rail tunnel loop via Third. I don't think that actual interoperation is desirable or feasible.

Again, I don't know if those RERs' issues can just be chalked up to ops structure. D, for example, has that godawful track sharing with B, which in turn screws reliability in the core, and is not a function of governance. I don't know enough about the tacks of Parisian transit to really get into this with any sort of real depth, but I do think it's worth noting that despite those issues, those RER lines carry vastly more people than any equivalent in NYC. 

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5 hours ago, subwayfan1998 said:

The Problem is that we are in a Debt with 22$ Trillion Dollars, which makes Infrastructure Projects Extremely Expensive.

Debt only becomes a problem if we run into deficits.

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