Gee What a Train
Planes Trains & Automobiles
The New York Times might have been prematurely enthusiastic when they reported yesterday on the coming advent of articulated subway trains—snakelike creatures with accordion-style joints, long, continuous corridors and open gangways between cars. Inspired by the MTA’s 20 Year Assessment that came out earlier this month, the Times article made much of a single bulleted item on page 135 of the 142-page document, which gave no specific timeline or budget details for the trains’ implementation, and went only so far as to say that “consideration should be given” to articulated designs. And in light of the fact that the last two decades have seen significant refreshments to the city’s fleet, which now consists largely of cars that can be expected to last 40-60 years, a swift wholesale embrace of articulated models seems deeply unlikely.
Best Laid Plans
Last night at the Forum for Urban Design’s Next New York dinner, there were many good ideas for improving the city’s transit infrastructure, collected in a booklet given out to attendees. Peter Derrick wants to integrate and beef up New York’s regional railroads, Bob Yaro’s advocated yet again for the TriboroRX radial outer borough rail line and Ben Fried’s suggested a more robust bus rapid transit network.
But not everybody’s ideas for transit struck us as so enlightened. Bloomberg (first the mayor, and now the corporation) executive Dan Doctoroff and Brookfield’s John Zuccotti sat on stage and chatted, and we could scarcely believe our ears when they started talking about the Second Avenue subway: they hate it.
From his corner office on the 35th floor of the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building downtown, Adolfo Carrion could once survey much of his domain. The regional administrator for HUD Region 2, Mr. Carrion was responsible for the federal government’s housing and urban development projects in New York and New Jersey. Stretching out before the floor-to-ceiling windows is lower Manhattan. Brooklyn and Queens are off to the left. Staten Island and the Statue of Liberty peek out from behind the towers of downtown. Out across the harbor to the right is Jersey City and, off in the distance, Newark. Glory and destitution in one vista.
Peering down, it is easy to see a century’s worth of transformational urban development. The redbrick monoliths of the New York Housing Authority, the brainchild of Robert Moses and the WPA, abound. Idyllic towers propagated by LaGuardia, Rockefeller, Lindsay and a thousand other urban dreamers, these are the projects that deteriorated into The Projects. Ringing the Battery and over the bridges to Long Island are the FDR, the West Side Highway, the BQE and the rest of Moses’s great interstate network. After four decades, Battery Park City is nearly complete, built on the landfill dredged up by the World Trade Center. More than $20 billion in Liberty bonds is at work rebuilding the Trade Center and other pieces of lower Manhattan, ravaged on 9/11.
Yet for all this work, it is hard to recognize a marquee project, a bright shining beacon of the Obama administration on the scale of those that came before.
Lee Sander is back in the advocacy world.
Executive director of the M.T.A. between 2007 and mid-2009, Mr. Sander Thursday was elected chairman of the Regional Plan Association, the prominent advocacy organization that pushes for greater transit investment and rational urban planning.
Mr. Sander, pushed from his M.T.A. job amid a Read More
Regional Plan Association, others, protest public financing of Trade Center Towers Read More
The Regional Plan Association released a comprehensive report today, calling for the long-term creation of a host of transit projects–including new subway extensions, light rail and rapid bus service–designed to expand capacity and service as the area’s population grows.
Among the recommendations were calls for a light rail loop in midtown that connects Read More
Last night at the New York Blood Center auditorium on the Upper West Side, Assemblyman Micah Kellner moderated a panel on post-congestion-pricing solutions for city transportation that reached a general consensus but no real solution: Congestion pricing is not a bad idea, the proposal was just executed poorly, and right now the M.T.A. is, as Read More
Leading up to tonight’s scoping meeting of the Coney Island revamp, various advocacy groups and others are staking out positions on the city’s plan, a few of which have ended up in our inbox. The comments are on the latest iteration of the plan, which was altered after it met opposition Read More
New Yorkers have some of the smallest carbon footprints in the nation, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution and the Regional Plan Association.
The report seeks to quantify the amount of carbon emitted fom transportation and from residential energy use in the nation’s 100 largest metro regions in 2000 and in 2005. Read More
A new Regional Plan Association report (PDF) calls for the proposed rail link beneath the Hudson River from the Meadowlands Arena to near Penn Station to be extended to Manhattan’s East Side, possibly near Grand Central Station. The extension would save the estimated 60,000 commuters who travel through Penn Station to the East Read More