Home Asides Transit to host SI North Shore rail planning open house

Transit to host SI North Shore rail planning open house

by Benjamin Kabak

The borough of Staten Island and the MTA, as I reported last October, are interested in reactivating the North Shore Rail line in order to bring more transit capacity to the underserved island. To further this project, New York City Transit is hosting a planning alternatives open house this evening. According to a press release from the agency, the Alternatives Analysis Study process begins with the identification of a list of alternatives that will then be narrowed through a series of detailed cost, impact and ridership analyses. This phase is expected to last 12-14 months, and the MTA will then issue a report recommending the locally-preferred alternatives for further development.

The open house tonight runs from 7:15 to 9 p.m. at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and will allow the public to comment on the various alternatives as well as the goals and objectives of the project. The alternatives, says Transit, include “heavy rail, such as the SIR; light rail, such as Hudson-Bergen Light Rail; and Bus Rapid Transit service, among others.” At some point, as the economy approves and demand dictates, Transit will improve its Staten Island offerings, and this planning meeting is a positive first step.

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Rolando Peñate April 22, 2010 - 3:46 pm

It would be kind of awesome if the North Shore rail were used as an opportunity to extend the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail to St George and the Staten Island Ferry terminal… Alas that is practically impossible politically-speaking.

Tacony Palmyra April 22, 2010 - 4:28 pm

Staten Island EDC did a study of the West Shore rail proposal last year which is imagined to connect to the HBLR and basically be run by NJ Transit. I’m not sure what the status of that idea is at this point. Dead?

The study is here: http://www.siedc.org/images/PD.....REPORT.pdf

Regardless, I think the ability to support future integration with HBLR needs to be kept in mind with North Shore rail planning. I also wonder what the status of Bayonne Bridge reconstruction is… and hope space for rail is being included in those plans. Between NJ Transit, the Port Authority, NYC, Bayonne, and the MTA, it’s enough public agencies to kill any project, but we shouldn’t be so defeatist.

Eric F. April 22, 2010 - 4:44 pm

The Bayonne Bridge looks to be a huge problem. I’d suggest replacing it with a tunnel and leaving space down there for future tarnsit. The pity of it is that the Bayonne Bridge is the prettiest bridge on Staten Island. The HBLR has its positives and negatives. I’d encourage anyone who thinks that it’s a solution for relatively long-distance travel to be aware of one important point: it is very slow. Note further, that below, I think 34th street or so in Bayonne (it may be further south), the HBLR runs on one track. I don’t mean one track in each direction, I mean one track. Presumably, you’d want to at least set up a dual track alignment in southern Bayonne if you were going to further extend the thing, then run it through a tunnel or over the bridge (good luck with the steep grade) and thenit would poke over to St. George. I think linking the lines on the map makes this look easier than it woudl actuall be. Sounds cheaper, faster and maybe more useful to use the RoW for a dedicated fast bus.

Alon Levy April 22, 2010 - 10:12 pm

The bus vs. rail argument shouldn’t even exist when there’s an existing rail ROW. There’s only one reason to pave over a railroad and put BRT, and that’s if your real agenda is to get the line to underperform so that it gets shut down and replaced by a highway (this actually happened in Miami – I’m not making things up). Keep the BRT on real roads.

The light vs. heavy rail distinction is spurious, too. The corridor has zero freight traffic, which means that FRA regulations are moot anyway. The question then becomes what kinds of vehicle to run on it – the same kind as on the Staten Island Railway, or new technology. The question boils down to whether you want to minimize or maximize rolling stock acquisition costs.

Cap'n Transit April 22, 2010 - 11:29 pm

Well, that’s better than what you said last time, Alon! But I still think that the ability to connect to the Northeast Corridor in Elizabeth, or even to run up the Chemical Coast into Newark, is a point in favor of commuter rail.

North Shore options include light rail, bus improvements :: Second Ave. Sagas September 30, 2011 - 1:14 am

[…] Shore Rail Line right of way, and the agency started the Alternatives Analysis phase of the project in April 2010. New York’s Empire Development Corporation has called upon the MTA to reactivate the rail […]


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