Apr
11

MTA throws cold water on a tunnel to NJ

By · Published in 2013

As the transit world once debates sending the 7 train to New Jersey, the MTA has once again attempted to douse this fire. In a very brief statement in response to the Economic Development Corporation’s report, the agency said simply, “We don’t see this as an economically viable idea.”

This is not the first time MTA officials have added a dose of reality to the project. Last April, then-MTA Chairman and CEO Joe Lhota issued a similar statement. “It’s not going to happen in anybody’s lifetime,” he said. “the expense is beyond anything we’re doing.” Of course, one of my complaints about the EDC report is that it doesn’t mention costs at all, but needless to say, those costs would be steep.

The Mayor, though, remains undeterred. In his own statement, he calls the 7 to Secaucus a “promising potential solution.” Said Bloomberg:

“It’s been a century since there was a new rail tunnel under the Hudson, and demand for travel between New Jersey and Manhattan is growing rapidly and quickly exceeding the capacity of existing transit infrastructure. The lack of new transit investment is creating a serious and urgent threat to New York City’s economic competitiveness. Extending the 7 train to Secaucus is a promising potential solution – it would leverage existing investments and be compatible with other proposed projects – and is deserving of serious consideration. We look forward to continuing to discuss this option, as well as other feasible proposals, with the numerous stakeholders involved.”

So is this all just a game of politics and economics? It seems like it. The 7 to Secaucus is the Mayor’s pet project, and it came about originally with virtually no input from the MTA. The MTA, with its own capital priorities, isn’t about to sink its finite resources into a subway to New Jersey, and if the mayor wants such a tunnel to be his lasting legacy, he will to find a way to promote — and pay for — this project whatever the costs may be. I tend to think Lhota was right a year ago; I doubt we will see this in our lifetimes. But it sure does have everyone thinking.



Categories : 7 Line Extension

132 Responses to “MTA throws cold water on a tunnel to NJ”

  1. D.R. Graham says:

    Bloomberg is so concerned with leaving a lasting generational legacy that it’s starting to turn stomachs.

    • pkyc0 says:

      why doesnt bloomberg fund this with his own $$ and gift it to the MTA as his legacy…maybe we can rename the 7 train to the bloomberg train

    • Justin Samuels says:

      But as Benjamin says, if Bloomberg finds a way to pay for this, I’m more than happy to see it done.

    • Bolwerk says:

      Bloomberg’s legacy is secure. He gets to be the embodiment of languishing mediocrity, lasting 12 years and accomplishing nothing the incompetent, petty jackals who replace him can’t undo.

      Although, I don’t think he would be so bad to stick in a bureaucracy after he’s done. He is a relatively shitty mayor, but he would do well as, say, MTA Chairman.

      • Justin Samuels says:

        Except his successors won’t undo anything Bloomberg did. Giuliani was credited for putting NYC on this path. Creating an image of the city that made it cool for wealthy to want to live here and to attract big investment. Under Bloomberg’s term, massive investment in real estate came to NYC’s real estate sector. That won’t be UNDONE.

        Transit was a comparatively minor concern for the Bloomberg administration. He succeeded in his goals of getting corporate investment.

        Look at the massive gentrification of huge parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn in recent years. Even LIC and Astoria in Queens. All under Bloomberg . So yes, his legacy is quite secure. The expansions of universities in NYC, Columbia, NYU, and Cornell all occurred while he was mayor.

        • Bolwerk says:

          A non-partisan observer would be amazed at the things such mediocre people accomplish! Their very absence, afterall, undoes all the things they may or may not have had anything to do with! And they can always be so easily summed up: Reagan ended the Cold War. Thatcher put the Great back in Great Britain. Giuliani ended crime.

          Whatever his merits, Bloomberg had nothing to do with the generational and demographic shifts that made NYC real estate so attractive, and if anything has failed to maximize it (for better or for worse). And I can’t come up with the last mayor who shunned corporate investment in NYC, though I guess the machinations of Robert Moses did a lot in that regard. Oh, yes, the gentrification – that started under Dinkens or even Koch, and certainly was well underway in the 1990s. Same with the crime decline.

          Then, non-partisan observers might also question why Democrats never get credit for mere coincidence.

          • Eric F says:

            I wouldn’t disagree that politicians don’t rise up via infrastructure projects and don’t care all that much about them. The way you get power in this city is by stopping things not by getting them done. But acually Bloomberg has avanced a few projects. I’m not sure there is any mayor in the last 30 yars who compares favorably to his record. What was built under Dinkins?

            • Bolwerk says:

              I’m not saying Bloomberg didn’t get anything done. What I said was Bloomberg hasn’t done anything that can’t be reversed by his jackal replacement. Almost anything he did could be horsetraded away by a cretin like Quinn or Liu – or even outright destroyed if a hamfisted populist tabloid ideologue like Weiner ends up in power. Besides crime or civil liberties, Lhota’s politics might be saner than just about any of the Democrats’.

              Dinkens did pull off some housing rehabilitation, and arguably deserves at least as much credit for Times Square as Giuliani. Beyond that, I’m not sure comparisons are even fair, since Dinkens presided over a recessionary period while Bloomberg and Giuliani both enjoyed better economic headwinds or at least a city in a better economic position relative to the where it was in 1993. New York wasn’t building infrastructure again until the late 1990s or early 2000s, and I think the reasons are probably more economic than anything.

              Still, would economic and demographic outcomes in NYC have been very different if Dinkens were a two-termer? Or if Green won in 2001? Doubtful.

              • Jeff says:

                Much of the rezoning of the East River waterfront and various new development areas in the city happened under Bloomberg. Places like Hudson Yards, Atlantic Yards and Willets Point happened under him. Under any other less-development friendly mayor those projects may not happen.

                • Justin Samuels says:

                  And those are things that cannot be undone, those buildings have already been built and the areas already developed.

                  Also, Quinn would never undo anything Bloomberg has done. She was Bloomberg’s political wife.

                  • Bolwerk says:

                    I meant to imply that the useful things Bloomberg has done are easily undoable: SBS, bike lanes, pedestrian plazas come to mind as relevant to livability. The glaring exception may be the 7 extension, though that probably could have been better spent elsewhere.

                    I deeply regret any confusion I may have caused!

                    • Justin Samuels says:

                      The bike lands are the least important of the things he’s done. The economic development that’s occurred under him is legacy, and he certainly has the support of the business community and investors.

                    • Bolwerk says:

                      Bloomberg fappery almost always accompanies a blind spot for relationship between correlation and causation; that something happened in the 12 years he was around doesn’t make it his “legacy” in any meaningful sense. There is certainly no uniform love for him in the “business community,” especially small businesses, while he has done little to unyoke the city from the dependency on finance.

                    • Ryan says:

                      The 7 extension’s impact already is undoable. The gentrification of Chelsea/Hells Kitchen is already there, years before the 7 extension. Hudson Yards would make it more undoable.

                      And while we’re on this subject, SBS is a lot faster than local buses (at least on the M15). Hundreds of miles of bike lanes have been added during Bloomberg’s reign, and the Citibike project would make the already-semi-permanent bike lanes permanently undoable.

                    • AG says:

                      Bolwerk – “done little to unyoke the city from the dependency of finance”…. the NYC economy is more diverse than it has been in decades. science/technology/tourism/media/film&television are all industries that were specifically and deliberately expanded under this mayor. Finance and law shrank….

                      http://www.crainsnewyork.com/a...../130319994

                  • Nyland8 says:

                    “Also, Quinn would never undo anything Bloomberg has done. She was Bloomberg’s political wife.”

                    HUH?? When Bloomberg wanted a stadium built over the Hudson Yards, Quinn stood firmly in his way, adding her voice loudly to the chorus that drowned it out.

                    If she was his political wife, it was a rocky marriage.

                • Bolwerk says:

                  Questionable premise, but considering the waterfront is going to be where people need to be evacuated during future Sandy-like storms, I find the idea of heaping praise on anyone for that questionable at best. And even when the waterfront isn’t at issue, the transport planning decisions seem pisspoor at best.

                  • Justin Samuels says:

                    NYC was created as a seaport, so its waterfront will always be important in some way. And we’ve had Sandy like Storms before in the past, and will have them again.

                    • Bolwerk says:

                      I can’t figure out whether you are being deliberately obstinate, blissfully ignorant, or if you are really this obtuse. We had Sandy-like storms in the past, but now we have tens if not hundreds of thousands of people living in vulnerable areas who weren’t living in those places before Bloomberg. That’s already stupid.

                      We also are at much greater risk for Sandy-like storms than we once were. I don’t know if Bloomberg should get credit for this or not, but it isn’t exactly something that makes him look good.

                  • Jeff says:

                    Converting tons of abandoned, vermin and drug infested industrial space for prime, desirable real estate is NOT a good decision? I’m glad I don’t have you as mayor.

                    • Bolwerk says:

                      No, it’s not a good decision if you have to evacuate the residents every few years. How hard is this?

                    • alen says:

                      Sandy was a category 1 storm. 80mph winds
                      NYC has been hit by category 3 storms in the past on a regular basis. every 50-70 years. the last one was 1938. 135mph winds. the city is still here.

                      the space between the barrier islands was created in the 1800’s by another big storm.

                      sandy hit during a full moon and made landfall at high tide. irene was stronger but it didn’t hit at high tide so less flooding

                    • Bolwerk says:

                      Not this idiocy again. The category of the storm isn’t the major problem. The potential for any kind of coastal flooding is the problem.

      • Benjamin says:

        Shitty mayor = do well as MTA chairman?
        What logic!!

        • Bolwerk says:

          What is with the lack of nuance with you people here? It’s not very difficult to follow. He doesn’t lack skill as a manager, even if his political policies are generally bad. He can be a leader, he should just never be a ruler.

  2. Justin Samuels says:

    In the 90s, the MTA, when talk of the Second Avenue Subway came up, wasn’t interested in doing it at all, really. Not even phase 1. They discussed and talk about alternatives like buses. The reason why we have Phase 1 Second Avenue Subway Construction and the LIRR to Grand Central is because Pataki got federal funding and matched it with state funding. Otherwise the MTA would have said they couldn’t do it.

    The 7 is being currently extended to 34th and 11th because the city raised the money to do it. The MTA again said they had no money. If Bloomberg is able to have the city finance 7 line extension and able to get Cuomo and Christie on board with some money, they can get federal funding and do this (the Port Authority would need to be involved, but if Christie and Cuomo agree its doable).

    So its really irrelevant what the MTA says, what matters with what the governor of NY says (and secondarily the mayor of NYC)

    • It doesn’t really even matter here what the governor would say. It matters what the person — Bloomberg, his successor, Cuomo, anyone in DC — with the money says. If someone gives them billions of dollars and says, “build this,” they will build it. But it’s not going to be something for which the MTA will lobby on its own.

      • Justin Samuels says:

        Good points, Ben. Its all about who can come up with the money. So lets hope that those Congressmen from Brooklyn and Queens can get disaster recovery money to reactivate the Rockaway Beach LIRR and connect it to the Queens Boulevard line or the main LIRR.

        Lets also hope someone grants the money for a full length Second Avenue Subway. You’re right, the MTA has never lobbied for system expansion and has only expanded when they are offered money and told to build.

    • Bolwerk says:

      The MTA’s job is to pay out salaries and pensions; operating buses and subways is secondary to them, but they can do it. Major capital projects are a bit outside of their area of expertise, and just make whiny people mad at them.

      It’s probably why they’re so willing to opt for buses (e.g., the underwhelming SelectBus). Buses are more expensive to run than a subway or light rail service, but a bus service segues well with their core competencies of paying salaries and kinda being okay at operating stuff.

  3. Boris says:

    Is Bloomberg a mayor of New York City or Secaucus? There are other, more worthy transit extensions he should be pursuing that would benefit New Yorkers, not suburban commuters. Why doesn’t he direct the EDC to do a feasibility study of the Rockaways line? Or the tunnel to Staten Island? Or TriboroRX? Or AirTrain to LGA? Or ways to integrate Staten Island’s North Shore busway with the ferris wheel project? Or a Second Subway extension to the Bronx? Or any number of other things.

    • Alon Levy says:

      No love for 125th, Utica, and Nostrand? 🙁

      • Boris says:

        Oh yes, good points. Which one is Utica? As for Nostrand, I’d slightly prefer going down Flatbush Ave to a mixed-use redeveloped Kings Plaza Mall.

        • Ryan says:

          The B46 is Utica. There are as of yet no subway lines going down the street.

        • Ryan says:

          As for Nostrand, I’d prefer extending down Nostrand Avenue , then turn east to Kings Plaza. I know, it’s expensive, but it would serve more people this way without having to build a Utica Avenue subway line.

    • There is a severe lack of vision on the part of the MTA (which I can’t really fault them for since they can barely RUN the existing system). Like Ben said it’s all about the money.

      The real problem with the money issue is that no one even wants to talk about it. Look at the PB study and there isn’t one word about cost. We are too afraid to even mention it. How about we be adults about this and look at what it would cost to build these things, then work on getting the funding if it’s deemed viable.

      The 7 to Secaucus probably would attract enough riders to make it viable so why are they afraid to say that it’s going to cost a lot?

      • Boris says:

        The projected ridership is twice that of WTC PATH, so the new station should cost at least $8 billion, right?

      • Alon Levy says:

        The lack of vision is on everyone’s part. Where are the “for $X we can build ABC, for $Y we can build DEF” plans? Where are the service plans telling people what they’ll get for their money? And no, “more capacity” is obscurantist; show us the schedules.

    • Justin Samuels says:

      Well, the Congressmen from Brooklyn and Queens are fighting for the money to a reactivation of the Rockaway Beach LIRR. Since only one phase of the Second Avenue Subway has been completed, Bloomberg might fight for ways to fund the remaining three phases, which would need to be done BEFORE an extension to the Bronx could be discussed.

    • Eric F says:

      Adding a track to Hudson County, NJ would be more transformative and consequential than any of the projects you listed there.

      • BruceNY says:

        Agreed. Why not cross the Hudson & then turn North
        to Union City, Guttenberg, North Bergen–large population
        centers with only bus service in the PABT. Maybe even go as far as Cliffside Park and Fort Lee?

  4. Salem says:

    America in the 21st century seems to be all about lowering expectations. Anything that could measurably improve our lives is too expensive, too outlandish. We hear talk about how this is no the right economic climate for big projects. We seem to forget the Henry Hudson Parkway, Riverside Park and the Triboro Bridge — among the larger infrastructure projects in New York and even the nation — were all built during the Great Depression, when Albany and Tammany Hall were at the apex of their corruption and when the people could least afford to finance projects up front.

    It’s kind of pathetic there is no direct transit to New York’s major airports. This is a city of unprecedented wealth. What’s the deal here? Our highways are more crowded and decrepit than ever. Improvements need to be made. People need jobs. The city’s housing market is more pressurized than ever. It seems to all point to one solution …

  5. Bolwerk says:

    Yeah, it would be expensive. Know what’s more expensive? Just about any alternative project, including ostensibly viable Gateway.

    I wish the MTA would be more constructive. Yeah, it’s not likely, but they could at least say it would be a good idea. That’s not a lot to ask.

    • Benjamin says:

      Isn’t it obvious then that the MTA needs to be done away with?

      • To be replaced with what?

        • Ryan says:

          Private corporation?

          • Nyland8 says:

            LOL …
            You mean like how the Interborough Rapid Transit was a private corporation?
            Or how the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation was a private corporation?
            Or how the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad was a private corporation?

            That’s just what we need. Some private corporation to squeeze every penny, run it to the ground with deferred maintenance, enrich some CEO, go bankrupt and force the city to bail it out … yet again.

            Perfect.

            • Henry says:

              The IRT and BMT were bankrupted because of a law on the books mandating a five-cent fare for fourty-odd years, not because of poor management. In fact, the BMT innovated with its train cars, and the city scrapped the order for reliable, articulated, versatile Bluebird cars that had the capability to operate anywhere on the system, rom the 19th-century els to the trains. (Back in the day, they needed separate fleets due to weight restrictions on els and durability requirements for subways.)
              That being said, the MTA as a private corporation would be a very bad idea, because a private corporation would have every incentive to block system expansion and keep trains as crowded as possible, to maximize profits. The IRT was terribly obstructionist and tried to bankrupt every competitor that tried crossing it, which worked very well as a business strategy. The current PATH was supposed to be extended into a system as expansive as the BMT lines in Manhattan, but August Belmont got the city’s financiers to withhold financing.

  6. John-2 says:

    There’s nothing wrong with the plan — as long as it’s understood who will benefit the most and who therefore should be paying the bulk of the regional costs. This is not a proposal that should require a 50-50 split in funding or worse between New York and New Jersey, which is what the MTA fears.

    Having bi-direction access to Hudson Yards would economically benefit NYC, but having a second rail access point to the city from Secaucus would be a far bigger benefit for New Jersey (even moreso for the northern parts of Hoboken, if they got access to a one-seat ride to Midtown). The MTA’s opposition to this is understandable, since they don’t want to end up as the main source of the funds. But if New Jersey was to talk about something like an 80-20 financial split after any federal funding is factored in, that would be a plan worth exploring.

    • g says:

      It has always been understood that the Feds/PA/NJ would have to pay for the majority of any such project, just as the plan was with ARC. NYC will have to kick in something now but the financial exposure would still be minimal compared to the other funding sources and the potential benefits.

      The MTA is of course looking out for it’s own capital budget regardless off the merit this project would have for the region.

      • Henry says:

        Given the FTA’s experience with New Jersey and funding ARC, it’s highly unlikely that they will trust New Jersey to put up large amounts of money again.

        “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

        • Michael K says:

          They will likely then insist that Bloomberg be the lead applicant on the grant application (or his representative at NYCDOT, ect.)

  7. alen says:

    they need to fix the E train in queens first. after 8am there are so many people at Roosevelt Ave, that its hard to squeeze into the train.

    its so bad i’m thinking of driving into manhattan once or twice a week

    • “They need to fix the E train” and “they should build a subway to Secaucus” on two totally different planes of discussion. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other.

      • alen says:

        the issue is there are plenty of problems inside the city to spend money on for city residents. not to use NYC money to make lives easier for residents of another state

        if this is so needed let NJ pay for it or build another PATH train. why a 7 train?

        • Eric F says:

          The premise seems to be that NYers never need or want to leave the five boros. That’s not ture now, and it’ll be even further from reality if this were to be built.

        • g says:

          Well that would be the PA so some of that money would still be from NY and given the PA’s recent adventures with the WTC PATH station MTA construction management looks like a downright economical option.

          NYC would also get the 10th Ave station on the 7 built out of the deal, opening another swath of the west side to redevelopment and tax $$$.

          • alen says:

            the 7 tunnel already goes way past 34th street. i think it goes to 11th and 18th. either way the MTA bought a former fedex parking lot at the corner of 11th and 26th and a lot of the work was done there. i think there is even room for a new station around 26th street but it was cut during the project.

            is there anything in secaucus of all places worth visiting from NYC?

            • g says:

              The tail tracks extend to about 11th Ave and 25th St but the study proposed new tunnels will diverge from these tracks just north of 30th St and head to NJ. I

              I am strongly supportive of adding an intermediate station in north Hoboken to connect with the HBLR if this plan were to be realized.

        • Bolwerk says:

          Between the PA, NJ, NYS, and the feds, there isn’t reason to think the contribution New Yorkers would make would be onerous, even with the usual inflated costs. The intransigence of Chris Christie and indifference of Cuomo probably doom this, in any case.

        • AG says:

          it’s not about “make lives easier for residents of another state”…. some of the highest earning workers in NYC live in NJ. Jobs go where talent is and talent goes where jobs are. A lot of the talent for the jobs in NYC lives across the Hudson. It is a regional economy.

          • alen says:

            so why is NYC not a ghost town if things are so bad?

            • AG says:

              who said NYC is “so bad”? decades ago ppl moved to Jersey and other suburbs to escape the ills of the city… but now it’s more because life in the city has become more desirable = expensive. that has nothing to do with my statement. the FACT is there is a regionally integrated economy and there needs to be transportation to match.

  8. Larry Littlefield says:

    Again, if NJ wants to dig the tunnel, and the Sandhogs/contractors don’t rip us off, I’m all for it. I’d even be willing to see the city put up money to add capacity to the Grand Central station on the #7, if that is possible.

    And if it goes express to one station that is transfer point, I wouldn’t mind having the MTA pay for the trains and their operation. It may be possible that it would break even.

    But not the tunnels.

    Best to have NJ dig two tunnels for its own use, and Amtrak to fund a third tunnel direct to Penn Station.

    And by the way, now about a direct tunnel from intersection of Route 3 and the New Jersey Turnpike direct to the mouth of the Lincoln Tunnel for the exclusive use of buses? By having them skip the back-up along Route 3 and the helix to the tunnel, such an improvement would drastically improve the form of transport many people from NJ already us.

  9. Ryan says:

    I’d like to see people not complain about new subway lines for a change. Any other alternative (think Gateway) would be tremendously expensive.

    • Eric F says:

      NYC needs both, at a minimum.

    • Bolwerk says:

      Eric’s right. They’re only so much alternatives for each other, though I think, if anything, the 7 extension goes much further in solving commuter problems.

    • Henry says:

      Gateway and the 7 extension solve different problems – one provides additional NEC capacity, and the other solves NJ commuter headaches.

      Both are needed at some point in the future, and it sucks that people can’t see the forest for the trees when they argue against one for the other.

      • Henry says:

        I’d also like to add that the City and State would essentially be financing a project that would encourage the movement of back-office work to Secaucus, which is already happening in limited amounts due to PATH.

        • AG says:

          better secaucus than north carolina or utah or florida (where many many back office jobs are moving. the city is a victim of its own success… real estate has become expensive… so it doesn’t pay to have low paying jobs in Manhattan. no matter what expansion happens – the trend is poised to continue. reality is that a person in Queens who may be a candidate for that secaucus job may find it more viable.
          job growth in jersey has been anemic compared to the city (especially the outer boroughs).

  10. Henry says:

    I’m surprised that people are talking about extending the 7 west before talking about an eastern extension, considering that the Port Washington Line that serves the areas east of the 7 is the LIRR’s best-performing line in terms of farebox recovery, and considering that there are 100k subway riders east of the Van Wyck who deal with hour+ commutes every day. It’s even more mind-boggling when you consider that this improves times for only those already served by NJT’s rail services, and does nothing for the New Jersey commuters who cram into a messy, overcrowded PABT.

    I’d assume that NJT would be very much against this – NJT’s byzantine website makes this impossible for me to verify, but I’m guessing that direct Midtown service costs more than service to Secaucus, and 100K+ riders a day means 100K+ riders providing less revenues.

  11. JD says:

    Hey, I love trains. And most extensions to the NYC subway sound initially appealing.

    My question is — WHY would NYC/NYS fund an extension to the subway that would primarily benefit NJ residents and businesses?

    Think about it — If the #7 were extended to NJ, the first thing that would be built on the NJ side would be a mega-capacity car garage & bus/lightrail top. All inbound trains would be fully packed before they ever left NJ — effectively leaving the new #7 station non-existent. Also, a NJ stop would encourage businesses to move from NY to NJ (WHY would NYC/NYS choose to fund that ???)

    Maybe I’m wrong, but please — someone tell me how extending the #7 to NJ benefits NYC riders (<1%) anywhere near the degree to which it would benefit NJ residents (99%). Nothing against NJ (or CT), but in this instance, better for NJ to fund/build its own dedicated tunnels into Manhattan, rather than be provided with a portal into the subway that would overwhelm the #7 line through transfers @ Times Sq and Grand Central.

    • Justin Samuels says:

      Bloomberg wants to benefit the Hudson Yards developers. Obviously a lot of people in NJ come into NY to work. So this makes the real estate on the West Side of Manhattan much more valuable. People do go back and forth between NY and NJ, btw, and New Yorkers work in NJ as well so its a two way street.

      • AG says:

        actually no – the hudson yards already benefits because Penn is near… this is more about getting ppl from NJ to the east side…and secondarily to Queens and vice versa.

  12. JD says:

    One more point — many (most??) commuters from NJ presently take NYC Bus or Subway, once they arrive into Manhattan (PATH, Bus, Train, Ferry). As such, I would expect that the delta in fare revenues by NJ riders getting the subway at a NJ stop would likely be minimal. So it’s not as if there would be an enormous increase in NJ-originated fares flowing into the MTA coffers.

    Again… WHY would NYC/NYS want to do this ???

    • Norm says:

      JD – I think it was someone on the other thread today that made the case for more efficient allocation of commuters across the trunk lines. Overall, it’s the recognition that the economy in NYC is not limited to its political borders and that it’s really part of the wider, regional economy. In any case, I’ll also add my own that speak to the benefits both for NJ and for NY(C):

      1. If you’ve ever walked by Penn Station during the morning peak hours, you’ll notice the massive numbers of people coming off the platforms headed to the subways. Many of them work all over Manhattan but create tons of congestion on the surrounding subway stops to the point that commuters are shoving to get onto trains whose doors try to close several times before successfully doing so, adding to delays.

      Many especially work in Midtown East, meaning they’ll either hop on the E train to go up and over, the 1/2/3 to Times Sq and switch to the S or 7, or walk to the N/Q/R/F/M at Herald Sq and go up and over. I used to take the 7 across because there was actually room to sit down – indicating capacity. If the 7 was extended, I assure you that thousands of commuters would spend more (whose revenue would be shared with NYC) to go directly or connect more efficiently.

      This would naturally alleviate the stations along 34th by directing passengers to use more efficient connections, hopefully making your trip as an intra-NYC more pleasant.

      2. At my firm, many colleagues who live out in NJ need to book it at 5 on the dot to make the few express trains or just plain local trains back home. Easier, more efficient connections will mean that they can actually stay out for an extra drink or two, or possibly dinner, stimulating the economy in NYC.

      3. Along the same lines, I have many friends who live out in the suburbs who have turned down jobs in NYC because the commute’s killer. Any reduction in the “agony” factor may also result in a higher propensity of those in the suburbs of working in the city, going from paying NJ state income taxes to basically all the state income taxes now flowing to NYS.

      • alen says:

        my heart goes out to them, but there are people inside NYC who live here as well face the same problems.

        the land of $10,000 property taxes and local government where the state can’t do anything should cough up more cash to build this tunnel.

        no reason why this has to be the 7 train. could be a new PATH tunnel

      • alen says:

        didn’t the governor of NJ kill a new transit tunnel last year in favor of more roads? if things are this bad tell your friends to write to the governor to spend the cash on a new tunnel

        NJ roads are already some of the best i’ve driven on

      • Henry says:

        My commute from the border of Nassau and Queens takes two hours by subway and bus. All we’re offered for our troubles is an SBS line that barely covers the undeserved, dense neighborhoods.

        Extending the 7 to a swamp and offering peanuts to a larger amount of city residents is the equivalent of a giant middle finger to outer-borough residents. Savino may have been a bit petty in the way she stated her points, but the idea behind her claims is solid.

        • Ryan says:

          The poor transportation situation in parts of NYC is extreme. No highways, no subway, no nothing.

          And yet people want a subway tunnel outside of NYC…

          Sounds like MTA, all right.

          • Boris says:

            This article is about the MTA stating it does NOT support this potential project.

            Having said that, it does not want any subway expansion of any kind unless it is thrust upon it (as mentioned above).

  13. Dave says:

    I wish the governor spend the money to fix all non-accessible stations — make it more accessible for people with disabilities. 7 Train Line can wait for now.

  14. JD says:

    I hear you, and I understand the RPA’s vision of crossing state boundaries for regional benefit. But, I keep coming back to the conclusion — WHAT is the benefit of this to NYC/NYS ??

    Without question, there will be no shortage of residents looking to populate future development on the west side of Manhattan. Within 5-10 yrs (if that long), the present extension of the #7 train will be far over utilized by local residents and business workers. Extending the #7 will just make that line unusable to anyone in Manhattan, west of Grand Central.

    I very greatly sympathize with NJ commuter problems and headaches. (I have previously commuted from L.I. and Westchester, I know the routine all-too-well).

    That being said — NYC functions as a tremendous revenue base to NY, CT and NJ. Salaries from jobs worked in NYC by commuters return to their home, with them (i.e., taxes and major purchases). Not being unfair here — just stating the truth.

    So again — WHY would NYC/NYS look to encourage more commuters from NJ or CT ?? I like both places, and have many family/friends who live there.

    But when you consider alternatives to improve inter-state travel in the NYC region, the burden for such should fall almost exclusively upon the states of CT and NJ.

    But even of NJ offered to fund 100% of the cost to extend and maintain the #7 subway to NJ — I would not envision going for it. Aside from the benefit being almost 100% in favor of NJ residents, over time, it would make the case easier for NY-based firms to relocate to NJ (further diminishing the tax base, job market, etc).

    I know I am coming off as the NY-is-the-center-of-the-world guy, but I sincerely don’t intend to be. One of these solutions to this scenario may:

    1) Reinstate the suburban commuter income tax (eliminated not
    all that long ago, by Giuliani)

    2) Transfer Bergen, Hudson, Essex and Union counties from NJ
    to NYS territories. That being done — I’m certain that
    NYS/NYC would gladly extend subway lines across the
    Hudson

    That 2nd option is offered in a more humorous manner, but it servers to illustrate my point that there is virtually NO value, from a NYC/NYS perspective, to fund increased commuter capabilities to CT or NJ. However, there is tremendous demand, viability (and public support) for doing so to Staten Island, Westchester, Rockland and Long Island.

    For the forseeable future (maybe forever), I expect that NYS will prefer for commuters from NY and CT to have access to NYC, however fund it themselves. And in the case of the subway, have distinct points at which they can transfer from NJ-specific transit to NYC transit systems (Penn Station, WTC, west side ferries).

    • alen says:

      #2 will never happen

      the King of England signed off on the state borders a long time ago

    • Nyland8 says:

      “2) Transfer Bergen, Hudson, Essex and Union counties from NJ
      to NYS territories. That being done — I’m certain that
      NYS/NYC would gladly extend subway lines across the
      Hudson”

      Curiously, most people don’t remember this, but there was a border war between NY and NJ – and NJ lost some upstate territory.

      But actually, you have it backwards. Annexing Richmond County to New Jersey is what probably should be done. It is only a cruel twist of fate that Staten Island is part of New York State – because defending the port hundreds of years ago required fortresses on both sides of the Narrows. But Staten Island is geographically part of New Jersey. And you can be that if it had always been, it would have never lost it’s commuter rail connection to the mainland.

      It has more than 4 times the population as … say Warren County for example. And yet NJTransit trains run from Warren County right into NYPenn Station.

      As it stands now, it would make a far saner connection for a joint NJTransit/MetroNorth connection to Richmond than going way out to Port Jervis.

      Either that, or an SIR/PATH hybrid might do just as well.

    • Ryan says:

      1) May be happening in the foreseeable future
      2) Never happening…

    • AG says:

      I agree that the commuter tax should be re-instated…but NYC/State most certainly would benefit from this potential project (whether it happens is another story).

      Well for one – all those high income NJ residents who work in NYC do pay income tax in NYC. Also – it keeps certain jobs from jumping across the river… and the multiplier effect that takes with it (those workers certainly do spend money in the city)… Conversely ppl in NYC go to Jersey for many things – from shopping to visiting relatives. If a person in Queens finds it easier to take the #7 to Jersey rather than driving – it helps us all.

  15. JD says:

    It is pretty easy to see the NJ natives on this thread of discussion. The reality is that corporate jobs will move to where they can get the best deal (land, taxes, laws, overall costs, access to resources).

    It is to NJ’s benefit that it can generally offer lows-cost options (much because it does not maintain the ongoing carrying cost of city operations). It is right and proper that they should pursue this tract. But to say that it is beneficial to NY that an employer move to NJ, taking jobs and requiring people to commute to NJ — that is just laughable.

    Regional expansion is a reality. But NYC/NYS are obliged to provide and maintain a competitive reason by which firms would stay in NY (outer boroughs, Westchester, Nassau). It is a very different story here, than in Chicago, LA, San Fran, Atlanta — where firms moving from 10 miles from one side of the city center choose to move 10 miles in the other direction (all fees and taxes stay within the same state).

    Again, not knocking NJ for being NJ. But aside from hooking NY to the mainland, and things like Metlife Stadium, Newark airport and occasional day trips (Jersey Shore) — NY does not obtain anything resembling equalent revenue/benefit from providing increaed transit access to NJ. NYers no longer shop in NJ to the degree they did, prior to Giuliani’s restructuring of NYC retail tax laws. I’m not angry about it — It’s just reality. As such, NY will not pay to expand transit services that primarily benefit NJ (incl establishing transit paths by which companies will build commercial & residential hubs). NY has the obligation to improve transit and business circumstances within NYS borders, and to negotiate for Fed dollars to be spent in directions that benefit NYS. Hence, the tactful MTA (NYS state run) response to the plausablity of extending the #7 to NJ. The benefits to NJ just TOO far outweigh the benefits to NY.

    • AG says:

      JD – I never lived in NJ a day in my life… but I do understand something about city planning and also corporate locations. What is so hard to understand that northern and central NJ are in many ways more important suburbs than Long Island? The Dutch and later the English did not make it one colony – but NY and NJ have been linked ALWAYS. In fact – most of the residents of NJ can trace their roots to NY. Long Island and the Hudson Valley could never sustain all the migration that gets forced out of the city every decade (residents and businesses). While NYC continues to be a magnet – it was and is an absolute impossibility. All the complaining about a name won’t matter. You are right that it’s not like LA, Atlanta, Chicago etc. The closest comparison would be the DC/Maryland/Virginia area. DC is the magnet for the region – but they are smart enough to know (or learn in the past couple decades) that they are all linked together in spite of their political differences.
      Take a visual survey in any borough and you will see many many cars with NJ plates on them. They come across the river to do business in some form – WHICH HELPS NY. Do you prefer cars damaging the roads and fouling the air?????
      Provincialism with neighbors is ridiculous. Suppose Thomas Edison said he would only let NJ use his light bulbs – NYC wouldn’t have had the first street light.

      Oh and btw – unless you don’t realize some decades ago the states agreed to switch most of the port function to NJ. If that didn’t happen NYC wouldn’t be what it is right now (and vice versa). The computer you are typing on may have very well come through that port on the Jersey side. I’m sure there were ppl then who complained “why are they giving all those port functions to NJ” without looking at the bigger picture of how it helps the ENTIRE region.

      In fact – it’s not even really a “tri-state” area anymore… because increasingly parts of Pennsylvania are firmly within the NYC metro. In fact it’s NJ Transit who is supposed to run the train extension to the Poconos and Scranton. That would benefit NYC/NYS too. Should NJ spite us?

      • JD says:

        Hey, even a pilot fish provides benefit to a shark, and the direction is reasonably bi-directional. NJ can learn from these sea creatures.

        Your academic discussions aside — NYS has it’s obligation to the benefit of NY residents. And your premise that there is benefit to NY residents by proposing that they commute from Flushing (e.g.) to Secaucus, when such jobs can potentially be established in Westchester (White Plains), Brooklyn (MetroTech), Queens (LIC & Willets Point) or western Nassau. Further growth in these areas ARE the stated priorities of NYC/NYS. Beyond the corporate jobs & Condos, it’s about construction jobs, biz support jobs, taxes, growth of outer boroughs, etc.

        NJ has and will always benefit from it’s proximity to Manhattan, however the opposite will not come to pass, via #7 expansion to NJ. Were this ever to happen, the #7 would be jammed beyond capacity 24×7, prohibiting anyone in Manhattan from boarding the train, west of Grand Central. Even the great self-professed city planner in this thread should know that the #7 that is being extended does not have traditional express and local tracks — it only has local tracks and is of IRT (narrower) configuration — yielding far less than normal subway line capacity).

        For NJ to benefit further, the burden of greater access to NYC should be squarely on their shoulders. Make the committment to build new trans-Hudson tunnels, new platforms in Manhattan. Hey, it’s the cost of doing business, folks. The MTA’s response to the #7 expansion answer is completely in kind with my understanding & opinion.

    • Nyland8 says:

      Ironically enough, it is the three NJTransit lines that service Orange and Rockland Counties in upstate New York that don’t go to NYPenn. They go to Secaucus – and then Hoboken.

      The 7 to Lautenberg would serve New Yorkers quite well.

  16. Nyland8 says:

    The only thing worse than NIMBY-ism, is OIMBY-ism. Only In My Back Yard – ism.

    I’m not sure I can entirely wrap my mind around the deliberately obtuse provincialism expressed by so many people on this thread … but I’ll try to break it down just one more time for the impenetrably dense. First we’ll highlight a number of symptoms that all stem from one ailment.

    NYPenn Station is overcrowded – which negatively affects NEW YORKERS!
    PABT is overcrowded – which negatively affects NEW YORKERS!
    The GWB, the Lincoln and the Holland Tunnels are overcrowded – which negatively affects NEW YORKERS!
    Manhattan is severely congested with vehicles, many from New Jersey – which negatively affects NEW YORKERS!
    The backed-up bumper-to-bumper traffic on BOTH sides of the Hudson crossings pollutes the air. Our air. The air NEW YORKERS breathe.

    Now we’ll briefly discuss some possible treatments for this ailment.

    Option 1) Make all New Jersey border crossings like Tijuana. Force everyone from New Jersey to apply for a visa to enter New York, check their credentials at the border, ask them if they have anything to declare, what their business in town is, how long they intend to stay, search their persons and their vehicles with drug/bomb/NJ Devils T-shirt sniffing dogs, stamp their credentials, send them on their way – and expect the reciprocity you deserve when you want to go to a Jets/Giants game, Newark Airport, the Meadowlands racetrack, or your summer dacha in the Poconos. Fair enough, right? We could slow things down so much we’d totally discourage anyone from crossing the Hudson – problem solved! Or maybe not. Maybe it just creates other problems.

    Option 2) Tunnel across the Hudson from the NEC in Secaucus and create a massive subterranean palace under NYPenn Station that will cost 12 billion dollars to build – from which travelers will still have to diffuse themselves throughout the existing subway system – such as they do already. And whether we call it ARC, or Gateway, or Penn South, or whatever, it will still take a decade more to build then its projections, it will suffer staggering cost overruns, and the taxpayers and ratepayers will pay not only for its creation – but then its operating and upkeep costs – in perpetuity.

    Option 2.2) Tunnel across the Hudson to Secaucus by extending an existing cross-town subway, precluding the need to build yet another gargantuan choke point under Manhattan rock, effectively reducing NJTransit traffic into NYPenn.

    This would open up slots for Amtrak – which would positively impact NEW YORKERS!
    Open up slots for MetroNorth – which would positively impact NEW YORKERS!
    PABT would become less congested – which would positively affect NEW YORKERS!
    Reduce cross-Hudson bridge and tunnel congestion – which would positively impact NEW YORKERS!
    Reduce mid-town Manhattan automobile congestion – which would positively impact NEW YORKERS!

    Hmmm. Maybe there is something to this idea. Perhaps we should consider it.

    • AG says:

      In spite of your sarcasm – lolol…. you are very much correct. Something tells me this would be very cost effective in comparison to other plans…. just as the issue of through running. I think if both are done – there would be a lot of congestion/capacity problems alleviated at lower overall costs.

    • Henry says:

      From a different perspective, it is not unreasonable to expect the MTA to clean house before it expands its service area. The five boroughs have been paying tax money that has been siphoned off to subsidize commuter services since 1968, and has not seen a concerted effort at subway expansion since that time. (To make matters worse, the only thing the outer boroughs are getting now is paint and bus signal priority, as a replacement for expanded train service.)

      If Hudson and Bergen want to start paying the MTA’s dedicated taxes (sales tax, petroleum tax, real estate tax, payroll tax, taxi surcharge, etc.) as well, that’s another discussion, because New York tax dollars alone should not be funding either the upkeep of stations in New Jersey or the purchase of rolling stock needed to operate such a service. (Funding tunnel construction to the state line is something I have no problem with.)

      The financial implications of this are also huge – most NJT customers already transfer to MTA services, so the net gain in revenue for MTA is small. I’m going to assume that Penn and Secaucus are not part of the same fare zone (NJT’s website is impossible for me to figure out), so NJT will be losing a lot of Penn-bound fare revenue. You could possibly mitigate this by turning trains at Secaucus and feeding buses into a bus terminal at Secaucus, but the Sandy fiasco makes it questionable whether or not placing lots of transit infrastructure in a low-lying swamp is a good idea. The area has almost zero pedestrian connectivity and no walkable development anywhere, and building dense development next to a congested highway in a flood-prone area is also a dubious plan (and insuring it in the wake of Sandy will be next-to-impossible).

      The proposal is not nearly quite as clear cut as “let’s draw a line to Secaucus and it’ll help everyone who has to pay for it!”

      Also, anyone who is suggesting a Queens-NJ commute is out of their mind, because as it is now Flushing-Times Sq is 45 minutes by express train, and most passengers are feeding from bus rides of at least twenty minutes in length. This is also assuming that traffic is reasonable and trains aren’t delayed, which, more often than not, is not the case.

      • AG says:

        Henry – why is a NJ-Queens commute someone who is “out of their mind”??? I personally know at least a dozen ppl who cross the Hudson for work every day and all drive. One actually works in Secaucus and lives in Westchester… another lives in Bergen County and works in Brooklyn. A few live near Edison and work in the Bronx. As I said – at least a dozen and all drive up to and over an hour every day. This is not a guess.

        • Henry says:

          The majority of Queens residents live farther from NJ than the Bronx, Westchester, or Brooklyn. Even by car, travel times from certain parts of the borough are 45-60+ minutes long to Manhattan, assuming that no car accidents have occured. Mass transit commutes are even worse – most Queens commuters have travel times of at least 60 minutes. 90 minutes is fairly commonplace, and 120 minute commutes into Manhattan are not outside of the realm of possibility.

          Adding mass transit travel time to NJ would be downright maniacal. (This is also why I think New Jersey really shouldn’t be the next area getting a subway extension, because so many of the areas in the outer boroughs have worse commutes than some New Jersey commuters.)

          • AG says:

            My point was that just as a I know ppl who cross the river in both directions everyday…. I’m pretty positive there are ppl in Queens who do. And we are dealing with the #7… and I can tell you surely there are places in Westchester and Brooklyn that are farther away from points in Jersey. My point was also that they ALL drive – and deal with traffic because mass transit is not convenient.

      • Nyland8 says:

        “From a different perspective, it is not unreasonable to expect the MTA to clean house BEFORE it expands its service area.” (emphasis mine)

        This is an entirely different issue. There’s no reason expansions can’t happen simultaneously, just as there’s no reason that 7 Line, ESA and SAS expansions didn’t happen concurrently. If expansion beyond NYC borders was contingent on tunneling every inch of the five boroughs first, then it certainly IS unreasonable to expect it. There is no end to that pursuit.

        “If Hudson and Bergen want to start paying the MTA’s dedicated taxes (sales tax, petroleum tax, real estate tax, payroll tax, taxi surcharge, etc.) as well, that’s another discussion, because New York tax dollars alone should not be funding either the upkeep of stations in New Jersey or the purchase of rolling stock needed to operate such a service. ”

        Well … who should pay for what is certainly subject to debate. We can agree about that. But it’s worth remembering that New Jersey commuters pay an enormous amount of money in NY payroll taxes – and other NY taxes – in exchange for nothing. They don’t use our social services, our garbage collection, and they’re not eligible for NYC library cards. They spend money at our restaurants, drink at our bars, dance at our clubs, attend our entertainment venues, shop at Bloomingdale’s and support our cultural institutions … but they don’t send their kids to our public school system. They can’t vote here, so they get taxation without representation. They are a net asset to the city, and if we could just discourage more of their cars from crossing the Hudson, they’d be even more so – because they do burden our roads.

        “The financial implications of this are also huge – “

        So is any NYPenn expansion plan. In fact, up to roughly 5 times the cost and maybe another decade.

        “ – most NJT customers already transfer to MTA services, so the net gain in revenue for MTA is small.”

        Point taken. But the westward expansion of the subway wasn’t proposed for the purposes of increasing MTA revenues – although it will eventually have that effect. Let’s not forget the historical context. It was a direct response to Governor Kris Krispy Kreme unilaterally sinking the ARC project. It was never meant to be a substitute for other overdue and much needed subway expansion throughout the boroughs. Those are different issues.

        “The proposal is not nearly quite as clear cut as “let’s draw a line to Secaucus and it’ll help everyone who has to pay for it!””
        No kidding? That’s because that project doesn’t exist. There is no mass transit improvement in the country that can ever claim “it’ll help everyone who has to pay for it!” None. Never has been. Never will be.

        But because this project was proffered as an alternative to the ARC, I would expect New Jersey to be happy to bear the brunt of its costs – certainly in New Jersey – because the burden it relieves is NJTransit’s burden. It also means their grandchildren won’t be subsidizing the care and feeding of the HVAC system for the Carlsbad Cavern that was planned for ARC. Any smart would-be Governor could – and should – make that political pitch to his/her would-be constituency. If it’s one place that the incumbent is vulnerable, it’s on transit issues.

        And because it also insures freed-up slots for Amtrak, and forgoes massive projects like forced relocation of MSG, and reconfiguring NYPenn, I’d also expect a great deal of federal funding.

        When it comes to the financial issues, the focus should not be on what it costs, it should be on what it saves over the alternatives. For taxpayers and ratepayers, extending a cross-town subway to Lautenberg is a bargain that shouldn’t be passed up.

        It has nothing to do with what else the MTA should be doing. With SAS, ESA and 7 Line extension proceeding concurrently, they’ve already shown they can walk and chew gum at the same time.

        • AG says:

          I agree with everything you said… except they (NJ residents) do make use of infrastructure and limited services (sanitation and emergency services if necessary)….but yes they are still a net asset… and obviously the request of this study shows top city officials understand.

  17. JD says:

    Hey, even a pilot fish provides benefit to a shark, and the direction is reasonably bi-directional. NJ can learn from these sea creatures.

    Your academic discussions aside — NYS has it’s obligation to the benefit of NY residents. And your premise that there is benefit to NY residents by proposing that they commute from Flushing (e.g.) to Secaucus, when such jobs can potentially be established in Westchester (White Plains), Brooklyn (MetroTech), Queens (LIC & Willets Point) or western Nassau. Further growth in these areas ARE the stated priorities of NYC/NYS. Beyond the corporate jobs & Condos, it’s about construction jobs, biz support jobs, taxes, growth of outer boroughs, etc.

    NJ has and will always benefit from it’s proximity to Manhattan, however the opposite will not come to pass, via #7 expansion to NJ. Were this ever to happen, the #7 would be jammed beyond capacity 24×7, prohibiting anyone in Manhattan from boarding the train, west of Grand Central. Even the great self-professed city planner in this thread should know that the #7 that is being extended does not have traditional express and local tracks — it only has local tracks and is of IRT (narrower) configuration — yielding far less than normal subway line capacity).

    For NJ to benefit further, the burden of greater access to NYC should be squarely on their shoulders. Make the committment to build new trans-Hudson tunnels, new platforms in Manhattan. Hey, it’s the cost of doing business, folks. The MTA’s response to the #7 expansion answer is completely in kind with my understanding & opinion.

    • AG says:

      Not sure what your obsession is with city and state lines… but it is a fact that NY businesses NEED access to a diverse labor force – including the densely populated NJ suburbs.

      I also have no idea what you are complaining about in terms of jobs in White Plains, Brooklyn Metro Tech, LIC…. all three areas are doing very well (Nassau has separate issues)… so your comments don’t really reflect economic reality.

      Plus I’m not sure where you get the idea that NY taxpayers would be on the hook for everything. I read the study and saw nothing that intimated that at all.

      Finally, please don’t say what the MTA says… The MTA said they can’t afford the Second Ave. Subway to go to the Bronx as originally planned… nor did they even come up with the money for the current #7 expansion. Both are strictly within NY borders.

      • JD says:

        Actually, it’s the labor pool that follows the jobs, and not the other way around. Witness Dallas, Atlanta, and every growth city in support of this, and Detroit, Buffalo, and every rust belt city on the other end.

        As mentioned earlier — the NYC EDC and NYS EDC are both actively promoting mid- to high-end housing in areas envisioned to have strong growth residential (Williamsburg, Wilets Point, Hudson Yards, Downtown Blkyn/MetroTech, White Plains, etc).

        Albany & Trenton (having it’s own growth model) envision “X” amount of growth, and actively contest the creation of every new job, and each job potentially being lost across the Hudson. The vantage point in each capitol rightfully) is there are only so many jobs in the region to be had, and they contest their best to retain each one. Is this somehow news to posters on this site?

        Also mentioned by other posters — there is a huge backlog of subway enhancements & upgrades needed to support NYC/NYS EDC growth plans. Among them, I would foresee building a subway tunnel connecting Staten Isle to Manhattan & Bklyn as a priority over extending the subway across the Hudson. Such is not even on the drawing board, and not likely to happen in our lifetime. But with the population of NYC targeted to grow by close to 1 million, expansion of outer borough service obligations are all NYS-driven MTA priorities (ahead of #7 expansion to NJ).

        For some reason, some posters see state boundaries as archaic, meaningless lines. These same posters seem to also look at a transit map and say “Let’s extend this purple line to here — Pretty !!”, without any clue or insight to the bigger picture (as determined by the owner of the purple line), train line capacity, or cause-and-effect to existing transit lines (why pay to ride NJ transit trains when you can ride the cost of a subway fare ?)

        One additional thought. As recently as the last decade, a great monumental opportunity for a bi-state cooperation presented itself — the bid for the Summer Olympic games. From the beginning, I (as did some others) felt that the smart bid whould have included MetLife stadium and the Meadownlands. But you saw the NYC/NYS response to such. Ain’t gonna happen.

        Westward expansion of #7 is in direct conflict with NYC/NYS regional and transit growth priorities, and as such, NYS will not enable MTA to provide economic benefit to non-NYS areas. This in not NIMBY or OIMBY, but State-driven, economic strategy and policy. And if the best argument NJ can make for benefit to NYS is that NYers can commute to NJ burbs (further lowering the city’s ability to negotiate tax rates vs corporations, union contracts, etc) — You will not live to see this.

        • Nyland8 says:

          “Westward expansion of #7 is in direct conflict with NYC/NYS regional and transit growth priorities … ”

          No it isn’t.

          “This in not NIMBY or OIMBY … ”

          If you believe your own first sentence then, by definition, it certainly is an OIMBY issue.

          I guess you don’t think New Jersey is in our region? Well … Metro North certainly recognizes that it is – and so is Connecticut.

          • JD says:

            I have never said I am opposed to NJ or CT workers in NY. And if NYers choose to work in NJ or CT, that is their option, as well.

            My position has consistently been that NJ and CT draw enormous benefit from proximity to NYC — and the reverse is not the case. To be unable to “wrap your head” around this basic premise causes great concern.

            To come into New York, any individual is met with an extensive transit system that is available to all, and requires no extraordinary effort to get around. To go to NJ (aside from Jersey City, Newport, Hoboken, Newark, etc) — one is at enormous disadvantage, for lack of a car. Such commuting is a quality of life nightmare (i’ve done it). (BTW, I do own a car). With very few exeptions, NJ is not set up for (or interested in) workers commuting to work, via train or light-rail). A subway-to-NJ commuter train-to-shuttle bus commute — no thanks!

            Further, the MTA is a wholly owned, NYS/NYC agency — one which has an enormous backlog of work and improvement owed, on behalf of the citizens it serves. My claiming that this wholly-owned, over-taxed resourse should not be further burdened by providing an enormous entity to an out-of-state entity is not OIMBY. Enabling such would be an excessive burden placed upon the riders of NYC subways and residents of the city — diminsishing quality of life for all. Also, it would likely endanger much of the envisioned development for the west side of Manhattan, as developers are relying on the # 7 to be a USABLE subway line. As one of the lowest capacity lines in the city, it will be barely (if that) be able to support the envisioned development. And this is with the understanding that the one station being built will represent the end of the line.

            By contrast: Please — show me how taking the #7 train to NJ, being dumped off at a bus stop, then trudging to some distant office park is of appeal or value to an NYC resident. Better NY focus on its own growth, enabling ALL to come into NYC as desired — but by means that do not harm NYC lifestyle.

            ARC was a very good idea, that should be pursued. The fact that NJ opted to kill it was a conscious decision, made out of Trenton. If NJ insists on pursuing and funding a car-centric vision — that is a viable decision. But don’t try to paint my position as OIMBY, when in fact it is a matter of NJ not owning up to it’s own transit obligations. A further extension of # 7 is just a LOW-END, one-sided proposal that harms NYC subway riders. Better to maintain the current NJ-to-midtown ferry, where NJ commuters can either walk to 8th Avenue subway or take a shuttle bus to midtown locales. Hey — doesn’t that sound a lot like the best-of-all-world opportunity presented to NYers, faced with a NY-to-NJ commute ??

            In the meantime — NY will let you know if it ever sees viable value in a high degree of receptiveness, re daily commuting to NJ. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

            • Nyland8 says:

              JD: “My position has consistently been that NJ and CT draw enormous benefit from proximity to NYC — and the reverse is not the case.”

              Uh … no. NYC draws on their skill set, they spend a fortune in the city, they are benefactors of its arts, and the city forces them to pay an income tax. If that’s not enormous benefit, then you should vote to relieve them of that burden.

              And frankly, if you cannot see that, then your pathological myopia is also hard to wrap my head around. It is OIMBY-ism in the extreme – at least to anyone who isn’t spelunking in their own Methane cavern.

              Ask the CEOs and owners of the corporations that work here, and who hire New Yorkers, if they’re willing to give up their homes in Bergen, Warren, Morris and Fairfield Counties. Have you deluded yourself into thinking that every mover and shaker in the city actually lives in the boroughs?!!? Allow me to disabuse you of that ridiculous notion. We’ve been a tri-State metropolitan area for 100 years. In fact, there were more millionaires in Morris County New Jersey in 1910 than anywhere else in the country – and they took the train to work in NYC. In fact, the train schedule shows that the commute from Morristown NJ into NYPenn Station was quicker 100 years ago than it is now – because there were far fewer stops.

              Wake up and smell the expresso.

              Also, I’ve never mentioned reverse commuting at all as a primary reason to run the subway to Secaucus. Not once. So any reference to that is a response to someone else’s post. You can take those paragraphs of straw man arguments and flush them in the crapper. Furthermore, painting false equivalencies between the transportation needs of NYC vs. dozens of northern NJ counties, including hundreds of towns, all of which have home rule, doesn’t further your arguments any either. It just makes you seem less than informed.

              For the record, I’m not in favor of the 7 Line to Lautenberg nearly as much as I’m in favor of two other possibilities, extending the L Line atop the list, for many reasons, some of which I’ve alluded to on past posts. But in any case, extending the 7 Line – even with the costs of all the improvements that must be made (platform widening, for example) – is still a much, much better idea than spending 12-15 billion dollars gouging out yet another politically-motivated monument to our stupidity under Manhattan schist.

              And make no mistake about it. If that is what is built, we’ll all be paying for it anyway. Except that it will have far less utility than a cross-town subway to Secaucus would. Much less bang for the buck.

              In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a native New Yorker, Brooklyn born and raised. I live in West Harlem and my office is in midtown, north of NYPenn Station.

        • AG says:

          Dallas and Atlanta have very little in common with NYC… and neither does Buffalo or Detroit. In the 21st century economy – companies will NOT just open an office somewhere and expect employees to follow. This is NOT the days of “anyone can do it” manufacturing. New businesses attracted to NYC come here for various talent. Just one example of many:

          http://www.crainsnewyork.com/a...../130329994

          You bring up Albany and Trenton and their contesting over jobs…?? Ummmm -they are the problem – NOT the inspiration.

          You fail to understand that this was commissioned by the mayor’s office!!! Why???? Because NYC NEEDS the labor pool in NJ… it’s not that complicated really. The mayor’s office jobs record shows they must have some insight.

          http://wagner.nyu.edu/rudincen.....muting.pdf

          if commuting to and from NJ is not improved – NYC suffers in the long run…. it’s that simple.

  18. Michael K says:

    I think you may be overlooking something important.

    On the NYS tax return, a NJ resident files as a non-resident and pays a significant amount of tax to NYS, not NJ!

    By creating this connection, the Bergen, Main and Pascack Valley lines can easily see their usage increase 1000% over a decade since the train may actually end up going somewhere people want, and not just Hoboken.

    In my personal experience, the Train from Hackensack takes 15-20 minutes to get to Secaucus. It takes 10 minutes to make a transfer to a NEC train to NY Penn. That train take 15 minutes to get to NY Penn. It takes me another 10 minutes to walk upstairs, get to the uptown E platform and actually get on a train. Add 10 more minutes to get to my stop.

    That is a 65 minutes trip – involving 3 inconvenient transfers if nothing is delayed on the NEC- (never!).

    (Changing at SEC or NYP is no cross platform transfer – its long corridors, multiple stairs and escalators.)

    Now compare the trip!

    Walk/drive to station
    Train to SEC
    Train to NYP
    Subway to 53/Lex
    Walk to Office

    THAT IS A TRIP WITH 5 LEGS!!!!

    Or instead of working in AND paying taxes to NYS, one could seek a lesser paying job in Bergen County, NJ.

    Therefore, this is a win for:
    1. NYC tax revenues on commercial property.

    2. NYS tax revenue on income earned by non-residents in NYS.

    3. NJ Transit Rail, since this will cause a ridership boom on Bergen, Main and Pascack Valley Lines.

    4. NJ Transit Bus, since it will take pressure off the overcapacity PABT and allow them to provide a reliable service that can actually make the trip from Northern NJ to PABT in under 60 minutes.

    5. PANYNJ – their terminal will not be overcapacity.

    6. It would be the best use of existing infrastructure – i.e. the massive Secaucus Junction Complex can be put to use as a major transfer point without any modification.

  19. JD says:

    Actually, it’s the labor pool that follows the jobs, and not the other way around. Witness Dallas, Atlanta, and every growth city in support of this, and Detroit, Buffalo, and every rust belt city on the other end.

    As mentioned earlier — the NYC EDC and NYS EDC are both actively promoting mid- to high-end housing in areas envisioned to have strong growth residential (Williamsburg, Wilets Point, Hudson Yards, Downtown Blkyn/MetroTech, White Plains, etc). As NYC envisions grownt by close to 1 million residents, it makes FAR sense for NY to invest in greater outer borough transit connectivity (e.g., seamless light-rail connectivity from East River ferry landings to inland subway lines).

    Albany & Trenton (having it’s own growth model) envision “X” amount of growth, and actively contest the creation of every new job, and each job potentially being lost across the Hudson. The vantage point in each capitol rightfully) is there are only so many jobs in the region to be had, and they contest their best to retain each one. Is this somehow news to posters on this site?

    Also mentioned by other posters — there is a huge backlog of subway enhancements & upgrades needed to support NYC/NYS EDC growth plans. Among them, I would foresee building a subway tunnel connecting Staten Isle to Manhattan & Bklyn as a priority over extending the subway across the Hudson. Such is not even on the drawing board, and not likely to happen in our lifetime. But given NYC targeted pop growt, expansion of outer borough service obligations are all NYS-driven MTA priorities (FAR ahead of #7 expansion to NJ). If anything, subway connection to Staten Island (and the growth it will yield) is far more realistic than #7 to NJ. Not likely happen in out lifetime, but it is ahead of #7, in minds of MTA planners.

    For some reason, some posters see state boundaries as archaic, meaningless lines. These same posters seem to also look at a transit map and say “Let’s extend this purple line to here — Pretty !!”, without any clue or insight to the bigger picture (as determined by the owner of the purple line), train line capacity, or cause-and-effect to existing transit lines (why pay to ride NJ transit trains when you can ride the cost of a subway fare ?) How someone can call themself an active city planner, without accounting for any obvious realities (unions???), escapes me.

    One additional thought. As recently as the last decade, a great monumental opportunity for a bi-state cooperation presented itself — the bid for the Summer Olympic games. From the beginning, I (as did some others) felt that the smart bid whould have included MetLife stadium and the Meadownlands. But you saw the NYC/NYS response to such. Wasn’t gonna happen. And in the long run — losing out on the Olympic bid will work out best for NYC. Better to build residential and office space on the west side (and evolve the Highline corridor), than drop MetLife stadium on the west side. Now that the WTC obligation (must be developed first) has been met, Hudson Yards and the entire west side will evolve quickly, with the next building cycle. Key to this is a USABLE #7 line (i.e., Manhattanites can use it). Were the MTA to announce that the #7 train was being extended to NJ — that same day, the viability of new west-side development would suffer greatly (the line just can’t handle the capacity).

    As such, westward expansion of #7 is in direct conflict with NYC/NYS regional and transit growth priorities, and as such, NYS will not enable MTA to provide economic benefit to non-NYS areas. This in not NIMBY or OIMBY, but State-driven, economic strategy and policy. And if the best argument NJ can make for benefit to NYS is that NYers can commute to NJ burbs (further lowering the city’s ability to negotiate tax rates vs corporations, union contracts, etc) — WHY would NY do this ??

  20. Henry says:

    I think we’re all missing the forest for the trees here.

    The problem is not whether or not nothing should be done to expand New Jersey transit access – the question is of how to do it.

    ARC was awfully expensive (and Gateway is too, but Gateway is primarily an Amtrak project with minimal bearing on NJT riders) because it required either large property takings in the 34th St area, or blasting a giant hole through rock.

    Any subway extension is going to have to deal with the fact that the two lines being put forth are already extremely congested and are only double-tracked, limiting their capacity without platform expansion. (I’ve already beat the 7’s capacity issues to death. The L line have wider platforms, but rush hour crowding is severe due to the 24 TPH limit on the line.)

    We forget that there is, in fact, another train station in Manhattan – Grand Central Terminal. Grand Central is running far under its designed capacity, as it was built as an intercity terminal and functions as a commuter rail terminal nowadays. Penn has more than enough tracks and platforms to support the current train service if it doesn’t turn around there – thus, you could bore two tunnels to Penn, connect them to the existing tracks, and then bore further into Grand Central’s lower level. IIRC, this was studied during ARC’s feasibility studies and cost less than the cavern option, but was rejected because they did not want to be hounded by local residents about construction.

    A purpose built tunnel to GCT’s underutilized lower level would bring the majority of customers closer to their destinations and have sufficient capacity. In fact, such a dedicated NJT tunnel would also free up lots of Amtrak capacity as well, because Amtrak’s current locomotive fleet cannot run on the MNRR line out of Grand Central due to safety requirements. This is a win-win for everyone, and just because NJT doesn’t have the balls to take on a NIMBY lawsuit here and there doesn’t mean this shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand.

    • Nyland8 says:

      Point taken. I’m sure most New Yorkers can’t even imagine how we’ve come to a place where GCT and NYPenn weren’t somehow connected decades ago. But here we are.

      That said, it still wouldn’t have any impact on PABT and Lincoln Tunnel overcrowding; it still would mean a long walk from NYPenn to the B,D,F,M,N,Q,R at Herald Square; and there would still be no future connection to the SAS … so … it’s still not as effective at diffusing the Jersey influx as simply running a cross-town subway over to Lautenberg.

      BUT … it would be a lot cheaper than chiseling a high-rise out of stone.

      • Henry says:

        Midtown Manhattan really needs a better bus terminal, possibly using one of the many Javits parking lots for a site. PABT is awful, even by the low standards of intercity bus terminals.

        I’m not sure about how many PABT buses would instead end at Secaucus if there was direct subway service, and from what I understand, most bus services go to areas without/poorly served by NJT’s rail lines, so you can’t exactly railstitute.

      • Henry says:

        Also, SAS Phase III is projected to have a transfer to Grand Central at its 42nd St stop, so you’d have to make a two block walk, but I’m assuming that they’ll choose to put moving walkways in the transfer passages when they get around to building it in 2113.

        There’s also an old passageway between Penn and Herald, and I’m sure you could also fit moving walkways in there as well.

  21. JD says:

    ARC is the answer to your stated desire — enabling NJ commuters to seamlessly commute into Manhattan, loop around midtown and return to NJ is a non-invasive manner. Just face reality and get Trenton (and Feds) to pay for it, and it will happen. Beyond that — You can sit and pipe dream about drawing subway lines across the Hudson, but in reality — NYC subway expansion into NJ will never occur (for the dozens of reasons mentioned — of which not one mentions a realistic benefit to NY).

    Perhaps 100 years from now, were NJ to develop efficient subway-like train service (or issue jet packs) to conveniently deliver workers directly to each NJ industrial park (i.e., something useable to westward-bound commuters)… But it makes absolutely no sense today (i.e., the real world) for NYC to overload the subway system, to the 99% benefit of out-of-state commuters — with the payoff being the dropping off of NY commuters at a NJ commuter rail or bus station (from which they become ultimately car dependent). Aside from the Hudson waterfront and Newark, NJ is willfully not equipt to handle non auto-bond commuters. NY needs to develop its own regional, job base and supporting resources, and the mass transit to support this. And as the MTA is owned by NYS…

    This is my final participation in this (increasingly circular) thread. I enjoy a good “what if” development fantasy as much as anyone, and well thought ideas are interesting and fun. But your blind cluelessness to real-world cause-and-effect, economic, political, labor (unions) realities seemingly knows no bounds.

    BTW — I was born in Park Slope, raised in Westchester (commuted to NY) and have lived long-term in Manhattan.

    • Nyland8 says:

      “ARC is the answer to your stated desire — ”

      I guess English is not your first language? ARC did next to nothing of my “stated desire”, and actually would have done a lot of what nobody wants – waste both time and money. But don’t give up on those ESL classes.

      ” – enabling NJ commuters to seamlessly commute into Manhattan, loop around midtown and return to NJ is a non-invasive manner.”

      ARC did none of that. It looped around nothing, and it was profoundly invasive, requiring the removal of millions of tons of rock and the displacement of businesses around Penn Station.

      “Just face reality and get Trenton (and Feds) to pay for it, and it will happen.”

      LOL … you actually have no idea what you’re talking about, do you. I didn’t think so. Trenton AND the Feds AND Albany were all on board. ARC had even passed its EIS. It was a done deal – signed, sealed and delivered. They even had land acquisition lined up. ARC was moving forward full speed ahead … until New Jersey’s gargantuan governor unilaterally squashed the project.

      It seems the only pipe dream on this subject is your own – which kind of begs at least a few questions: If you have no idea what ARC was, what it wasn’t, what it could do, and what it couldn’t do, and how and by whom was it stopped, then why on earth would you come here and broadcast that ignorance on a public website?

      And what else don’t you know?

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