Home Penn Station Access MTA moving forward on Penn Station Access studies

MTA moving forward on Penn Station Access studies

by Benjamin Kabak

The MTA is currently analyzing the environmental impact of its Penn Station Access plans.

When last we checked in with the MTA’s off-again, on-again plans to send Metro-North into Penn Station, it was under some disappointing circumstances. Short-sighted and territorial Long Island politicians had begun to protest Metro-North service into Penn Station (and, similarly, diverting some LIRR service into Grand Central) because it would rob constituents of their regular commutes. Their logic was tough to follow, and with East Side Access slowly on the way, completely inexplicable. Still, it was a disappointing development as the city tries to diversify transit options.

Still, the MTA is not deterred by this strange opposition. After performing the scoping studies in 1999 and 2000, the MTA has revived the Penn Station Access plan and is currently conducting environmental analysis studies that will be ready in 2013. Earlier this week, Authority officials were on hand to discuss their plans with the City Council, and Dana Rubinstein offered up a very thorough report from the hearing. She wrote of the far-off future:

After the completion of the East Side Access project, now due sometime in 2019, Long Island Railroad passengers will be able to disembark in Grand Central Terminal, rather than just Penn Station, which means there should be more space available on the west side for other railroad purposes.

One proposal that’s being considered is to run two new Metro-North trains out of Penn Station. One line would run north from Penn Station along the Amtrak line to Albany, connecting with the Hudson line in Spuyten Duyvil. The other line, which addresses that East Bronx issue, would run east from Penn Station along the Amtrak route to Boston, looping south of Grand Central, into western Queens and then north through the East Side of the Bronx, connecting with the New Haven line somewhere south of New Rochelle…

The proposal would not involve laying new track or building new rights-of-way, since the M.T.A. would presumably be able to use Amtrak’s. But it would involve the construction of six new stations, four in the east Bronx—near Co-op City, Morris Park-Bronx Medical Center, Parkchester and Hunts Point—and two on Manhattan’s west side, one at 125th Street, and the other possibly somewhere between West 54th and 57th streets and 10th and 11th avenues.

The MTA’s own study documents from nearly 15 years ago contain the outlines of the plans, and the authority will be updated these studies over the next few months. The key element, though, appears to be cost. For the four stops planned in the Bronx — Co-Op City, Morris Park, Parkchester and Hunts Point — the track already exists. The MTA would have to find funds to build only the stations.

According to City Council Transportation Committee Chair James Vacca, such a build could cost as little as $400 million — or $100 million per station. The MTA though hasn’t put a price tag on the project yet as it’s still in the planning stages. Still, advocates see this as a potentially affordable project for an agency that cannot control costs on its big-ticket investments. “I will say that it’s not a big capital investment item for the type of service that you’re talking about,” Chris Jones of the RPA said. “You’re not talking about billions of dollars for this.”

And so with vague indications of what the next capital campaign will contain, the MTA is moving forward on a project that can come online in tandem with East Side Access in 2019. It could improve access in the Bronx to both the East and West Sides and won’t come with sticker shock. Right now, it seems like a win-win. Will Long Island still object though?

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Corey Best June 21, 2012 - 1:30 am

100-400 Million per station , LOL what are they made of Gold? NJT recently has built stations for 10-15 million at least small ones….so adding all the stations should not cost more then 100 Million if you through in the Extra tracks needed which were in the Amtrak NEC master plan anyway.. There should also be stations in Pelham Manor , City Island and Sunnyside to allow people to switch to the LIRR and Dyckman street on the west Side line.

Al D June 21, 2012 - 8:49 am

Yeah, really. Most MNR stations are basically a raised concrete slab. How much can that possibly cost?

al June 21, 2012 - 11:07 am

City Island is not on the ROW. They will have to use COOP City. There’s space for 4-5 tracks, though the bridge over the Hutchinson River is limited to 2. MNRR and Amtrak need to come to an agreement on signals as stations will require different signal setup than through track.

$400 million seems about right if you consider substandard project design and management that result in poor work scheduling and construction staging. Add in MTA and union work rules with active tracks and it can get there with labor and overhead costs.

Corey Best June 21, 2012 - 2:54 pm

City Island did have a station just north of access road from the Hutchinson Parkway near the Roundabout.

SEAN June 21, 2012 - 3:34 pm

Actually that’s still the mainland over there. Those roundabouts can get you between Westchester County & several areas of The Bronx including Orchard Beach, City Island & the Pelham Bay Park 6 station. The Bee-Line’s 45 route travels this way from New Rochelle.

Corey Best June 21, 2012 - 3:55 pm

But that happens to be were the station is…and it would connect City Island with the rest of the city…

SEAN June 21, 2012 - 4:53 pm

Does the population of the City Island area justify a station being built there? Truely I’m not sure, but Parkchester & Co-op City there’s no doubt that stations will be nessessary if these lines are constructed.

jim June 21, 2012 - 6:17 pm

There are better arguments for a Pelham Parkway station (to connect to SBS) and a Bronx Medical Center station (duh!) than a City Island connector on the site of the old Barlow station. For a start, a City Island station would need to take part of the wildlife refuge to create access, which is hard under NEPA.

AG June 27, 2012 - 9:35 pm

No – it’s 400 mill total… 100 mill per… and of course it’s more expensive to build something in NYC than in NJ… what’s so surprising?

Btw – a station at Co-op City would serve City Island because the Amtrak runs between Co-op and Pelham Bay Park… of which City Island is directly on the other side of the park.

Monica April 14, 2013 - 9:00 am

I agree with adding Dyckman St as a stop. otherwise the new train will go from Riverdale to 125 st in one swoop, much faster than the locals going the normal route. Plus that section of Inwood is growing and could use and extra commuter option besides the crowded A train. I would use it for sure and probably give up catching the train at University Heights or Marble Hill. Now what type of equipment are they going to use?

Alon Levy June 21, 2012 - 4:25 am

What Corey said. $100 million per station makes sense if you’re building a subway, not if you’re equipping existing tracks with two siding tracks and covered platforms with some TVMs.

jim June 21, 2012 - 10:26 am

There’s also ADA access issues. Most of these locations aren’t at grade.

Bolwerk June 21, 2012 - 10:39 am

Ramps and/or elevators are hard to add up to $100M.

Kid Twist June 21, 2012 - 1:49 pm

$100 million seems outrageous, but didn’t the new Yankee Stadium stop they opened a couple of years ago cost something like $91 million?

SEAN June 21, 2012 - 3:41 pm

Yes, but tracks needed to be shifted to creat the station configguration you see today. Also remember I-87 is directly above the tracks in that area making an extremely tight work zone.

jim June 21, 2012 - 1:52 pm

I’m not sure how Ben came up with $100M a station. Vacca’s estimate for the entire project was $400M. That’s for eight stations (six on Hell Gate, two on West Side) plus electrification of the West Side Line plus, perhaps, double tracking in Inwood and the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge and/or a flyover at New Rochelle.

So that’s more like $40M a station and $50M for electrification and $30M for oddments. Perhaps less per station and more for oddments.

Benjamin Kabak June 21, 2012 - 1:53 pm

I thought Vacca was referring only to the four Bronx stations when he mentioned $400 million. Certainly could be wrong. $40 million per station though is about 50 percent of the spend for the new Yankee Stadium stop. Hard to believe that’s an accurate cost.

jim June 21, 2012 - 3:27 pm

I miscounted: six stations, not eight. I’d add that different stations will cost different amounts. Yankee Stadium was complicated, therefore expensive. Sunnyside will be, too. Coop City should be fairly cheap: island platform, relocate third track and catenary, overpass with two elevators for access. 125th St somewhere in the middle: tight quarters, likely contamination, noise barrier because of the highway. So Sunnyside at $100M, Coop City around $20M and an average around $50M doesn’t seem totally unlikely.

But we’ll see when the actual plans come down.

Walter June 21, 2012 - 5:48 pm

Could a rebuild of the small yard east of New Rochelle also be in the works? It’s used now for quick turns during rush hour but I’d guess if they wanted to run New Roc-Penn shuttle service (connecting with present service) it could store a few train sets.

SEAN June 21, 2012 - 6:04 pm

Great Question, I didn’t even think about it. I wonder how many train sets that yard could potentially hold.

Frank McArdle June 21, 2012 - 7:37 am

It is interesting to see how the suburban sensibilities of the commuter rail operations continue to ignore the realities of location and population in the City.

A new route running down from Spuyten Duyvil should serve Washington Heights and the Columbia Presbyterian medical complex as well as the new Columbia facilities at 125th street. While service to 54th street would be welcome, what about service at either 86th street or 96th street on the Upper West Side?

On the East Side route why not replicate the 1926 stops at Westchester Avenue, Van Nest and West Farms in addition to the ones proposed? Then Metro North could run a very local service for the eastern parts of the Bronx that would look like METRA’s Rock IslandDistrict local service south to the Chicago Ridge areas of Beverly Hills and Morgan Park from LaSalle terminal. METRA seems to be able successfully run a service predicated on stops every four blocks,so why not Metro North? It would transform access for those neighborhoods.

The City will be given the first chance in several generations to reconfigure the commuter rail services within the City when East Side access opens. It needs to grab that opportunity. East Side access opens up many new seats for the LIRR, but it’s not clear that there are that many new riders to be gained from Nassau and Suffolk. There really can’t be that many Long Islanders who choose to drive into the City just because they have to take a bus or a subway for the last leg of their trip from Penn Station. One would have to double station parking and/or run local jitneys if the riders into the City can be found out there.

It would be much better if we could ‘ go back to the future’ and reopen up areas within the City for faster commuting into the central business core. It is why the resurrection of the Rockaway branch into Penn Station would be so helpful and why an aggressive strategy on in-City commuter rail service is needed now.

Al D June 21, 2012 - 8:55 am

Here’s another consideration as well. If the Sunnyside ‘flyover’ or whatever is being built, then how about adding a track to permit service between say White Plains and Hempstead, Bablylon, Mineola and/or Hicksville or connect with the Triboro RX this way?

Plus noticably absent on the map is SI. While we’re at it, connect the North Shore with NE corridor, again a hidden gem I think? This focus on putting people on the ferry is a bit misguided I think?

Boris June 21, 2012 - 11:11 am

The MTA wants to convert the North Shore rail right-of-way into a busway, a massive waste of resources, I believe. The common-sense solution would be, like you said, to make it a heavy-rail extension of the NE corridor. That would open it up for potential through service to Brooklyn/Queens/LI if a tunnel is ever built.

al June 21, 2012 - 2:12 pm

Not if they use LR55 ladder track. It can accommodate 80ton axle loads and have rail flush enough for buses. They can run light rail if they want along with buses with inductive loop signaling.

ajedrez June 28, 2012 - 1:07 am

My preference would be as heavy rail without the tie-in to the commuter rail, only because it would guarantee that the fare within SI (and hopefully if it gets extended to Manhattan) would be low. But if you could get a commuter rail train through there for the price of a local bus/subway fare, then count me in.

AG June 28, 2012 - 7:53 am

Well it’s actually not “fair” to make a commuter rail the price of a bus/subway fare because commuter rails are more expensive to operate… and you are getting “an express” ride – which means it should cost a little more. I think “City Ticket” is a great solution. It should be expanded to operate every day.

ajedrez June 29, 2012 - 12:35 am

They don’t charge extra for the express run between 125th Street & 59th Street, do they?

In any case, if it would make the same exact stops as the non-commuter rail would make (one every 3/4 of a mile or so), that’s not really express service.

AG June 29, 2012 - 6:17 pm

The Lexington Ave. express is grossly overcrowded… hence the dire need of the inspiration for this blog – the Second Ave. Subway. Many times you are not getting an express ride (I used to use it regularly). Again – commuter rails are simply more expensive to operate. Paying $1 more or so as City Ticket charges is more than fair for a fare.

how could it possibly make local stops? they don’t use subway stations.

al June 21, 2012 - 11:15 am

A connection between NEC/Hells Gate and LIRR Main Line will require Fremont Secondary ROW. That means the MTA needs to get CSX onboard or buy them out.

Frank B June 21, 2012 - 12:15 pm

I noticed that immediately Al. Most people don’t know there’s a track connection into Jersey, and quite frankly, most don’t want the public to know there’s a track connection into Jersey.

Even though NJ Transit trains could be running from Staten Island to Pennsylvania Station within 2 years (under joint operation with the MTA, most likely) the MTA will not move to act on such a thing.

Based on satellite photos, all I can see is some flying-junctions, double-tracking, and track-rights purchasing necessary; but the entire ROW is there; even twice-an-hour bare-bones service over the Arthur Kill Bridge from a slapped-together station in Howland Hook to Pennsylvania would be a magnificent achievement.

Tsuyoshi June 21, 2012 - 9:59 am

The location of the tracks is not really any good for placing stations in Washington Heights or the Upper West Side. At both locations it runs through the middle of Riverside Park, and in Washington Heights it’s on the other side of the Henry Hudson Parkway.

Alon Levy June 21, 2012 - 3:32 pm

It’s a decent place for an Inwood station, though.

Chris G June 26, 2012 - 1:25 pm

In my opinion the why not run so local is because they’re not really looking to add service but to increase frequency. The park ave tunnels are at capacity during the rush hours. So they want to move some of the NH line trains to Penn to open more slots out of GCT for increased frequency on already served areas.

Al D June 21, 2012 - 8:46 am

Of course LI will complain because they’re not getting their Main Line Third Track to improve and expand service. The 1 that they don’t want that is…

Otherwise, in the scheme of no brainers, how can the MTA possibly screw up this 1 up?!

Larry Littlefield June 21, 2012 - 8:47 am

Good God. Scoping plans? Environmental impact statements? These are simply different trains running on existing railroads!

And what was that about the $16 million station in Boston? Oh, it was easy, at grade platforms. Well what are we talking about here? Is that $400 million for pedestrian overpasses?

Are they worried about NIMBY’s suing because the effect of extended third rail on the Hudson Line was no analyzed to see of those electrons would affect those living in nearby buildings?

Come on!

As for Long Island, they are just doing to Metro North what they have done to the LIRR third track and the electrification of the Port Washington Line.

Corey Best June 22, 2012 - 3:10 am

The Port Washington Branch is fully electrified , you mean the Oyster Bay Branch? And Port Jefferson Branch restoration to Wading River and Central Branch restoration.

John-2 June 21, 2012 - 9:48 am

The MTA really does have to think through exactly how many stops they want to put in and see exactly how well those stops are going to be used.

Rush hour 5 trains make seven stops between East 180th and Grand Central. Six stops from Co-Op City to Penn, via the more roundabout Hell’s Gate route, needs to guarantee enough passengers from those stops to offset the poential loss of passengers from further out on those routes, as that particular train exists now on the NH line going into Grand Central. The same holds true on the Hudson line (125th is far enough north from midtown to justify a stop as with Metro North on Park Avenue, while 54th-57th on the west side is three avenues away from the IND. Additional stops would threaten to turn the line into a glorified express subway, where again, the number or riders you gain would have to offset the ones you might lose further up the line, who would say the advantage of going to Penn is lost by the extra time it takes to get to Penn).

Anyway, I would expect this to be at least a decade away from any serious consideration, due to the protests of the LIRR folks. The MTA will need to have a few years of passenger data, post-ESA opening to prove that enough LIRR commuters have shifted over to GC from Penn to justify taking a few slots out and allocating them to Hudson and New Haven MN trains.

Larry Littlefield June 21, 2012 - 10:00 am

The New Haven line Metro North stops are intended to ferry the less affluent workers Connecticut doesn’t want living in that state from the Bronx to the jobs it is seeking to attract there. The number of Bronx residents commuting north rather than south is soaring.

Many, but not all, of those going to Manhattan will probably take the subway. But there are also people from that area of the Bronx who take express buses because they don’t want to mix with subway riders.

John-2 June 21, 2012 - 10:43 am

But will the project be sold to the public as more of a reverse commute option? It’s going to be tough enough to pry the LIRR slots at Penn away from its current owners; prying them away not for trains going into Penn in the AM rush and leaving in the PM, but for those leaving Penn in the morning and returning in the late afternoon is really going to be a tough sell, especially at $100m per new station (lowering the number of express buses coming from the East Bronx into Manhattan during rush hours is probably the more ‘salable’ point to voters, if and when the MTA actually moves to bring NH access to Penn).

AG June 27, 2012 - 9:40 pm

You are absolutely correct… Connecticut wants the lower income workers from Hunts Point. Ppl from Co-op City and Morris Park want to got to Grand Central and Connecticut without having to use an express bus. Workers from other parts of the region want to get to all the medical centers in Morris Park by commuter train.

Steve June 21, 2012 - 10:07 am

The finances here don’t seem aligned with reality. As many have mentioned, $100 million for a station is way too much money.

But also, and especially if the fare system isn’t reconciled with the subway, the ridership at most of these stops is going to be pretty low. Take a look at in-city Metra ridership in Chicago. It’s tiny, in part because the trains cost more, and it part because they don’t come as often or stop in as many locations as the El.

Here, I have a hard time understanding who’d use the Upper West Side stop. And the 125th stop, for example, is in a pretty non-residential location, and there’s no way commuter trains are going to match the frequency of the 1. Maybe once Columbia finishes its mega-expansion, 125th will be a commuter destination rather than commuter source.

AG June 27, 2012 - 9:43 pm

Columbia University’s expansion is taking place right where the new 125th station would be. Not to mention the city just built a lovely pier there (where eagles even flyover in the winter) and Fairway market is… the area is rapidly changing. Plenty of ppl who work or attend Columbia also live in the northern suburbs.

jim June 21, 2012 - 10:11 am

If this does happen, then the New Haven trains need to run through onto the Hudson Line and vice versa. No more stop, wait, and turn in Penn Station. If two divisions of one subagency of the MTA can’t coordinate through-running, then there’s no hope for wider regional cooperation.

What was it that Lhota said the other day?

Subutay Musluoglu June 21, 2012 - 1:38 pm

Of course, a Hudson-New Haven through service is what the MTA should be sseking, except for one little problem – no electrification on the Empire Line under Riverside Park. So the best solution would be to buy a few of the same dual mode locomotives that NJT just introduced – the ALP-45DP. It can draw juice from NHL catenary, and run diesel under the park and out in the open on the Hudson Line, just like the Amtrak Genesis locomotives do today on Empire Corridor services.

jim June 21, 2012 - 3:33 pm

MTA’s experience with dual mode locomotives on the LIRR has been mixed at best. They bought 20 to provide single-seat rides from eastern LI into Penn Station. They’ve had serious maintenance issues. I’m not sure if any of them are still in use.

I’m sure if MTA does go ahead with the plan, they’ll electrify the West Side Line (though whether to Hudson or New Haven specs will be a question).

Alon Levy June 21, 2012 - 3:48 pm

Unacceptable. The dual-modes are unreliable and heavy, and have shitty performance, especially with diesel.

The stupidest thing is that because of work rules, the Metro-North dual-modes have to run in diesel mode outside of Manhattan, even when there is third rail.

If they want to run a U-shaped through-line, they should electrify the Hudson Line with Metro-North third rail, tell Amtrak to modify their dual-modes or else swap with them and hand over the locos to the LIRR, and run M8s.

Spendmore Wastemore June 21, 2012 - 4:32 pm

Work rules.

The rule should be “you show up, you work”.

Management is an accessory to the unions here.

Alon Levy June 21, 2012 - 8:11 pm

I doubt it’s a union thing. Unions don’t give a crap what powers the train. On the contrary, they sometimes complain about diesel emissions in difficult tunnels. More likely, it’s an old-time railroader thing. Electricity is for wimps; real men use good old Venezuelan American oil.

Bolwerk June 22, 2012 - 2:57 pm

Real men use steam.

But, I have a hard time seeing where the union isn’t behind it if the railroaders are. I guess perhaps some diesel firm has an in with the MTA. Either that, or it’s just that nobody bothered changing it, and everyone unthinkingly figures it’s totally normal and not a problem. I don’t see management demanding to keep it around without some outside political hook.

Too bad so-called environmentalists don’t care about that one. (Well, hopefully that’s just because they haven’t heard of it. I haven’t, and I’m at least somewhat up on this stuff.)

Alon Levy June 22, 2012 - 3:56 pm

The point of blaming railroaders is that usually it’s something both the unions and the managers think is fine. That’s the problem of most mainline railroads in the US – people at all levels think they’re special and should be treated differently from mere urban transit.

Subutay Musluoglu June 21, 2012 - 6:07 pm

Yes, the LIRR did indeed have problems with their dual modes, but I chalk that up to a number of factors – poor specifications, poor design, lousy quality control during manufacturing, and inadequate maintenance by LIRR forces. They were very unique, and they were first speced 20 years ago. The technology has come a long way since then. Electrification in the West Side tunnel, as great as it would be, will not happen. It would dramatically increase the cost of Penn Station Access and make the station costs that everyone on this thread is complaining about pale by comparison. Although the NJT dual modes are just being introduced into service now, so they don’t have much of a track record yet, I am hoping that they are the right technology for this scheme. Forget about third rail. Overhead catenary all the way from CT, over Hell Gate, under the East River, into PSNY, and diesel beyond – plain and simple.

Alon Levy June 21, 2012 - 8:10 pm

You’re seriously overestimating the cost of electrifying tracks. A kilometer of electrification is about one to two million dollars in places with decent cost control, and three or a bit more in the US. Between Penn Station and Spuyten Duyvil it’s about 17 kilometers; 2 of those already have catenary as well as LIRR third rail. Say $50 million for electrification.

Now, let’s look at benefits. I don’t know the performance of electric locos, but I know that of diesel locos: accelerating to 100 km/h, you lose more than 70 seconds. The corresponding figure for a Silverliner V is 14-15 seconds, and I believe the M8 is the same. Pretending that the top speed on the Hudson Line is 100 km/h and not 120 and that diesel locos brake at the same rate as EMUs, we get about 4 minutes just for the stations between Penn and Yonkers. If you want to go to Croton-Harmon, make it another 10 minutes. That’s $50 million for 14 minutes per one-way trip, completely ignoring the higher maintenance and operating costs of 130-ton diesel locos.

Subutay Musluoglu June 21, 2012 - 11:52 pm

I do not need to be convinced of the benefits of railroad electrification. I know a thing or two about it. I am just being practical. If you insist on trying to electrify the West Side Line you may as well forget about the entire project. The objective here is to introduce some semblance of regional rail, to try and sow the seeds of what could one day be a great, all encompassing network. For starters, MNR does not own the infrastructure of the West Side Line between PSNY and Spuyten Duyvil, Amtrak does, but I’m assuming you already know that. And if you do, then you may have have heard about some of the difficulties when trying to work with Amtrak, for example on a project called East Side Access. They have no pressing need for electrifying the West Side Line. They have yet to figure out a way to replace the 80 year old catenary they already own between NYC and DC. They have no incentive to cooperate with MNR. Proposing electrification will introduce a much higher level of complexity to a project that does not warrant it at this time. Most railroad electrification projects typically follow years of growing ridership and increased train frequencies. Google Caltrain and the electrification they are about to (hopefully) embark on there. It’s only taken 10 years of study, and they have yet to even begin final design. That is not occurring on the West Side today. MNR’s own market analysis indicates that ridership will be limited at first. The objective here is to offer a service that currently does not exist and then build a market and customer demand. And the easist and cheapest way to do that in our time and current fiscal and social realities is by using locomotives with proven technology. I would rather see another station or two on the West Side to help build that market. But if you insist on electrification the entire equation changes. The engineering and the required environmental work will take years, something we are exceptionally good at here in NY. Your dreams of M8 consists going up and down the West Side of Manhattan are just that. But if that’s what you want, then I’ll see you on opening day in 2035 – maybe.

Alon Levy June 22, 2012 - 12:35 am

The difference in travel time from Midtown to Croton-Harmon between an express Metro-North and an Amtrak is worth a couple of minutes. Not a huge thing, and Amtrak wouldn’t be running M7s, but still more than zero.

Amtrak wants something from Metro-North – namely, higher speeds on the New Haven Line. Letting Metro-North spend $50 million of its own money on this is really no big deal. Any modernization should also come with better punctuality, allowing higher speed differences on shared track. “Hi, we electrify for you, and in exchange you get to shave 10 minutes from NEC trip times” sounds more attractive.

Caltrain’s electrification is just a disaster. But elsewhere, it’s completely normal to build your interconnected regional rail electrified from the start. RATP electrified the Ligne de Vincennes before it started running rapid transit-style trains on it, and years before it finally connected it to the Ligne de Saint-Germain-en-Laye to create the RER. The issue here is that pretty much no modern commuter rail operation runs with locomotives (“modern” excludes all of North America, except charitably SEPTA), and in large cities there are huge no-diesel zones around the center. It’s no different from how, when you build light rail nowadays, it’s almost always electrified.

Keith Istre June 21, 2012 - 10:44 am

I live in Co-Op City Section 5, the stop will be in my back yard. I love the idea of the stop. You have to walk 15 minutes or wait for a bus to get to the 6 or 5 trains. It will also help City Island and Roc City get more visitors from the North, Bronx and Manhattan. A fantasy tram to Pelham Park, Orchard Beach and City Island from the station would generate lots of traffic.

Has there been any studies or suggestions for cross transit? It seems like it takes forever to get across any of the boroughs and Westchester. A zig zig subway, light rail or tram route connecting the Hudson with the sound and/or East River would be great.

Are there any tracks that can be used to LGA from the Hells Gate?

Bolwerk June 21, 2012 - 11:27 am

Long ago there were the Pelham Park and City Island Railway services.

But, probably not. For whatever reason, city planners are adamantly opposed to surface transit that isn’t bus. The closest thing I can think of is Triboro Rx, and it doesn’t do a lot for The Bronx.

Larry Littlefield June 21, 2012 - 12:48 pm

“I live in Co-Op City Section 5. You have to walk 15 minutes or wait for a bus to get to the 6 or 5 trains.”

That would be a five minute bike ride. Just saying.

SEAN June 21, 2012 - 11:54 am

The Hellgate line begins a short distance west of New Rochelle station, just prior to the I-95 bridge. It cuts south/ southwest more or less running paralell to the Throgs Neck Bridge a few miles away.

A stop in Co-op City is absolutely esential for that area since the 5 & 6 trains are much further away than one might think. Also Co-op City is one of the most dencely populated areas of not just NYC, but the entire country.

A MNR station would allow the MTA to reconfiggure bus service between buildings & give the neighborhood a focal point for bus & train transfers. As of now, it’s a mish mash of routes traveling to & from the various loops wich can be quite confusing since they pritty much look alike. In adition, there’s going to be a new mall built in the neighborhood ajacent to JC Penney. You want to see more auto traffic in an area that can bearly handle what it has now? This is the time to start the planning process & build now rather than later.

Matthias June 21, 2012 - 12:19 pm

Whose map is this? “Somewhere between West 54th and 57th streets and 10th and 11th avenues” is not the UWS!

lawhawk June 21, 2012 - 1:52 pm

NJ Transit recently completed the rehab/expansion of the Ridgewood NJ train station to include two high level platforms, elevators, and new canopies. That replaced three low-level platforms at the station. A pedestrian underpass tunnel was not included in the project for rehabilitation or replacement.

The cost for that project was estimated at about $25 million. I think it ended up being closer to $40 million when all was said and done.

Even if you have to build from scratch, how they’re estimating the costs at $100 million for a station seems high.

Yet, they may be basing it on the costs to build out the Yankee Stadium stop. It cost ~$90 million, and it includes a 450 foot long pedestrian bridge to access the site.

The MTA must have used that as the floor for the pricing on the new stations, even though the costs should be much lower.

SEAN June 21, 2012 - 2:46 pm

When NJ Transit was working on the Ridgewood station project, the village delayed construction do to the fact that the initial plans didn’t meet historic guidelines. I don’t know what that meens exactly, but it may explane the cost difference.

FYI Ridgewood station is owned by the village acording to NJ Transit.

Corey Best June 21, 2012 - 2:49 pm

They wanted the roofs and other crap to look the same , so that drove up costs….they still didn’t add another Ped tunnel and connection on the North side…

SEAN June 21, 2012 - 3:22 pm

Ah ha, now I understand. Thanks for the info.

Duke June 21, 2012 - 6:20 pm

The question is, are we talking about adding service to the Hudson and New Haven lines, or are we talking about diverting trains from GCT to Penn? Because if it’s the latter, then don’t bother, I say. The ability to go to Penn isn’t worth cutting frequency to Grand Central. Then you just make things less convenient for everyone.

jim June 21, 2012 - 7:50 pm

It’s partly diverting Hudson and New Haven trains from GCT to Penn to allow more Harlem line trains into GCT. There’s some increase in service, but not fully.

Corey Best June 21, 2012 - 7:41 pm

There buying new Trains to boost Capacity and retire older models….the M9s and M9As…will be bought later this decade.

SEAN June 21, 2012 - 9:03 pm

How many cars are on order & who got the contract to build them.

Corey Best June 22, 2012 - 12:56 am

I Don’t know who the builders are as these came from the Outlook between 2012 – 2013-2017

Metro North – 210 M9s
LIRR – 488 M9/As
NJT – 228 Arrow 4’s
NJT – 53 DMU’s
NJT – 70 LRV’s
PATH – 55 Rapid Transit Cars
MTA – 290 R179 Rapid Transit Cars
MTA – 473 R188 Rapid Transit cars

Thoughts on integrating the city into its own transit network :: Second Ave. Sagas June 22, 2012 - 12:46 am

[…] a sense, I offered up yesterday’s post on the progress on the Penn Station Access project on its own when, in reality, it came out of the larger context of a City Council hearing on […]

Forecasting the Next Capital Plan: Penn Station Access :: Second Ave. Sagas March 18, 2013 - 1:02 am

[…] Metro-North will have the ability to shift some rides to the West Side. We know that the MTA is moving forward with Penn Station Access studies, and now we learn that politicians are pushing the plan as well. Officials want Penn Station Access […]


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