Home 7 Line Extension An EDC endorsement for the 7 to Secaucus, but …

An EDC endorsement for the 7 to Secaucus, but …

by Benjamin Kabak
An overview of the 7 to Secaucus. Click to enlarge.

An overview of the 7 to Secaucus. Click to enlarge.

The idea of sending the 7 train under the Hudson River to Secaucus just won’t die. This proposal first came about when Mayor Michael Bloomberg started yakking after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie pulled the plug on the ARC Tunnel. It would be our very own answer to the trans-Hudson rail capacity problem, albeit one focused exclusively around a subway ride. Despite Joe Lhota throwing a bucket of very cold water on this hot idea last April, it’s come roaring back in the form of a feasibility study commissioned by the New York City Economic Development Corporation and released Wednesday morning. So let’s humor it.

The report issued yesterday isn’t quite an endorsement of a project Bloomberg is pushing as one for the history books. Despite the headlines and the excitement, the feasibility analysis [pdf] — a document that took the better part of 18 months to produce — essentially says that sending the 7 train to Secaucus is feasible from an engineering perspective and it would attract riders. Stop the presses, right?

Now, before I delve in with a hearty dose of skepticism, we should cover a few basic premises. First, while the EDC published the report, it was prepared by Parson Brinckerhoff, a company that would benefit tremendously from cross-Hudson extension of the New York City subway. Still, it presents a fair assessment of the question at hand, but the question itself is a pretty basic one. We’re not concerned with a few key factors I’ll cover shortly; we just want to know if it’s possible.

Second, extending the 7 line to Secaucus would lead to a projected 128,000 daily riders, and approximately 24,000 of those would be diversions from autos. In other words, it would likely generate far more than enough ridership to justify the construction. For more on this idea, check out Cap’n Transit’s thoughts on defining “enough” riders. So ridership and the engineering work aren’t the big deals.

So what then, you may be wondering, is in this report and why should we view it with a healthy dose of skepticism? Well, the bulk of the report is devoted to the how of it all. It charts the 7 line’s path from 34th St. and 11th Ave. to Secaucus. The route involves a tunnel along the ARC alignment beneath the Hudson River, a curve through New Jersey and then a climb of nearly 200 vertical feet to an above-grade terminus around 76 feet in the air at the Frank Lautenberg station in Secaucus. The PB study also includes building our dearly departed station at 41st St. and 10th Ave. and implementing platform access improvements at all of the 7 train’s current Manhattan stations. As to travel time, the engineering firm estimates an eight-minute ride from Secaucus to 34th St., 12 minutes to Times Square and about 16 minutes to Grand Central. It’s hard to do much better than that for a swipe of a MetroCard.

The 7 to Secaucus would include a side-platform station stop at 41st St. and 10th Ave.

The 7 to Secaucus would include a side-platform station stop at 41st St. and 10th Ave.

The questions though outweigh the answer. First, the report dispatches with the idea of any additional stations on the New Jersey side of the tunnel. It should at least contain a stop in Hoboken, if not a second prior to the Secaucus terminal. Second, the section on legal issues raises a number of concerns that warrant more than a few paragraphs in this feasibility study.

Some of the preliminary issues are easy to deal with. Real estate acquisition is simply a matter of cost, and and the same can be said of design considerations. But the real problem here is interagency cooperation. The MTA would need assistance and support from New Jersey Transit, and even though the right of way would be a good 40 feet off from NJ Transit’s and Amtrak’s current space, this type of interstate, interagency unity is rare for numerous reasons.

In a similar vein, the feds too would be involved in a subway that crosses state boundaries. What sort of FRA regulations would impact this project? And if the feds are funding it, in part, as PB assumes, what sort of control would they attempt to exert? Can the labor issues that would arise be easily resolved? And could a 7 to Secaucus simply piggy-back on environmental impact work already completed for ARC, as the report’s authors believe? These aren’t simple questions by any means, and many have never been asked, let alone answered, in the region before.

Beyond the legal concerns are the more practical considerations. PB and the NYC EDC punt on costs. Estimates for both the capital and operations costs, they say, will come about if this project moves into the Advanced Planning phase. And although PB estimates a three-year environmental review process, it’s not clear when work would begin or end. Ridership assumptions use 2035 as a baseline, but if Bloomberg wants this tunnel to be his legacy, he won’t argue for something that won’t see the light of day until he turns 93.

So where does this leave us and the 7 line extension? The report is too fresh for any of the next concrete steps. I like the idea of a subway to Secaucus and a one-seat ride from New Jersey to Midtown. I love the idea of building out the side-platform station at 41st St. and 10th Ave., but I’m not about to begin a countdown until the 7 train is in revenue service to Lautenberg station. From funding on down, the number of obstacles remains high, but if the city wants to turn this into its pet transportation project, there’s no need to stand in its way.

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Walt Gekko April 11, 2013 - 12:35 am

Personally, I would do this, but connecting it to the (L) through 14th Street. Besides it being a straight line into New Jersey from Manhattan, such a line would connect with every subway line that operates in Manhattan EXCEPT the (7) and (J)/(Z) (the latter it does connect to at Broadway Junction in Brooklyn), with the line also connecting to the (G) in Brooklyn. Doing such may also prompt extending ALL stations on the (L) in Brooklyn to 600 foot platforms.

It also would give those who want to go to the Casino at Aqueduct from New Jersey an easier ride, since from New Jersey it would be a two-seat ride (taking the (L) into the city and transferring to the (A) at EITHER 14th Street-8th Avenue in Manhattan OR Broadway Junction at Brooklyn. While that would not be the main factor in choosing the (L) over the (7), it is one factor.

D.R. Graham April 11, 2013 - 12:57 am

Now you just brought up an idea that would never happen based on the costs alone. To extend the platform for all stations on the L line including the elevated structures which would be an amazing accomplishment on the elevated portions would bring the overall project costs well into the 10s of billions of dollars. That figure includes ordering even more subway cars and making major adjustments to the already existing CBTC signaling system. The 7 line is one thing but the L would never happen at all. The unique thing about the 7 line that would allow it to work if put into place is the running time of the train in Manhattan and Queens. Not that long at all so the adjustments for the crews wouldn’t be so bad. What would make it bad is the extended running time for the L line which is not that short.

Walt Gekko April 11, 2013 - 7:36 am

Actually, the lengthening of Eastern Line stations, especially on the (L) needs to happen anyway. There is big-time overcrowding on the (L) in Brooklyn where it’s getting to where they may need to run the (L) at rush-hour levels AT MIDNIGHT, which would by itself warrant extending all platforms on that line. Add to that extending the line to Jersey might very well make that happen, which is needed anyway. Then add to that another major project at the old Domino Sugar plant in Williamsburg which is likely to force the (M) once that project is complete to have to become a 24/7 line to 71st-Continental and even without extending the (L) to Jersey extending the Eastern division platforms is going to likely be necessary.

All of this makes the (L) a better candidate to go to Jersey than the (7), especially if they can also extend all the stations on the line.

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 9:04 am

While both the L and the 7 are over capacity at all hours of the day, the 7 is actually more crowded than the L. The Eastern Division is actually only 8 cars long, but if the L had 10-car trains, it would no longer be over-capacity because of all the added seats.

Also, Domino is a lot closer to the G train than it is to the JZ/L/M trains.

llqbtt April 11, 2013 - 9:22 am

As a regular rider of both lines, the 7 ridership is spread out more evenly across the line whilst the L starts getting pretty busy at Myrtle Wyckoff and it just grows from there westward, peaking between 1 Ave and Union Square.

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 9:26 am

That’s because both Flushing-Main Street and Times Square have high ridership. Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway has relatively low ridership, and so the L trains do not start off crowded.

Chris O'Leary April 11, 2013 - 10:30 am

The Domino project is much further from the G Train than the J/M/Z or L. Seriously, look at a map before you make comments like this.

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 10:54 am

I did look at a map… I thought I was referring to something else. My mistake.

Bolwerk April 11, 2013 - 10:52 am

Crowding is a factor to Manhattan. The 7 isn’t very crowded between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza. The L isn’t very crowded between Union Square and Eighth Avenue. Either way, the capacity for a NJ trip is there. The 7 just makes more sense for those of us who are doing more than masturbating connect the dots games (though, as Ben points out less crudely than I would, this whole thing is probably masturbation).

And, no, Domino is not close to the G. Its closest J/M stop is Marcy, and it its closest stop on the L would be Bedford, which I’m pretty sure is much closer than the nearest G stop at Broadway south of Hewes. Where the hell do you think whoppers like this up?

llqbtt April 11, 2013 - 9:24 am

The problem is that the L does not go to Mayor Mike’s friend’s development on the far west side and that’s a big reason why he proposed the 7 extension.

Marc Shepherd April 11, 2013 - 10:23 am

Hey Walt, you’ve completely lost me. In what way is the L a better candidate for an extension to New Jersey. As far as I can tell, it is worse in every conceivable way: it would cost more, carry fewer passengers, go to fewer useful places, and require more people to change trains to get where they’re going. It’s a stone cold loser.

I think they’d build a whole new line before they’d extend the platforms on the L. Extending the platforms is just too expensive and difficult.

Bolwerk April 11, 2013 - 10:53 am

But it would reenforce the L’s status as the Hipster Local, servicing Bushwick, Williamsburg, dingy overpriced parts of Manhattan, and now Hoboken and/or Jersey City!

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 10:55 am

Are you against hippies or something?

Alon Levy April 11, 2013 - 2:02 pm

Hippies and hipsters aren’t the same, despite the etymological connection.

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 3:40 pm

To government officials like me, it doesn’t matter.

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 3:55 pm

(Sorry, I work for the government.)

Marc Shepherd April 11, 2013 - 7:29 am

Connecting it to the L is about 18 shades of crazy. In the first place, the cited benefit is that it “would connect with [almost] every subway line that operates in Manhattan.” Well, the 7 does that too, so what exactly are you gaining by that.

The 7 passes through two major business districts (Times Square, East Midtown). The L passes through neither. The 7 connects to a major sports complex. You’re talking vaguely about a casino that hasn’t even started construction, and that would be a 3-seat ride from New Jersey.

The crucial point is that the 7 extension to 34th Street & 11th Avenue is already very nearly at the water’s edge and can use a lot of the ROW that was already engineered for ARC. The L can’t do that. As others have noted, extending the platforms on the L would cost many billions.

Bolwerk April 11, 2013 - 10:45 am

But that misses the point. The L doesn’t go to Midtown, much less Midtown East. The whole beauty of the 7 idea is it brings people to the place they most want to go.

The would give those people a three-seat ride instead of a two-seat ride.

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 11:37 am

Besides it being a straight line into New Jersey from Manhattan, such a line would connect with every subway line that operates in Manhattan EXCEPT the (7) and (J)/(Z) (the latter it does connect to at Broadway Junction in Brooklyn), with the line also connecting to the (G) in Brooklyn.

Who cares what it connects to. You can extend the Times Square shuttle to NJ and get the same result- higher ridership (not that you would extend the shuttle, because of the grade junction at 7th Avenue.)

D.R. Graham April 11, 2013 - 12:36 am

The FRA and RTO employees (Labor) are like oil and water and alone kills the whole project. I won’t get into the physical side of things but there are so many political and bureaucratic hurdles that this thing would trip on itself 20 times over before ever reach a true study.

JJJJ April 11, 2013 - 12:37 am

Why Secaucus? Theres already a ton of trains between there and Penn, what would be the benefit in transferring early?

Wouldnt it make more sense to enter Hoboken and follow the light rail through Bayonne into Staten Island?

Corey Best April 11, 2013 - 12:57 am

The Light Rail runs at Grade through Jersey City so that wouldn’t work and theres very little space between JC and Bayonne if you factor in the Port Rail expansions. A Hoboken/Weehawken Expansion would do wonders for developers and New Manhattan aka the NJ Gold Coast….although by 2020 all the land will be built up…so its not a huge gain for them…. I think the 7 train if it goes to New Jersey should go to Hoboken Terminal with 2 stops in Hoboken. Hoboken Terminal has excessive capacity and can use another Rail into.

JJJ April 11, 2013 - 2:46 am

By follow, I am as a subway, since thats what is being proposed.

SomeGuy32 April 11, 2013 - 1:07 am

“Theres already a ton of trains between there and Penn”

really? have you paid attention to anything?

As for going to SI via Hoboken – that minimizes the benefit for NJ (they already have PATH in hoboken) – why would they go along with it?

llqbtt April 11, 2013 - 9:26 am

the 7 would have mitigated, in part, NJT’s brain fart to store there trains in a known flood zone

Bolwerk April 11, 2013 - 10:56 am

Why Secaucus? Because most commuter trains in NJ stop there. Why the 7? Because it goes to the East Side.

Penn isn’t a destination. People who go to Penn get on subways and go elsewhere, which kind of blows for commuters.

Corey Best April 11, 2013 - 12:53 am

Build the Dam Gateway , modernize the PATH and thats all you need to do with NYC-NJ. This project is really just an expensive bandaid that mainly benefits developers in a small section of NJ and doesn’t fix the crumbling NEC from Newark to New York which has already had a derailment and multiple bridge issues since the early 90s….the tunnels have cracks in them and need to be closed for a year and overhauled. Aside from those issues ive noticed every time New Jersey or New York has proposed beefing up a New York-New Jersey Rail service a NJ Rail Projects either gets placed in the back of the line or canceled , the Newark , Jersey City Light Rail networks are only 40% built out , Paterson never received its Network , Trenton never got its extensions , alot of the projects were placed on hold due to funding and resources directed at the ARC. I think with this project that will happen all over again , and NJ is really starting to suffer… The LRT Networks were supposed to be fully built out by now and the next thing to do state wise was restore the Regional Rail and integrate it into the LRT network then add in infill stations. Most New Jerseyites would rather see billions poured into a NJ system and yes while the bulk of North Jerseyites work in NYC , we should not neglect the rest of the states working centers like Newark which after decades of rot is booming once again or Paterson and Elizabeth which are slowly getting back on their feet… I think you’ll find more support for expanding those networks then anything touching New York which is where you’ll you run into public relation issues….

Aside from those other issues I don’t like encouraging building in Secaucus , I know all the lines meet their but its surrounded by Marshland which flooded with 6-8ft of water from Sandy , that whole area should really be left alone….same with Xanadu which is a tax payer boondoggle that everybody hates….it will never be successful…the region is over soaked with malls so while some of you will suggesting eventually extending to Xanadu will give its finally kick it won’t. Their are a few suggesting that already.

Theres also the other issue of what happens once the Hudson Yards is eventually completed in 2040? :p That somewhat nice ride will become another Lexington Ave style nightmare….without the relief of express tracks.

I would like to see Phase 2 and 3 of SAS completed , the 7 line extended to Bayside , Nostrand Ave line extended to Madison or Marine Park , The R train to Staten Island , a Staten Island Light Rail Network , a Brooklyn and Queens Light Rail Network , the Triboro RX/Regional Connector , Rockaway Beach LIRR line , Fulton Street Regional Rail Terminal for MNRR , LIRR and NJT , E Train to St. Albans ,(8)Train to Throgs Neck , 7 Branch to Whitestone , L Train to 10th, I would like to see all of those before you construct a silly 7 extension to Jersey.

Walt Gekko April 11, 2013 - 1:01 am

My plan with the (L) as I would really want to do it (NOT going to NJ) would be to after 8th Avenue have it be a 10th/Amsterdam Avenue line with stops as follows:

23rd Street (exits at 21st and 23rd Streets).

33rd Street (exits at 31st and 33rd Streets with possibly a connection to Moynahan Station).

41st Street (this might very well be what gets the (7) station at 41st and 10th built, as I would do that between 9th/10th Avenues with access to the PABT at 9th and 41st and a transfer from the (L) at 41st and other exits at 40th and 42nd Streets).

49th-50th Streets

58th Street-Roosevelt Hospital (exits at 57th and 58th Streets)

66th Street-Lincoln Center (exits at 65th and 66th Street)

72nd Street-Amsterdam Avenue/Broadway, which would be the terminal under the 1/2/3 station there (with a transfer to the Broadway line and an additional exit at 74th and Amsterdam Avenue).

There would be provisions built in to extend the line further up Amsterdam Avenue in the future.

pea-jay April 11, 2013 - 2:06 am

The UWS has sufficient subway access. A better use of the L would take it up 10th as you describe and then bend it back to the east. Put a 3 track station under 59/Columbus Circle as a terminal for some L trains and send the rest under CPS over to the 60th St N/Q/R (which will only be the N/R by that point) and send the remaining L trains to their terminal in Astoria. Heck even if it terminated at 59/CC it would be more useful than going up Amsterdam

Walt Gekko April 11, 2013 - 2:10 am

The key to having it run as I do is to have the (L) also stop at 58th Street for Roosevelt Hospital and 66th Street for the high schools there. 72nd Street gives it a direct connection to the Broadway line and in this case would be the terminal.

As for Queens, the (W) is expected to be revived when the (Q) starts running on the SAS. That would be the train to Astoria.

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 9:12 am

Select Bus Service on the M104 would do just as well.

Benjamin Kabak April 11, 2013 - 9:28 am

You want Select Bus Service along the M104? Take the 1, 2 or 3 trains. Really.

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 9:50 am

Then why is Walt suggesting another subway line along the Upper West Side? It’s tantamount to SBS.

Bolwerk April 11, 2013 - 10:58 am

How the hell is SBS in any way a replacement for a subway?

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 11:29 am

Well, judging by current SBS corridors… the M15 SBS was supposed to be the Second Avenue Subway, the Bx12 SBS was supposed to be a cross-Bronx subway line, the S79 was supposed to be an extension of the R to Staten Island, etc.

BrooklynBus April 11, 2013 - 1:08 pm

It isn’t, but Ryan’s got a point. That’s how the MTA is viewing SBS. You can also add SI North Shore Line, Nostrand Avenue, Utica Avenue and Woodhaven Blvd to that list as SBS lines being considered instead of rail lines

llqbtt April 11, 2013 - 2:26 pm

Certainly you jest? Just ask Ms. Sadik-Khan

Bolwerk April 11, 2013 - 2:41 pm


Ryan April 11, 2013 - 3:42 pm

Janette Sadik-Khan is the agency executive of the NYCDOT, which is mainly controlling SBS.

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 8:43 am

The UWS has 7 subway services serving the area. A better use of the L would be to extend it down to the Meatpacking district.

AG April 11, 2013 - 8:30 am

You brought up Staten Island – but we have more commuters into Manhattan from Jersey than Staten Island…


and this would relieve pressure on Penn Station – unlike the plans that have been floated to move the Garden

though I personally doubt this will happen… would be nice though.

Shabazz April 11, 2013 - 11:34 am

This is a chicken and egg argument.

We have more commuters from NJ than Staten Island because there is much more rail access from NJ than Staten Island. Staten Island is the most underdeveloped peice of real estate in the region. It takes up roughly 25 percent of the city’s land mass, but has about 5-6 pecent of the city’s population.

Obviously, a rail tunnel to Staten Island would be a windfall for everyone involved in the same way that building the first subways to Queens led to a boom in that borough.

As far as Subways are concerned, building a tunnel directly from Manhattan to Staten Island would be one of the best investments New York could make.

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 12:29 pm

Well, it isn’t the city’s fault that the NIMBYs in Staten Island turned half the borough into a goddamn wildlife preserve.

llqbtt April 11, 2013 - 2:28 pm

There is nothing wrong with a wildlife preserve, but the borough could use direct subway access after all these decades. That would take lots of xbuses off the road.

Henry April 12, 2013 - 8:49 pm


Forget the benefits of a direct rail connection – it’ll reduce the MTA’s operating expenses in the long term, because it’ll be possible to reduce the amount of buses going over the Bayonne and the Verrazano. The ferry will probably be kept for tourist purposes.

Considering that an express bus costs $10+ per rider, and the subway only costs $1.40 per rider, this cost reduction would be huge.

AG April 11, 2013 - 1:03 pm

but that’s the point… the residents of Staten Island left Brooklyn to get away from crowds…. they don’t want much density. In fact – Hudson County in NJ is more dense than Staten Island.
Staten Island is also a long way from Manhattan in terms of tunneling costs… which is why the original plan was to tunnel to Brooklyn. Personally – I think the best bet is to connect the SIRR to PATH.

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 1:35 pm

Or, an even better bet, connect the SIR to the R train.

AG April 11, 2013 - 1:37 pm

yes – but i’m thinking in terms of cost

Henry April 12, 2013 - 8:53 pm

Why SIR? It’s got terrible connections to the surrounding neighborhoods, and it’ll be expensive to retrofit for subway service (the cars are short, there are weird modifications specific to the line, and the stations don’t have turnstiles – riding within Staten Island is fare-free).

The R should instead be extended down the route of the S53 down the SIE, Clove Rd, and Broadway, with stops at Grasmere, Victory Blvd, Forest Ave, and Castleton Av.

Bolwerk April 11, 2013 - 2:46 pm

When they complain about crowds, what they really mean is they don’t want baggy pants-wearing Negroes around (or some other racist or classist hangup). Meanwhile, there is simply not point in preventing infill and stronger densities in that part of the city.

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 3:45 pm

And yet there’s still so many baggy pants-wearing Negroes (or just “ni**as”) in other parts of the city that it isn’t even funny.

Bolwerk April 11, 2013 - 4:02 pm

Is there a point to this comment? The NIMBYs don’t want outsiders in what they perceive to be their turf. They probably don’t care what happens outside.

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 5:01 pm

Yes, it’s shocking how many people are oblivious to the problems that don’t affect them. Namely, Staten Islanders do not care about what is going on in the rest of the city, so they might as well “get away from the crowd” permanently and secede from NYC.

But that’s not the point, Staten Islanders are not NIMBYs. They’re CAVE People (Citizens Against Virtually Everything). Look at how many pieces of land that could easily become homes for poor people in overcrowded parts of the city, like Brooklyn and Manhattan. And yet, due to their “crowd” mentality, they refuse to let anything like that happen. Such a move could be lucrative for the entire city.

Walt Gekko April 13, 2013 - 1:27 am

Yes, and we are talking about a borough that 20 years ago actually was looking at seceding from NYC (a big reason in the eyes of many Giuliani defeated Dinkins for Mayor in 1993). Would not surprise me.

llqbtt April 11, 2013 - 9:27 am

a Utica Ave line, too

BrooklynBus April 11, 2013 - 1:12 pm

Ben, very good and detailed analysis. I only disagree with your concluding line as to why we should stand in the way. Corey is correct. Why should NJ get preference over the lines New Yorkers need such as the ones he mentions?

critical transit April 11, 2013 - 1:01 am

Any new transit link sounds exciting but we must think, what are we trying to accomplish? The ARC project is a hugely important investment that serves the real need. Putting a subway line to essentially duplicate commuter rail doesn’t really solve anything. Nobody lives at secaucus jct.

There is already a rapid transit system running from NJ to NY. It’s called PATH and it should be expanded. That system works well on its own because it serves actual neighborhoods and useful trips (not just supplementing NJT rail).

marv April 11, 2013 - 1:06 am

Geographic Long Island (which includes Brooklyn and Queens) is of limited size but has 30 (see count below) rail tracks connecting it to Manhattan while NJ and beyond – a much larger land mass has but 6 tracks (4 path+2 NJT).

Perhaps it is time to truly build for the future and build a double deck tunnel (similar that of the 63rd Street LIRR/IND set up) to allow for both the #7 to go into NJ while bringing in a second set of commuter/high speed rail tracks. How much more would such a set up cost? If the #7 was extended even futher to Newark, would it then be possible to have some path trains go down through bayonne over the Bayonne Bridge to provide service to Staten Island?

Count of east river rail tracks:
4@63rd St+2@60th + 2@53rd + 2@42 +4 LIRR + 2 Williamburgh Bridge + 4 Manhattan Bridge + 4-(2)IRT to Brooklyn + 4 – (2)IND tunnels to Brooklyn + 2 – BMT tunnel to Brooklyn)

Eric F April 11, 2013 - 4:33 pm

BINGO! That’s why a project like this is way more transformative than any enhancement of the system to the east.

Brian April 11, 2013 - 1:08 am

While new Jersey undoubtedly needs better connections to Manhattan, a subway line, especially the 7 isn’t the way to do it. Subways are not commuter rail service alla LIRR. Subways are not intended to be park and rides. People are supposed to walk out their door walk a cooler blocks and get on the train. That’s what suggests do and why they only with in cities. Let’s finish the projects were currently have like the second avenue line and improve access elsewhere within the city like the triboro RX a Utica avenue line better accessto Staten island chamber stations etc. Before even considering existing into new Jersey

Jeff April 11, 2013 - 9:24 am

Wrong. Subways are meant to ferry people from various urban and suburban locations to the CBDs of the city. If you look at subway systems all over the world they don’t ONLY serve the densely packed areas that you seem to be describing. Look at BART, or the Washington Metro.

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 9:38 am

Or Tokyo Metro, especially.

The point is, traditionally the NYC subway has never gone outside the borders of the city.

Alon Levy April 11, 2013 - 9:45 am

You’re getting too hung up on the technology. There are subway-technology lines that mostly serve park-and-rides (which are generally failures, just like park-and-ride-oriented commuter rail), and mainline-technology lines mostly serving walk-up passengers (which are generally successes, just like city subways).

The advantage of the 7 extension is that the alignment of the 7 serves Midtown better than commuter rail. The advantage of commuter rail is that it can be continued down the NEC and save NJT riders the transfer. This is independent of questions like “how much to redevelop Secaucus?” or “where to place intermediate stations if any?”.

Walter April 11, 2013 - 1:50 am

As for potential problems with the feds or the FRA, as long as New York and New Jersey agree on most things, then it should be smooth sailing. NJ Transit and the MTA already work together on the Port Jervis and Pascack Valley Lines. There may have to be some subtle legal moves (i.e. NJ owns the tracks but simply “hires” the MTA to run service, as is the current case on the PJ and PV lines, as well as in Connecticut ) but crossing the border should not be an issue here.

NJ already has two subway systems that cross state lines (PATH and PATCO), though those are both controlled by bi-state Port Authorities. PATH is grandfathered in vis-a-vis FRA labor regulations, but as far as I know PATCO is completely separate from the national rail network and so is not subject to FRA regs. The 7 will not have any connection to the national rail network so labor practices should not have to change.

Interestingly, Parsons Brinckerhoff played a huge part in PATCO’s modernization in the late 1960s.

D.R. Graham April 11, 2013 - 2:13 am

It goes beyond two states coming to an agreement. Yes NJT and MTA have the Port Jervis line but both NJT and MNRR are FRA regulated commuter lines so both NJT and MTA operate under FRA work rules. RTO (Rapid Transit Operations) under the DOS (Department of Subways) under NYCT does not follow FRA mandated standards of operating and work rules. Essentially, the union would one, either come to an agreement to have all of RTO follow FRA rules in an agreement with NYCT or NYCT would have to relinquish the 7 line’s operations to one of the MTA’s railroads of either MNRR or LIRR or some newly created railroad division. Point is the union would never agree. Never, ever, ever…..

Walter April 11, 2013 - 1:17 pm

The FRA does not have to be involved with a one station expansion of the New York City Subway, even if it’s to New Jersey. If PATCO can remain free of the FRA, then so will the 7 to New Jersey.

The union does not care where the expansion goes, just as long as it leads to more money for current employees (via longer trips and longer hours) or more employees.

D.R. Graham April 11, 2013 - 2:03 pm

That’s because PATCO does not compare in size and scope to NYCT. The FRA does not oversee PATCO yes, but in the current state of affairs where the President is trying to expand FRA oversight to Subways across the country you can bet the FRA would step in. PATCO lack of FRA oversight is the choice of the feds. Same with NYCT and I can assure you they will want oversight for any subway line crossing the NY, NJ state borderline. This is exactly why the 2 ends at Wakefield and especially why the 5 ends at Dyre. The Dyre line was apart of the old NY/Boston Railroad. The tail tracks lead beyond the county line. FRA rules subject to be applied if service were to run beyond those tail tracks.

DAniel April 11, 2013 - 4:18 pm

“The Dyre line was apart of the old NY/Boston Railroad. The tail tracks lead beyond the county line.”

The 5 train tracks end continue for a few hundred feet path the Dyre Ave station but end prior to the Bronx/Westchester county line

AG April 11, 2013 - 4:24 pm

Yup and a remnant of the station right over the line on Kingsbring Rd. in Mt. Vernon still exists (the entrances filled in with concrete it seems)… and there are remnants of 2 other stations in Mt. Vernon… near Claremont Ave. (right next to the current Metro North Mt. Vernon East station) and then a little further where Lincoln Ave. – Wilson Woods Park – and Hutchinson River Parkway meet.

Walter April 12, 2013 - 2:16 am

49 USC § 20102: FRA has jurisdiction over all railroads except “rapid transit operations in an urban area that are not connected to the general railroad system of transportation.”

A one-stop extension to New Jersey will not invite FRA scrutiny, because the New York City Subway is not sufficiently connected to the national rail system (and one switch in Brooklyn is not enough to be connected). To be honest, the FRA is so byzantine and outdated I don’t think they would even want the expanded authority.

Even the Washington Metro, which runs in 2 states and DC, isn’t subject to FRA regulations and work rules. Now, because a few WMATA crashes, there has been classic Beltway chatter about how all American rapid transit systems should have better oversight, such as beefing up the FTA into the FRA for urban rapid transit. If such oversight is going to occur, it’s going to happen whether the 7 expands to NJ or not.

There was no FRA in 1939 when the city bought the Dyre Avenue Line, so it had nothing to do with the abandonment of the Westchester trackage. The city had planned a parallel subway route anyway, so simply bought the line for the subway, Westchester be damned. It’s actually a shame, because a few stations in Mount Vernon could have been pretty successful.

Walt Gekko April 13, 2013 - 1:30 am

Then how come SEPTA is allowed to operate their Market-Frankford line west of the city limits, with stops at Millbourne and the 69th Street terminal in Upper Darby? Is that under FRA requirements or is there some exemption?

Scott April 11, 2013 - 2:10 am

I think the key here is the bus portion under the proposed station in NJ. Why not ttake it a step further and replace the Port Authority in Times Square with a large bus station in Secaucus? The land in Times Square could redeveloped and help pay for the project.

Nyland8 April 11, 2013 - 6:45 am

Well … as usual, all of the arguments against expansion across the Hudson are either myopic, petty or provincial. The simple fact is, in terms of bang for your buck, it is a much more elegant solution than gouging another skyscraper under Manhattan rock – and that’s really what we’re comparing.

Sending a cross town train – the L or the 7 – into Lautenberg solves many, many more problems than it creates. It can be done far cheaper and in much less time than ANY variation of the Trump Tower-under-Macy’s basement theme. And remember, building these underground Taj Mahals is just the beginning. You have to pay forever to maintain them, too. Simple subway stops don’t require massive HVAC systems. They’re cold in the winter, hot in the summer, and street vents exchange the air with every passing train. Contrast that with the cost of operating the ESA’s 15 story escalator under GCT alone. I’d hate to pay that electric bill.

In fact, for comparable money we could probably TBM from Tonnelle Ave. all the way to the Greenpoint Ave. G Line with an entirely new subway across 23rd Street. That’s how much cheaper to the taxpayers and ratepayers it would be.

Personally, I like extending the L Line better – for a lot of reasons not worth getting into. But the bottom line is: extending the subway to Secaucus is a very good idea.

And I do mean the bottom line.

Henry April 11, 2013 - 8:01 pm

Gouging out cathedrals in bedrock is not a requirement of any commuter rail expansion – GCT has more than enough room for commuter trains, and has the most platforms and tracks of any station in the world. Unfortunately, a combination of shitty interagency relations and a paranoid fear of upsetting property owners along 34th and Park trumps common sense.

jfruh April 11, 2013 - 7:10 am

One way to offset costs would be to charge a special double fare from New Jersey, which I think wouldn’t be a hard sell considering it’d still be cheaper than NJT. The in turnstyles at Secaucus could charge double and the exit turnstyles could require a card swipe that charges a single fare. This would only work if the Secaucus station were the only one in NJ, though.

marv April 11, 2013 - 8:46 am

“The in turnstyles at Secaucus could charge double and the exit turnstyles could require a card swipe that charges a single fare. This would only work if the Secaucus station were the only one in NJ, though.”

Actually, it could still work even with more than one station in NJ. Entering in NJ would be a double fare. Exiting in NJ within 15 minutes of entering in NJ(a ride within NJ) would be a one fare refund – net one fare.

Building in peak and off peak pricing could be considered as well.

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 9:11 am

Fare zones in the NYC subway work just as well, without charging a double fare. The four boroughs can be in one fare zone, and New Jersey (and the 34th Street and 10th Avenue stations) can be in all the other fare zones. This works only if the stations in the outlying fare zone charge a higher fare to enter.

Henry April 11, 2013 - 8:04 pm

A double fare to get to Midtown West is silly at best.

It’s simple – on entry, any New Jersey rider pays $4.50, and an additional $2.25 swipe is required on exit. Any stations in between Secaucus and Manhattan would not charge a fare inbound from Secaucus or outbound from Manhattan.

Ryan April 12, 2013 - 9:54 am

No, I meant that riders from Secaucus would pay more than the standard $2.25 $2.50 fare to enter the subway, and would not have to swipe to exit.

If they had to swipe to exit, then you’d need to do so at all NYCS stations, since riders from New Jersey don’t go to just Midtown West. Which makes the case for RFID cards (which I’ll talk about later.)

Henry April 12, 2013 - 8:56 pm

No, swiping out would only be done at New Jersey stations. It’s entirely possible to have a turnstile that has swiping out as well as swiping in, and only at certain stations.

Ryan April 14, 2013 - 11:40 am

Yeah, but what about the people in Jersey who are only travelling one stop and are staying in the state? What about them?

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 8:43 am

…but what about the cancelled 7 extension to Bayside? I think that would help us, too.

marv April 11, 2013 - 8:58 am

Bayside has the LIRR that will soon be going into GCT as well as Penn.

Bayside has frequent bus service to the nearby #7 main street terminal.

My thought however is that the Port Washington line should become part of the Subway system using available capacity in the upper level the 63rd street tunnel.

Problem is that nearby residents fear parking problems and an influx of undersireable people if their premium LIRR fare is reduced. High fares or tolls (Atlantic Beach Bridge) often serve as racial/economic barriers for keeping others out.

Alon Levy April 11, 2013 - 9:48 am

Bayside has an LIRR service that could be rapid transit-ified tomorrow if the intransigents running the LIRR wanted to.

If you want to extend the 7 eastward, send it north to College Point. There’s a neighborhood, a mall, and tons of redevelopable land (Flushing Airport, College Point Shopping Center parking).

Nick Ober April 11, 2013 - 7:03 pm

Would the Queens Super Express proposed I’m the 70’s have replaced the Port Washington Line and then head into Manhattan via the 63rd Street tunnel (Subway level) or would it have just run along the same ROW to Forest Hills?

Henry April 11, 2013 - 8:05 pm

Same ROW to Forest Hills.

Henry April 11, 2013 - 8:11 pm

Rapid transit service on Port Washington is constrained by the fact that it shares tracks with the other services west of Woodside, and that it needs some serious retrofitting to accommodate rapid transit levels of ridership (no turnstiles or TVMs at many stations, grade crossings, dilapidated stations with confusing layouts, and in the case of Murray Hill, extremely short platforms.)

Then there are issues with the obscenely high one-way fare and the LIRR union, which is much more reckless and demanding than the other MTA unions.

Alon Levy April 12, 2013 - 3:00 am

The peak frequency is fine. It’s the off-peak frequency that’s abominable. The tunnels have enough capacity for 10-minute all-day service.

Henry April 12, 2013 - 8:57 pm

In any case, the Port Washington Branch hasn’t been rapid-transit-fied, but not for lack of trying – the LIRR spun off its freight operations to introduce more subway-like service operations and to get the FRA off its back.

The FRA said no.

Stephen Smith April 14, 2013 - 12:33 am

Where can I learn more about that?

Henry April 14, 2013 - 1:09 am

This is actually hearsay from former/current LIRR employees and LIRR watchers who post regularly on NYCTF. Obviously the MTA would never come out publicly and say that, but there is no other plausible reason for it to have divested itself of the NY&A in 1997 when freight traffic was profitable and profits have only risen since then.

Hoosac April 11, 2013 - 8:53 am

The last time the idea of extending the 7 to New Jersey was proposed, Joseph Brennan wrote an excellent article considering the pros and cons of the idea. Among other things, he suggested that Hoboken would be a better destination for the route than Secaucus. I recommend reading the piece in full; the issues are still the same.

One thing that Mr. Brennan pointed out particularly struck me: With rush hour trains coming from both New Jersey and Flushing, it’s going to get awfully crowded at the 7 line stations in midtown. As he said:

“The three old stations at Times Square, Fifth Avenue, and Grand Central each have just a single island platform between the tracks. The only reason this plan works now is that the Flushing Line has one-way peak traffic, a rarity on the subway. One track at a time has a rush hour load. It’s a very efficient use of platform space.

“The extension to New Jersey will add a rush hour load to the other track. A second platform will probably be required at all three stations.”

After detailing the problems inherent in expanding the platforms at the three stations, he summed up:

“Those three stations might end up killing the plan. For example the M T A vetoed a previous proposal to extend the Flushing line sometime in the 1990s. The New York Times, Nov 23, [2010], reported:

Back then, the transportation authority argued that the subway station at Grand Central Terminal was at full capacity and could not practically be expanded to accommodate thousands of commuters from across the Hudson.”

John-2 April 11, 2013 - 9:12 am

Bowling Green.

Back in the 1970s, the MTA decided the island platform on the 4/5 was not big enough to handle traffic at the station due to the growing number of big office buildings in the area, and basically carved out a new platform from scratch for uptown trains, along with two new station entrances on either side of the plaza.

The old platform was now dedicated to only Brooklyn-bound service, freeing up multi-directional capacity. So while building a second platform for one or more of the three Flushing Line stations in midtown would be costly, it’s not unprecedented.

g April 11, 2013 - 9:15 am

The PB study appears to contend that the larger issue is actually circulation between the platform-mezzanine-street levels. The plan is to alleviate this by adding more/larger stairs, reconfiguring access, and putting in some escalators.

John-2 April 11, 2013 - 9:31 am

You’d definitely want to keep local area traffic away from the 1/2/3 platforms at Times Square and from the 4/5/6 access points at Grand Central. A new major south TS exit for the 7, at 41st between Seventh and Broadway would help, while there’s about 200 feet of usable platform space at GC for a new street exit on 42nd on the east side of Lex (Fifth Avenue could also have it’s east exit remodeled and expanded — as it is right now, the stair capacity there is barely above that of a neighborhood station at the far end of one of the main lines).

John-2 April 11, 2013 - 9:04 am

Because of the tri-jurisdictional status of WMATA, plus the current MTA Port Jervis line, inter-agency cooperation isn’t unprecedented, nor would federal approval of a multi-state subway (your FRA problems don’t really kick in unless the 7 and PATH are linked). But the report is New York-centric, in that it assumes needed funding would be found for the 41st and 10th Avenue station, to further develop the area north of Hudson Yards, but assumes North Hoboken would be quiet about years of subway construction work through that area with no payoff for them — i.e. one or more subway stops (try imagining SAS with most of the current disruptions but no stops between 63rd and 96th streets). If nothing else there should be some stop which allows a transfer connection with HBLR, so riders at the northern end of it now have a direct transfer to midtown east and west.

It’s good to keep the idea alive, but to get NJT’s support, the Economic Development Corporation plan will have to give NJ more than just a way to get people out of their cars and commuter rail trains in Secaucus and into the city.

g April 11, 2013 - 9:09 am

There should be a stop in north Hoboken, preferably with a direct transfer to the HBLR.

The bureaucratic issues can be taken care of legislatively by an act of congress specifically exempting the project from FRA oversight. The financial arrangement between NY and NJ could surely be worked out.

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 9:11 am

…And also one in the Meadowlands. And one at Newark Airport.

g April 11, 2013 - 9:23 am

Neither of which are anywhere close to a practical alignment.

If you really want to extend further to some useful end then send it all the way into Newark to Broad St. station on abandoned rail ROW and connect with the Newark Light Rail.

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 9:30 am

Yes, but a subway line to Newark would be more useful than just sending the 7 to a commuter rail transit hub.

Eric F April 11, 2013 - 11:23 am

Secaucus is meant to be a transfer hub. The platforms are like aircraft carrier decks, and there is quick NJT service from there to Newark Penn. If the NEC was 4-tracke the whole way, it woudl be even better, but the ride is maybe 10 minutes to Newark.

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 11:30 am

I doubt that there is anyone who would want to transfer from NJT line to the 7. I think they’d want a one-seat ride.

AG April 11, 2013 - 12:58 pm

Ryan – I don’t buy that… I’d like to see the #’s who transfer to the subways at Penn. Something tells me that there are a good amount who do.

Chris C April 11, 2013 - 1:24 pm

That’s my thinking too.

A good number of people might very well prefer changing to the 7 at Secaucus Junction – the 7 will start there so good chance of getting a seat as well.

It will also take some pressure off Penn Station which can only be a good thing.

The people for whom changing at Secaucus will work will change there for those that it doesn’t will continue into Penn.

Berk32 April 11, 2013 - 1:21 pm

people transferring from trains that go to Hoboken would like it.

But the key is really the new bus terminal.

lawhawk April 11, 2013 - 9:12 am

The 7 extension is intriguing enough. It increases capacity – that’s undeniable. Is it the kind of expanded capacity that is warranted?

Consider that NJT doesn’t run 24/7 and that it runs infrequently outside rush hour – some lines get by with hourly service.

If the 7 goes to Secaucus, it would provide a 24/7 service to Secaucus that it sorely needs and would likely take far more cars off the roads than otherwise.

It would also alleviate congestion going into Penn since some rides would take the 7 into Manhattan and beyond.

It adds redundancy to Hudson river crossings – if there’s problems with Amtrak/NJ tunnels, it kills service on the NEC and all the attached lines (NJCL, MidTown Direct, etc.) 7 wouldn’t be affected, so service could potentially terminate at Secaucus with transfers to the MTA line.

NJT could also schedule trains that do terminate in Secaucus, rather than going all the way to Manhattan, freeing up capacity at Penn (Amtrak skips Secaucus altogether).

Cost remains the big stumbling block. It would increase real estate values around Secaucus, spur the increase of use at Secaucus, and could allow people to travel between Queens/LI and the Meadowlands sports complex with far greater ease than at present.

But, here’s where the plan falls short. There are plenty of NYC-centric plans that ought to be considered before the 7 into NJ. That includes plans to bolster service within NYC proper – whether it’s figuring out a way to better connect service on Staten Island with the rest of the City, improved service in Queens and Brooklyn, or extending the 2d to Hanover Square (with more than just two tracks at that). That’s what will ultimately trip up the possibility – there’s just too many NYC projects that ought to get done before the 7 goes to Secaucus.

Of course, if NJ and NYC officials manage to secure funding for the project, that will leapfrog the others and get it done before other potential projects.

Nyland8 April 11, 2013 - 8:02 pm

It’s not an either-or situation. It’s not a question of running out to Lautenberg – OR running somewhere else. Monies slated for ARC – bi-State money and federal money – are seeking a solution to NYPenn’s overcrowding AND federal money is seeking solutions for projected Amtrak capacity.

Subway expansion to Secaucus is a streamlined solution – because MOST of New Jersey commuters into NYPenn do not work walking distance to Penn Station. They already move, by the tens-of-thousands, onto our subway system every day.

They crowd the 1,2,3 lines – in BOTH directions – every day.
They jam the A,C,E lines – in BOTH directions – every day.
And they swarm over to Herald Square to pack the B,D,F,M,N,Q and R trains – in BOTH directions – every single working day.

They go everywhere throughout the city – including the UES – AND the financial district – AND Brooklyn – AND Queens – AND … you name it. And after work they go streaming back into NYPenn – often running to catch their train – to scramble back to Lautenberg and points beyond.

So the question becomes: What is the cleverest way to diffuse that mass of New Jersey humanity across the Manhattan trunk lines? Well … all of them already go through Secaucus, so that’s a place to start. Crossing the Hudson and funneling them all into one station – from which they just have to spread out again – is NOT the most creative answer to the problem.

But fortunately we do have a couple of cross-town trains that – Lo and Behold! – just happen to already link to ALL of those N/S trunklines.

So it’s not a question of where else the subway should be expanding first – because that is not what’s on the table.

The rest of the issues might be subject to debate – to stop or not to stop at the HBLR, for example – but is there a cheaper, more elegant solution to spreading the NJ commuters throughout the subway system than running a crosstown train to Lautenberg?

I’ve yet to hear anybody propose one.

Eric F April 11, 2013 - 9:13 am

“It should at least contain a stop in Hoboken, if not a second prior to the Secaucus terminal.”

I’m not so sure about that. The problem is that Hoboken is very dense already, and setting up a de facto commuter station in presumably the north end of town would likely create a traffic nightmare. In other words, I don’t really disagree conceptually, but I’m not sure that the idea would be a political winner there.

There is a big park and ride light rail station up on Tonnelle (i.e., the west end of Hudson County). If you could stick a stop there you can get your fetishized TOD in that area and accomodate a park and ride element with the light rail connection already in place for a plug in to Hudson and eventually Bergen counties, with I’m guessing very little opposition. That’s what I’d probably opt for.

Alon Levy April 11, 2013 - 9:49 am

People in Hoboken would just walk to the station.

Eric F April 11, 2013 - 10:44 am

Right, but then you are building a station for maybe 1-2,000 people in walking distance, maybe half of whom will use it. And realistically, any place with NYC train access will become a commuter hub whether you want it or not, which will create a nightmare for people living in that area. You can’t simply wave your arms and forbid outsiders from using a station, that’s not the way commuter patterns work in this area.

Bolwerk April 11, 2013 - 11:12 am

What a crock of NIMBY bollocks. Hoboken has densities approaching denser parts of Brooklyn and Queens. It’s safe to say daily ridership could greatly exceed the one to two thousand people you imagine are within walking distance.

So what if outsiders use it? At worst, that means a little more car traffic for drop-offs. In a transit-rich, parking-constrained place like Hoboken, it probably can’t get much worse than that – if that’s a concern at all.

Eric F April 11, 2013 - 11:29 am

I’m not the NIMBY, I don’t even live in Hoboken! I just don’t see how you fit it there without causing enormous aggrvation. Hoboken is fully built out. The construction of anything will require taking fairly high use properties. Hoboken is not (with a capital NOT) building any massive highrises, no matter what transit links you put in. So you don’t have a huge population to walk to the station. Moreover, you are right at the bank of the Hudson, meaning I think you ahve to go very deep to build your station, causing even greater property takings to allow for reasonable angled approaches to get down to platforms. I don’t see how this is appealing to Hoboken. Stick it back on Tonnelle and it’s much more useful for the larger area without creating much controversy.

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 11:34 am

But the only subway station in the area is the PATH station, which sees more than 50,000 people daily that go to the PATH platforms/NJT platforms. Hoboken needs more stations, and the cost of a deep-level station is worth it.

Eric F April 11, 2013 - 11:55 am

Hoboken doesn’t have 50,000 people. Whatever the usage of that station is would be a function of may people coming in via bus, light rail, commuter train and car connection.

Bolwerk April 11, 2013 - 12:08 pm

I think, for planning purposes, you need to treat that entire area as a coherent unit – probably at least Hoboken, Weehawken, and Union City. Jersey City is big enough to treat as its own unit. Hoboken has about 50,000 people, but it’s small enough that you can walk across it fairly leisurely.

The practical alignment of a 7 route is probably through Hoboken, but between the light rail and feeder buses the entirety of those places could easily benefit.

Bolwerk April 11, 2013 - 12:01 pm

I don’t dispute that stopping at Tonnelle makes sense, but I think it would be a bit tragic to miss the light rail. If it’s “fully built out,” then the argument should go that the current lack of proper transit is the cause of the aggravation. It already has PATH and NJT commuter rail, not to mention buses and light rail, so the addition of the 7 somewhere (maybe on publicly owned property) could hardly create a traffic apocalypse. It’s missing easy access to the east side.

Hoboken’s density is on average higher than Brooklyn’s. Maybe there are geological or even other cost-related reasons a station there is impractical, but any about geography, demographics, or traffic seems a bit hard to swallow. If anything, the stars are in complete alignment on those matters.

llqbtt April 11, 2013 - 2:33 pm

Deep tunnels don’t necessarily require huge eminent domains. They just get built under everything. Add station access to Jersey City up on the bluff and you’ll have a very busy station.

Tower18 April 11, 2013 - 1:55 pm

Other cities have figured out a very easy way to solve this problem: resident parking permits. I’m only familiar with Chicago, but parking permits were available at a fairly nominal cost ($25/year), and all you had to do was prove residency inside your zone. Permits were in effect either something like 6PM-6AM for overnight parking, or 9AM-11AM in areas likely to get filled up by commuters. This fairly easily reduced park-and-ride commuters from dense residential neighborhoods.

New York seems unable to implement something like this, because the number of out of towners with cars is greater than the number of locals with cars. Where I live in Brooklyn is right on the edge of “driving is relatively easy” land, but also has easy subway access. You can imagine how many people drive into the neighborhood in the morning, and out in the evening.

AG April 11, 2013 - 2:03 pm

in the Bronx in the Fieldston area they have only resident parking…. but i guess they are a special case…

Alon Levy April 11, 2013 - 2:09 pm

Way, way, more than 1,000-2,000. Go to Google Maps and center the map at Cambie and 41st, Cambie and 49th, or Nanaimo on the Expo Line in Vancouver. Those stations get about 7,000 weekday boardings each.

Assuming that unlike Vancouver there won’t be decent connecting buses, the realistic walking range of a subway station at the origin end is about a kilometer. (At the destination end it’s lower.) A station at 14th and Willow covers Hoboken south to about 9th at the margins but 7th at Willow; that’s about a third of the city.

Eric F April 11, 2013 - 4:35 pm

Ok 7,000. No one is going to spend 9 figures on a station for 7,000 people who live right by the Lincoln Tunnel XBL lane anyway.

Alon Levy April 12, 2013 - 3:03 am

Why not? SAS is $23,000 per weekday rider. And north Hoboken is way denser than Oakridge, Langara, and the Nanaimo Avenue area, though admittedly it doesn’t have the connecting crosstown buses that Vancouver has.

llqbtt April 11, 2013 - 9:18 am

any westward 7 extension should accopanied by an eastward 1

Alon Levy April 11, 2013 - 10:39 am

Eastward 1? Do you mean an eastward extension of the 1, or an eastward extension of the 7?

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 10:57 am

The 1 only goes north/south, so probably the latter.

llqbtt April 11, 2013 - 2:44 pm

Eastwards on the 7.

Larry Littlefield April 11, 2013 - 9:27 am

So, how much should transit in New York be cut for the city to build this extension for New Jersey riders to also benefit New York real esttate interests?

New Jersey can build anything it wants to. But if, as Bloomberg puts we, “we’re going to have a problem with the subway” on the East Side, and the MAINTENENCE of the existing system via the capital plan is unfunded, why are these jerks paying to study this?

tacony palmyra April 11, 2013 - 10:09 am

We live in a tri-state region. A significant chunk of the Manhattan labor force lives in North Jersey. There are also a (much smaller, of course) number of people reverse-commuting from New York to NJ. There are students going to Seton Hall for classes, bus boys working at Korean restaurants in Pal Park, Europeans in NYC on vacation heading to malls, people going to the Jersey Shore. The provincial– “that’s for them, this is for us”–attitude gets us nowhere. The idea that only real estate interests, and not regular joe shmoes, would benefit from greater mobility across the Hudson is ridiculous. NYC has more in common with Hoboken and Newark–economically, socially, culturally–than it does with Rochester and Buffalo but we send our money up there every year.

Bolwerk April 11, 2013 - 11:19 am

I’m not sure there is so so much a belief that regular “joe schmoes” don’t benefit. Rather, the underlying belief is they don’t count. The people who count drive everywhere, and we’re told when it’s convenient politically that they’re regular “joe schmoes,” but when the gloves come off, nobody actually gives a lot of a shit about the plebes.

Anyway, it could well be that this could be operated profitably, at least if there were higher fares for people to enter and leave the NJ segment.

Larry Littlefield April 11, 2013 - 12:29 pm

Except that Buffalo is poorer than NYC, and New Jersey is richer — and has a much lower tax burden as a share of income.

We could eliminate the last two years of high school in New York, and pre-K, and use the money to fund this improvement and other things for New Jersey that New Jersey won’t pay for.

Perhaps we could cut the parks budget. A special tax surcharge on New York City residents? How about cutting our help for the poor?

AG April 11, 2013 - 12:54 pm

New Jersey is “richer” because of the high paying jobs in NYC. The highest earners who live in NJ – do not work in NJ.

Eric F April 11, 2013 - 10:45 am

Good point. Why is NJ working to expand its port in order for goods to be trucked to NYC? If people in NY want food so bad they can grow it in planters on their fire escapes.

AG April 11, 2013 - 12:51 pm

well in case you didn’t know – NYC is at the forefront of rooftop farming in the U.S.
let’s also not be confused… the natural port was NYC… NJ only got the port because land became too expensive in NYC… and that NJ (being on the mainland) had direct freight access to the rest of the states. hence the PA of NY/NJ.
that said – the Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel is an important project… but there doesn’t seem to be money for that either.

Bolwerk April 11, 2013 - 11:15 am

None at all. It should be funded by the Port Authority, New Jersey, and/or the Feds.

But, it’s not a bad idea.

SEAN April 11, 2013 - 9:42 am

I wasn’t in favor of a bus terminal in Secaucus if the 7 was extended, but after spending nearly 2-hours on a bus from Paramus last week, I’m coming around on the idea. That’s not to say I’m nessessarily thrilled with such a prospect.

If the 7 does cross the Hudson, at least one more station would need to be built before reaching Secaucus. Perhaps a spot in Weehauken since there is no rail service there & it is a rather dence community.

g April 11, 2013 - 1:52 pm

The PA Bus Terminal in midtown is maxed out (or beyond even)and a expansion/replacement would be mind bogglingly expensive. Shifting some of that load out to Secaucus makes a lot of sense. Who wants to sit in traffic forever trying to get into the tunnels and the arguably terrible PA facility instead of changing at Secaucus for a nice 10-15 minute ride into the heart of midtown?

The PA will also be more inclined to kick some cash into the project if it lets them off the hook in other areas.

AG April 11, 2013 - 1:53 pm

good point… not just Penn would be relieved… but the PA Bus Terminal… I didn’t even think of that.

SEAN April 12, 2013 - 4:06 pm

Where would this terminal be built if the 7 was extended?

How large would it be & the # of gates would be required.

Patty corn bags April 11, 2013 - 9:53 am

Would’nt it be more cost effective to extend past see caucus at grade in the NEC right of way to existing yards, Newark Penn and Newark Airport rather than a 13-track elevated yard?

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 9:53 am

Another point:

If this extension to Secaucus sees the light of day, then 34th Street, which is estimated to serve 20000 passengers a day, will be overloaded with many more thousands of passengers daily on its one island platform.

g April 11, 2013 - 11:34 am

No, the new station at 34th has HUGE platform/mezz/stairs. It can easily absorb any additional passengers an extension could cause. Not to mention that this would be distributed between 34th and the proposed add back of the 10th ave station.

Tower18 April 11, 2013 - 2:00 pm

Are you saying you expect thousands of hypothetical NJ riders to get off the train at 34th and 11th? I highly doubt that.

paulb April 11, 2013 - 10:06 am

So constructing a new fast subway line to eastern Queens is just impractical but sending the subway to Secaucus is not. Please. (Though I have no problem with it if New Yorkers don’t have to pay for it.)

Eric F April 11, 2013 - 11:10 am

The subway would help NYers quite a bit. If the travel times are really that low, it makes a Queens-Newarkl commute more or less the equivalent of a Queens to upper east side commute. That’s good for access to the labor market and gives companies flexibility in using physical space.

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 11:39 am

We were supposed to have two subway lines to Eastern Queens. They’re called the Archer Avenue Lines, which were cut back from Queens Village/Laurelton to Parsons Boulevard in the 80’s.

pink l April 11, 2013 - 10:36 am

I like the idea of a train to Secaucus, but I think it might be better to send it down the Lower West Side
The new 7 could connect with the L at a new station at Chelsea Piers (17-20 Sts)
After that run the train down Washington St until Canal, where it would switch over to Greenwich St and run all the way down to South Ferry
This would let the waterfront Property EXPLODE on the Hudson, and could still offer connections to the L at 17-20 Sts and the 1,2,3 at Chambers.

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 10:56 am

Or, better, run the L up 10th Avenue!

g April 11, 2013 - 12:27 pm

Sure,the MTA should get right on that after phases 2 and 3 of the SAS are complete.

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 12:33 pm

…And then again, phases 2 and 3 of the SAS will probably take 20 years to build, at its current rate.

Jim April 11, 2013 - 11:01 am

The tell here is that costs aren’t in the report. You can’t do this much engineering analysis without at least generating a Rough Order of Magnitude cost estimate. That it wasn’t included in the report says that it was a showstopper: if people saw the cost, they wouldn’t even look at the rest of the report.

Bgriff April 11, 2013 - 1:57 pm

I also love the really weird design for the 10th Avenue station, with Queens-bound riders entering on 40th Street and 34th Street-bound (NJ-bound?) riders entering on 42nd Street. I get that the tunnels are only barely designed for the station to be added there, but mustn’t it still be cheaper to build one entrance with a mezzanine connecting both tracks than to do a deep-cavern, two-block-wide equivalent of today’s separate-side local stations?

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 2:02 pm

I’d rather have the entrances across the street from each other for convenience.

Rob April 11, 2013 - 3:02 pm

A dumb idea. If you want to build another tunnel, fine; build it. But don’t connect it to the IRT. The IRT, given its tiny equipment restrictions, is obsolete and inefficient. Even 45 years ago, recognizing that, the intent was to downgrade the Lex – perhaps abandoning two tracks – by supplementing and partly replacing it with a modern 4 track 2nd Av line. Of course, we know what happened to that plan, but it was on-target.

A better idea than today’s would be to connect a new tunnel to the IND, or stub-end it and enable OPTO, or automated, a la AirTrain.

PS — You already have a one-seat ride from New Jersey to Midtown. On multiple carriers, just not on the subway.

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 3:46 pm

You surely do not know what CBTC, platform screen doors, and 11-car trains are, then?

Henry April 12, 2013 - 9:08 pm

The 7 line platforms at 5th Av and Grand Central are narrow for their intended use already.

Unless you want to blast new platforms under skyscrapers or have the MTA make front page on the Post with headlines talking about how people are falling into the tracks during rush hour due to overcrowding, 7 to Secaucus is not a viable idea.

Nyland8 April 13, 2013 - 1:23 am

Well … needless to say, you wouldn’t be blasting larger stations. The MTA doesn’t allow anyone to blast near a subway line. In fact, you can’t even use a hoe ram if you’re too close to an active subway. There are other ways to excavate.

But this is one of the reasons I prefer extending the L Line to Lautenberg. The platforms are wider.

Matthias April 13, 2013 - 6:30 pm

Obsolete and inefficient? Have you taken the IRT recently? They are some of the fastest trains in the system–the B division is noticeably slower. The IRT was designed for speed (along the trunk lines at least) and those trains, especially expresses, still beat out the competition.

pubadmin031568 April 11, 2013 - 4:22 pm

If you would have wanted the L to run uptown, it could have been linked up to the HIGH LINE with a simple ramp, like the Culver Line was linked to the Church Avenue Station in 1955. But, i think it’s a little too late for that now!

Benjamin Kabak April 11, 2013 - 4:24 pm

I don’t have time to lay out the argument yet again why this isn’t true, but there is no way at all the L could have been linked to the High Line at any point in recent MTA expansion history. None at all really for a variety of economic, engineering and practical reasons.

Ryan April 11, 2013 - 4:55 pm

See what’s wrong with the idea? The L train, which is a subway, couldn’t have possibly connected to the High Line even if the MTA wanted to, because there is no possible way that the L train could rise 60 feet within such a short distance, not to mention the NIMBYism that construction would bring.

Walt Gekko April 13, 2013 - 1:38 am

The high line was too narrow as it turns out for subway anyway. I would have LOVED to see it for the (7), but even that would have been a stretch.

I like the (L) over the (7) for NJ because the line is already in a straight line and would likely be part of a much bigger project that would extend all platforms in the Eastern Division to at least 600′ and even possibly 670′ so that in the future, the MTA can order 67′ cars (the length of the old BMT Standards) and use 10 such cars on each train (or use 11 60′ cars). The other option that has been suggested in the past would be to expand the Steinway tunnels and have the (7) become BMT/IND, also as I would do it possibly with 670′ platforms that can use either 10 67′ or 11 60′ cars per train. That would make the (7) a much more viable option to NJ.

Chris April 12, 2013 - 7:00 am

If we’re going to connect a “subway” system from NYC to NJ, it’d be better to expand the PATH system, and build one new connection from NJ to NYC, terminating at Grand Central. PATH already has an interstate franchise, and the NYC subway would not have to jump through hoops set by the US Govt….

Nyland8 April 12, 2013 - 7:27 am

PATH itself should be subsumed into the MTA as a “C” division. The bell mouth at 9th St. could be reactivated, tunneled first to Union Square (It’s already at a good starting elevation) then on to 23rd St. and 2nd Ave. in anticipation of SAS Phase 3.

Voila !! Total east side access – and for the cost of only two stops of normal length.

The PA should get out of the subway business and build the freight tunnel from Jersey to Brooklyn – like they should have done a few generations ago.

g April 12, 2013 - 9:12 am

PATH is already near or at capacity for rush service. The CBTC project will give a little breathing room but the way things are going it will be filled pretty quickly. Brand new heavy rail transit capacity between NJ-NY is now required.

I would be in favor of rolling PATH into the MTA so that such (and other) connections could be realized in the future.

AG April 12, 2013 - 7:16 pm

I agree on both points… PATH should become part of the MTA… and the PA needs to spend its energy to build the Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel.


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