Home 7 Line Extension The 7 line extension: To Chelsea, New Jersey or beyond

The 7 line extension: To Chelsea, New Jersey or beyond

by Benjamin Kabak

Even though the 34th Street-Hudson Yards stop on the 7 line won’t host passengers until next weekend, it’s never too early to look ahead to the future. After all, if we’re not planning for what’s next, nothing next will ever arrive, and no recent NYC infrastructure project has seen more discussion about potential future extensions than the 7 line. On the western side, we’ve talked about New Jersey and Chelsea, and an Eastern or northern extension into Queens has always been a tantalizing proposition.

New Jersey: The 7 to Secaucus

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

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

Sending the 7 train to Secaucus was one of those ideas that came out of nowhere following Gov. Chris Christie’s decision to cancel the ARC tunnel. As I’ve been told in the past, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg essentially scribbled the idea on the back of a cocktail napkin, and his nascent idea has become a steady part of the conversation of some unknown future. It’s not a bad one really.

The driving idea behind the 7 train to Secaucus is that it can alleviate some of the pressure on trans-Hudson rail and road capacity while allowing for a direct connection to the subway. For an idea with no funding and no immediate future, it has some staying power, and in 2013, the New York City EDC issued a feasibility study (which included plans for that in-fill station at 41st Street). The report concluded that the subway extension would be massively popular and provide a 16-minute ride from Secaucus to Grand Central.

Of course, to say there are challenges is an understatement. It’s not unheard of for a subway to connect New York and New Jersey; that is after all what the PATH train does. But those tunnels were built over 100 years ago, and funding for a 7 train to Secaucus just isn’t there. No one on the New Jersey side has really picked up this argument, and even in New York, Staten Island representatives, for one, have raised objections to building a subway to New Jersey before anyone builds a subway to Staten Island. It’s not clear how much this would cost or would it would take to get an FRA waiver to ensure that 7 train rolling stock doesn’t need to comply with over-the-top federal standards.

For now, no one is actively fighting for this project, but it’s out there, just like many other ideas. It’s also farther along in the planning stages than most, but without dollars, it remains just a PDF report and a map. I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ll hear of it.

Chelsea: The 7 heads south (or back east)

Tail tracks on the 7 line extension stretch south into Chelsea. Could a stop be in the neighborhood’s distant future?

As part of the new extension, trail tracks for the 7 line head south from 34th Street to around 25th Street. Transit is going to use these tracks to improve terminal operations for the 7, as trains can now enter the station at higher speeds, and for storage since the Corona Yards can’t handle the additional rolling stock needed to maintain 7 train service. The tail tracks also allow the MTA to boost Queens-bound service immediately during rush hour rather than waiting for trains to make the slow crawl from Queens. And yet, there’s something about the tail tracks that seem like a missed opportunity as they reach into a neighborhood underserved by the subway without opening a stop there.

The ideas for sending the 7 into Chelsea are less well-formed than the ones for New Jersey. Long-ago plans never really developed proposed sending the 7 to meet up with the L train along 14th St. to connect two disconnected lines, and when he was in charge of the MTA, Joe Lhota discussed a station at 23rd St. and 11th Avenue. “It’s something that I think would make sense because if you look at the demographics of the West Side, we shouldn’t just make one stop,” he said in 2012. “It’s important to have plans, to have a wish list. [But] I’m not sure it can be done. I’m not sure about how close you can get to the Hudson River.”

Queens: Looking eastward

The 1939 plans for the IND Second System would have expanded the subways to the far reaches of Queens.

The 1939 plans for the IND Second System would have expanded the subways to the far reaches of Queens.

While an eastward extension doesn’t seem in the cards, Queens beyond Flushing is an area clamoring for better transit service. The infamous Second System plans called for extensions of the Flushing Line into Queens with branches heading either to College Point or Bayside. As Lhota said, “it’s important to have plans,” but this one seems more like a dream from the past than a future we should expect.

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rustonite September 4, 2015 - 10:52 am

This post is basically click porn for train nerds. If this ever happens, it’ll be long after we’re all dead.

Chet September 4, 2015 - 11:08 am

Subway click porn it may be, but it’s fun!

Anyway, a station at 11th and 25th/26th Street just seems too easy to say no to. As far as bring the 7 to New Jersey, it certainly makes a bit of sense, but that’s the sort of project that so benefits New Jersey more than NYC directly, they should pay for the lion’s share of such a project.
With so many places on a NYC map with no subway- the south eastern part of Brooklyn, eastern Queens, and of course, ALL of Staten Island, the city’s needs come first in my opinion. There definitely should be a wish list and more.

Ralfff September 4, 2015 - 11:10 am

Actually it’s notable in that parts of Queens beyond Flushing are asking for a 7 extension. If this is true then it seems like a doable venture. One problem with the 7 as I understand it is that the tunnels were built to BMT standards but the East River tunnel is not, and, I assume, neither is the new extension. But, if it were the case that somehow capacity could be improved on the 7, then extending it eastward is an idea that could have legs. It might greatly alleviate the intractable Flushing parking lobby/traffic jam situation. I agree that west end stuff is unfortunately fantasy. The political nature of the project has strangled an opportunity to balance line demand more usefully, whether that would have been further south, over the Hudson, or (had the extension never happened) north.

Bolwerk September 4, 2015 - 12:03 pm

The wild demand for service in Flushing probably suggests it would be a good idea to extend something into that part of Queens.

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 1:52 pm

If ten buses an hour are coming from the north and ten are coming from the northeast and ten an hour from the east and ten an hour from the southeast and ten an hour from the south, where should the subway go to?

Alon Levy September 4, 2015 - 2:56 pm

The busiest buses serving Flushing run north-south, from Whitestone and College Point to Jamaica. This suggests the 7 should take a sharp turn north and serve Flushing Airport TOD and College Point (which has some retail, i.e. jobs, i.e. reverse-commuters), and that the Flushing-Jamaica segment should be turned into light rail on Main Street or Kissena and Parsons.

Bolwerk September 4, 2015 - 3:00 pm

Old plans seem to call for splitting the Flushing line into two directions. Big problem? Peak frequency can probably be split 60/40 or something in favor of College Point.

Eric September 6, 2015 - 3:06 am

Frequency has to be split 50-50 or else you get bunching problems.

Bolwerk September 6, 2015 - 10:48 am

Not necessarily, but you do get gaps in the schedule on the branch lines. May or may not be a problem.

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 4:57 pm

North of Main Street or south of Main Street? Sending the train to College Point doesn’t do much good if the riders are south of Main.
Rumor has it what’s undeveloped on Flushing Airport is a swamp. It’s not 1930 anymore and we don’t fill swamp unless it’s unavoidable.

eileen bauer July 23, 2016 - 8:52 pm

The problem as I see it, is overcrowding which will be even worse in the future (even if there is no extension). I favor changing the length of the cars from 51ft to the standard 60 ft and adding an extra car per train.
That means each platform will have to be extended. If the cars can be extended, then two cars should be added per train.
Also, the express train will have to continue eastward.

Elvis Delgado September 4, 2015 - 2:00 pm

As anyone who uses the Flushing line knows, anything that would cram additional people into the trains before they even reached Main Street, would “break” the system. The key, as Ralfff mentions, is to increase capacity BEFORE even considering an extension to the east. Otherwise this is a total non-starter.

Contrast this issue, however, with an extension to the west…this would make perfect sense from a load-balancing point of view. Riders from New Jersey would mostly leave the trains in Manhattan (a few would travel to Queens), while riders from Queens would do the opposite.

lop September 5, 2015 - 12:37 am

After the 2nd avenue subway phase 3 is finished and it’s just the T below 63rd street you’ll have somewhere in Manhattan to send a new service through the 63rd street tunnel. In Queens that can be a subway under Northern out to flushing to relieve the 7 line and bring service to a dense area without it. Now what makes more sense to extend at that point? The 30 tph 7? Or the 15 tph 2nd avenue-northern blvd line?

wise infrastructure September 7, 2015 - 5:49 pm

“””anything that would cram additional people into the (#7) trains before they even reached Main Street, would “break” the system”””

This where my idea of converting the atlantic avenue LIRR into (express) subway useand then tunneling under the east river to a connection to the 8th Ave IND or Bdwy BMT is the key to solving a large part of the Queens transit needs. East of Jamaica one brach would go through southeast Queens and and the other along/over the LIRR main line to the cross Island Parkway for stops are Jamaica, Hillside and a Union Tpke terminal.

These two branches would relieve the Queens Blvd IND of a very large part of its current traffic while giving usera an express trip into the city and provide express downtown service.

Given this reduction of Queen Blvd usage and have express service from Jamaica would the allow the “E” train to follow former World’s Fare line to a new line over the LIE east to douglaston.

This line would then divert users off the #7 allowing extensions.

adirondacker12800 September 7, 2015 - 6:06 pm

Instead of taking the bus to Main Street and getting on the 7 they’d just get on the 7 closer to home. The ones not on the new line would still take the bus to Main Street.

Brooklynite September 4, 2015 - 11:24 am

In my opinion the 7 to Hoboken is better than the 7 to Secaucus, because basically every NJT train not serving NYP goes to Hoboken, while that isn’t true for SEC. In other words Hoboken is already a concentration of ridership that wants to cross the Hudson.

The 7 isn’t going to be extended further eastwards because of the capacity crunch. There’s no point in extending lines that are already overcrowded.

Here’s a completely pie-in-the-sky idea:
The 6 is merged with the NWK-WTC line. 6 trains run to Newark.
The 7 stops at Hoboken on a deep-level station, then ramps up, stopping at the current PATH platforms at Erie. Then it stops at Grove St on two new tracks with a cross-platform transfer to the 6. Then it curves onto the formerly-Central Railroad of NJ ROW (that crosses the PATH line just west of I-78), following that and the HBLR to the Bayonne Bridge and to Staten Island.

Elaine September 8, 2015 - 10:15 am

Taking the 7 line into Hoboken also has the potential benefit of easing rider congestion into the huge bottleneck that is the Northeast Corridor beyond Newark. Taking it to Secaucus would have no effect on that. No matter how much additional service you provide out of Secaucus, trains have to get there first, and those tracks are completely full.

subway-buff September 12, 2015 - 12:30 pm

Your idea has one major problem: PATH cars are shorter than IRT cars. I attended a series of meetings with PATH senior management and specifically asked if IRT cars could run on PATH. The trainmaster said the profile of PATH cars are different and IRT cars would not fit in the tunnels. PATH cars can run on the IRT.
The trainmaster also stated that when they use a Sperry car they must ask for one specific Sperry car.

Now for the reverse. Where would MTA get the money to buy 100% new fleet for the IRT ! Another issues is that at night the 4 runs local so shaved platforms woudl require gap fillers which ADA would reject or modifications to the Entire IRT fleet since fairly often the #2 and # 3 run on the Lexington Avenue line or vice versa

22rr September 4, 2015 - 11:41 am

connecting 7 to L seems like a great idea! but we still need somoething to run up 10th avenue between 34th and Lincoln Center…

smartone September 4, 2015 - 12:25 pm

could you ever connect 7 to L ?
do they have the same train stock?

and why would you do this?

Also an idea for Chelsea and missing 10th avenue station

couldn’t you pay for these stations by issuing bonds that would be paid for by increase in value of real estate in (for example) two block area of the stations?

in other words.. you issue Bonds and assess a per foot tax on real estate (and air rights) around the stations to pay off the bonds

Bolwerk September 4, 2015 - 1:24 pm

No, the 7 has narrower IRT trains and L has the wider BMT trains. They aren’t going to work together. Summary of an ancient use discussion about connecting L and 7 at Javits (spoiler alert: it wouldn’t be easy, especially now).

I don’t see much point in connecting the L and the 7. I could see the argument for the 7 continuing downtown as a far west side local. I could see the argument for extending the L all the way to the far west side. If both are done, they’d intersect, so why not? But this connect-the-dots obsession is a little silly because most places the 7 would take L riders (besides Javits) are better accessed by existing transfers.

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 2:00 pm

Something to be said for sending the L up 10th and Amsterdam to 72nd and B’way to connect to the 1,2,3, then to 86th and Central Park West for the B and C, 86th and Lex – the 4,5 amd 6 and 86th and 2nd for the Q and T. Then across Astoria to Northern Blvd, back side of the stadium and Flushing. Transfer between the L and 7 at 41st and Tenth.

Ryan September 4, 2015 - 8:12 pm

There’s something to be said for that, yeah: it’s a shitty idea.

Instead of sending the train to double back on itself, how about just running two separate lines? There’s absolutely no need to connect to the L to the whatever-letter-you-want-to-give-the-86-St-Subway.

adirondacker12800 September 6, 2015 - 11:05 am

So the M train is a bad idea? The F? The R? N?

Eric September 6, 2015 - 3:11 am

L on 10th Ave to the 1,2,3 is a good idea. It would fill the reverse-peak L trains, serve the far west side, and relieve the 1,2,3.

Beyond that is unnecessary.

Bolwerk September 6, 2015 - 10:51 am

Not very well, especially with no 7 transfer at 10th Avenue. Despite adirondacker’s conniptions about the subject, most people are trying to get to a certain part of Midtown that is nowhere near 10th Avenue.

adirondacker12800 September 6, 2015 - 11:07 am

If you want the Northern Blvd line to have high frequencies it has to go somewhere.

Andrew September 4, 2015 - 12:26 pm

Then let’s run the L up 10th Av! And as an added bonus, we don’t have to deal with the crummy 8th Av bumper blocks anymore! Hooray!

Ryan September 4, 2015 - 8:19 pm

Sending the L into Jersey also solves your bumper blocks problem, and is a better idea.

You save no actual tunneling by through-running L trains up 10 Av relative to building a straight 10 Av Subway shuttle between 14 and 72 Sts. For that matter, if you’re sending the 7 the rest of the way downtown, running the L up 10 Av actually costs you extra tunneling relative to the shuttle between 42 and 72 plus the 7 between 10 Av and World Trade Center.

Eric September 6, 2015 - 3:13 am

Yeah, but you save a tunnel to New Jersey, which is super expensive and would be wasted on the L.

Ryan September 6, 2015 - 9:51 am

The sheer overwhelming volume of people wanting to cross the Hudson River combined with the insanely low capacity of the limited number of crossings available combine to mean that, far from being “wasted,” it’s guaranteed that any new crossing you build is going to fill almost immediately.

There needs to be something on the other of six or seven new Hudson River crossings (depending on how you’d choose to count repurposing two GWB lanes for another Eighth Avenue service) and the L is absolutely a great choice for one of them. So is the 7. So is whatever permutation of new national rail infrastructure gets built between Penn Station and Secaucus, and the new regional rail infrastructure that gets built between Jamaica, Fulton Center, and Secaucus. Throw a few darts at the map of the Hudson River and you’ll find a few more great choices for new river crossings.

The only bad option here is to do nothing.

adirondacker12800 September 6, 2015 - 11:10 am

Where are you going to send the 8th Ave subway and who is going to take it?

Ryan September 6, 2015 - 12:12 pm

Up NJ-4 to Paramus and a new park-and-ride at that mess of an interchange between 4, 17 and the Parkway so that you can get out of your car in Paramus and ride the train over the bridge or you can leave your car in the house you already have in Paramus or Teaneck or Englewood or Fort Lee and either walk or take a local bus to any of the new train stations along 4.

adirondacker12800 September 6, 2015 - 12:24 pm

It makes a lot more sense for them to walk to the train station in their suburb and have them get on a train. Or if they insist drive to a station much closer to home. Bergen County is fairly lousy with underutilized or closed railroad stations.

Ryan September 6, 2015 - 1:21 pm

There’s a whole lotta people between Paramus and Fort Lee who can’t walk to the train station because the train doesn’t exist. Whole lotta people who didn’t think to settle near decades-abandoned rail lines because adirondacker12800 was going to make sure that there’d be trains running over them again some day. Whole lotta people who live in places where they have a much shorter walk or drive to the train that runs on Route 4 than the train that’s three suburbs away or the freight railroad that might one day host passenger trains. Whole lotta people who do live near the suburban train station but they can’t get on the train because it’s already full of suits commuting in from The Village That Time Forgot.

adirondacker12800 September 6, 2015 - 2:30 pm

Just because the NYO&W stopped running passenger trains in the 50s doesn’t mean you can’t run them today. It’s a lot cheaper to have them get on at a station closer to home, where there was passenger service until the 50s, than build wider highways so they can get to Paramus. Lot cheaper than building an elevated subway over the Jersey Barrier that is the median of Route 4 too.

Bolwerk September 6, 2015 - 11:10 am

The L is a horrible option under any circumstance. Two possibilities:

#1: it fails because of low ridership. Let’s face it: most people in NJ still live closer to a bus. They’d be expected to transfer to the L in Hoboken/Secaucus(/elsewhere?). Then, to get to the major job centers in Midtown they’d have to transfer again to an uptown subway line.

#2: it succeeds in attracting riders somehow, and further crowds already over-crowded uptown-bound subway lines.

People can usually stand one transfer, especially if it gets them to their destination faster. The 7 provides that for a lot of people (albeit not all). The L provides that for a negligible number of people.

adirondacker12800 September 6, 2015 - 11:19 am

It’s the 7 on 14th St instead of 42nd St. Changing at Union Square to get to 59th and Lex might even be faster since it wouldn’t make as many stop to get to the Lexington Ave. lines and Union Square is less crowded.

Bolwerk September 6, 2015 - 11:38 am

Wouldn’t that crowd be better off just taking the E, F, or N/R/Q from the west side as they can already? 7 to Secaucus makes more sense for people who work under 51st Street.

But it’s at least the same number of stops and Union Square is pretty crowded. Plus, many riders unload at 42nd Street on the Lex, so 7 Train riders would be getting on after they get off. At Union Square, the crowding is bad because of L transfers to the 4/5/6 and N/R/Q, plus everyone would be going in the same direction!

Ryan September 6, 2015 - 12:22 pm

Gosh, that must have been one hell of a bad case of sleep deprivation I was on when I went to visit my friend in Jersey City. I could’ve sworn there were several thousands of people living in upper Hoboken and the Jersey City Heights. Must have all been in my imagination!

Bolwerk September 6, 2015 - 12:30 pm

An anecdote about you visiting your friend in NJ is somehow evidence that the L would be a good way to circulate NJ commuters across Manhattan?

Whatever you and adirondacker are smoking, I want to try some!

Ryan September 6, 2015 - 1:35 pm

Actually, it was a flippant way to point out how absurd your previous comment was. Jersey City and Hoboken are absolutely full of people, but you don’t have to take my word for it – you can ask the US Census Bureau, who found that Jersey City has a population density of 16,093.7 people/sqmi, and that Hoboken has a density of 39,066.4 people/sqmi, and you can take a look at maps of the area to find that you stand a pretty good chance of getting a whole lot of those people to start walking around 1/3 of a mile, maybe even 1/2 a mile, to a centrally-located L tunnel instead of taking the bus. Run more subways and you can get less people walking 1/2 a mile and more walking 1/4 of a mile.

If Hudson County was the sixth borough it would have gotten the L 50 years ago. And the 7. Probably some extension off of one of the Queens Boulevard services too. The only reason I have to sit here making these comments over and over and over again is because of that pesky, pesky state line that somehow invalidates all facts Because New Jersey.

Bolwerk September 6, 2015 - 1:57 pm

In your haste you be flippant, you missed the point. They are very full of people and certainly deserve tons and tons of transit investment. But a critical goal of a new Hudson crossing is to take pressure off existing crossings to Penn Station and PABT. The L to Secaucus or Hoboken might do that (though I doubt it), but in doing so it would also add pressure to similarly overwhelmed Manhattan trunk lines. You don’t need to service anywhere in particular directly, but bringing people directly to central/east Midtown is a critical design point, whatever is done.

You’re looking in the wrong place for projected postage stamp province chauvinism. It’s Adirondacker who is against subways to NJ, not me. In case you missed it, I was defending an extension to NJ. The L is just a bad choice, for NYC if not NJ.

Ryan September 6, 2015 - 2:25 pm

Actually, the 8th, 7th, 6th and Broadway trunk lines could all fairly easily absorb localized additional demand between 14 and 42 (outside of which being outside the scope of the L to Jersey). According to the capacity utilization chart that the MTA produced in late 2014 the uptown 2, 3, A, C, B, D, N, Q, and R trains are all operating below 70% (the F is at exactly 70%) from Brooklyn, and could likely absorb in all cases another car’s worth of L passengers coming in from Jersey. That’s also before figuring out what percentage of Jersey-originating L passengers are actually looking to go somewhere in the vicinity of 14 St rather than into midtown.

The worst of the capacity crunch issues (with the exception of the Lexington Avenue Line, which is equally bad for everyone in all directions) are all coming from the north or the east in the morning and pointed firmly downtown, opposite the likely direction of travel for most Jersey residents taking the L.

Bolwerk September 6, 2015 - 3:28 pm

Ok, Sixth, Eighth, Broadway. So you’re saying a 2-transfer penalty for Midtown service is not enough. You want a 3-transfer penalty? 😀

The reality is people would gravitate toward the Lex under that scheme. It’s the only direct-ish route to East Midtown from the L until the SAS is built. The Broadway services take you back to the west side before turning east again.

The 7 is a one-transfer penalty for most riders. It’s tolerable, but bad enough. Done right it could even stop in Hoboken. (Honestly, I don’t have a big problem with the L to NJ, and think it could see successful usage. But Midtown relief logically should come first.)

Ryan September 6, 2015 - 5:15 pm

Where are you getting this second and third transfer from? The primary market here is the vast number of people living along the potential L extension right of way, cutting across Hoboken and then turning down JFK Blvd to the West Side. Everyone who would use it already lives within half a mile of it, boards the L and transfers once – at Journal Square if heading to the Financial District and at any of the stations along 14 St to get their relevant stop in Midtown. The people seeking Lex destinations are screwed because their one transfer happens to be onto the Lex, but it’s not like everything west of 5 Av is a wasteland.

adirondacker12800 September 6, 2015 - 5:18 pm

It’s a two seat ride for Grand Central that would take as long as taking a three seat ride using the shuttle. I know how it works, I dunno how many times I’ve taken the E at 53rd and Lex instead of 6 at 51st and Lex to get to Penn Station. Or the BMT instead of the IRT at 59th and Lex. Changing at Valley Stream for the train to Wall Street from the train going to Penn Station or from the train going to Wall Street from the train going to Grand Central is across the platform. The same thing in New Jersey, much easier to change from the train to Wall Street across the platform to the train to Grand Central in Rahway or Summit instead of futzing around on the subway.
….if it’s such a fabulous idea why don’t Long Islanders do it at Woodside?

adirondacker12800 September 6, 2015 - 5:58 pm

There’s more people if you go north


Some of the people on the West Side already have rail access to the uptown and downtown PATH trains


If that isn’t to their liking there’s


There’s other buses in Hudson County too. Which is why the Port Authority built a bus terminal over the Journal Square PATH station.

Bolwerk September 7, 2015 - 2:03 pm

Ryan: the point here is to alleviate crowd conditions on existing crossings. A bus or rail rider transfers to the subway in NJ at least needs a subway that goes where s/he wants to go directly. For a nontrivial number of riders, the west side subways don’t even serve the right part of the east side, hence my joke about the third transfer. Bus/train* -> L -> another subway -> some sort of crosstown or downtown trip to final destination?

Granted, the 7 isn’t exactly ideal either. Ideally a subway from New Jersey would probably use the E’s route toward Queens. But it’s good enough to take pressure off the other alternatives.

Basically, the L doesn’t work for the same reasons PATH doesn’t work to take pressure off the bus/commuter rail crossings. That doesn’t mean the L to NJ is a bad idea, but it doesn’t fit this goal.

* Could be a transfer before here already anyway

adirondacker12800 September 6, 2015 - 2:14 pm

Sending a train up the spine of Bergen Hill makes some sense. Secaucus is well west of Bergen Hill.

adirondacker12800 September 6, 2015 - 2:12 pm

Hoboken isn’t in Secaucus, Jersey City isn’t in Secaucus. Bayonne isn’t in Secaucus, Kearny isn’t in Secaucus, East Newark isn’t in Secaucus, Harrison isn’t in Secaucus, West New York isn’t in Secaucus, Guttenberg, Union City and Weehawken aren’t in Secaucus. Neither is North Bergen. If you thought getting on the bus from Journal Square was bad it’s not going to be any better getting on a bus to Secaucus.

Bolwerk September 4, 2015 - 11:45 am

What’s this stuff about FRA waivers? WMATA runs in two states plus DC, and the FRA doesn’t bother them. The FRA mostly seems to care about keeping rapid transit away from freight tracks, which is stupid but not exactly operative here.

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 2:03 pm

If all of the 7 trains are running to Secaucus there are too many of them to share tracks. The FRA doesn’t care if the trains don’t share tracks. ( and if there isn’t enough demand to fill all the trains there isn’t enough demand to be digging tunnels across the river… )

Bolwerk September 4, 2015 - 3:06 pm

I doubt it would be that hard to fill trains in Secaucus at rush hour. Other times? Probably not.

The FRA seems open to waivers anyway. More than one light rail system is now timesharing with FRA regulated stuff.

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 5:05 pm

Except for a few thousand people who work in Hudson Yards which trips are faster? All the people who walk to work from Penn Station will keep on walking to work from Penn Station. The people who pour onto the subway to get any place other than Grand Central will keep going to Penn Station. Grand Central may even take more time than going one stop to Times Square and getting on the shuttle.

Bolwerk September 4, 2015 - 6:58 pm

They may not be faster, but they probably aren’t any slower. The current average speed between Times Square and Queensborough Plaza on the 7 is 18mph (~3.3mi in 12min).

The Secaucus segment drawn above (not the most direct route) would be about 6.15mi between Secaucus and Grand Central. To very cautiously assume the same speed would be achieved on the new segment as on the old, 6.15 miles at 18mph is about 20-21 minutes. That’s already competitive walking time between the far Grand Central and Penn. Google walking directions suggest 22min for that trip.

Of course, there’s reason to believe the Secaucus-GCT trip would be faster because most of the distance would be on new track with few stops. At average speeds of 30mph, that distance would take about 12¼ minutes to traverse. Not a bad deal to avoid the Penn Station zoo.

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 7:50 pm

Mnahattan has many other destinations besides Grand Central. While I’m sure there are people who walk from Grand Central to Penn Station there are other subway lines besides the 7. Some that go to places other than Grand Central. It’s slower if you want to go to Times Square. It’s slower if you want to go to Rockefeller Center. Slower if you want to go to Union Square. It’s slower if you want to go the low 50s – the E train is much better at getting to 53rd and Fifth or 53rd and Lex. Then there’s the little project under Second Avenue that makes many destinations not-Grand-Central easier to get to from Penn Station.

Bolwerk September 4, 2015 - 8:41 pm

Um? Walking times:

Penn to Rockefeller: 23min
Penn to Times Square: 13min
42nd St/6th Ave to Rockefeller: 8min

The 7 to Secaucus doesn’t slow down ANY of those trips. The old trips would still be possible. I don’t understand what you’re complaining about. Grand Central is the furthest point in Manhattan along the 7 Train, so travel by 7 Train to TQ or Bryant Park would logically be a little faster.

Considering most of the point of the idea is to cheaply add cross-Hudson capacity, it’s fine to let riders sort out how they choose to travel.

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 10:25 pm

There are other subway lines in Manhattan.


Bolwerk September 5, 2015 - 9:39 am

…and you think one of them should be sent to Secaucus?

adirondacker12800 September 5, 2015 - 10:53 am

No. There’s not much in Secaucus and never will be because it’s mostly a swamp.

Bolwerk September 5, 2015 - 11:47 am

Then what was the point of your non-sequitur about other subway lines?

adirondacker12800 September 5, 2015 - 2:43 pm

Believe it or not people from New Jersey take the train to Penn Station and get on the subway. Some of them are going someplace other than Grand Central. They do it at the Port Authority bus terminal too. Some of them even do it down at the World Trade Center. And a few at 14th and 6th.

Bolwerk September 5, 2015 - 3:35 pm

Thank you again for the completely useless regurgitation of details I was already aware of.

Do you have a point to make?

adirondacker12800 September 5, 2015 - 4:11 pm

I dunno do you? There are other places in Manhattan besides Grand Central. People who want to go to them will use the faster route instead of the one that makes chills go up and down the spines of subway trainspotters.

Bolwerk September 5, 2015 - 5:50 pm

Admitting you had nothing useful to say would have sufficed, thanks.

adirondacker12800 September 5, 2015 - 6:25 pm

Okay give us an estimate of how many people are going to exercise the option of taking a longer trip.

Bolwerk September 6, 2015 - 10:46 am

Probably under 5% for reasons that are their own. Who cares?

adirondacker12800 September 6, 2015 - 11:53 am

we should care because it’s going to cost billions of dollars to dig tunnels. It makes much more sense to dig tunnels people will use.

Bolwerk September 6, 2015 - 12:38 pm

Plenty of people would use it. Ryan may not even be that off when he points out plenty of people would use almost anything, implications aside.

You’re acting as if a new alternative has to provide better service for 100% of potential users. It doesn’t. Maybe it needs to provide better service for 5%-10% or so of cross-Hudson rail/bus travelers. That’s maybe about 15,000 people, and frankly I think 7 to Secaucus does a hell of a lot better than that.

Herb Lehman September 4, 2015 - 11:47 am

After waiting five minutes in the dead of rush hour for a 5 train this morning, then another six minutes for a 6, a train that goes to New Jersey is the least of my concerns. Let them build their own train lines and let’s clean our own house first before entertaining these ideas.

Guest September 9, 2015 - 2:59 pm

I agree. Let’s worry about NYC before we worry about NJ. That money could be better used to run the SAS into the Bronx along Third Ave. Way more ridership potential considering high density, potential for far more density, and an already overcrowded 4/5/6.

Ray September 4, 2015 - 12:00 pm

Chelsea: Having lived at 24th and 10th, a stop in nearby would be enormously beneficial.

NJ: There’s merit to the idea of heading across the Hudson. On the way, I would suggest a stop in northern Hoboken/Weehawken, integrated with the Hudson River light rail and a new west of Hudson Bus Terminal developed by the Port Authority. At Secaucus, integrating commuter bus drop off should be part of the plan.

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 2:05 pm

It makes more sense to send trains from suburban train stations to another train station instead of sending buses.

Dc September 4, 2015 - 12:07 pm

@Bolwerk PATH is an FRA designated railroad though so the 7 couldn’t share track with it on the way to Secaucus without a waiver most likely

Michael K September 4, 2015 - 12:52 pm

Nothing that couldn’t be overcome with proper paperwork.

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 2:06 pm

There’s all those pesky PATH trains using it too.

Kyle September 4, 2015 - 12:15 pm

I find it sad that a Subway line to New Jersey would have High Consideration than expending service in the City of New York, which Queens is apart of. We should have better service in Bayside, Auburndal, and Murray Hill than an Bus and terribly low service levels of the LIRR Port Washington Line. Further more Far Eastern Queens Should really be serviced by the Subway as well.

It is really sad how neglected we are as a Borough and we actually pay NYC and NYS taxes…..

Michael K September 4, 2015 - 12:55 pm

Hudson County is considerably more dense than Eastern Queens, with the highest public transit mode share in the country – this shouldn’t be a question of “NYC’s” transit network going to NJ, but building the best possible network for the NYC region.

Chet September 4, 2015 - 1:22 pm

Yes, it should be dealt with on a regional level. However, for a 7 train to NJ- let NJ pay for it, or at least 95% of it.
Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island come first when dealing with NYS, NYC, and MTA dollars.

Michael K September 4, 2015 - 1:36 pm

The fact that we have the seperate MTA, PANYNJ and NJ Transit is a travesty. We need Tri-state Regional Planning Commission and their plans to establish a tri-state DOT responsible for all transportation modes back!

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 2:19 pm

After spending most of my life in New Jersey, no. Especially after watching decades of shenanigans where New York City wanted all of the Port Authority money. Especially after watching the MTA cut suburban service because it wasn’t as busy as urban service.

Bolwerk September 4, 2015 - 8:31 pm

NYC has no power to take PA money. Your blame-NYCism is almost pathological.

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 10:23 pm

Then tell us how the World Trade Center improves transportation in the port.

Bolwerk September 5, 2015 - 9:40 am

Tell us how NYC built the World Trade Center.

Tom s. September 5, 2015 - 1:19 pm

Why not charge $6 to board at Secaucus, and no charge to exit there? As I recall, NJ transit charges more for a ticket to NY Penn than Secaucus. Add a bit less than that difference to the cost of a subway fare and you might just pay for the tunnel that way… And maybe make a few bucks to support the rest of the system. Assuming the extension cost $5 billion, and you floated 3% tax-exempt mortgage-like bonds to pay for it, you’d need to pay about 700k per day to pay off the bonds in 30 years. If you could get $6 per trip from new boarders and put all that new money towards the bonds, you’d need 115k riders every day in Secaucus to pay off. That would imply an annual ridership of about 41,000,000, third place behind Times Square at 69MM, and GC at 46MM. Aggressive, sure, but not outrageous.

pete September 5, 2015 - 5:07 am

Why does the 7 have to goto Jersey? Why not send HBLR to Manhattan?

Bolwerk September 5, 2015 - 10:55 am

I really don’t get why HBLR to Manhattan isn’t discussed. Regarding adding capacity, it’s almost a no-brainer, at least if it can fit in the Lincoln Tunnel.

But there is a pretty strong case for the 7 to Secaucus too.

adirondacker12800 September 5, 2015 - 2:05 pm

It is discussed for 90 seconds, they conclude it doesn’t have enough capacity for the demand and move onto to things that do.

Bolwerk September 5, 2015 - 2:27 pm

It has the same as or more capacity than buses, probably with lower operating costs and a smaller footprint on the Manhattan side (a tram loop somewhere, even on the street, would suffice).

The only reason I can see to object to it is maybe the vehicles can’t fit in the tunnel? I never got a definitive answer on whether it’s possible.

adirondacker12800 September 5, 2015 - 3:05 pm

You can’t dump that many people off at one curb. Or pick them up. It’s why the the bus terminal has so many bays.

Bolwerk September 5, 2015 - 3:34 pm

Sure you can. LRVs, or even BRT vehicles, with better passenger flow and more doors be able to unload tens of thousands of people an hour, even if they have to berth multiple vehicles on one platform. It’s likely not so different from the numbers that hit 42nd Street-GCT on the Lex line every workday.

The bus terminal has so many bays because 2-door commuter/long-distance buses aren’t very efficient at loading and unloading. LRVs (and probably BRT) can load and unload as quickly as subways.

adirondacker12800 September 5, 2015 - 4:08 pm

Three car trolleys, no matter how close you space them together as they go through the tunnel at 50, can’t carry as many people as 11 car subway trains or 12 car suburban trains. If they could it wouldn’t have made sense to build the subway.

Bolwerk September 5, 2015 - 5:58 pm

Maybe, but the buses are carrying more people to Manhattan than any single subway tunnel line as is. If the point is to take a load off the buses, trams make perfect sense, especially if it allows us to use existing tunnel lanes more efficiently.

adirondacker12800 September 5, 2015 - 11:15 am

Because if we are going to be building tunnels costing billions of dollars we’d want something with more capacity.

eileen bauer July 23, 2016 - 8:45 pm

Or even the PATH. There can be some overlap between stations also.

Jon Y September 4, 2015 - 2:10 pm

These stops will be getting added service come ESA and the completion of the pocket track in Great Neck. The 2 train/hour service level is mainly because of the 1. Lack of demand but 2. Single track east of Great Neck. The pocket track will allow for more mid-run trains should the demand justify it.

pete September 5, 2015 - 5:09 am

The reason why nobody uses Port Washington line is its $6 or $8 a ride. Same reason nobody uses St Albans station in Jamaica or Forest Hills station.

Anonymous September 7, 2015 - 3:40 am

So fares should be reduced (to subway or slightly-above-subway level) to induce demand, then.

There is no valid reason why the LIRR/MNRR should be distinct from a proper subway line to passengers within the City. Making better use of already existing infrastructure (reducing fares, increasing frequency as passenger counts go up, perhaps later on ordering trains with subway interiors but complying with FRA standards, constructing stations in between, etc.) costs less, and would take traffic from the Flushing line, the Queens Boulevard Line, WPR/Lex line, IRT Broadway line, and the Fulton/Broadway lines (couple that all with bus rerouting and suddenly you have a busy rail line), and would bring proper rail service to areas that have the infrastructure but isn’t being used yet.

JEG September 4, 2015 - 12:18 pm

To reiterate a point made in similar posts regarding the extension of the 7 Line to New Jersey. Any extension really should come in the context of building a bus terminal in New Jersey so that the site of the Port Authority Bus Terminal can be redeveloped into some combination of office, hotel, and/or residential. The ultimate goal should be decreasing bus traffic through the Lincoln Tunnel, so that we can free up valuable real estate in the city and further transform the West Side of Manhattan into a more vibrant community. Possibly the redevelopment potential could play some part in the funding of this extension.

As for the extension of the 7 line to Chelsea, perhaps it would make more sense to think about extending the wider body L train north from 14th street.

Michael K September 4, 2015 - 1:00 pm

Over 50% of the PABT users walk to their destination in Manhattan. Not sure if a Jersey transfer is the best idea.

If anything, a commuter rail trunk line under 5th Ave is the real solution to get people where they want to go and allow for more housing expansion in the suburbs and satellite cities.

22rr September 4, 2015 - 1:26 pm

We should do anything and everything we can to reduce bus traffic in Manhattan. The bus riders can stomach a transfer to subway.

Michael K September 4, 2015 - 1:49 pm

If the lines will anything like PABT, people will wait for 15 minutes on an idling bus for a disembarking area…then go downstairs to a hot platform with thousands of other people, for a train they may not get on because there are capacity issues.

Then travel 15 minutes to Hudson yards, then times sq and then 5th ave…where the dwell times will be high and the platforms extremely overcrowded…the Flushing West Rezoning and the new developments in Hunters Point and LIC won’t help with that.

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 2:09 pm

Instead of sending them down to their suburban train station to catch a bus let them catch a train. It eliminates bus traffic through the tunnel and it eliminates bus traffic to the tunnel. Or the bus terminal at the end of a slow subway trip.

Alon Levy September 4, 2015 - 2:53 pm

Buses have a direct route from the tunnel to PABT, so they’re not clogging Manhattan streets. Maybe they’re competing for Lincoln Tunnel lanes with cars, but if that’s the issue, then moving PABT to Jersey is purely a project for private cars. No thanks.

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 3:00 pm

That was one of the reasons to build the PABT. Before that, some New Jersey bus routes went through the Holland and went all the way up to Central Park. The Short Line terminal was in one place the Greyhound Terminal in another etc. The B&O was still running buses down to the ferry so they could get to the CNJ terminal. The bus would pull right up to the intercity train.

22rr September 4, 2015 - 1:28 pm

5th Avenue commuter trunk sounds interesting — do you have a link to where I can read more about the idea?

Michael K September 4, 2015 - 1:39 pm

We haven’t ever studied it. It would be an incredibly complex undertaking, considering all the underground things it would have to thread past.

Hopefully, it is taken up by NYCDCP’s new Regional Planning Unit.

Jon Y September 4, 2015 - 2:12 pm

Isn’t the water line under 5th ave?

Ryan September 4, 2015 - 8:24 pm

The real solution already exists in the trunk line that was already built under Park Avenue – you know, that enormously wide, overly bloated street that Metro-North runs over?

You can run more tracks under it. Two’s easy, gets you six tracks. In the universe where Long Island has sank back into the sea, there might be a good reason to go to eight tracks under Park Avenue, but fear not, that’s only slightly more logistically complex than going from four to six.

We could actually likely manage TEN whole tracks under Park Avenue before having to explore crazy ideas like a brand-new potentially impossible 5th avenue trunk line for commuter rail.

Anonymous September 7, 2015 - 7:43 am

The amount of trains you can get in and out of a terminus is still quite limited. I believe the Catalunya FGC station in Barcelona manages to get 24tph out of a 2 track line leading to a 6 track station with insanely fast turnarounds. But the problem at Grand Central isn’t terminal capacity (67 tracks is ridiculously oversized). The problem at Grand Central is that it’s one massive point where people change to the subway, leading to massive crowding in the subway station, and major capacity issues south of said station.

A 5th Avenue (or any other avenue, actually, 5th Avenue likely chosen because it doesn’t have another subway going beneath it. I’d prefer going further south on Park then Broadway except for the lines already existing) commuter trunk line would mean that trains could be extended towards Lower Manhattan (and maybe even Brooklyn to allow LIRR trains to loop back) to fan out the load over a couple of stations with plenty of interchange options (think 14th St, Broadway-Lafayette, WTC/Fulton, maybe even open a station at 59th-63rd) with a reversing loop on the southern end (perhaps including South Ferry) to allow trains to turn back north again. 6 tracks, 2 for MNRR, 2 for LIRR and 2 for NJT (joining via Broadway) because of having different power supplies and not having to share tracks, over 2 levels (one uptown, one downtown).

Cost would be enormous but so is rebuilding Penn Station and enlarging the 456 station (and having to do it again at some point). And it would truly turn the commuter rail network into a regional rail network.

adirondacker12800 September 7, 2015 - 1:09 pm

The New Haven Line copes with two different power supplies, it has since it was electrified. On Sundays when there is a football game starting at 1, the NJTransit train to Trenton starts out in New Haven.

Anonymous September 7, 2015 - 3:59 pm

Yes, but then there’s the issues with the different third rail designs of the LIRR and MNRR, and IIRC extended sections of both third rail and overhead lines have some issues with conflicting return current (increasing maintenance and cost).

Besides that it’s operationally much easier, as MNRR, NJT and the LIRR can write their timetables more independent of each other.

adirondacker12800 September 7, 2015 - 5:47 pm

Apparently the third rail shoes on recent cars can use both kinds of third rail. Metro North has extensive experience changing from overhead to third rail and vice versa. Any significant increase in service means buying more trains. Buy ones that can do what you need for the increased service.

Ryan September 7, 2015 - 6:08 pm

For billions less than it would cost to replicate all that infrastructure one avenue over, you could just punch out more tracks underneath Park Avenue. The cheap option is to use the deep cavern and keep heading south from that, the more expensive option is to punch through out of the lower level. Whichever option you pick, once you get a few blocks south of Grand Central’s front door then there’s no longer any issues – you’re underneath the existing tunnels already because you had to be to get out of the station to begin with, so you can just keep going all the way down to Fulton and then on to wherever you’d like to go with the tunnel.

Spending $25 billion on a new trunk line to save $15 billion on overhauling an existing trunk line didn’t save you a damn thing, and it didn’t make anyone else’s life any easier, and it isn’t worth doing.

Streater September 4, 2015 - 5:32 pm

the bus tunnel (yes it has it’s own dedicated tunnel)carries in more passengers than all the hudson river train tunnels… so that would be stupid… it’s the most efficient tunnel in the whole city. AND it’s closer to midtown than Penn station, so of course most people would rather take the bus. MAYBE they should build another bus tunnel and REBUILD the PABT.

Ryan September 4, 2015 - 8:36 pm

You build the stop at 10 Av like you should have done in the first place and suddenly the PABT is only ‘closer’ to Midtown by one avenue.

As for the dedicated tunnel, the beautiful thing about a tunnel designed to carry a whole lot of fuckin’ buses is that it can be pretty easily retrofitted to carry a whole lot of fuckin’ subway cars instead. As an added bonus, that solves that little problem of having to support financing for the 7’s new tunnel across the river because the new tunnel is just the old tunnel with some ballast thrown on top of the asphalt.

There’s just one problem and that’s that the tunnel to Hudson Yards has to get downgraded to a shuttle service. Too bad we spent all that money just to shut ourselves out of the most efficient possibility for the extension, right?

Bolwerk September 4, 2015 - 8:56 pm

While it certainly makes sense to try to divert some of that traffic to rail, I doubt it’s the most subway-friendly traffic overall. Those buses still fan out all over North Jersey. At most, some routes might be light rail-friendly, but few are likely to demand heavy rail.

Ryan September 4, 2015 - 9:04 pm

Doesn’t matter. The purpose of this thought exercise was specifically “tear down the PABT, rebuild it in Jersey, connect the 7 to the new PABT.”

You could keep every single one of those buses and have them all terminate at ?PABT, with everyone transferring to the 7 there or boarding the 7 directly from their local stops in Union City or wherever.

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 10:38 pm

Secaucus isn’t in Union City. If it stops in Union City it makes the slow ride even slower.

Bolwerk September 5, 2015 - 9:50 am

You could, but why? You’d still be inconveniencing a lot of people who are used to having a one-seat bus ride.

You can get a lot of people onto rail by merely offering better rail options. This should itself offer significant relief to PABT.

adirondacker12800 September 5, 2015 - 10:55 am

Like what happened to the buses to Manhattan along the Morris and Essex lines when Midtown Direct opened?

Bolwerk September 5, 2015 - 11:48 am

Midtown Direct hasn’t at all stopped bus ridership in NJ from skyrocketing.

adirondacker12800 September 5, 2015 - 2:49 pm

Amazingly people in Bergen county don’t immediately think of driving to South Orange to get to New York. The people in South Orange on the other hand stopped taking the bus to the PABT and get on the train. They’ll do the same thing in Cranford and Ridgewood when they get faster rides to Penn Station.

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 10:36 pm

Most of them pass by an existing active railroad station. What doesn’t usually passes by an existing inactive railroad station.

Bolwerk September 4, 2015 - 8:49 pm

It’s doubtful preference is operative. Most people have to take a bus because a bus is what is available to them.

And it’s not efficient at all. The buses move slowly almost bumper to bumper. Train tunnels have more capacity on much faster vehicles. Unfortunately NJ trains don’t go where as many people live.

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 10:31 pm

Most of New Jersey like most of Long Island or Westchester or Fairfield or Rockland or Bucks or Montgomery or … is built around the train station.

Bolwerk September 5, 2015 - 9:58 am

True or not, trains are much less available to New Jersey residents than buses.

AG September 5, 2015 - 10:46 am

Buses are still better than cars though.

Bolwerk September 5, 2015 - 11:29 am

Better, worse, who cares? This isn’t a matter of opinion or preference. People are taking buses to Manhattan at nearly double the rate they take trains because Penn-bound trains either take them too far from their preferred destination in Manhattan or, probably more likely, simply aren’t available without a transfer from a bus. If you’re already on a vehicle, you may as well stay on it.

The market for bus-rail transfers might actually be quite big if the rail takes them within range of the job-dense corridor of Central/East Midtown between 42nd and 59th Street (more walkable from PABT than Penn, even more walkable from the 7 Train). But still, without intense capital investment in rail on the NJ side, most people will probably prefer the one-seat bus ride they have.

adirondacker12800 September 5, 2015 - 2:09 pm

they let people who don’t get on a bus in New Jersey use the bus terminal.

AG September 5, 2015 - 10:24 pm

Who cares? Of course it makes a difference. If those people weren’t using buses they wouldn’t be taking trains. They would try to drive – which would be absolute gridlock.
Of course more rail would be better – but you answered it yourself… Capital investment.

adirondacker12800 September 6, 2015 - 1:23 am

Buses aren’t free and if you think trains are overstaffed they are models of frugality compared to busses.Diesel fuel isn’t free or road maintenance. Or building more lanes for moar bussez.

AG September 7, 2015 - 12:29 pm

What exactly is your point? Of course trains are better… “Show me the money” for the capital expenditures to extend rail… Until then – buses are better than cars – as my original statement said.

adirondacker12800 September 7, 2015 - 2:09 pm

There isn’t any room for more buses. The buses get stuck in the same traffic the cars do.

adirondacker12800 September 7, 2015 - 2:15 pm

There’s no room for more buses.
The buses get stuck in the same traffic as cars. If you want more buses you have to build more highway. Likely to include a few billion for more bus terminal and if you want a lot of buses a new tunnel. Which is why a decade ago the Port Authority found 3 billion dollars to help fund ARC and the Turnpike found a billion and a quarter.

Bolwerk September 6, 2015 - 10:58 am

There would be no need to worry about that. The laws of physics pretty much make more driving impossible as is, and the laws of finance and economics make the bang:buck ratio for adding more road capacity so laughable even reality-allergic carheads like Chris Christie, Andy Cuomo, and Bill de Blasio can’t fake enthusiasm.

adirondacker12800 September 5, 2015 - 11:13 am

Because their isn’t enough tunnel. People who want to go to Wall Street go down to the train station and take a train to Hoboken or Newark, change to PATH and go downtown. Since the train terminates in Newark or Hoboken, when they want to go to Midtown they go down to the train station and take a bus to the Port Authority. Send the trains to Penn Station and they won’t get on the bus anymore, like what happened along the Morris and Essex lines when Midtown Direct opened.

Bolwerk September 5, 2015 - 11:34 am

I don’t buy that. The buses in North Jersey are a lot of medium and low ridership routes oriented toward feeding PABT. You aren’t going to bring rail to all of them. You can’t get rid of the bus services. Penn Station is not even a nice alternative for these riders, mostly a lateral alternative at best.

But you can take pressure off the bus services. It just so happens that they’re about at the limit to the number of people they can handle under the Hudson. It’s why more rail tunnels (not just two new Penn feeders) makes sense.

adirondacker12800 September 5, 2015 - 2:24 pm

Many of them feed the PABT because the train service at the station they pass is lousy or it put the train service out of business in the 50s or 60s. There are going to be places where the bus is the only option. There are many many places in New Jersey ( and Rockland and Orange ) where the bus to PABT is at the train station or very near the train station. Cut 15, 20 minutes out of the train trip, people will stop taking the bus…. like what happened along the Morris and Essex lines.

wise infrastructure September 4, 2015 - 1:01 pm

If the Atlantic Ave LIRR was converted into subway use (as it should be) with an East River crossing and connection to one of the uptown lines (8th Ave local or Broadway BMT), then Jamaica/Jamaica Station would have express service into the city without the “E” train. (I would however send a portion of the Queens Blvd locals to Jamaica to maintain the Queens Blvd connection)

I would then rebuild the the World’s Fare IND link up to the Long Island Expressway and then build a line east over the expressway out to Eastern Queens and have the “E” run along this route .

Ryan September 4, 2015 - 8:47 pm

If you convert the Atlantic Branch into a subway you’ve just locked yourself out of the last possible LIRR-NJT cooperative trunk line that could bring everyone from Jersey, Queens and Brooklyn into the financial district. There’s nowhere else to route trains between Jamaica and Fulton Center that isn’t already a subway. And for what? Another A train, except this one runs two blocks away? Come on. If there’s a need for more subway service in the vicinity of Fulton Street, the actual Fulton Street Subway is pretty embarrassingly far under capacity. Run more trains between the river and the Rockaways, or if you’re building more tunnels anyway, punch out a new tunnel from the E terminal so that the E can terminate in Brooklyn and the C doesn’t have to deal with the Canal St switching disaster anymore.

johndmuller September 6, 2015 - 5:17 am

What exactly is the “Canal St switching disaster” anyway; it doesn’t look all that terrible on the maps, assuming you’re talking about the C merging with the A (or the E depending on direction). One would think that the timing on the E should be flexible enough as it is nearly at its terminal, to be able to adjust (i.e. yield) to the actual timing of the A & C if there is a potential conflict.

Ryan September 6, 2015 - 1:50 pm

Oh, no, of course it doesn’t look terrible on the map. It looks terrible under load, so between the hours of 7 am and 9 am and between the hours of 4 pm and 6 pm, and also any time something goes wrong with the switches.

Michael Benami Doyle September 4, 2015 - 2:17 pm

But a 7 extension to Secaucus or anywhere else in New Jersey will not happen on the financial side without the capital and likely also operational participation of New Jersey. And as we all know, funding trans-Hudson tunnels remains a political non-starter in Trenton. And when that changes, the conversation is going to be about funding Amtrak’s proposed new tunnel. Given fiscal constraints on both sides of the Hudson, I doubt either Governor will be willing to fund two separate tunnel projects, and the Northeast Corridor will (and has to) come first.

Ryan September 4, 2015 - 8:53 pm

The one thing that can be said for the extension to Hudson Yards is that sending the 7 to New Jersey via the lower level of a new Gateway tube is now on the table as an option. You just have to build Gateway with two levels of two tracks each, but that’s fairly technically easy and probably much cheaper than a brand-new tunnel in the vicinity of the 20s anyway.

Connecting to the Lincoln Tunnel or making a straight shot into a new 41 St Tunnel are both superior options but neither of them are feasible without undoing all that investment we just made into the 7 going to Hudson Yards.

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 10:33 pm

Only in the frothier hallucinations of some subway fans.

bigbellymon4 September 4, 2015 - 11:53 pm

Not True. 7x trains can run through the tunnel to NJ while the 7 Local can service Hudson Yards. But, like what was stated earlier in this comments section, capacity needs to be improved in order for this to be successful. If between 41st/10av and Queensboro can handle 40tph with CBTC activated, it is possible to throttle 20 to each. (Most likely 111th will need to be terminal again for local trains.)

adirondacker12800 September 5, 2015 - 12:24 am

You want 40 trains an hour in each direction they need to run slower than they do now.

bigbellymon4 September 5, 2015 - 2:02 am

One rule of thumb before posting: review your comment. The 2/3 cant operate more than 23tph because of the sharp curves from Chambers to Fulton and the curves from Clark to Borough Hall. The 7 can handle 27tph without CBTC; if the trains can move through the curves from Queensboro to Vernon-Jackson and the curves between GC and TS at faster speeds, a possible max of 40tph is attainable.

Brooklynite September 5, 2015 - 1:40 pm

The 5 goes over 7th Av all the time and there are few delays if any. The chokepoint is om the IRT Brooklyn line, specifically Rogers Junction.

(Proof? The 2 runs via Lex with few delays. The main chokepoint is in Brooklyn.)

Anonymous September 9, 2015 - 10:09 am

Indeed. Curves aren’t much of a problem (at lower speeds braking distance becomes shorter too).

40tph is only achievable (reliably at least) on any line that doesn’t have branching or complicated junctions. In NYC, that’s currently the 1, 6, 7, L and the Times Square/Franklin Avenue shuttles. And even then it would require stock capable of really quick acceleration. And don’t forget proper signalling (and before someone mentions Moscow, remember that safety wasn’t a top priority in the Soviet Union)

Want proof? Look at the R, and specifically at how Bay Ridge gets screwed every single time something happens on the QBL. The R’s most reliable moments were after the Whitehall tubes were flooded, because suddenly the R in Brooklyn became a highly reliable end-to-end line.

adirondacker12800 September 9, 2015 - 7:44 pm

It needs really quick braking too. So it doesn’t slam into the train ahead of it that’s only 90 seconds away.

Ryan September 5, 2015 - 8:13 am

You can’t operate the in both directions without either severely reducing peak capacity or spending an awful lot of money to rebuild the Flushing Line with four tracks, but that’s really a non-issue if you just treat this like the A and call both of its branches the 7 local.

Actually, during the peak, the 7 expresses ought to be terminating at Hudson Yards, because the peak direction of travel that dictates which way the express track runs is the opposite for New Jersey that it is for Queens.

Union Tpke September 4, 2015 - 2:21 pm

They should extend the line down 11th Avenue to South Ferry. The L should be extended to 72nd Street via Amsterdam Avenue and 10th Avenue. There would be a transfer at 14th Street.

Panthers September 4, 2015 - 2:30 pm

I agree with the Worlds Fair link, only extend it to Flushing. But converting the Atlantic Ave LIRR branch would be wasteful unless you run it as a “super express” – Jamaica, East NY, new stop at Franklin Ave to connect with shuttle, Barclay’s Center. It mimics the A, so what would the benefit be otherwise.

7 and/or L to New Jersey. No. Not in a million years.
L: new stop at 10th/11th and 14th, new stop at Christopher Street to connect with PATH.
7: new stop at 23rd/11th, 11th and 14th to connect with L and or run the 7 up 14th from 10th/11th to 8th ave to connect with A, C, E and L.
PATH: HBK to Javits Center to meet the 7. Path would go Jr Sq, Grove, bypass Newport, HBK, Javits Center.
PATH would now have: Newark/WTC, Jr Sq/33rd, Newark/Javits Center. That would reduce traffic through the Lincoln Tunnel. Nwk to Javits via HBK, 7 to PABT and Grand Central. Better than a bus.

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 2:57 pm

It connects with PATH at 14th and 6th.

Panthers September 4, 2015 - 3:30 pm


I take the PATH from Grove almost all the time. Very few people get off PATH at Christopher Street. On weekdays the trains can be jam packed. This is one way to alleviate this and give people a quicker route to jobs in Chelsea/Meat Packing District.

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 5:08 pm

How many billions of dollars do we spend so a few thousand people have more than one way to get to work?

Panthers September 8, 2015 - 1:57 pm

The point is that Hbk and JC are growing faster than anyone could have imagined. Look at Grove Street in downtown JC. See all the condos going up?

I don’t know about you, but I’m surely not going to pay with my tax dollars to extend the subways to Jersey. Let that be PATH’s problem. Build out PATH. Leave the L and/or 7 extensions in the City and/or Queens and/or Brooklyn.

L to Christopher Street makes sense for L riders. 7 up to 8th Avenue/14th makes sense for everyone.

adirondacker12800 September 8, 2015 - 2:15 pm

L riders can change to the same PATH trains at 6th and 14th.

Panthers September 9, 2015 - 11:41 am

Yeah….and so…..?????

You ever think that commuting patterns on the other side of the L need to be looked at? Williamsburg exploded. Bushwick (to Jefferson St.) is exploding. The area between Wilson on the L and Gates on the J is exploding. Young people stay out late. Duh. I live in Bushwick and I’m in Jersey City near Grove half the week. I’ve noticed the following:

1. Trains Friday/Saturday night at Myrtle/Wyckoff are 4/5 full. By the time you hit Graham Ave, the trains are packed.
2. More people are getting on/off at Bedford than ever before
3. Less people are getting off in the East Village
4. There is a significant traffic flow to the PATH at 6th Avenue
5. The trains are about at 66% capacity heading for 8th Ave.

If you are going to send the 7 down thru Chelsea, you don’t need the L to go up through Chelsea. Send the L down to the west village. A new terminal at Christopher Street would allow for faster turnarounds on the L and more trains. Just having a station to transfer to the PATH is a bonus.

So what’s your point again?

Alon Levy September 4, 2015 - 2:49 pm

no recent NYC infrastructure project has seen more discussion about potential future extensions than the 7 line.


bigbellymon4 September 5, 2015 - 2:05 am

Not really. Since the curve to Lex/125 is the big middle finger to the Bronx, there is only one extension discussed with current proposals: 125ST subway to Broadway.

Anonymous September 8, 2015 - 8:19 am

Good news everyone! It hasn’t been built yet, so anything can change. Current plans mention including provision for an extension to the Bronx (so both can be built, hurray!), and SAS will have enough capacity for 2 services (otherwise the T needs to be rethought once a Downtown extension finally happens)

Rob September 4, 2015 - 2:57 pm

If you want to alleviate pressure on trans-Hudson rail capacity, DON’T extend the obsolete IRT line with its costly, tiny dimensions. Extend the L train, or as long as you are going to spend a lot of money rebuild the 7 to IND/BMT dimensions, and you’ll get a lot more capacity on the whole route.

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 4:59 pm

Or spend a whole lot of money so suburbanites just stay on the train as it expresses through Secaucus and go to Grand Central on the train they boarded in the suburbs.

Larry Littlefield September 4, 2015 - 3:20 pm

“Sending the 7 train to Secaucus was one of those ideas that came out of nowhere following Gov. Chris Christie’s decision to cancel the ARC tunnel.”

Again, just to accurately define the history, it was proposed by the NYC Department of City Planning in the 1990s. Someone should ask Sandy Hornick, the director of strategic planning at the time and a big proponent, about this.

The idea was rejected by New Jersey despite its relatively low cost because that state’s representatives claimed affluent suburbanites would be unwilling to use an inferior urban service like a subway, with homeless, graffiti, etc.

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 5:06 pm

So just who are all those people pouring off the suburban trains in Hoboken and Newark to get on PATH?

Larry Littlefield September 4, 2015 - 6:11 pm

I’m not sure how old you are, but 20 years ago is a long time. Still the attitudes back then affect what we are stuck with today.

Somehow there were no homeless and was no graffiti on the PATH, even back in the day. It was considered sort of “suburban” back when “urban was considered bad.

I’m telling you what was said.

That and something else. Federal transpiration officials actually questioned whether it made sense to continue reinvesting in transit to the Manhattan CBD, because it was surely going to be emptied out over time like the rest of them.

Moreover, the “Access to the Region’s Core” study did not include Downtown as part of the region’s core. I heard this stuff.

Bolwerk September 4, 2015 - 7:03 pm

I seem to recall chauvinist NJ rail advocates didn’t exactly like the idea of sharing their new station, the then-planned ARC, with anyone else either. Didn’t help make the case for ARC.

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 7:12 pm

They gave up trying to get the New Yorkers to pay attention. Amtrak has been making noises about how the station is going to run out of capacity since the 80s.

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 7:36 pm

After being ignored by New York for 20 years they decided to go it alone.

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 5:27 pm

….not to mention the ones who pour off the trains and onto the subway at Penn Station. or off the buses and onto the subway at the Port Authority.

JJJ September 4, 2015 - 3:52 pm

Secaucus is a waste. Theres nothing there

Send the 7 to Newark.

Hoboken (new deep station under existing stuff)
new direct deep bore tunnel to
Journal Square
Hook into existing, under capacity, tracks for continuing service to
South Newark
New tracks for

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 5:10 pm

There’s PATH trains, packed to the gills, on the tracks between Newark and Jersey City.

JJJJ September 4, 2015 - 5:45 pm

There are. But less of them because many trains terminate at journal square. That means theres free track capacity for the 7 to alleviate that crowding.

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 6:33 pm

The trains to the World Trade Center aren’t going away. Unless you can fill the tunnel with trains it’s not worth building the tunnel.

Panthers September 9, 2015 - 11:25 am

Subway to Jersey. NO! Not a chance. Let them build out PATH. PATH to Javits…PATH to PABT….PATH to Hanover Sq (meets 2nd Ave. line). I wouldn’t give another state a dime, especially considering we need subway solutions here in all five boros.

Boarat of NYC September 4, 2015 - 6:36 pm

The 7 train should be extended south with stops at 25th Street, 14th Street, Christopher Street, Canal Street and WTC. This would relieve crowding on the 1,2,3,4,5,6 trains. It would also give me a one seat ride.

More Kasha September 4, 2015 - 7:31 pm

I’ve been touting a 7 line extension to Jersey for years. Bring it to the meadowlands and close down the PA Bus terminal. The Jersey buses could then make more frequent runs w/less drivers and the meadowlands was an intermodal center.

The bus terminal could then be redeveloped as a mixed use (offices/apartments).

adirondacker12800 September 4, 2015 - 10:16 pm

Hey why not have everyone on the LIRR change in Jamaica. Think of all the money re-re-redevoloping Penn Station could bring. And have all the Metro North passengers get on the subway in the Bronx. Could put some really big office towers where Grand Central is.

gh September 5, 2015 - 1:14 am

You realize of course there is a reason there are two Hudson tunnels and four East river tunnels right? PRR controlled the LIRR and provisioned for it’s needs. Penn, like Grand Central, was never designed to handle commuter loads like they both do now. GC has skated by due to the almost comical number of platforms and tracks that were designed in. Even still GC has recently reached the saturation point during rush due to the limitations of the GC switch plant and Park Ave tunnel. Penn was never supposed to accommodate the peak commuter volumes from NJ that it does today. Until MSG is gone this really isn’t a situation that can be rectified.

Faced with the prospect of a $10B plus PABT replacement the 7 to Secaucus bears extensive consideration as an alternative/redundancy to the noth river tunnels. Given the elusive nature of federal funding relying on them to come through for Amtrak is misguidedly optimistic at best. This is a project that is fully within the PA’s preview and authority to underwrite.

adirondacker12800 September 5, 2015 - 1:32 am

You want to run more buses into Manhattan you have to build more tunnel. Or evict cars now using the Lincoln Tunnel. It’s really really expensive to have suburbanites go down to their suburban train station and get on a bus. Especially if it’s to get someplace the train could go. Even more especially if you have to build more road to the new tunnel.

Bolwerk September 5, 2015 - 11:39 am

Evicting cars is a pretty cheap solution. I think, according to Hubbound, only a few thousand cars are going through the tunnel during those two morning rush hours with over 30k bus riders each. That’s quite a concession to auto drivers, the least efficient and most expensive transport mode of them all.

It’d be nice if we could be more imaginative than just adding more buses though.

Nathanael September 13, 2015 - 12:47 am

Evicting cars from the Lincoln Tunnel makes so much sense. Why not?

Heck, let’s be generous. We can allow taxis through.

If there’s enough room in one of the tunnels to run HBLR — and there might be — you could have two lanes eastbound for buses and taxis, two lanes westbound for buses and taxis, and two tracks for light rail. Imagine the capacity…

g September 5, 2015 - 1:50 pm

The idea is to stop running most busses into Manhattan. The PABT is over age, over capacity, and supremely inadequate to what’s being required of it. Replacing it is going to cost an absolutely absurd amount of money and not significantly expand trans Hudson capacity. The PA seems to realize that direct replacement is going to be politically and financially untenable.

adirondacker12800 September 5, 2015 - 2:52 pm

The unspoken thing is that to run all the buses to the expanded terminal it needs a new tunnel.

Larry Littlefield September 5, 2015 - 7:38 am

“Hey why not have everyone on the LIRR change in Jamaica.”

The reality is, most of those coming in on either service need to take a subway anyway.

When LIRR riders change at Jamaica, it adds 45 minutes to their trip to the CBD — and they share a train already packed with Queens riders.

Run the #7 to Secaucus and the NJ riders would lose, at most, 10 minutes compared with NJT to Penn, provided the top speed on the extension was high enough. And they’d already by on a subway solely occupied by those changing from NJ commuter rail and bus.

adirondacker12800 September 5, 2015 - 10:51 am

So what incentive do they have to trade their two seat ride for a three seat ride that is 10 minutes longer?
Tear down Grand Central and the railroad tunnels could be converted, Metro North and the LIRR tunnels, to express access to the parking garage under the new office tower where Grand Central used to be!

Bolwerk September 5, 2015 - 11:47 am

It would be a two-seat ride for a two-seat ride in most cases.* I don’t even get where Larry is getting this 10m penalty from. In reality (travel between Secaucus and Penn by commuter rail + transfer time at Penn to the subway + subway ride) is probably much greater than (transfer time to the subway at Secaucus + subway ride straight to a 7 Train station on the east side). Again, 18mph average travel time between Secaucus and GCT would be 20min, and it’s unlikely the trip wouldn’t be significantly faster.

* And for those cases where it’s not, just keep doing it the old-fashioned way. No problem!

adirondacker12800 September 5, 2015 - 2:26 pm

There is one station on the 7 on the East Side. There’s a lot of East Side that isn’t Grand Central.

Bolwerk September 5, 2015 - 3:39 pm

I’d call 5th Ave.-Bryant Park part of the East Side catchment, but either way the 7 is a better alternative for a lot of people. It may not be a majority, but it’s a big fraction of several hundred thousand people whose current options consist of rail to Penn or bus to PABT42.

adirondacker12800 September 5, 2015 - 4:25 pm

Yet again: To get to the 7 in Secaucus they have to take a train from their suburb. No one lives at the station in Secaucus. There never will be a lot of people living there. Stopping at 34th and 41st and very likely 23rd eats up time. They can get to Times Square faster by going to Penn Station. Which means they can get anywhere on the West Side faster by going to Penn. On the East side anything north of 48th or so or south of 36th there are faster alternatives. It’s debatable if wandering around Tenth Ave and making stops would be faster than going to Penn Station, going to Times Square and using the shuttle to get to Grand Central.

Bolwerk September 5, 2015 - 6:09 pm

Yeah, yeah, repeating that doesn’t make it true. You keep ignoring the transfer penalty at Penn or the long walk. The 7 would almost certainly not be slower, and might even be significantly faster for anyone who doesn’t jog. Some riders even have a transfer penalty at Secaucus already because the routes they live near go to Hoboken.

Of course it’s not going to be faster for all trips. Nor should it be.

adirondacker12800 September 5, 2015 - 8:21 pm

There’s going to be a transfer penalty in Secaucus.

Bolwerk September 6, 2015 - 11:02 am

Yes. But it’s a transfer penalty that replaces two transfer penalties for some riders and one (probably harsher than the new one) for many others. It doesn’t add a transfer penalty for anybody because the existing service would remain in place. Only people who benefit would feel the need to use it.

adirondacker12800 September 6, 2015 - 12:17 pm

Unless a great big thundering herd of people feel the need it’s not worth spending billions of dollars so they can look out the windows of their commuter train at nearly empty subway trains.

Bolwerk September 6, 2015 - 12:39 pm

Do you suppose everyone is as irrational as you are on the subject?

Or more? “Some dude on the Internet doesn’t need this, so I guess I shouldn’t use it!”

adirondacker12800 September 6, 2015 - 2:20 pm

I wanna know how many people are going to stupid enough to get off the fast train to Manhattan to get on a slow train to Manhattan. Except for Hudson Yards, where can they get to faster on a 7 train that goes to Secaucus? Put a stop up in the Heights and another one in midtown Hoboken ( way way below the Heights which is why they call it the Heights ) how much longer does the slow subway ride become?
Might get away with a cut and cover station in Hoboken but the deep cavern under Bergen Hill is gonna cost a lot of money. For how many riders?

Bolwerk September 6, 2015 - 2:42 pm

You’ve already been shown what kind of people benefit. You didn’t even dispute it. If for sake of argumentative charity* the speed of the average 7 is really slow (~18mph), they can probably get anywhere along 42nd Street faster by transferring to the 7 except maybe Times Square, and even TS is probably a wash.

You’re trying to argue 0 people would benefit. I buy that a majority don’t benefit, but 0 people benefiting is ridiculous. Even the stupids here aren’t agreeing with you. That’s how stupid your argument is.

* That’s charity to you, BTW! There is no real-world reason to assume a 6-mile trip can’t be made in 10-15 minutes or so.

adirondacker12800 September 6, 2015 - 3:43 pm

….just how well does changing to the 7 at Woodside from the LIRR to get to Grand Central work out? How much different is Seacaucus, Kennedy Blvd in Jersey City, Washington Ave in Hoboken, 23rd, 34th, 41st, Times Square, Fifth Avenue, Grand Central compared to Woodside-61st, 52nd, 41st, 33rd, Queensboro Plaza, Court Square, Hunters Point Ave, Vernon-Jackson, Grand Central?
The MTA says average weekday turnstile turnings at Woodside-61st was 16,807 in 2014. 6,666 at Hunterspoint Ave.

Bolwerk September 7, 2015 - 2:10 pm

For starters, Secaucus subway trains would be closer to “express” to GCT. They’d be empty loading at Secaucus and going toward Manhattan rather than at their peak load point. Stops to GCT would probably be 4 or 5 with a travel time of well under 20m. Also, the 7 is a bad transfer for LIRR riders. Many or perhaps most 7 riders transfer to the BMT Broadway lines at Queensboro Plaza. The 7 is actually relatively empty after Queenboro Plaza.

It is true that they would only take a minority fraction of riders, but that’s all that is needed to off some relief PABT and Penn.

adirondacker12800 September 7, 2015 - 2:56 pm

If it’s not trainloads of people it’s not worth spending billions of dollars to do it.

Bolwerk September 7, 2015 - 3:02 pm

It’s probably worth it for 65,000 or so passengers a day, and I’d guess it could do somewhat better than that based on existing tunnel volumes. Even if it’s not perfect.

If the idea has a flaw, it’s the possibility of there not being a good bus transfer point in New Jersey. Secaucus is probably meh for that.

adirondacker12800 September 7, 2015 - 4:57 pm

There’s 18,000 people living in Secaucus. Very very few of them at the train station. It’s in the middle of a swamp. Many of them are too young or too old to be commuting to Manhattan or employed someplace other than Manhattan. Where are the other 47,000 people going to come from?

Ya wanna bus 47,000 people to the subway station you need another lane on the Turnpike. And a bus station. So they can go down to the train station in their town and catch a bus. You probably need another lane on other highways too. When there is underutilized railroad running through their town. Or the next town over.


Bolwerk September 8, 2015 - 9:28 am

You want some 30k+ going to Manhattan during the morning rush and a similar number returning at night, plus some incidental daytime use. Not that hard.

roxie September 4, 2015 - 7:39 pm

i still kind of think the college point line idea is a good one, but with how busy the 7 already is, maybe a branch of it isn’t the best way to do it. i like the idea of making a bronx-queens crosstown line out of the q44’s general route, perhaps starting at fordham road rather than west farms to increase its usefulness and connect two large distant neighborhoods directly. plus, there’s the vague possibility of maybe connecting it to the airtrain and converting it, giving the bronx a one-seat ride to jfk- and a ride there that doesn’t take several hours or cost almost $100.
of course, that’s more pipe dream than possibility, but the general idea of a q44 subway line is pretty solid, i think. kind of like the idea of a bx12 subway line, what with how that line is constantly packed to the gills 7 days a week and well into the nights. but that’s another story, i suppose.

Salem September 4, 2015 - 11:16 pm

The construction of subway lines into Queens, the Bronx and outer Brooklyn is what originally transformed New York into a multi-borough city. Following the systems expansion, the population of Manhattan dropped sharply from over 2 million people and and has never re-gained those numbers, whereas the populations of Queens and the Bronx exploded. In effect, the subway created these boroughs.

A 7 train into New Jersey has the potential to do the same thing for Hudson County, which in terms of size, population and proximity to Manhattan already looks a lot like an NYC borough. The PATH train and the Hudson/Bergen Light Rail already sort of accomplish this, but the systems are not fully integrated and the latter is much lower capacity.

Instead of darting towards Secaucus to become an awkard last leg for NJ Transit riders, perhaps the 7 train should continue its urban neighborhood function, and simply be threaded down the peninsula, through Hoboken, downtown Jersey City and Bayonne (the last part via the lightrail ROW). And then — and this is really pie-in-the-sky — it could hop over the bridge to staten island and across the north shore to link up with the SIRR. Of course, a 4-track express/local configuration in NJ would make this much more expedient for the good folks of Staten Island. This all sounds pretty fantastical and wildly expensive. But it could relieve an enormous amount of pressure on the affordability crisis in the city, especially if coupled with rezoning along the entire ROW for higher density construction. Building mass transit does not simply satiate current demand; it shapes where people choose to live and how they commute and alters the development patterns of the city. The subway ought to encourage a dense urban fabric, not far-flung commuting.

Duke September 5, 2015 - 1:32 am

Something else worthy of discussion: currently there is no way other than a near-useless little ferry barge to get freight from NJ to NYC and LI via rail. If there were a useful freight rail connection it would take an awful lot of trucks off the road and enable all that cargo to move more efficiently. The Port Authority has explored building a freight tunnel under the harbor from the end of the Bay Ridge line, and if such a thing existed it would be an incredibly valuable resource for the region… but the price tag of building it has thus far prevented there being any further consideration of the idea.

johndmuller September 6, 2015 - 6:43 am

Building a 4 track rail/subway tunnel between SI and Brooklyn would accomplish a lot of that (especially if the rail part were extended to NJ and also doubled as a commuter RR given a reasonable (TriboroRx) type route were established connecting also to LIRR). The subway portion would of course connect the SIR to the subway. Both concepts could be extended in SI to other areas and ultimately enhanced by a direct tunnel to Manhattan.

adirondacker12800 September 6, 2015 - 11:15 am

If it has a lot of freight it doesn’t have the capacity to share with high frequency commuter or the Triboro. People on the New Jersey side of the Arthur Kill already have trains to Manhattan.

What About ... September 6, 2015 - 6:51 pm

Extend PATH tunnels from Hoboken to Secaucus, connecting into the existing tunnels under the Hoboken yards.

New PATH routes from Secaucus – Penn Stn, or Secaucus – WTC.

PATH is already a bi-state agency, and already has FRA waivers that can be grandfathered to operate from a new Secaucus station

adirondacker12800 September 6, 2015 - 7:53 pm

So instead of changing to PATH in Hoboken people would change to PATH in Secaucus? Some of them anyway, many of the trains that go to Hoboken don’t pass through the Secaucus station. Why would we spend money to do that?

Tom D September 11, 2015 - 6:21 pm

If the subway were extended into New Jersey, wouldn’t the transit workers get the right to strike (just like PATH operators)?

Today the NYS “Taylor Law” makes it illegal for subway workers to strike. But once the subway becomes an interstate railroad (like PATH) federal law permitting strikes would apply.

Do we really want to give subway workers a right to strike?

Nathanael September 13, 2015 - 12:45 am

It also gives the management the right to lock out the striking workers and hire scabs.

The problem with the Taylor Law is on both sides. It doesn’t allow the workers to strike….

…But if the workers refuse to negotiate at all, the old contract continues *forever*. Even if it has grossly obsolete overstaffing provisions.

Under the interstate railroad laws, a super-recalcitrant group of workers demanding featherbedding could be locked out and replaced with, say, fully automated trains.


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