To Replace the ARC Tunnel, a Subway Extension to New Jersey?

» A more than $5 billion extension of the 7 Subway could ease congestion into the city center and offer New Jerseyans a relatively painless path to the East Side of Manhattan.

Out with one transit mega-project, in with another.

Faced with the decision last month by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to eliminate state funding for the ARC tunnel — effectively ending the project — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg silently instructed municipal staff to begin studying the possibility of stretching the city’s subway system into the state across the Hudson River. Now preliminary news on the proposal has surfaced. A roughly four-mile extension of the 7 Subway Train from the West Side of Manhattan to Secaucus Junction would cost $5.3 billion and provide the extra trans-Hudson rail link the New York region has been demanding for years.

The 7 Train is currently being extended 1.3 miles from Times Square to 11th Avenue and 34th Street at a cost of more than $2 billion.

The plan is in the earliest stages of development — no assumptions can be made about the exact route trains would take on their way to Secaucus. The MTA, which runs the subway, has not been consulted on project documents. Engineering efforts and the construction period would require ten years before opening, at least. No funding is secure.

Yet the construction of a subway connection to New Jersey would be unique in the history of the city: Thus far, no MTA-controlled lines have made it past city borders. And though the cost of the project is and will remain by far the biggest obstacle, the potential of a subway line to transform the relationship between the two states involved could be big enough of a vision to inspire radical new thinking about financing.

The important question, though, is whether this is the project the New York metropolitan region needs or even wants.

Put in the context of the ARC Tunnel, an extension of the 7 Train would have as its primary purpose relieving the congestion of commuter and intercity trains traveling along the existing pair of tracks connecting Penn Station to the mainland. Of course, unlike ARC, this proposal would offer metro-type services and would be incapable of hosting mainline trains. This would have two primary consequences: One, it would require commuters to transfer from New Jersey Transit trains to the subway at Secaucus, a connection that would not have been necessary had ARC been built; and two, it would require the 7 Train to absorb all new growth in new commuting across the Hudson, because the existing rail infrastructure is over capacity at rush hours.

While the required transfer at Secaucus would have its major downsides, the ability to jump onto the subway would have some huge advantages, namely allowing New Jerseyans to travel directly to Grand Central Terminal, the East Midtown business district, and the rapidly expanding Long Island City in Queens. Access at Secaucus is ideal because the station already serves as the hub for all of the agency’s Manhattan and Hoboken-bound commuter trains. In addition, the existing Manhattan stations that would be used by 7 Train commuters are far closer to the surface than ARC’s deep-cavern Penn Station terminus would have been, and connections to other subway lines throughout the city would be more convenient.

The project is projected to cost roughly half as much as the ARC tunnel because it would require no significant new tunneling under Manhattan and would not need a major interlocking to connect with the existing rail system. Mayor Bloomberg has suggested that the 7 Train could use the ARC tunnel’s route, but I have yet to see any evidence that the extension currently under construction would fit in with those plans, since its tail tracks would extend south to 26th Street, far below the 34th Street route of ARC.

Nevertheless, this change of route would open up the welcome possibility of improving rapid transit service to the very dense New Jersey “riviera” just across the Hudson from Manhattan, north of where PATH rapid transit services already run. If the 7 Train extension were designed to include a station under the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail at 9th Street in Hoboken or at Lincoln Harbor, for instance, commuters from this relatively isolated — yet central — section of the region would have far easier access to the metropolitan core. A direct east-west subway connection into Manhattan would mean a large increase in ridership along the light rail line’s north-south route.

Neither the states of New Jersey nor New York are particularly well-off from a budgetary perspective; significantly, the Garden State’s Transportation Trust Fund is virtually broke. Plans for a station at 41st Street and 10th Avenue along the currently under construction extension of the 7 Train have been put off due to a lack of funds at the municipal level. How would any local government be able to finance the construction of another massive new transit project?

The Port Authority and the Federal Transit Administration each agreed to contribute $3 billion to the ARC tunnel; in theory, this sum would be enough to complete this new 7 Train project. But Washington’s dollars are likely to be redistributed to schemes elsewhere that could be under construction within the next year or two, not ten.

Yet the direct link between the construction of the 7 Train and the build-up of the Hudson Yards on the west side of Manhattan should not be ignored. This massive redevelopment area is poised to become New York City’s fourth major business district, with dozens of skyscrapers planned, representing a total investment of $15 billion or more. The arrival of the subway to the area and a better link into New Jersey would improve the prospects for this zone. The subway system could be financed through a neighborhood tax increment financing district.

The fact that this project can be envisioned in a realistic fashion, however, does not prove that it would be the most reasonable use of the public purse. Further studies must be conducted to evaluate whether it is even possible from an engineering perspective. Mayor Bloomberg’s imagination today could be forgotten tomorrow.

An increase in the rail travel capacity between New York and New Jersey is one of the region’s top transportation needs. But moving more commuters does not require the construction of a new tunnel: Cheap changes to rail cars could be simple to implement and eventually a re-orientation of the metropolitan commuter rail system so that it operates more in the mode of regional rail could significantly improve convenience and carrying capacity along existing lines.

Moreover, it is an open question whether an investment in a 7 Train extension to New Jersey should be enough of a priority for the region that it bypasses other long-planned proposals. While the Second Avenue Subway’s first phase is under construction between 63rd and 96th Streets, other extensions of the line — north to 125th Street and south to the Battery — are essential to improve access to Manhattan’s East Side. Direct rail access to JFK Airport from Lower Manhattan has been pondered for decades. And streetcars on the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts were promoted by Mayor Bloomberg in his last reelection campaign. Whither these ideas? Should they be condemned to the scrap heap as a 7 Train extension moves forward?

Update: In a press conference this morning, MTA Chairman Jay Walder discussed the potential 7 Train extension to New Jersey. He argued that the agency needs to focus on the system’s existing mega-projects, including the Second Avenue Subway, East Side Access, and the current (shorter) 7 Train extension. The MTA, he noted, has no funds for this project. Any funding for this project would have to come from another source.

137 Comments | Leave a Reply »
  • John

    I’m surprised to see such skepticism from this blog about the project’s merits. I completely agree that there are a million reasons why this won’t happen, but it has always made sense to extend the 7 to New Jersey; hopefully it could connect to the light rail there too. I’m pretty sure the ridership potential of this project is higher (and higher per dollar) than any of the alternative projects you mention, and might go a long way toward integrating the close parts of New Jersey with New York City.

  • Ocean Railroader

    Maybe they could make this tunnel big enough to fit full sized rail cars though it or maybe make it three bores wide or have a extra wide tunnel passangeway that could fit two tracks in it and allow a singel track to branch off of the NEC and go into the Penn Station in secert to get around the ARC being killed.

    But I’ve also thought that the NYC Subway system always went to New Jersey some how but I guess not and it makes good common sense that it should go to New Jersey. Maybe they could even convert some of the light rail lines to NYC subway lines even to add ridership and to give people the right that they are along the NYC subway system.

  • Peter Brassard

    Terminating the route at Hoboken Terminal instead of Secaucus could make a #7 extension more affordable given current budgetary and political constraints, since the tunnel would be roughly half the length.

    • Jason

      PATH already connects that part of Manhattan to Hoboken.

    • Kevin

      Agreed with Peter. A direct ride to Times Square is huge and a direct ride to Grand Central is mind-blowingly awesome.

      If you haven’t walked it recently, the 8 blocks north from 34th (PATH terminus) to 42nd is like a trip from the 1930s to the 2010s…about 10 years per block!

      A lot of Times Square’s attraction is that it’s just a Shuttle ride away from GCT. That Hoboken or Lincoln Harbor should be two-or-three stops away from Penn would put it very much on the “main line” of fancy NY offices

      • Kevin

        Correction…

        That Hoboken or Lincoln Harbor should be two-or-three stops away from GRAND CENTRAL would put it very much on the “main line” of fancy NY offices

        • Peter Brassard

          Also, all but NJ Transit’s Northeast Corridor Line can go directly to Hoboken. Secaucus could be for people with Penn as a destination and Hoboken for Times Sq/GCT travelers. The added #7 route would increase capacity and reduce congestion and if it were only as far as Hoboken would cost a fraction of the ARC and probably half of a line to Secaucus. From 34th Street and 11th Avenue to Hoboken is slightly over two miles. Secaucus is almost five miles. Which alternative might have a better chance to succeed with Christie in office and the recent party shift in Congress?

          A benefit to a subway extension across the Hudson would integrate a region that really functions more like a single city that’s awkwardly connected today.

          The more conservative approach is what Yonah suggested is to increase capacity on the existing tracks now. Could the abandoned ARC money be used in the region more effectively for extensive light-rail projects on both side of the river or to contribute to the 2nd Avenue Subway or currently oddly financed #7 line?

          The danger is that the abandoned ARC money will shifted to other parts of the country, if there isn’t a strong unified political direction or vision as to how the money should be recycled within the region. A #7 Subway to New Jersey might be the vision that could capture the imagination of the people in the region, as well as, the Congressional and State leaders that would finance it.

        • Kevin

          Its gotta go straight to Secaucus from 26th street (the current end of tracks) without stopping, and maybe only the barest provision for future stations at W23rd and HBLR/Jersey riverside.

          Yes, the tunnel is expensive, but a station below Hoboken would eat up any savings that could have been had by its needing a shorter tunnel. And I bet the surface route from Hoboken to Secaucus would be more trouble then it now seems.

    • Why not transfer control of the 7 line to PATH altogether? In that case, you could have a one-seat ride from Fluxing all the way to Newark (or Battery Park or even Secaucus, eventually, to make a 7/8/9 train out of it).

      • Sorry, forgot to add that the 7 line doesn’t merge with any other MTA subway lines, making independent operation no more aggravating than the PATCO line is in Philadelphia. (Tho this might be damning with faint praise.)

  • Dan

    As much as this is wishful thinking, I think it would be a great idea. As someone who occasionally uses an NJT line that doesn’t run into Manhattan and has to transfer, this would make my commute a lot easier as it would take less time. I would still have to transfer to another subway line but I wouldn’t have to take two NJT trains. If they were to pursue this however, it should be done right with the utmost care with regards to future use. I think Bloomberg is on the right track with this though. The region needs more tubes with rails across the Hudson. The region just needs to figure what is going to be riding on those rails and where it is going to be going.

  • Danny

    What exactly was wrong with Alt G? It was cheaper, and it had higher capacity, did it not?

    Honestly, if some company other than Amtrak were running the NE Corridor, they would be offering to contribute to Alt G. It would allow an easy connection to the NE Corridor, but would allow intercity trains to use Grand Central instead of Penn, which is a much nicer station, more amenable to intercity service, and has much higher platform capacity which would allow longer dwell times at what is clearly a terminal-like destination for most travelers. And it likely has lower lease rates to boot.

    • jim

      It would allow an easy connection to the NE Corridor

      No. Getting to Boston via the New Haven line from Grand Central would be much worse than going via the Hell Gate line from Penn.

      has much higher platform capacity

      Alt G. would have made only eight platforms available.

      • The 7 extension would only make 2 platforms available. The difference is that the subway isn’t run by old-time railroaders who think that they need 20 platforms for everything.

        • Kevin

          To be fair, #7 has 10 platforms in Manhattan, they just happen to be spread between 34th, 42nd, 5th Ave, and Grand Central (5 awesome locations, BTW!) :-)

          And really, while ARC offered a one-seat ride to Manhattan, it didn’t necessarily offer a one-seat ride to where people wanted to get to.

          But Alon’s right: The problem with ARC wasn’t the tunnel, it was the cost of the giant terminus in Manhattan.

          • Out of the 8 (not 10) platforms, each train would need to stop at 4. I agree that it’d be easier than shortening dwells of existing NJT rolling stock to 2 minutes, but that’s solvable by treating commuter rail more like transit and less like intercity rail. This means rolling stock with more doors per car and large vestibules with ample standing space, among other things.

          • “Out of the 8 (not 10) platforms, each train would need to stop at 4″

            You are aware though that this is how S-Bahn systems work (which are those commuter rail systems run like rapid transit, with many big doors and standing room).

            For example the Munich downtown stretch has 6 stations along 2.2 miles. There are 600.000 passenger movements on these stations a day, but no single one has more than 160.000. There is a train every 2 minutes, 30tph. And the whole section has only two tracks — so they get the same number of passenger movements as Penn station, with 12 plattforms.

          • Yes, I’m aware. In fact, it’s this awareness that makes me support Alt G, which even under the not very well-made official plan would create something like an S-Bahn, combining NJT and Metro-North.

            My “only X platform” argument isn’t a complaint about the 7 – it’s a complaint about ARC.

  • eldondre

    I tend to agree with Peter, it would also allow for a completely different travel pattern. what’s alt G? Danny, are you saying rather than bother with moynihan, they should move intercity service to Grand Central?

  • To me, the most compelling aspect of this proposal is its potential as a wedge to begin a conversation about making transit around the NY-NJ-CT metro area truly regional. New York is not known for easy transfers on its transit systems, but extending the 7 into Jersey might provide the necessary operational pressure for unified payment and scheduling, at least on this line. That could lead to long-term discussions about further collaboration or eventual mergers between transit operations now provided by NJ Transit, the Port Authority, and the MTA. A push for collaboration is all-the-more possible with this proposal since the State of New York would be stepping up to help where the State of New Jersey has decided it cannot make an investment necessary for the whole region.

    • Dan

      I agree strongly with this idea. Too bad we (NJ) have a bonehead governor who thinks mass transit is socialist and expensive despite his selfish spending habits while he worked for DOJ.

    • Jason

      It would be ridiculously easy (from a technical standpoint) to integrate PATH into the subway system.

      The ship has probably sailed in Lower Manhattan when nothing was done in the 9/11 aftermath. But in midtown, Path could be integrated into the 6th Avenue subway at very low cost.

      • Kevin

        PATH is physically blocked at Herald Square (above,northwards, left, right, and I think even below).

        And neither 34th St nor Wall Street are the hot spots that 42nd Street’s Times/Grand Central are. Its why it was important for the #7 to come south to 34th street to begin with.

        If I were Bloomberg, I’d take the #7 to 14th St and Hoboken. That’d do midtown and the convention center a world of good.

        • Jason

          You can’t extend PATH at Herald Square (as you described), but you can connect the tracks a few blocks south of there with little to no difficulty.

          PATH runs between the local 6th Avenue tracks, with the express 6th Avenue tracks underneath. The existing dead end for PATH at Herald could still be used for some segment of the BDFM service or some PATH trains while trains from the PATH tubes could continue onto the 6th avenue lines.

      • Adirondacker12800

        PATH trains are narrower than the trains on the 6th Ave lines. It would mean rebuilding PATH – which uses IRT loading gauge ( 7th Ave, Lexington Ave and Flushing line trains ) to BMT/IND loading gauge. Not cheap, not easy. Or just have the passengers vault the gap between the platform and the train.

        • Jason

          What is the difference between the two loading gauges? I tried to look it up but I couldn’t find a solid answer. The IND/BMT is 10′ wide, but I found conflicting reports or IRT being 8′ to 9′ and everything in between.

          I disagree that converting the path system to a different spec isn’t cheap and easy. Relative to building a completely new tunnel, it is cheap and easy. **Unless the tunnels can’t accommodate the wider trains even with modification.**

          Taking a handful of inches or even a foot off of each platform and building a new third rail system is a lot easier and less expensive than putting a sand hog team underground for a year.

          • And unlike automated mid/low platform traps on tram-trains, automatic gap fillers installed on the train side would only have to be expanded/collapsed once per run.

            You wouldn’t design a system from the outset for dual loading gauge, since every mechanical complexity is extra maintenance, but it seems like there should be a relatively simple mechanism for doing that.

          • Adirondacker12800

            Unless the tunnels can’t accommodate the wider trains even with modification

            The trains barely fit in the tunnels now. I doubt you could get a standard IRT car into them. A BMT/IND car wouldn’t fit.

          • Nathanael

            The PATH tunnels are iron tubes made up of iron rings, then sunk into the mud under the Hudson River.

            Enlarging them is VERY VERY difficult and EXTREMELY dangerous. I only know of one successful enlargement of this type of tunnel, the Waterloo & City line in London back in the 19th century when they had no safety standards whatsoever.

          • Jason

            I didn’t mean to imply an expansion of the main tube diameter.

            Often, there are walkways and equipment that sit next to the track in a tunnel, outside of the loading gauge. Modifying or removing these things can increase the possible loading gauge.

            I haven’t been able to look up what the tube diameter is for these two tunnels. Does anybody know?

            Even with the very real constraint that Nathanael describes, it is still possible to connect the uptown PATH to the NYC subway. Here are a few possibilities:

            -Existing subway and PATH cars are two-truck, four axle, high floor cars. A more innovative combination or articulation and possibly low floors can make better use of the existing tunnel cross section.
            -Using automatic gap fillers described by BruceMCF (or gap fillers operating on the station platforms), PATH trains could be integrated with the 6th Avenue subway, probably following the 53rd street line at least as far as Lexington.
            -The Grand Central/Time Square shuttle and the 7th avenue subway are IRT lines. A new east west tunnel between 6th and 7th avenues somewhere between 23rd and 31st streets and a reconfiguration of the shuttle/7th avenue intersection at Times Square would serve both Penn and Grand Central Stations.

  • If the psychological barrier of running NY Subway trains to NJ is finally broken, perhaps ew can do the logical thing and integrate PATH into the subway system as well. PATH is just the sort of railway that would have been absorbed into the subway system had it not been for jurisdictional disputes, and branding it as a set of ordinary subway lines, using the same fare system, would make transit in the area easier to navigate and use.

    • Ah, you beat me to it.

      Alternately, you could hand over operation of the 7 line to PATH, considering that it’s probably the least integrated line of its length in the MTA subway network. It intersects with several lines but doesn’t merge with any of them, and if through-ticketing could be arranged it would be much less aggravating than the rather similar setup between PATH and SEPTA trains in Philadelphia.

      • Jason

        “similar setup between PATH and SEPTA trains in Philadelphia.”

        Do you mean PATCO?

        • Yes, of course I mean that. Argh again.

          • Don

            The Ridge Ave extension of the Broad St subway used to physically connect to what is now PATCO. I believe there was through service once-upon-a-time. The original cars for the Ben Franklin bridge line ran out their last miles on the Broad St. Subway.

            PATCO uses ATC and the Broad St Line used inductive train stop, so the incompatibility stopped any chance of through service continuing.

            The PATCO line could be significantly improved if it were extended a few blocks west and north to hit the heart of the new business district.

  • Dan

    I’d prefer if they extend the 7 train into northeastern Queens as was planned many years ago. Aside from the central Flushing station, there is virtally no subway coverage through eastern Flushing, Bayside, Douglaston, all the way to the Nassau border. The original 7 train plans called for completion of the line to Little Neck with a spur into Jamaica (mostly undergound), but supposedly Robert Moses killed it.

  • Louis

    If the 7 was extended to Secaucus Junction, the express buses (Bolt Bus, Megabus, etc.) could drop off passengers there, reducing traffic in the city and saving everyone time. I’m writing this from a Bolt Bus, and we just passed Secaucus Junction (at 11:15), but it will be another 30/45 minutes before the bus stops in New York. What do you estimate the travel times between Secaucus Junction and NYC would be? Eventually, all west- and southbound bus travel could start and stop in Secaucus.

    • Dan

      This would be a great idea. Not to mention you could free up a lot of space on 34th street which would reduce congestion there. Of course a lot of people would rather get dropped off in the city but time wise it makes more sense to disembark at Secaucus.. The buses going north to boston go through the lincoln tunnel anyway, even though coming south they do use the triborough/queens midtown.

    • This.

      Though I’d suggest Secaucus as an additional stop, with thru travel to MSG or whatever for people who insist on going direct to Manhattan. After all, it would save a lot of time to drop Washington travelers off at one of the terminal Metro stations on the Beltway, too, but apparently no one’s considered that.

      (Nonetheless, it’s like pulling teeth to get Megabus or BoltBus to consider extending service from Hampton to Virginia Beach, even though transit links across the harbor are more abysmal than either of those cases. Argh.)

      • It’s not the government’s job to subsidize Bolt and MegaBus; it does it enough already with the underpriced highways. If the bus operators think it’s so much easier for them to drop off in Jersey, let them pay for the tunnel.

      • Anon256

        Some Boltbus trips to DC already stop in Greenbelt. I don’t see why the 7 extension is relevant to having Megabus/Boltbus stop in New Jersey; they could already stop at Journal Square or another PATH station if they thought it was worthwhile. What I reall don’t understand is why no Boltbus/Megabus/Chinatown trips from Boston stop in Flushing.

  • capt subway

    NJ spoke as regards the ARC tunnel. They blew it. Why should NYCT and NYC build any sort of tunnel for them, spend a single penny of NY money on their behalf?

    NYC, particularly in the borough Queens, is starved for adequate proper rail rapid transit. The #7 and Queens Blvd lines are grossly over-crowded and carrying far more passengers than they were designed to handle. How about subway extensions in Queens? There are bell mouths all over the place on the existing subway structures ready for extensions. To wit:

    East (subway north) of 21st/Queensbridge the provisions exist for an extension of the 63rd St line, possibly out Northern Blvd to to Jackson Hts and LaGuardia?

    The right-of-way of the defunct Rockaway Branch of the LIRR, between White Pot Jct (Rego Park) and Liberty Jct sits unused and ready for revival as a possible one seat ride between Midtown & JFK.

    The tunnel connections exist east (subway south) of Euclid Ave (“A” & “C”) for an extension to southeast Queens.

    There are any number of other rail projects in Queens, and the other outer boroughs, that cry out for consideration. Bloomie, you’re the mayor of NYC – all five boroughs of it! Keep the money here.

  • jim

    I really can’t see the value of this proposal. It doesn’t help intercity rail at all. It isn’t much help to New Jersey Transit riders. It doesn’t let NJT run any more trains. It adds one subway connection at Secaucus to the existing six at Penn. NJT riders could already reach the East Side by Penn Station to the E to the 6. Why is that $5B worse than Secaucus to the 7 to the 4,5 & 6? It isn’t much help to New York subway riders. How many New Yorkers have evinced a burning desire to take the subway to Secaucus?

    Bloomberg’s obsession with extending the Flushing line is inexplicable. If there really was $5B available, extending the Second Ave. subway ought to be the outstandingly obvious choice.

    • Kevin

      NYC’s convention center and Manhattan’s largest undeveloped parcels are (going to be) on that #7 line.

      Connecting both to more of NJ makes that Manhattan real estate more valuable. Its good business for NYC in general, and Manhattan (and mid-manhattan) to be at the hub of things.

  • The biggest problem with this extension is that it offers few benefits over transferring at Secaucus today. There’s going to be a lot of vertical circulation, there are going to be faregates between the Erie lines and the connection to Manhattan, and the connection to Manhattan is going to be slow. The only potential benefit of this would come from aggressive TOD in Secaucus, which I think is unlikely.

    • Kevin

      Actually, a midtown connection from a Hudson Terminal office tower could easily bring Manhattan-type jobs to the NJ side of the river, just as Exchange Place (on the PATH) has.

      Some New Jerseyans would benefit from a better (but two seat) ride to Midtown, and more NJ people would benefit as Times Square and Grand Central firms are able to move some “back office” functions to wherever the #7 lands on the NJ side.

      Partly an improvement in access to Manhattan, and greatly an improvement in access to Manhattan-quality jobs!

      • Steve

        …which begs the question why New York would be at all interested in paying for a project that would take high-quality jobs away from midtown.

        • Kevin

          Manhattan’s “front office” business has been well-served by having Long Island City, and Exchange Place close at hand for “back office” functions.

          This project ensures that Manhattan would continue to be the USA’s #1 front office location.

          And also that Penn Station becomes a more reliable longer-distance hub.

    • Kevin

      “The biggest problem with this extension is that it offers few benefits over transferring at Secaucus today.”

      Only if you work at Penn. I’d say its a vast improvement if your real destination is 42nd, 5th Ave, or GCT…cuts out a Penn Sta Transfer or a long walk.

      And it frees up capacity on Penn trains.

      • Not really – there’s the admittedly slower PATH. The 7 offers some benefits, but not enough to justify blowing $5.3 billion.

        And it doesn’t free up capacity on Penn trains at all. There’s no way to go on the NEC main line from Secaucus except to Manhattan. If turnarounds at Secaucus could be shortened enough to make the middle two tracks work as a terminal, then they could also be shortened at Penn to eliminate all of its station track problems forever.

        • Kevin

          I should have said “diverts passengers from Penn”. ANd if some NEC trains could be diverted to Hoboken then that *would* free up capacity at Penn.

          • NEC trains can’t be diverted to Hoboken without skipping Secaucus. That’s what I said – you can’t go to Secaucus from Newark without also going to Penn.

          • Adirondacker12800

            That must come as news to the handful of passengers who take the train from Penn Station in Newark directly to Hoboken. There’s a connection that was built soon after the connection for Midtown Direct. Single tracked, NJTransit uses it for a few revenue moves a day and many non revenue moves – the diesel North Jersey Coast Line trains refuel in Hoboken.

          • As I said twice, it’s possible to do this, but only if you skip Secaucus.

          • Adirondacker12800

            Skipping Secaucus implies going through Secaucus. The trains that go between Penn Station Newark and Hoboken don’t go anywhere near Secaucus Junction. Extending your logic trains that go to Hoboken skip Plainfield. They also skip San Francisco, London, Hong Kong and Adelaide. Chistchurch, Zurich… Or again extending you logic the Flushing line trains skip Union Square, Coney Island, L’Enfant Plaza, La Defense and Picadilly Circus…

            They may pass through the municipality of Secausus on the former Delaware Lackawanna and Western tracks but they aren’t near Secausus Junction. They don’t need to, people who want to go to Secaucus Junction from either Penn Station Newark or Broad Street in Newark have service on trains destined for Penn Station in New York.

          • Stop talking like a lawyer. The issue under discussion here is a connection through Secaucus. If the proposed subway connection were in Plainfield, then it would matter that those trains skipped Plainfield, too.

          • Adirondacker12800

            I’m talking like someone who understands what the word “skip” means.

  • Extending the 7 is not much worse of a concept than the ARC project as it was being built, but the capacity problem of the North River Tunnels would still remain. If only one set of tunnels is going to be built under the Hudson in the near future, I think the best solution is to drive a tunnel from the partially completed ARC portals directly to the LIRR’s new deep platforms at GCT. Such a plan wouldn’t have as much utility as Alt. G, but it should* be cheaper and take less time to build.

    * Just guessing, so if I’m wrong then Alt. G is the way to go.

  • david vartanoff

    first, the 7 like all of the IRT is narrow, short cars and sharper turns. Spending the money to tunnel under the river should minimally be IND/BMT dimensions preferably mainline RR for greater capacity.
    Second, as many others have said, NYC has more critical needs within the 5 boros which could be built without negotiating w/NJ and are DESERVED by the long suffering residents of outer Brooklyn, eastern Queens, and Staten Island.
    Third the 7 is already a very heavily used line. Adding NJ ridership will make the platforms @ Times Sq, 5th Av and GCT impossible in rush hour.

    • Kevin

      What if the #7 came down 10th Ave to a 14th Street station (on its way to Hoboken/Hudson Terminal station). That’d serve a lot of long-suffering NYC people (and needn’t even go to Secaucus, really)

    • Kevin

      Although its all center platforms (42nd, 5th, GCT), the NJ people would be using the side opposite today’s Queens crowds on the 7, and would be riding the train in the “empty” direction.

  • Kevin

    I’m an ARC critic but a fan of this: The #7 could cut New Jersey into the TIF funding business in a way that the Secaucus tranfer didn’t and ARC wouldn’t(both mostly delivered NJ people to NY landlords)

    Offices in NJ with direct access to 42nd street would be highly desirable,but in a new/different market than is served by the huge development at Exchange Place (on the PATH )

    Opening up Lincoln Harbor or Hoboken Terminal (via air rights) for offices would practically pay for NJ’s share.
    If the #7 opened Hoboken or Lincoln Harbor to similar development, it would be a huge boon to NJ and a source of the kind of tax $ that could pay its share.

  • Ray in NY

    NJ has spoken loud and clear. They choose automobiles, with fairly low intrastate tolls and the lowest fuel taxes in the nation. The have elected a governor whose first act was to raise train and bus fares and cut service. They are not interested in transit, even though they are the most densely populated state in the nation residing next to the largest mass transit system in the hemisphere. Their choice.

    Before we start digging this train to Secaucus, lets take a long hard look at the history. NJ has been working for 30 years to turn Secaucus and the Meadowlands into the new front to extend the New York “Megapolis”. Sonny Werblin, state economic development boosters and Developers offered visions of a new city. A huge entertainment complex, thousands of new housing units, and a state park built on the former landfill.

    Millions and millions of taxpayer dollars were spent on infrastructure and on investments in ventures via public private partnerships. And what have they done… Built a parking lot for 20,000 cars, construct two football stadiums (and torn one down), one sort of defunct arena, a racetrack that is struggling to survive, created a shell for a bankrupt shopping mall (oops urban entertainment complex) and have successfully opened a railroad transfer station that seems far too oversized and has too few amenities for it’s envisioned purpose. In between it all, the Hackensack River winds its way through a muddy swamp, sea gulls, egrets, fast food joints, a set of industrial parks, some curious condo communities. Nothing much. Sorry folks it’s time to put aside the Meadowlands myth.

    In addition to the many good ideas above 2nd Ave, ESA), I think the money would be better spent figuring out how to evolve a true regional rail system. Get NJ Transit trains to Jamaica/JFK and LIRR and Metro North Trains to Newark and EWR. I’d spend the money fixing and managing Penn Station. I’d look at expanding PATHs footprint. I’d consider increasing the God awful frequency along the Main, Bergen and Pascack Valley lines. Electrify the NJT system where diesel now runs and the same on LIRR and MN. Improve fare collection… everywhere. How about overhauling 34th Street/Herald Square and other major stations… The list goes on and on…

    But a subway to Secaucus… Uh no thanks.

  • Jason

    This seems like a great idea if…

    -it is a way to use some of the ARC sunk costs without throwing good money after bad,

    -it doesn’t get in the way of building more intercity and commuter rail capacity, and

    -it leads to integration of PATH and MTA service.

    Considering the update about the MTA’s response, I can image how the project could be led by the port authority using existing funding and being part of a larger plan to “transitize” PATH and integrate it with the 6th avenue subway. To the extent that some of the existing funding will disappear, TIF financing and/or the sale of air rights and real estate.

  • Dan

    LA just received a ton of federal money for expanding their subway. Is this a strategy that could be used in New York?

    • Paulus Magnus

      LA received a loan from the Federal government that will be repaid with sales tax money that would have built the subway anyhow. You’d have to have a similar funding system in place prior for it to apply here.

      • Most of the Federal Transit money to LA is a loan and by comparison to NJ-NY, Chicago got chump change in Federal Transit money. You can bet your last dollar that LA and Chicago would put it to good use – quickly. And both will generate a ton of new transit riders.

  • Nexis4Jersey

    The PATH would never let this go through , unless the PATH did it….which they can extend the PATH form Journal SQ and create a New line into Manhattan….+ The MTA is agency that doesn’t seem to know what its doing , look at the Second Avenue pit , its taking forever and yet they can just extend this into Jersey. Finish what you start MTA…. As for New Jerseyites liking the automobile over transit , Transit ridership has been growing steadily over the past decade , NJT added 470+ miles of New Rail and bus routes this past decade alone and plans another 640 + miles…. The Meadowlands happens to be were all the states Railways and Major roads meet….so having something go there makes sense.

  • Gordon Werner

    When PATH was designed, they designed the system to IRT standards/dimensions. Why can’t the MTA just take over PATH and link the IRT with that network? would seem to make much more sense as the tunnels are already there … at most the trains would be shorter (I think Path can only handle 8 cars) … but that isn’t really a show stopper

  • FG

    Can somebody explain why the subway doesn’t leave the city limits unlike a lot of other cities, especially when it is very close in some locations? (I mean, I can see why it was hard to go under the Hudson, but one would have though developers would have pushed for it at some point in the early 20th Century).

    I think this is a great idea, certainly worth of debate.

    • 1. Politics.

      2. Not that much of a use for it – the outer ends of Queens and the Bronx were exurban when the subway was built. Further out there isn’t much demand for subways. The only direction a subway would make sense in is westward to Jersey, which is the most technically and politically difficult.

      • Kevin

        Right. Rides from the NYC “city line” to Manhattan are generally long (from their start) and crowded (at their end) as it is. Extending them to Westchester or LI would offer inferior service.

        But on the “inner ends” (the Hudson River or the Battery) the trains are suitable for extension (empty and close).

      • FG

        Thanks, but why not across the Hudson to New Jersey, other than Path? By my inner city Chicago standards, some of the suburbs north of the Bronx (Mount Vernon, for instance) certainly should have subway service.

        • Again, politics. And some technical difficulties, as the Hudson is wider than the East River.

        • Anon256

          They did, that’s what PATH is, and in fact it is older than any of the subway tunnels to Brooklyn or Queens. The routes that went to New Jersey just didn’t get taken over by the City government and integrated the way the entirely-in-city routes did in 1940 (which makes sense from the city government’s point of view). In Chicago the routes that left the city had to also pass through and provide service to large sections of the city, so the City government was obliged to take them over with the rest in 1947 (and some of these still used to extend further than they do today).

    • Joe

      To add to Alon’s succinct and accurate points, the areas that are now New York City suburbs were provided with service decades before the New York City Subway opened. They received intercity train service from the Pennsylvania or New York Central Railways, and much of these routes and stations were built between the Civil War and the opening of the New York Subway. The private companies that built our first subways were probably better off not trying to compete with these much bigger railways.

      And if you consider the development of New York and its subways, the destinations of the subways, be it Bay Ridge or Canarsie or Riverdale were the original suburban communities to New York City. Just as subway systems built more recently do, the New York City subway was designed to bring suburbanites to the city center, the difference is that the suburban areas have moved further away from the subways with the passage of time.

    • DBX

      Roughly the same thing happened in France. The Metro was confined to the city limits, and the national rail network was prohibited from carrying passengers within the city limits — hence a very sharp separation. That wasn’t broken down until the French government started pushing for RER in the 1960s — and then many more years to see RER implemented and the first Metro lines take their baby steps outside the city limits. Now you’re finally seeing a very strong integrated system developing, but it was a long fight.

  • Extending the 7 to Hoboken would replicate service that PATH almost provides already; extending from the 34th Station to Grand Central would certainly be cheaper.

    Maybe New York City should just annex Bergen county and get it over with. They can have Staten Island in return.

  • Nexis4Jersey

    Ummm , no Hudson and Bergen counties have always been NJ , and i’m tired of ppl suggesting they be switched its retarded …..the PATH will never merge with the MTA and thankgod , the PATH is a way better maintained system. I honestly doubt this project will ever go through , because there are a ton of MTA city and Regional projects that are way better planned and make sense.

  • stino

    Linking PATH to IRT would take more manipulating policy than technical specs. PATH is chartered as a mainline railway (think UP or BNSF), not a transit line. I’m not sure how that would work with FRA guidlines. But thinking outside the box isn’t easy.

  • Joby

    I don’t know about this. NYC and NYS both subsidize the MTA, what would NJ bring to the table? That’s not clear from the proposal.

    If we are going to subsidize any submerged links to anywhere, why not connect the WTC PATH to the LIRR by tunneling from WTC to Atlantic Avenue in BKLN?
    No matter what, NYC Metro region needs a Regional Transportation Authority which would roll up the NJT, LIRR, MTN and PATH and the Port Authority in General.

    Furthermore, I don’t know how feasible it is but I’d suppose connecting the 42nd Street Shuttle to the current PATH terminus at 34th St/Penn Station would be easier to do and would connect all the PATH riders to Grand Central and send riders from NJ to the west side (Unfortunately not the far west side, but what’s in it for NY to do all this underwater tunneling?) This would also allow a transfer between Penn and GCT.

    The NYC MTA should be worried about transportation within the city and the NYC RTA should be worried about bigger regional transportation issues. Also, this would allow tolls collected on MTA tunnels and bridges to directly fund NYC Transit vs RTA Transit.

    • PATH trains are around 1.5′ narrower than LIRR trains. And the PATH terminal is impossible to connect to anything further east because it’s configured as a loop.

      • Adirondacker12800

        It used to be stub terminal pointed east. They then built the World Trade Center around it while they were building the loop. It’s function of money and risk they want to take. Shouldn’t be any more difficult than reconfiguring Grand Central so Harlem Line trains could go to New Jersey.
        The ROW in Jersey City is four tracks wide up to the tunnel entrance, they could put in two tracks of conventional commuter rail that connects to Fulton and then to the LIRR in Brooklyn. Some NJTransit trains would go to Fulton and some would go to Penn Station. Or Grand Central and then Jamaica or Brooklyn and then Jamaica. Gets the suburbanites to Wall Street faster and a one seat ride. Frees up capacity on PATH making life in the far far west Village ( Jersey City ) and far far west Chelsea ( Hoboken ) easier. Gives Long Islanders a cross platform transfer in Jamaica to Wall Street or even a one seat ride.

        • Nathanael

          It was suggested by transit advocates after the WTC disaster that the PATH tubes be connected to the Lexington/Park Avenue Line IRT (4/5/6), which narrows from four tracks just north of this area to two tracks. Connecting the other two to the PATH is just feasible with the gradients and curves involved, and would have given unrestricted runs from Newark to the Bronx. :-)

          Unfortunately nobody in authority was willing to listen, and it looks like construction has covered up enough of the damaged areas so as to make it much harder than it was immediately after 9/11.

  • Kevin

    Right. The chance to break the loop was lost in the WTC rebuild, and the Shuttle is “boxed in” on the West by the 7th Ave line, and PATH at Herald Square is “boxed in” on the North.

    The best chance for connecting PATH and IRT is actually probably somewhere in NJ!

  • Henry

    Nice concept, but too unrealistic.
    Do we really need a slow subway connection into Secaucus? I mean, ridership potential for that would probably be really low, The connection would be slower, and there would really be no additional benefit over transferring to the E at Penn.
    If you took a line like the 5, linked it to PATH at WTC, and extended PATH through to Secaucus, that would make more sense, because that would provide one-seat access to Lower Manhattan, Midtown, and the Upper East Side.
    Also, does the MTA even have the money to maintain such a service?

  • NCarlson

    Is it really that slow a connection? There is no reason whatsoever that a huge number of stops need to be built on the Jersey side, and its pretty much a functional express in terms of numbers of stops in Manhattan already. For that matter, if express tracks are added in Jersey (wouldn’t make sense for the tunnels, but some local station bypasses maybe) it could become the incentive to get all day 7 express service running in Queens.

    In any case, I actually like this a lot better than ARC. Yes, the mainline tunnels will still be over capacity, but lets build this as the immediate reliever, and plan for longer term addition of a pair of high speed tunnels for the NEC services, which should clear quite a lot out of the existing tunnels for NJT. Hopefully we could even look at a GCT – Penn connector for the local services this way, although to be honest I think the best approach would be to just find the way to bring PATH north via both stations and start charing MTA fares.

    As for physical integration between PATH on the jersey side, it’s a nice idea, and I would love to see fare integration, but the HBLRT system really negates the need for any track connections that make sense. My feeling is that PATH probably makes the most sense as a ‘fourth system’, but integrated into MTA for operations purposes. In general I would think that Lower Manhattan is where a connection would have happened, and since it didn’t with the rebuild I really wouldn’t hope for too much. What I’d really LIKE to see is a through running PATH/Atlantic avenue conversion running from Elizabeth to JFK via Newark and Lower Manhattan, but with essentially a brand new terminal at WTC I think its much more likely that a JFK route is going to amount to little more than adding a LIRR terminal somewhere near WTC, also stub ended and without and connection to either subway or PATH.

  • This may sound like heresy to the NJ and NY proponents, but since the NJ Gov turned down the USDOT money and NYC has traditionally received a larger percentage of transit funding, I think that it should be split between LA and Chicago. I’m sure they would come up with the 20% local/state match.

    As the two next largest metro areas with the highest population density, they both have shovel-ready transit projects that will attract a huge number of mode-switchers from driving to transit. Viewed another way, $3B spent with them will increase their percentage of transit users by double vs. NJ/NY.

    • FG

      Amen! Chicago has three subway expansion projects (two needed, one a luxury) and two potential new subway lines. Metra and the South Shore could use the money too.

  • eldondre

    NJ has no useful purpose anyway and hasn’t for centuries. it’s time to split the state in half with south jersey ogin to PA and north jersey going to NY. they chose the wrong side in the revolution and haven’t shown the ability to run a state themselves anyway. NJ is america’s belgium

  • david vartanoff

    extending the midtown PATH east along 9th to a transfer station for both the BMT 8/B’way and IRT Astor Place would give riders easy access to the East side. Riders can see a tiny stub in the NB tunnel as they leave the 9th St station. I envision this extension terminating under Tompkins Square Park because cut and cover for a shallow station should be relatively cheap.
    Clearly fare integration between PATH and MTA must happen simply as a courtesy to riders. Negotiating the money will be nasty but not impossible.

  • AlexB

    All in all, I think this would be an excellent idea. It’s not the fastest solution, but it takes people in New Jersey where they want to go (with 1 transfer) and adds the desperately needed capacity that was the major point of ARC. If high speed access to Manhattan is the only goal, they should wait until it’s politically feasible to build ARC.

    I can think of 3 stops that could be built in NJ that would be useful: Stevens Institute of Technology, 9th St Light Rail Connection, JFK Blvd.

    The MTA collects taxes from all the counties is serves. Unless they had a deal with the Port Authority or started adding taxes to Hudson County, the 7 will stay in Manhattan. The number of agencies and politicians that would have to agree to this are daunting…

  • jim

    Could one combine PATH extension and Alt. G?

    Alt. G envisaged a tunnel along 31st St. to new tunnels along Park Ave. just below the abandoned original 1904 IRT tunnels. Would it be possible to create an interlock on the PATH tracks at 31st and 6th, dig a tunnel along 31st St and connect not into new tunnels under the abandoned IRT tunnels but into the 1904 IRT tunnels themselves to run up into Grand Central? Or if not 31st, a crosstown street further south. PATH would have to build its own station at Grand Central. In the gap between the existing IRT Grand Central station and the IRT Grand Central-Times Square shuttle under 42nd and Vanderbilt, so there’d be no historic preservation issue?

    This would surely cost much less than the $3B that the Port Authority was prepared to spend on ARC. And it would provide a way for New Jerseyites to get to Grand Central.

    • It’s impossible to extend the 6th Avenue PATH tracks in any way. The IND hugs them from all directions: the local tracks on the sides, the express tracks below, and Herald Square to the north.

      • jim

        Another beautiful theory slain by an ugly fact!

        I thought of this because the only actual money available for replacing ARC is the PA’s $3B, which hasn’t evaporated yet. Christie’s already pulled the NJ money; it’s been made clear the FTA money will be reallocated via New Starts (though apparently Killibrand has elicited a promise that some of it will come to NY). But the PA hasn’t reallocated the $3B … yet.

        What we should be looking for is a project that costs less than $3B and still relieves trans-Hudson transit congestion.

      • I’ve never seen any detailed plans of Herald Square, but when I was there I had the feeling that the tracks to the north are actually at a lower level then the PATH tracks.

        • Jason

          No detailed plans, but with these links, you can piece together most of what is going on down there:

          Herald Square:
          http://nycsubway.org/perl/stations?221:214
          23rd street:
          http://nycsubway.org/perl/stations?221:174
          Subway track map:
          http://images.nycsubway.org/trackmap/pm_west_1.png
          Description of PATH:
          http://world.nycsubway.org/us/path/index.html

          • jim

            Very nice, thanks. From these, it seems the furthest north PATH could split off an East Side connection is 9th St.

            Could PANYNJ and MTA collaborate on Phase 3 of the 2nd Ave Subway? PANYNJ build a tunnel along 9th St and Stuyvesant St to 2nd Ave. PANYNJ and MTA together build a tunnel along 2nd Ave from Houston St to 63rd St, with shared station caverns. In the stations, there’d be four tracks, two for PATH, two for the T train with separate fare controls and vertical accesses on the mezzanines. Between the stations, there’d be two shared tracks.

            If the PA’s $3B is the local match, the Feds might pony up the rest.

          • I’m skeptical. Setting aside agency turf, this would hurt PATH service by splitting frequencies. Peak frequency from each Jersey destination to Midtown would drop from 5 to 10 minutes, and off-peak frequency would be closer to 15 or 20.

          • Adirondacker12800

            No reason to be skeptical. The trains during rush hour are standing room only. After a quick glance at the schedules I come up with 25 an hour in the uptown tunnels during the peak of the peak hours. Any trains that could be added wouldn’t have the capacity make a significant dent in demand.
            I’ve never seen a schedule for the Second Ave subway but if they are spending billions of dollars it’s going to have short headways. Once the trains come in from New Jersey there wouldn’t be capacity on Second Ave for them.

          • jim

            FWIW: My assumption is that a substantial portion of the people riding PATH to/from 33rd St are actually traveling to/from East Side destinations. 33rd and 6th is as close as they can get on a single-seat ride from Jersey. Actually running some of the trains to the East Side would be a benefit. My impression, too, is that the WTC trains are more crowded than the 33rd St trains at rush hour, but can find no actual statistics.

            The Second Ave Subway will have both the Q and T running on it above 63rd St, just the T south of 63rd St. There would be room for PATH trains in the gaps between the Ts left by the Qs.

            But Alon is undoubtedly right about Agency turf.

          • Adirondacker12800

            33rd street is the last station on the line. There’s active stations at 23rd, 14th, 9th and Christopher Street. While there are people who commute on PATH to the East Side from New Jersey most New Jerseyans, outside of Hudson County residents, have faster ways to get to the East Side. Those alternates are at or near capacity too.

          • jim

            Are there any numbers anywhere for PATH ridership by station? I looked, but couldn’t find.

            What are the alternate routes from Jersey to the East Side? I confess that when I lived in New York, I scarcely ever crossed the Hudson. I’m aware that buses come into the 42nd St terminal and the 179th St terminal and that NJT runs trains into Penn. I’ve seen buses heading to the Holland Tunnel, but don’t know where they originate.

  • Don

    I thought the whole reason for ARC was to add rail capacity across the Hudson – The existing Amtrak (nee PRR) tunnels and PATH were at, or near capacity.

    So, extending PATH deeper into Manhattan is not a solution to the problem.

    Extending the NYC subway to Secaucus Transfer might be. It would depend on what ridership studies would reveal.

    But, what this idea and others show is that there are alternatives to ARC that might be less costly and more cost effective. What NJT has been able to show time and again is that they have the ability to spend very large sums of money on big projects very quickly. What they have not shown is that they always pick the most cost effective alternatives or are adept at keeping costs to a minimum on these projects.

    • jim

      No. The reason for ARC was to improve access to midtown Manhattan. Midtown Manhattan is the Region’s Core that ARC was to provide Access to. One way of doing that is to add rail capacity across the Hudson. Another way of doing that is to extend PATH to reach more destinations in midtown.

      • Adirondacker12800

        Except for the unfortunate part of PATH being at capacity during rush hour. Every last one of the passengers wedged into a rush hour NJTrasit train already has the option of using PATH, They don’t. Mostly because PATH to Midtown is slow. But also because PATH is even more crowded than the standing room only train they are already on.

  • AlexB

    If capacity is the main concern of building ARC, they could reroute some PATH train from the Hoboken terminal along the Eerie tracks to Secaucus. They don’t need all four tracks along that route anyway. It wouldn’t really give anybody anything new, but it could increase the number of commuters NJ is able to squeeze under the Hudson. It would be relatively cheap, all things considered, maybe half a billion? It could also lead the way to easier access to the Meadowlands.

  • Andrew

    To all the commenters who think that the MTA shouldn’t be building subways to New Jersey: the New York metropolitan area spans three states and many municipalities. We should be improving transit to all of them, not refusing to extend the subway outside the five boroughs because it’s “not New York City”. In any case, there is huge potential for transit-oriented development along this line as it will make many new areas reachable from Manhattan in 15 minutes and provide an alternative to sky-high Manhattan real estate prices.

    • Adirondacker12800

      Most of the land between Manhattan and Secaucus is already intensely developed or swamp. ( “meadowlands” is clever marketing ploy to make swamp-landfilled-with-garbage more attractive. ) The parts that are still swamp are too valuable as swamp to be developed.

      • The parts that are still swamp are too valuable as swamp to be developed.

        Ha Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

        • Nathanael

          They are actually very valuable swamps.

          They clean up the toxic stew of industrial, commercial, and residential waste coming out of Northern New Jersey before it hits the Hudson River — especially the stormwater runoff, which is otherwise untreated. They also provide a place for flood waters to flood, so that they don’t flood housing and businesses.

          The only reasonable way to develop on them would be buildings elevated above the swamp on tall piers, and elevated walkways between them. :-) I haven’t heard any such entertaining proposals.

          • Adirondacker12800

            That would shade out the swamp plants that slow the water flow down and that filter the untreated storm water etc. There’s plenty of landfill out in the Hackensack Meadowlands. Unfortunately not much of it is at the Secausus Station.

    • Andrew, the argument is more nuanced than “It’s not New York City.” The problems are,

      – NYC pays for NYC subway extensions; the money for a Jersey extension should come from Jersey. For the purposes of this discussion, federal money earmarked for the project counts as money coming from Jersey since it’s Jersey’s politicians who spent political capital on it.

      – The TOD in Secaucus is anemic, despite the existing semi-decent connection to Manhattan.

      – ARC Alt G is still much better than this plan, though the difference isn’t as stark as between Alt G and Alt P.

      – From a regionwide perspective, there are better projects to spend money on, such as Second Avenue Subway Phase 2 and Triboro RX.

      • Since the NJ Gov said they can’t afford the local match, they should NOT get a dime from the $3B he turned down. NJ citizens need to understand the consequences of their vote – even it it means pain for NJ commuters.

        Earlier I made the suggestion that the $3B turned down by NJ be split between LA and Chicago. Given political realities, NYC will no doubt, get a chunk of that reallocated Federal Transit money. If the money were split evenly three ways between NYC, LA and Chicago, what is the highest priority should NYC should spend the $1B on?

        • I’m not sure whether Phase 1 of SAS is already fully funded. The original budget is, but I’m not sure about the cost escalations since. If they are not, then the money should go there first. If they are, then it depends what other plans New York can offer. If it’s just a billion then New York may need to come up with a quick plan for Triboro, as everything else either is fully funded or has a budget much higher than $1 billion.

          But if for some reason New York gets the entire $3 billion then SAS Phase 2 could be in reach, requiring only a small local match.

          • Nathanael

            SAS phase 2 is an incredibly good use of money, so I would agree with Alon’s priorities.

            SAS phase 2 could actually be further phased. It really consists of three projects.

            – 106th St. Station
            – 116th St. Station
            – Curved extension and 125th St. Station.

            Because of the 1970s tunnels which already exist between those segments, there’s no savings in doing them all at once; stopping after any stage would leave a perfectly functional, improved system.

  • Andrew

    Secaucus Junction only opened in 2003. This probably explains why there is virtually no development there yet. Give it time, the area will be redeveloped.

    • Peter Brassard

      No development there yet? There could be some, but the Secaucus station is isolated. On three sides it’s surrounded by degraded wetlands. To the north the turnpike awkwardly sits and there’s an area heavily developed with industrial buildings and warehouses. Then further south is Hoboken and Jersey City, which are developed. It’s a nice idea but remote that a popup TOD city will develop around the station.

    • The various Japanese flak organizations trying to get a piece of the US HSR pie are showing much more rapid development in Japan, despite sluggish national growth. Stations opened around the same time as Secaucus, such as Shinagawa on the Shinkansen or the Tsukuba Express, show significant TOD that has so far not happened in Jersey.

  • Nexis4Jersey

    Its protected wetland and some of it is state park , so only a few developments went up..

  • As a former planner and press officer at NYC Transit I would like to suggest that Hoboken is really the best terminal. It is already, a terminal and it is under capacity. Secaucus is a great train station filling up capacity of trains but it is does not have enough tracks to double the capacity of NJ Transit riders headed for Midtown. Hoboken does this and has room to expand. The reason is the four track tunnel that feeds it. Secaucus is still only fed by two tracks coming from Newark – which is where NJ need the added capacity.

  • Someone mentioned that part of the $3 billion ARC grant money could be redeployed in or near NYC. I previously mentioned that LA and Chicago should get all the ARC money for their rail transit projects.

    As I weigh the politics and best transit impacts, I don’t think Metro NYC should be completely shut out due to a poor NJ decision. So I suggest this more equitable distribution of ARC funds:

    NYC $1.0B Metro North track upgrade & curve easing Hell Gate to Conn. border
    LA $1.2B Metrorail expansion Crenshaw/Expo-Wilshire-Hollywood
    Chicago $0.8B CTA Red Line subway extension only 3 stations south

    Distributing $1B to this MTA Metro North project improves commuter train and Amtrak capacity, on-time performance and trip times to the benefit of all NEC commuters.

    Distributing $1.2B grant to couple with the $626M loan LA is getting for the Crenshaw Line, lets the MTA plan an underground intersection with the Purple Line Metrorail at Wilshire Blvd &t La Brea Ave. Remaining funds could subway up LaBrea, then hook northeast to Hollywood & Highland to intersect the Red Line. That would also set the stage for future funding of a $250M public/private Santa Monica Blvd Streetcar connecting Century City-Beverly Hills-West Hollywood-Hollywood. Once all the studies complete, local funding per the 30/10 plan will extend the light rail south, from LAX to Torrance. The new line would be a cost-patronage winner Hollywood-LAX-South Bay light rail interconnecting 4 Metrorail lines, 1 Streetcar, LAX airport, tourist attractions, dense population, major employers and shopping centers.

    Distributing $0.8B grant would extend Chicago CTA Red Line to 115th Street to better meet federal cost-patronage criteria while letting the redevelopment agency focus on TOD initiatives around 3 stations in economically viable neighborhoods.

  • Akiva

    How would the 7 line act as a commuter line 2 nj if its essentally a city metro service? How will 7 line platforms in Manhattan be reffited 2 accomodate additional suburban commuters? And anyways 7 cars are too small 2 handle additional commuters. How can u run commuter size cars on the 7 line? The whole idea is stupid. Better spend the money on nyc subway expansions and improvements. Unless Nj wants 2 pay 4 this project. But that doesnt seem likely.

  • Bob Schwartz

    As Alon Levy & “jim” noted, 7 to Secaucus won’t relieve train congestion in the tunnels to Penn Station, which is the key problem! It is no substitute for ARC or what ARC could have been.

    Yes, some AM commuters would get off at Secaucus to take the 7, but the only way there would be less congestion in the tunnels would be if some NJT trains turned around at Secaucus; that’s very unlikely.

Leave a Reply

 

 

 

Comment preview below as you type. You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


2 − = one

For help if you have trouble posting or your comment is marked as spam, please email:
info (at) thetransportpolitic.com | Comment Rules

The Site / The Fight

by Yonah Freemark

yfreemark (at) thetransportpolitic (dot) com

  • Le progrès ne vaut que s'il est partagé par tous.

Email newsletter

Network

rss feed
comments feed
twitter feed
email update