» New stations in the Bronx could significantly speed up travel times for people who spend too long getting to work every day. But there must be reasonable service frequencies offered at a reasonable price.
The Metro-North commuter railroad offers convenient service from Grand Central Terminal to Connecticut and Upstate New York. Though all of its trains run through the Bronx, the population there rarely uses its services, because they are simply not designed for transit-reliant city dwellers. They stick to the bus and the subway, despite those modes being slower.
The opening of the East Side Access project at the end of this decade will direct certain Long Island Railroad trains to a new station under Grand Central, opening up capacity at Penn Station for Metro-North trains. This service change offers many opportunities for dramatically improving the commutes of thousands of people in the Bronx — if it is planned right. A potential new service along an existing Amtrak line is up for discussion this month.*
New York, of course, is hardly alone in needing to dramatically improve the use of its commuter rail lines. Cities from Boston to Chicago provide service on rail lines with few inner city stations, miserably low frequencies, and much too expensive fares. But because of Gotham’s huge size and the continued concentration of jobs in central Manhattan, opportunities for improvement there are greatest.
In the case of the Penn Station Access Study (PSAS), the benefits could be enormous.** The proposal is considering whether to invest in four new stations in the Bronx — at Co-op City (a 55,000-person community completed in 1971 and isolated from rail transit stations), Morris Park, Parkchester, and Hunts Point. Certain Metro-North New Haven Line trains, which currently run along the Metro-North Harlem Line into Grand Central, would be redirected onto what is now the Hell Gate Amtrak-only route from New Rochelle to Penn Station, along which the new stops would be built. This relatively cheap project would require little investment in the tracks, which are in reasonable condition and far under capacity.
There is strong evidence for the value of improving connections between the Bronx and Manhattan. As the chart below shows, more than 10% of workers in the areas surrounding the stations planned for new service work in West Midtown, directly adjacent to Penn Station. Another 20% or so work in Downtown Manhattan, Downtown Brooklyn, and the Upper West Side, all of which would be easier to access through direct service to Penn Station.
Moreover, those residents currently have very long travel times to get to their jobs in the city. New Yorkers already suffer from the longest commutes in the country, but residents of the Bronx and particularly Co-op City, which is far from any subway line, are particularly cut off. As the below chart shows, more than 36% of workers who live in Co-op City have commutes of more than an hour, and less than 30% have travel times to work of less than 30 minutes. Despite this fact, people continue to rely on transit for their daily travel, because commuting by car is too expensive and, in New York, just as slow.
The clearest explanation for the slow travel times is that the two modes of transit available for Co-op City residents are not particularly quick. The express BxM7 bus runs from Co-op City to East Midtown in 52 minutes, but it is more expensive than subway service and does not provide direct access to the West Side of the island. The Bx26 bus connects Co-op City to the 2 train, which does run to West Midtown, but that trip takes 74 minutes at best, no picnic in the park. The proposed new Metro-North station would connect the neighborhood with Penn Station in just 27 minutes and be linked to a neighborhood bus circulator to ensure that everyone in the area has easy access to the stop.
Residents near the proposed Morris Park, Parkchester, and Hunts Point stations would see similar benefits, though those stations are closer to existing subway stops and the residents suffer less from long travel times to work.
Based on existing Metro-North service to the Bronx, however, there is reason to question how many people will take advantage of the Metro-North service to these new stations. As the chart above shows, Metro-North trips are considerably more expensive than subway or bus journeys, even over the same distance. In addition, commuter rail service is infrequent both at peak and off-peak times, meaning that customers have to rely on schedules, limiting the travel time benefits compared to slower bus or subway service.
It is therefore unsurprising that the mode share for commuter rail services is so low in three representative Bronx Census Tracts where subway and commuter rail service is offered, as shown in the chart below. With so few trains to actually take to work and such a high cost to do so, no one can justify taking Metro-North. If the new stations in the Bronx similarly run only twice an hour and cost twice as much as the subway, few will be able to take advantage of the time savings into Manhattan the trains will offer. This is a failure of the existing service, but one that we are capable of addressing.
We don’t yet know how much Metro-North is planning to charge for travel on its new service, but it will likely be similar to what is already being demanded of Bronx riders. And frequencies will also likely be limited to just two trains an hour or so. But those policies will seriously constrain the potential ridership at these stations; what’s the point of investing millions in new stops if they’re not used?
One could make the argument that people who live further from the center of a city should pay more to travel, as they are benefitting from cheaper housing costs. But in New York City, apartments are expensive everywhere, and most jobs are in the center of the city. The transportation system thus must provide reasonable cost service for everyone to get to work in Midtown or Downtown in a reasonable amount of time. Charging people double the price to take a faster trip or giving them a very slow but cheap alternative, represents a social injustice that relegates people with lower incomes to wasting their lives in transit.
The improvements in Metro-North service that would provide for increased frequencies in service would require more train cars, but directing existing subway passengers to Metro-North would relieve congestion on the subway, which would have positive spill-over effects. Lowering the fare to subway levels for in-city commuters would also require a significant subsidy, but there is no reason to think that a well-managed commuter rail system would cost any more to operate than the subway system if they’re both attracting many passengers.
A note: In public meetings (presentations for Co-op City and Morris Park), the MTA has argued that the primary beneficiaries of the new service will be Bronx residents who work in the suburbs and use the trains for reverse-peak travel. A 2002 study indicated that 82% of ridership from a proposed Co-op City stop would be for people living there but working in the northern suburbs. This fits with Metro-North’s existing rider profile, in which of the 13,200 daily boardings in the Bronx, 2/3 are outbound.
Yet the analysis of existing work patterns show that the vast majority of people living in proposed station areas in the Bronx work in New York City. Only 47 of more than 36,000 employees work in Stamford, supposedly a big destination, and Westchester County cities have employment from the Bronx zones maxing out in the hundreds, a pittance compared to central Manhattan employment. The likely explanation for the choices of today’s Bronx riders is the lack of alternative (there is no subway service out of the city); in other words, the existing performance is not worthy of imitation. If anything, we should be looking for ways to expand capacity along commuter rail lines to allow many more people to benefit from faster travel into work in Manhattan.
* Also under discussion is the re-routing of some Metro-North Hudson Line trains along Manhattan’s Empire Corridor, a new service that would include the construction of two new Manhattan stations, one at 125th Street, and the other at 60th.
** The less likely improvement of Long Island Railroad service in southeast Queens could produce even more travel time savings for riders, but that is on no one’s agenda at the moment, unfortunately.
Image at top: Proposed Co-op City Station, from MTA
36 replies on “A Chance for Faster Commute Times in the Bronx”
In other words, it’d be great, if only they’d run it as rapid transit and not a 19th century suburban railroad.
Sort of like Chicago’s CTA Gray Line plan to utilize a suburban railroad’s (Metra’s “Electric District”) three in-city routes as part of CTA’s ‘L’ system (proposed by the Communities involved themselves – rather than the Transit Operators): http://bit.ly/GrayLineInfo
Not at all like the Gray Line. More like how Metra Electric runs today, but with fewer stations.
The Hell Gate Route had local stations and 4 tracks as built–I remember seeing the ruins of platforms and stairs on a trip decades ago. Metra Electric had many more local stations between Kensington and 23rd plus 6 tracks from 51st to north of Roosevelt Rd.
There are places where it’s 8 tracks wide. Most of it is 6 tracks wide. The best view, on the satellite images, is at E135 Street. The street view shows the four bridges well.
If I remember correctly passenger service was abandoned in 1931. There wasn’t any service to Penn Station from the Bronx as far I know. Local passengers went to a Third Ave El station and changed trains.
Interesting proposal. It seems so logic to actually optimize existing infrastructure before investing in huge new infrastructure. So I was wondering if NYC Has ever considered a fully integrated multimodal transportation network, by integrating Metro North, LIRR and MTA fares into a unified fare scale for the entire city, and including commuter rail lines into the subway map?
In cities like London this has dramatically increased ridership on commuter rail inside London, and thus also the total capacity of transit within London. Same goes for Paris (RER) and Berlin (S-Bahn).
It would make so much sense in New York, because commuter rail lines seem to provide connections where the subway doesn’t go, especially between Queens and Brooklyn, and Bronx and Queens.
Wish there were an overlay map showing this proposed line and the rest of the subway system (LIRR and subway).
Why not add stops on Randall’s Island and in Queens?
On Randall’s Island (and the north end of Queens) the entire Hell Gate line is waaaay up on a bridge structure, so adding stops is a lot of heavy construction.
In southwest Queens — well, that’s actually been considered, as a “Sunnyside” station.
Good analysis overall. I agree that in planning for capital improvements we need to put more focus on what service frequencies and prices will be offered. These proposals are all a waste if they’re not going to be able to run more than 2 trains an hour during rush hours.
But I don’t understand your conclusion that the MTA should be focusing on traditional commutes into Manhattan when the LEHD data shows that 61-63% of commuters around the proposed stations work “elsewhere.”
The share of workers in the region who work in Midtown and Downtown Manhattan has been on the decline for a long time and will continue to do so as companies move their back offices to the cheaper White Plains, Jersey Cities, and Stamfords of the region. Anything that’s not high profile or not requiring direct proximity to other business is moving out of Manhattan. Low income workers will continue to be disadvantaged in getting to these jobs. We’ve got to accept that decentralization of employment will continue and adapt our transit system to it.
(Anecdotally, it seems that Fordham to White Plains reverse commuting on the Harlem Line has exploded while Stamford reverse commuting is more popular with Manhattanites and doesn’t attract as many workers from the Bronx. I’d wonder if data backs that up.)
Sorry, I should have clarified this. Yes, only ~38% of workers are employed in the zones that I identified specifically. However, here is the data of workers in the four station zones (within half-mile radii of the stations) by county:
It is true that the share of the region’s population that works in Manhattan is (and has been) declining, but Midtown and Downtown still represent by far the most significant transit-accessible neighborhoods (as indicated in the data in the article). Based on the data above, not only are there few people who work in Westchester (and far fewer who work in Connecticut), but Manhattan is the prime destination and the only one where commuter rail transit really serves a purpose. This is why I suggest improving the links between these Bronx locations and the region’s center.
You could argue that the introduction of new commuter rail links could encourage people who live in Co-op City, etc., to find jobs in the suburbs, but that is certainly not the case now.
I think this routing is a great idea. Instead, of having trains dead ending in Grand Central. Some trains could thru route through Penn Station. Metro North could use the Amtrak Hell’s Gate line, go through the East River tubes, stop at Penn Station, then the train could pull out of the station and continue up the West Side of Manhattan up the West Side Access to the Hudson Line. The question will be whether Penn Station can handle the extra passenger load. Not sure if Penn Station would be able too.
It’s pretty much impossible with the separate electrification schemes used between New Rochelle on the New Haven and, say, Yonkers on the Hudson. There’s Metro-North catenary, then Amtrak catenary, then Amtrak catenary along with LIRR third rail, then no electrification up the west side, then Metro-North third rail on the Hudson Line.
I guess you could fit the Genesis engines with movable third rail shoes that could use both over and under running third rail, but that pretty much would defeat the purpose of rapid transit. The M8s are designed to run on over or under-running third rail, but I think they’re fixed in one position and not moveable outside of the yard. And while the M8s can run on Amtrak’s catenary up to Boston, I’m not even sure they can run to Penn right now on the Hell Gate catenary (I’m kind of sure Amtrak changed that portion to 60 Hz when Metro North changed in the late 80s, but I really have no idea). With East Side Access continually being pushed back, I guess MNRR won’t worry about this until they have to.
Some of the M8 cars recently delivered to MN/CDot have dual use third rail shoes. As such, if LIRR 3rd rail were installed RR East to the “phase break” in the catenary, then they could come into Penn and go straight up to the Hudson Line w/ MN 3rd rail laid south of the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge.
Metro-North’s “New Haven Line” fleet can handle catenary and Metro-North third rail. Electrify the Empire connection with catenary and you’ve done most of the work.
Penn Station and Sunnyside Yards catenary then needs to be re-electrified at 60 Hz. The frequency changeover point is currently somewhere on the Hell Gate Bridge; it needs to be moved to New Jersey. This has been in long-term plans for a long, long time. It should have been done long ago.
Catenary should be used because it’s what you’re going to want when you electrify the rest of the Hudson Line, and eventually onward to Buffalo and Toronto. (And Chicago.)
while they fiddle around with that, just use an ALP46. Or an ACS64. Or even an ALP45. Locomotive hauled trains are good enough.
So I, too would prefer catenary, BUT, 1 not much vertical space for same in GCT/Park Ave tunnel, 2 current MN fleet of EMUs can’t run off AC catenary–no onboard xfmrs. Thus, no point to stringing the wire until the current fleet is within a few years of scrapping–maybe 20 years out. Much may have changed by then.
So, use the “New Haven Line” fleet. As I said.
No point in re-electrifying GCT, but Penn Station *needs* to be re-electrified. Nobody wants to deal with THREE electrification systems.
Several issues here. Using the Hell Gate Route is a brilliant example of exploiting existing ROW. Absolutely agree about fare integration. Running some trains to the LIRR Jamaica Station would also improve access to JFK, and facilitate “suburb to suburb” trips. The next step should be reviving the “Bay Ridge” segment of the same route to provide connections throughout Brooklyn/Queens w/o backtracking to Downtown Brooklyn or Manhattan.
“Gray Line” is spot on with the comparison to Metra Electric. Asto Penn Station capacity/circle routes, there are some technical and harder to negotiate union issues but indeed “run through” is vastly more efficient than terminate.
Thanks for the acknowledgement David!
Forgot to mention the need for at least one transfer station to access the Subway in Queens and for dedicated bus connection to La Guardia
There really should be at least one stop in Queens as well. This would serve Bronx-Queens trips (currently there is no transit at all between the Bronx and western Queens) and allow transfer to the LIRR without entering Manhattan. The most obvious place is in Sunnyside, where LIRR trains to/from ESA (Grand Central), LIRR trains to/from Penn, and Metro North trains to/from Penn could all stop for tranfsers. An additional station in Astoria for transfer to the N/Q should also be considered, though this would be more difficult as the line is on a high viaduct there.
I used to live about a mile from the proposed Parkchester station where MetroNorth hopes to run its New Haven Line trains in the future. I currently live within a 10-minute walk to the Botanical Garden Station (Harlem Line) & about a 20-minute walk to the Fordham Station (Harlerm & New Haven lines).
While I think it would be great for the Northeast Bronx to have four stations served to go to Penn Station or to points east (New Rochelle, Stamford, Bridgeport & New Haven), it is especially important that a station in Co-op City is a must! Since construction was completed in 1971 (the year I was born, by the way), Co-op City has been promised rail service of some sort. Right now, its residents take a bus to Pelham Bay Park (6 Train terminus) or an express bus directly to Midtown Manhattan. A rail connection from Co-op City would accomplish the following: (1) It would also allow the Lexington Avenue Line (4,5 & 6) to be less congested during the morning and evening rush hours–and also allow those same subway lines to run faster service since there would be fewer passengers taking these trains (2) Bronx residents in the path of the proposed new MetroNorth stations (Morris Park, Parkchester & Hunts Point) would no longer need to take the subway to Grand Central Station (or for some, Harlem/125th Street) or two long bus rides to Fordham to connect to MetroNorth.
Are we sure that the rich and powerful will allow riffraff from the Bronx boarding THEIR trains from Westchester and Connecticut? That concern may account for the lack of stations heretofore.
One way around that political problem could be to improve service on the line NYC-New Haven, to a minimum of a train every 15 minutes. Seems like Maryland has been planning this type of service for MARC some years out. The New Haven line is even more ripe for frequent service that would be very popular among voters in the smaller cities and suburbs along the route.
First off, we Bronxites are NOT riffraffs! Second, there are a number of Bronx stations that are served by MetroNorth on all three lines. (The Harlem Line has 7 stations, Hudson Line with 6 & New Haven has just the Fordham Station–near Fordham University & the Bronx Zoo.)
If anyone a problem with the so-called undesirables taking their trains, then they can simply drive from their rich surburban homes in their rich suburban cars and spend all the time in those cars on crumbling highways. Then they can park those very expensive vehicles in equally expensive parking lots! I will not allow anyone to take a cheap shot at my hometown–EVER!
Martin, I wasn’t saying that Bronx citizens are riffraff. I was saying that many of the rich and powerful do think so.
(If you don’t know that is how they feel about the rest of us, see Rmoney’s video about the 47% he says are dependent on the government.)
Anyway, I hold to my point. For many long years, it’s been obvious that more train stations in the Bronx could easily serve the residents there. During that time, many of those residents have been Jewish, other immigrants, Hispanic, or Black, and nothing has been done to improve train service to their neighborhoods.
If the rich and powerful had wanted better Bronx service to happen, it would have happened. It has not happened. And it may not happen now for the same damn reason.
You’re right, Woody. I dislike taking local Metro-North trains on the New Haven Line as there’s always a lot of trash boarding in Fordham on their way to Mount Vernon East, New Rochelle or Port Chester. Express trains are the way to go.
George, you think that I myself am “rich and powerful” like a commuter from Greenwich? How many of them are posting here?
I was describing what I think are their views, not giving my own view of who is riffraff. I don’t own a car; I ride a bike (often in the Bronx btw). My bf is black and I live in a racially mixed middle-income development on the edge of Harlem. The rich and powerful who ride the New Haven line surely consider me to be riffraff too.
But really, one way to keep some people off the trains is to keep the fares high. If train fares are relatively high for rides within the City, do you think that’s a *coincidence* — or a policy? And if it is the policy for 50 years and more, tell me why this policy and who makes the policy? I’ve given my explanation, even if it confused you. So what is your explanation?
I think the issue is less about who would board these trains, but rather how the travelling experience would be negatively affected by them. In other words: how much more crowded would it make for travelers coming from farther away.
Of course, and I suggested adding frequencies to be sure the trains run more often — with more trains equalling more seats available.
And I like Martin’s point that more trains could relieve crowding in the Lexington 6 line.
I’ve been a “reverse” commuter in the past. [In my case, I traveled from Fordham to both Fleetwood (working in Yonkers) or White Plains.] Newspapers are all over the seats, people use their bags to fill the empty seat next to them, use their cell phones for loud conversations & trash tossed on the floor. A vast majority of the stuff comes from commuters coming from Westchester County and points north and east, NOT from those from Manhattan or the Bronx. If you travel to, say, Poughkeepsie, White Plains, Stamford, Bridgeport or New Haven, then you know exactly what I mean.
I wonder if the messy cars problem has more to do with the staffing, time, and importance given to train-cleaning at Grand Central _ or lack thereof _ before the trains turn for the reverse commute.
And that again could indicate how MetroNorth attends to its rich and powerful customers coming from the suburbs vs those common people riders like us leaving the City to work in the suburbs. Just sayin.
COMBINE X-LINE AND BRONX LINE PLANS
This plan should be combined with the X-line plan from South Brooklyn to Bronx’s south-westside. Use commuter rail infrastructure and trains, not NYC Subway trains for these lines. Sharing the same rail infrastructure and trains, and providing interoperability with MNR and LIRR, as well as emergency interoperability with premium heavy rail services such as Amtrak, and Premium Airport Express trains is essential for this plan, and the future of NYC, as well as evacuating Long Island in a flooding emergency.
Terminate this Bronx commuter rail line and the focus the X-line at (called variously) Long Island City / Queensplaza / Sunnyside Yards, building a 3rd rail hub in Midtown area, with biggest skyscrapers, using transfers to existing NYC Subway (7GEFMRNQ Subway lines and any LIRR and MNR trains to Sunnyside) to reach Penn and Grand Central.
MIDTOWN 3 HUB AMTRAK TUNNEL
NYC, and the region, desperately needs to build a premium (Amtrak & Airport Express rail) heavy rail tunnel combining Penn Station, Grand Central, and Long Island City / SunnysideYards / Queensplaza. This would permit premium trains such as Amtrak and Airport express train, to serve all 3 major midtown hubs, adding millions of people to the North East Corridor, maximizing availability of premium trains at these 3 hubs, while minimizing cost in terms of time and money per Amtrak train. This article’s proposal should avoid using tracks between Penn and LIC/SSY/QP until the expected premium services are planned and built.
SAVE MOST VALUABLE RAIL TUNNEL NJ TO LONG ISLAND
Don’t go to Penn Station with these proposed local city only commuter rail lines, because tunnel from Long Island to Secacus NJ is too valuable and rare (nearest cross Hudson heavy rail crossing is in Albany), without master plans for all future rail services and tunnels in Midtown. Amtrak needs a line connecting the 3 big midtown hubs, Penn Station, Grand Central, and this Long Island City idea, maximizing premium rail access, while minimizing cost and time per train.
IMPROVE REGIONAL COMMUTER RAIL LINES
There is much more heavy rail capacity in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, permitting commuter rail capacity usage and investment, without choking the Midtown Manhattan heavy rail tunnel(s) with new local services. This maximizes heavy rail capacity and investment without limiting future NYC growth.
MASTERPLAN MIDTOWN RAIL IDEAS
Master Plan all Midtown rail services, such as adding a BRT extension to Long Island City via Queens Midtown tunnel, from the streetcar loop proposal for Grand Central and Penn Station (Vision42), and consider a streetcar tunnel from Midtown to LIC to assure peak capacity between rail skyscraper hubs, that can also serve emergency vehicles.
X-LINE TO LOOK LIKE “3”
The X-line proposal for NYC commuter rail or subway service from South Brooklyn to Bronx, needs to be modified to reach LIC/QP/SSY hub with all trains, and use Metro North style infrastructure and trains. This would make a line shaped like the number 3, instead of right parentheses “)” associated with most X-line proposals, serving so many NYC outer neighborhood commuters. Making this X-line and this Bronx X-line double-decker trains would make LIC/SSY/QP stop the line’s terminus, and justify improving the tunnels to Penn Station to fit biggest dimension trains.
BRONX LINE TO LOOK LIKE “)”
Sharing the same hub in Long Island City, the Bronx line should look like “)”.
[…] “Opportunity Agenda” for 2015, which includes a number of worthwhile projects such as Penn Station Access for Metro-North commuter trains, includes an AirTrain line to LaGuardia. As proposed, the project would do next to nothing to […]
Boston commuter rail is very much inspired by the Metro North formula which has many plusses. However, the minuses are also repeated. Thus, currently, it is possible to board Amtrak in Boston, or Metro North at New Haven and ride through Bronx,(Queens if Amtrak) neighborhoods where my friends reside, BUT they must journey to midtown or sometimes 125th St. Station to meet me! You have an infrastructure to ‘die for’ but some of it is so limited. Example: The Hellgate route (now just Amtrak) comes so close to Manhattan not far east of the Park Ave. route of Metro North to GCT. Instead of directly entering Manhattan, it heads in a huge circuitous route over Randall-Ward Island, then for miles through Queens ‘touching down’ near LI City to tunnels leading to Penn Station. Yet for all that extra route, over a population the size of Queens, not one Amtrak station in Queens ! Dumb !
So, as a Morris Park resident, I would like to point out that Morris Park is a fairy big town, holding a suburban feel. 5 train service via East 180th Street, Morris Park, and Pelham Parkway are all out of the way and a total hassle for people who live in the Southern, Central and Eastern end of Morris Park. The 6 train is out of the way also at Westchester Square and Middletown Road, and either way it will take at least an hour and 20 minutes to or from midtown.
I would also like to note that the 5 train does not run late evening and overnight trips to or from the city, and the buses that connect to the 2/5/6 stations that are relatively nearby (about a mile or more away), do not run overnight or run once an hour, further increasing travel time. Early mornings and west side access is extremely difficult as well, and many city workers complain about having to take a cab to work in the morning because of no way to the city before 6AM, and no frequent way to the city until 7:30a.
BxM10 Morris Park Express Buses take up most of the commuters, with the two stops closest to the proposed Morris Park Station being the two busiest stops on that express bus route, which is constantly being used by residents along the line.
An express bus ride costs $6.50 (about the price of a MetroNorth Fare from The Bronx to Manhattan, so the fare isn’t a problem for people who already pay $230+ a month on express bus unlimiteds each month. I am one of those. Money isn’t the problem in Morris Park. The East Bronx is totally different from the rest of The Bronx, but with the same Bronx Pride. Yet, most Morris Park residents drive to Westchester, Connecticut and Long Island and Jersey frequently. So adding MetroNorth to Morris Park fits. Co-Op city in sheer numbers and isolation should be given the same respect. I don’t see Parkchester with as much service, and Hunts Point may operate a schedule similar to Melrose and Tremont on the Harlem Line.
But overall I think treating Co-Op City and Morris Park as main stations, like New Rochelle, and Parkchester as a local station, and Hunts Point as a part time station like Melrose and Tremont will be highly beneficial.
New Rochelle, and the New Haven Line overall can handle high capacities, so increasing the frequency of trains and then even splitting the trains to GCT and NYP can be the way to go.
For Example: Trains can depart New Haven to Grand Central as do, and same to Penn Station. But for the express trains from New Haven to NYP (twice an hour as for GCT), one of those two hourly trains can stop at Co-Op City and Morris Park.
Then the two hourly local trains from Stamford, one can stop at Co-Op City and Morris Park and the other can also stop at Parkchester, making 3 hourly trains to Co-Op City and Morris Park and an hourly train to Parkchester (where demand is less).
There could possibly be a train that originates from Danbury every hour that goes to NYP that would stop at Co-Op City, Morris Park, Parkchester, and Hunts Point.
The bigger picture isn’t just for the East Bronx. Opening these stations will open up a lot more accessibility for the entire New Haven Line and all of its Branches. The capacity will be increased to new great potentials across the counties it serves.
These are all excellent ideas, but as I understand it one of the reasons for the east sides access to GCT was or is to take some of the trains out of Penn Station, so how would rerouting trains off the the Metro North New Haven line into Penn Station help achieve this?
What ideally needs to be done is have planners,experts and transit users come together to work out a plan long term for the future of the tri-state commuter rail system, find a permanent funding source, and tell politicians that the money is not to be transferred to highways.Christie did this to NJT and lokk what happened. One final remark: when the systems were built, integration of rail and subway lines especially the former were not even considered unless pressured.