Thursday, October 27, 2011

Politicians Jumping All Over Cross-Hudson 7 Line Expansion

The stupidity is strong with some local politicians who are quick to jump ugly with Mayor Mike Bloomberg's proposal to extend the 7 Line to Secaucus. Apparently some have never seen a map before and think that the 7 Line should somehow be extended to Hoboken. That amazingly stupid idea comes from New Jersey Assemblyman Harold Ramos, who represents the city.

Here's that map:

View Larger Map

No one bothered to ask Ramos how that passes a cost-benefit analysis - and why anyone would spend billions of dollars to run a subway line from Manhattan to Secaucus and then to Hoboken. That's a massive duplication of service and doesn't make sense even if the money was available to do such a boondoggle.

Hoboken already has a well used PATH terminal and has NJ Transit's terminal as well. It is well situated with ferries and buses. There's no reason for extending the line except to grab attention for himself. At the same time the ARC project that he mentioned was never going anywhere near Hoboken.

Then, you've got Staten Island residents and local politicians complaining about Bloomberg ignoring the plight of Staten Island residents who lack a direct mass transit connection to the rest of the City.

Here's I'm far more sympathetic. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was designed and built by Robert Moses who was notoriously opposed to mass transit and isn't capable of running mass transit. There has been talk of including mass transit on the rebuilt Goethals or raised Bayonne Bridge, but that's taken a back seat to other projects. Neither would provide a direct connection with Manhattan or Brooklyn, which leaves most Staten Islanders driving or taking the ferry to get to work.

That has to change, but that wouldn't come cheap. A cross-harbor tunnel to Manhattan would be prohibitively expensive and could potentially run into competing plans for a cross-harbor rail tunnel linking Brooklyn with New Jersey that has been a long-cherished proposal that raises its head from time to time.

A tunnel across the Brooklyn Narrows to connect with the R train in Bay Ridge would be prohibitively expensive, even though it would likely service hundreds of thousands of people a day and finally incorporate Staten Island Rail into the rest of the MTA subway network. It would be cheaper than a direct link to Manhattan, but would likely run to $10 billion or more and there's no indication that anyone has the money for that proposal either.

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