Public Transit Utopianism
December 21, 2018 1:09 PM   Subscribe

“With this in mind I sought to plan out a system expansion which would be as cost effective as possible by addressing current service bottlenecks, train car issues, current ridership and population growth.” What would an ideal NYC subway system look like?
posted by The Whelk (17 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
Typical. You wait all day for a good post about the New York subway system and then two arrive at the same time.
posted by chavenet at 2:38 PM on December 21, 2018 [66 favorites]


"Funded."
posted by phooky at 3:12 PM on December 21, 2018 [6 favorites]


I’ve never clicked on anything faster
posted by schadenfrau at 3:16 PM on December 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


I would create a new line adjoining the A, that goes from Inwood into and across the Bronx to Pelham Bay.
posted by droplet at 4:09 PM on December 21, 2018


Every time I see a NYC Subway map, first thing in my head? Why are numbered streets in the Bronx so odd. E 240th Street is like a mile north of W 240th Street...

Also: poor Staten Island. Still no subway connection...
posted by Fortran at 4:09 PM on December 21, 2018


This isn't a fantasy map--this is actually what could be done if the system were properly funded, and features some neat hacks to the existing track configuration that would radically transform travel between Queens and Brooklyn

Connecting the Franklin Ave shuttle to the Crosstown line and then using it as an express on Queens Blvd while the G remains the local is pretty ingenious

The goddamned Astoria line could have been extended to LaGuardia like 15 years ago if NIMBYs hadn't killed it

I think it's weird s/he didn't put any stops between Ditmars and the airport, though--that area is a good long walk to Ditmars and still dense enough to use a subway stop

125th St Crosstown extension is a big yes

All of the various end-of-line extensions are just good ideas

The only thing I've found to question so far is the Queens Superexpress--I'm not convinced it would be the best use of transit dollars
posted by Automocar at 4:23 PM on December 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also: poor Staten Island. Still no subway connection...

Better--there's a connection to PATH. Staten Island wants to be a part of New Jersey so badly--let's carve it into the infrastructure.
posted by Automocar at 4:24 PM on December 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


yeah but what did new jersey ever do to deserve the curse of staten island
posted by poffin boffin at 4:53 PM on December 21, 2018 [7 favorites]


This is the easy part. The hard part is dealing with the corruption/money vacuum.
posted by Pembquist at 5:08 PM on December 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Staten Island has expanded and advanced by leaps and bounds since I lived there as a kid. The inattention to Staten Island's infrastructure has become a serious problem as the population has continued to grow and car ridership (in the absence of mass transit) has remained non-existent except for a single rail line. There's been talk about a commuter rail along disused north shore freight ROW for many years, but the tracks are in the wrong place for commuter rail.
posted by 1adam12 at 7:23 PM on December 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Eh? They're proposing cutting the PATH short by one station?

Also would be nice to show a 7 Train extension to Secaucus. We need another redundant mid/uptown connection to New Jersey. NY/NJ is one of the most surprisingly poorly-integrated urban areas I can think of, and the crossing has only gotten more expensive and more congested over the past few decades. PATH is currently the only option for crossing from NJ to NY that isn't staggeringly-expensive, and it's pretty much inaccessible to most suburban commuters.

Also, if we're talking about pie-in-the-sky transit visions, rebuild the NYC subway platforms so they aren't terrifyingly-narrow, are ADA-compliant, and have some level of air-conditioning.
posted by schmod at 8:39 AM on December 22, 2018


And after all the track improvements maybe they could eventually get around to making the stations look less like the inside of a dumpster.
posted by Liquidwolf at 9:12 AM on December 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


Anecdotally, from my recent visits to New York, the stations look vastly better than they did 10 years ago.

The MTA is inadequately-funded, Cuomo is a dick, they fucked up the new signaling, etc. but it requires some extremely-selective short-term memory to claim that the subway is the worst it's ever been.

The MTA has an absolutely gargantuan maintenance backlog to complete while also dragging the system into the 21st century -- even in spite of the current clusterfuck, the MTA's comparatively well-funded compared to the 70s-90s. They're slowly chipping away at it -- it seems like they fucked up one part of it (and are loathe to admit it), but the subway really does seem like it's no longer pervasively-disgusting throughout the entire system.
posted by schmod at 9:58 AM on December 22, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also, if we're talking about pie-in-the-sky transit visions, rebuild the NYC subway platforms so they aren't terrifyingly-narrow, are ADA-compliant, and have some level of air-conditioning.

The thing is, this vision isn't pie-in-the-sky. It certainly presupposes more funding for the MTA than currently exists, but rebuilding all the platforms (requiring massive amounts of tunneling and moving the tracks) and air-conditioning every single underground station would likely cost hundreds of billions of dollars. Maybe a trillion, who knows.
posted by Automocar at 11:56 AM on December 22, 2018


Anyone remember Sandy? I'd like to see anything built going forward to be > 20 ft MSL. Failing that, protect all the electronics and controls from salt water damage for easy recovery from surges for maybe a few decades.
posted by M-x shell at 9:01 AM on December 23, 2018


The Power Broker by Robert Caro has a great discussion about why there is no train to LaGuardia already.

tldr: Robert Moses was a dick. Really. That's literally it.
posted by M-x shell at 9:05 AM on December 23, 2018 [5 favorites]


Dig all these new lines and use the landfill dig out to create new barrier islands or support the rockaway wetlands to baffle storm surges and flooding.

Bury the BQE and put a woodland on top, restich the Bronx together and undo what Moses did.
posted by The Whelk at 1:04 AM on December 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


« Older The subway crush transformed New York into what it...   |   Meet the Hurdy-Gurdy Man Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments