Downtown Alliance Statement On Proposed Service Cuts

Well let the updates begin…….

I will be starting off with a press release which was sent to me via e-mail from The Downtown Alliance on Jan. 20th. The statement is in regards to the MTA’s proposed service cuts that would affect Downtown Manhattan. Here is a sample of the 3 page statement:

On behalf of the Lower Manhattan business and residential communities, the Alliance for Downtown New York urges the Metropolitan Transit Authority to rethink its proposed reductions in Lower Manhattan subway and bus service. These cuts are short-sighted and threaten Downtown’s long-term economic health.

Transportation is the key to Lower Manhattan’s past, present and future. Fourteen subway lines, 33 local and express bus routes, multiple ferries, bikeways, a heliport and the PATH — no part of New York City is more connected to the entire metropolitan area, and our future as the international capital of finance and commerce – now redefining what it means to be a central business district with a thriving residential and tourist population – depends on it.

Lower Manhattan’s one square mile is home to 318,000 employees and close to 57,000 residents, and last year hosted 6 million tourists. In 2007, subway ridership was 86 million, total ridership was 123 million and average daily ridership was 338,000. This mass transit network is the lifeblood of Lower Manhattan; In fact, many of the district’s larger employers say that access to mass transit is the reason they started, stayed or relocated in Lower Manhattan, and it’s a huge plus for residents and visitors as well.

The Bowling Green station saw an increase of 11%, and through September 2008, ridership at Fulton St./Broadway Nassau station – which serves ELEVEN subway lines, including the overcrowded A, E and 4, 5 lines and is the 10th busiest station in New York City with 19 million riders in 2007 – experienced a 7% increase over the same period in 2007. The Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall station, which serves New York City’s civic center, also saw similar increases in ridership over the past year.

The MTA’s plans will ensure that even more people have to wait for multiple trains to pass before they board, and when they do, the trains will be even more crowded than they are now. As bad as this situation will be, the proposed service changes will create far more troubling ramifications for Lower Manhattan’s future. Consider just a few MTA proposals and their consequences:

• No M6 buses down Broadway to major retailers like J&R Music World and Century 21 or international tourist destinations like the National Museum of the American Indian and the Sports Museum of America.

• No W service at all, further complicating the commute of commercial tenants on Water Street heading to Western Queens.

• No late night N service south of Chambers, isolating this growing residential part of our community.

• No more M15 buses to City Hall. Ever.

• Weekend changes on bus lines and night changes on subway lines that will adversely impact Lower Manhattan’s residents and tourists, the two populations that have experienced the strongest growth since September 11th.

• Suspending the M22 during the weekends, which will eliminate a crucial connection between Battery Park City (and its major tourist attractions), City Hall, the Financial District and Chinatown.

Downtown needs the Fulton Transit Center, and we need it now. This cost-effective and energy-efficient project will create 4,000 construction-related jobs and is ready to go. Hundreds of millions of public dollars have already been spent on the below-grade aspects of the project; when will work begin on the above-grade portion, so essential to Lower Manhattan’s commercial, residential and tourist populations?

Governor Paterson and Mayor Bloomberg recently requested billions of dollars in federal stimulus aid package proposed by President-Elect Obama for State and City transportation projects. The Fulton Transit Center should be at the top of any list: shovel-ready, “green” and a lynchpin of the future of America’s iconic live/work community, Lower Manhattan.

Click here to view or download the entire report (.doc).

I applaud the Downtown Alliance for taking a stance against the proposed service cuts that would affect Downtown Manhattan. They make some excellent points in their 3 page statement. However with saying that, I have to question one of the bullet points mentioned which regarded the M6 & reaching such locations such as J&R Music World.

If you are going to make your battle points, it would be wise to choose them wisely. As much as I do not want to see service cuts become a reality, touting the “Save The M6” rallying cry falls on deaf ears in my opinion. The entire route is covered by multiple subway lines. If people really need to get to J&R among other destinations, they have a plethora of choices.

I also question the angle used on defending the saving of the W Train. Do they have actual numbers to back up their worry of how many Water Street commercial tenants depend on the W Train to get to Queens? I assume they do not since no numbers were mentioned for that point. I would have played up the positives of the W Train which include it being a good supplement to the N & providing crowding relief for the N Train. Once again, I feel the strengths behind your arguments must stand out.

In the end, I feel the alliance could have done a better job of highlighting the main justifications for being against the service cuts that would affect downtown Manhattan. They will get an A for effort though!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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