TSTC Wants You To Help Support “ARC”

One of the tri-state area’s leading transit advocates is the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. They recently asked tri-state area residents to contact their local officials to help a bill which would help New Jersey fund its portion of the “ARC” tunnel project. The project would build a second rail tunnel below the Hudson River, connecting New Jersey & Midtown Manhattan. For more information on the project & how you could help support it, you can read their entry by clicking here.

I urge the readers of this blog to look into the project & support the cause for a huge improvement to the tri-state area’s transit infrastructure.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Select Bus Service Comes To Manhattan

After a more than successful debut & current run in the Bronx, Select Bus Service is taking its show on the road to Manhattan, 34th Street more specifically. Brad Aaron of Streetsblog has more on the new service from the team of the DOT & MTA in this report:

DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and MTA CEO Lee Sander are scheduled to officially roll out 34th Street Select Bus Service at a 1 p.m. press conference today. The new Manhattan route will be the city’s second foray into bus rapid transit, following a successful debut on Fordham Road in the Bronx.

The 34th Street route stretches from 1st to 11th Avenues, and its lanes will be enforced from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. — unlike those on the Bx12 SBS line, which are only enforced during morning and evening rush. The lanes are in effect as of today.

Sources tell Streetsblog that the city is bypassing Albany by installing stationary automated traffic cameras to keep taxis out of the lanes, but DOT would not confirm ahead of the presser. The media release says that the red SBS lanes are “the first step in a series of improvements planned to improve bus speeds and reliability” along the corridor.

In April, Sadik-Khan announced that 34th Street would eventually be home to the city’s first “Transitway” — a bus/ped/bike plaza closed to cars between 5th and 6th Avenues, with private vehicle lanes on either side of that block converted to one way streets, channeling traffic away from the Central Business District. The SBS configuration to be unveiled today marks Phase 1 of the project as outlined in this DOT slideshow.

Today’s press conference is set for the north side of 34th between 5th and Madison.

This is great news for transit advocates who feel public transportation should be made a viable alternative to driving. This is not to say that people should not drive or that we should charge ridiculous fees to drivers like other irresponsible people might suggest. However an effective transit system can help alleviate the need by many to feel the need to always drive. This type of system can only be seen as a win-win situation for everyone.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Gov. Patterson Promises Progress On Moynihan Station

For the last number of years, our local officials & many other transit advocates have been pushing for the creation of the Moynihan Station. The station would serve as the new & highly improved home of the Amtrak, Long Island Rail Road, & New Jersey Transit. Unfortunately due to many different circumstances including the never ending feud between the three commuter rail roads, not much progress has been made. However if New York Governor David Patterson has his way, the hub will serve as the gateway to Midtown Manhattan. Douglas Feiden of the New York Daily News has more in this report:

Long-stalled plans to replace gloomy Penn Station with a handsome new transit hub were back on track Friday after Gov. Paterson said the Port Authority should take over the project.

Noting that three governors had tried to build a transportation mecca named for the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Paterson pledged he would succeed where his predecessors had failed.

“We will make Moynihan Station the gateway to New York and the engine that revitalizes midtown Manhattan,” he boasted at a New York Building Congress luncheon.

“We’re going to respond to this challenge – and do you know why we’re going to respond? There’s a new sheriff in town.”

Paterson’s call to advance the $3 billion hub included a threat to pull the plug if the Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit, Amtrak and other governmental agencies don’t meet certain conditions.

The governor’s demands included building additional train tracks and platforms to expand rail capacity, revitalizing the surrounding neighborhood, building a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River and forcing three feuding railroads to unify some operations.

Amtrak, all but broke and refusing to relocate its inter-city rail service from Penn Station into the landmark Farley Post Office across the street, would also have to come on board, Paterson insisted.

Click here for the complete report.

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MTA Adds Extra Buses & Trains In The Bronx

Usually when a local leader cries out to the MTA for something whether it be much needed repairs or extra service, they are left waiting for a long time before any sort of resolution is reached. However in the North Bronx, the time period for a solution was faster than they could have ever expected. Megan James of The Riverdale Press has the story:

Sometimes you get what you wished for.

A month after Community Board 8 traffic and transportation chairman Anthony Cassino wrote a letter urging MTA New York City Transit to do something about the chronic congestion of buses and trains at and around West 231st Street, the agency wrote back with a solution.

Starting this month, in an effort to stem the overcrowding of buses on the Bx7 route during rush hours, an additional four northbound and three southbound trips will be added to the route. MTA has also put in a request with the city Department of Transportation to lengthen the bus stop at the northwest corner of West 231st Street, stretching west down Broadway, by 100 feet.

“Lengthening the bus stop area is necessary because the buses get backed up — the 20, the 10, the 7, the 1 — you can’t even sit down,” Mr. Cassino said.

MTA also offered a solution to improve the flow of No. 1 subway trains in and out of the Van Cortlandt Park/ 242nd Street subway stop. The trouble there, MTA believes, is that some trains are turned around and taken to a “lay-up” yard at West 240th Street, where they are cleaned and stored for the night. They are then taken back up to the 242nd Street stop to go into service again.

With arriving and lay-up trains at times occupying both the northbound and southbound tracks, trains headed for the West 242nd Street stop are forced to wait outside the terminal until one track clears, the MTA explained in its letter to Mr. Cassino.

To clear up the tracks, the MTA in late July placed seven additional lay-up trains during the morning rush hour, and three additional lay-up trains during the evening rush hour, into passenger service at the West 238th Street stop.

Mr. Cassino was thrilled by the MTA’s swift response.

Click here for the complete story.

Now only if all solutions could be that easy & come that quickly…..

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Staffers Continue To Lose Perks

Over the last few months it has been the same stories in the news when it comes to the MTA. The biggest story by far has been the sorry state of finances at the agency & how they are looking at any & every way to cut costs. So to no one’s surprise, news has come out that the MTA has ordered 59 staffers to return take-home cars as part of cost cutting initiatives. New York Daily News transit reporter Pete Donohue has more in this report:

At least 59 MTA staffers are being stripped of their take-home cars in a series of cost-cutting moves underway at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Daily News has learned.

“In addition to cutting 6% of costs over four years, we’ve taken immediate steps to tighten our belts and will continue to pursue a host of cost-cutting initiatives,” MTA spokesman Jeremy Soffin said.

Several senior staffers at one MTA division – including a six-figure vice president – already have had to return authority-owned sedans they had been granted to use on-duty and for their commutes.

The Daily News reported this summer that 60 Bridges and Tunnels workers were given take-home cars.

Other authority divisions are working on similar recalls. Each has at least determined how many employees will have to give up take-home cars, the MTA said.

Facing huge operating budget gaps in 2009 and beyond, MTA CEO Elliot Sander last year directed agency heads to cut expenses by 1.5% a year for four consecutive years.

In July, Sander directed agency presidents to find additional savings through such actions as delaying planned hirings by two months, canceling most out-of-town travel and slashing the total mileage racked up by all vehicles not used for passengers.

Click here for the complete report.

I don’t have much to say besides the obvious. I support this move as any extra money that can legitimately be saved while not hurting infrastructure or service should be implemented immediately.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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