Looks Like Hell Kitchen Has To Play The Waiting Game

Passengers waiting @ Queensboro Plaza for doors to open on a Flushing/Main St. bound 7 train. Resized photo courtesy of Eye On Transit

This is the news that came from yesterday’s ceremonial groundbreaking for the 7 line extension. At yesterday’s groundbreaking, NYC Deputy Mayor commented on how important the 34th Street & 11th Avenue stop was to the development of the Hudson Rail Yards. When talk shifted to the area around 41st Street & 10th Avenue, he insisted the area is already developing without a subway station. He also went on to say, “The No. 7 line is not necessary to move that forward.” AMNY writer Marlene Naanes has more on yesterday’s ceremonial groundbreaking so here is her article courtesy of AMNY:

Finally there’s a sign that the No. 7 train will eventually be heading farther west. But for some, the line will still be missing a stop.

Next week, work will at last begin on extending the No. 7 line to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. And Monday, the mayor, governor and MTA unveiled a sign – it was billed as a ceremonial groundbreaking — in the Times Square station touting the arrival of the stop at 11th Avenue and 34th Street.

But despite community demands, it seems a stop at 41St Street and 10th Avenue, in increasingly residential Hell’s Kitchen, isn’t on track, at least not right away.

Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff said the 11th Avenue stop, set to completed in 2013, is crucial to the development of the Hudson Yards. However, he added the area around 41nd Street and 10th Avenue in Hells Kitchen is developing without a subway already, he said.

“The No. 7 line is not necessary to move that forward,” he said at the ceremony Monday.

In October, the MTA board awarded the first contract of the city-funded $2.1 billion project with an option to build an unfunded $450 million shell of the 10th Avenue station.

The city will discuss with the MTA and other officials how to find funding in the coming months, Doctoroff said Monday.

Residents at area community board meetings have constantly asked for the second stop, the board district manger said. Some Hell’s Kitchen businesses and residents also think the project needs a second stop while others don’t support it in any form.

Michael LaCava, a resident who lives near the sough-after subway stop, liked the idea of a station that would connect him with trains at Times Square and Grand Central “especially in the winter months when you have to walk two avenues away.”

James Matthews, manager of Starwich, a sandwich shop near 42nd Street and 10th Avenue, said a nearby stop would help local businesses in an area with constant new residential construction.

“More businesses would open up with adequate transportation,” he said. “People don’t venture over here unless they’re going to a specific spot or if they live here.”

The Clinton Special District Coalition, which represents some residents in the area, said the entire project is bad for the neighborhood, bringing in unwanted skyscrapers at Hudson Yards, raising rents and bouncing long-standing small businesses from the area. The extension wouldn’t reach most Hell’s Kitchen residents, even with two stops, he said.

“It’s not that we’re against good transportation,” said group president John Fisher. “If they could have a subway without this impact then I’d be all for it.”

I have already written my opinion on this extension as well as the idea of not creating a stop in Hell’s Kitchen if the extension is going to take place. You can view my thoughts by clicking here.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Transport Workers Union Local 100 Has A Message For The City

Earlier today, Transport Workers Union Local 100 joined other transit advocates & officials in asking the city to provide more funding for the MTA. Marlene Naanes of AMNY has more on the story so here is her article courtesy of AMNY:

The Transport Workers Union, transit advocates and elected officials asked the city Monday to offer more funding to the MTA to avoid a fare hike.

“New York City contributes only four percent of the costs of running our subway and bus system,” said Gene Russianoff, staff attorney for the Straphangers Campaign, a transit riders’ advocacy group. “That’s simply not a fair share and not enough to get us affordable fares and decent service.”

The MTA board will vote on increasing MetroCard costs, commuter rail fares and tolls this month. The governor announced last month the base fare would remain at $2, and state lawmakers have said they would try to garner more funding for the agency facing billions in future debt.

The Mayor’s office said that city is looking into the MTA’s financial situation, but it’s also funding a No. 7 line expansion project for more than $2 billion.

While the message is a good one that has to be sent, I think it needs to be sent to the state more. The state is more responsible for the financial crisis the MTA is in compared to the city. If I was apart of this group, I’d refocus my attention on the main culprit.

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LIRR Service Alert (8:40 pm)

Monday, December 3, 2007   8:40 PM

Ronkonkoma, Port Jefferson, Oyster Bay, and Hempstead Branch Customers:

The LIRR is experiencing 30-45 minute delays on the Ronkonkoma, Port Jefferson, Hempstead and Oyster Bay Branches following an accident involving an unauthorized person on the tracks near Floral Park.

Oyster Bay customers on the 8:07 PM train from Jamaica will be provided with train service to Mineola, then transfer to a bus making all stops to Oyster Bay.

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Service Alert B, D, N, & R (9:00 pm)

Due to a police investigation at the Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street Station:

Coney Island-bound n is running on the r line from the Canal Street Station to the DeKalb Avenue Station.

Coney Island-bound b and d trains are running with delays.

Please expect delays in service on the b, d, n and r trains at this time.

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LIRR Crossing In Huntington Finally Repaired

Huntington resident Jean Kouwenhoven must be very happy tonight according to a story in yesterday’s Newsday. The Newsday reprinted a brief letter that Jean sent them complaining about the uneven grade crossing on Oakwood Road in Huntington. Beneath the letter was the article featuring the news Jean & many other drivers have been waiting to hear, the crossing has been repaired! Here is the full article courtesy of Newsday:

The LIRR crossing on Oakwood Road in Huntington is so uneven the cars go around it to avoid the raised pavement on the tracks. It’s just a question of time before one car swerves into another car. I have been after people since last year to get it fixed. I wrote the town and county and learned it’s the LIRR’s responsibility. I left a message a few weeks ago at the railroad and they never called.

Jean Kouwenhoven, Huntington

Drivers won’t have to do any more pothole dodging at the Oakwood Road crossing.

Workers finished overhauling the roadway by the tracks on Tuesday, using 20 tons of new asphalt, LIRR spokesman Sam Zambuto said.

After we called the railroad about the problem, the crossing was reinspected. Zambuto said that inspection confirmed what the railroad already knew – the crossing needed help.

Previous inspections had put the Oakwood Road crossing on the railroad’s repair radar, although the LIRR did not perceive a “current hazard,” Zambuto said.

“The crossing needs asphalt work and that was something we were planning to do,” Zambuto said before the repair work began on Nov. 21.

The asphalt on both sides of the tracks was replaced across all traffic lanes. Repairs were also made to the rubberized crossing panels for smoother driving over the tracks. Oakwood Road is one of 290 street-level train crossings within the LIRR system that are regularly inspected, Zambuto said.

Anyone with a problem involving an LIRR crossing should call Public Affairs at 718-558-8228. Complaints can be e-mailed by visiting mta.info, click the FAQs/Contact Us button on the left and then click E-mail at the bottom of the page.

While it is good to see that the problem was fixed, I do have a couple of opinions about this. For starters why did it take Newsday contacting the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) to get this project expedited. The MTA urges customers to contact them with any comments, concerns or suggestions yet they seem to overlook what is sent in. I don’t think it should have taken the Newsday contacting them to get the work completed ahead of whatever schedule they had in mind.

The next piece of business is in regards to their choice of how to repair the crossing. When I finished reading this article on their website, I noticed that someone had left a comment. The comment was left by Anne & she had this to say:

That has finally been repaired? I am in shock!!!!!!! Oh, please. that crossing had been messed up for a long time. I remember the holes at the edge of the tracks 35 years ago. They should rip the entire crossing up and start from scratch. They have down work on that crossing years ago. But for some reason, it never stayed repaired. Use to go around the holes a lot.

If this crossing has been repaired before & the problems kept manifesting itself, maybe Anne’s suggestion is the right way to go about this. Why keep repairing the crossing if the problem is going to manifest itself? This is not cost effective & in a time where wasting money stands out more then ever, the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) should have seriously looked into what would be the best way to fix this problem once & for all.

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