Monday, March 3, 2008

MTA State of the System Address

MTA honcho Elliot Sander gave the annual address this morning; unfortunately, yours truly was turned away at the door, along with dozens of others (invited guests, mind you) because the place was packed to the rafters with press and interested parties. Damn you, F train!

Fortunately, the NYT's Sewell Chan was on hand for the festivities:

In the space of an hour at the Great Hall of the Cooper Union, Mr. Sander not only called for completion of the authority’s major capital projects, like the first phase of the Second Avenue subway and the East Side Access project to link the Long Island Rail Road with Grand Central Terminal, but also outlined a building program over the next 25 to 40 years that will “rely heavily on the M.T.A.’s diamonds in the rough: underutilized or dormant freight and commuter rail rights-of-way that can be transformed into subway lines; and lightly used middle tracks on subway lines that can be used for new express services.”

He proposed extending the Second Avenue subway to Lower Manhattan, where the line would then travel under the East River and on to Downtown Brooklyn and Jamaica, Queens, via the Long Island Rail Road’s Atlantic Avenue branch, with a connection to the AirTrain to Kennedy International Airport. The Second Avenue subway could connect to new tracks on land owned by the L.I.R.R. in Queens. Tracks on Rockaway Beach could be used to provide new rail access to southern Queens. The Regional Plan Association’s circumferential subway line, meanwhile, would convert a lightly used Bay Ridge freight line into a subway service that would run in an arc from southern Brooklyn to Queens to the Bronx.

Mr. Sander also envisioned expanding Metro-North service to Co-op City, Parkchester and Hunts Point in the Bronx. Also in the Bronx, he discussed the possibility of extending the D train north and east to connect with the No. 2 and 5 subway stations at Gun Hill Road for more direct connections between the central Bronx and Manhattan’s West Side. The Metro-North Williams Bridge station nearby could be part of a new subway and train hub.

On Staten Island, the northern and western shores could be “excellent candidates for bus rapid transit and light-rail efforts.

Mr. Sander mentioned the possibility of expanding the use of shuttle trains on Long Island; allowing Metro-North trains to travel over the Tappan Zee bridge to Orange and Rockland Counties; and developing a second AirTrain service, to La Guardia Airport, by building a new link from the L.I.R.R. station at Woodside, Queens, along or above existing rail and highway rights-of-way.

Check out that bold piece . . . sound like any unused express tracks we know around here? This is exactly the kind of address i was hoping for from Sander. I'm hopeful that MTA will make available some visuals, and if I can get my hands on them I will post them.

Ben Kabak at Second Avenue Sagas was inside and will have a post up shortly.

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