Discussion relating to the past and present operations of the NYC Subway, PATH, and Staten Island Railway (SIRT).

Moderator: GirlOnTheTrain

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  by goodnightjohnwayne
 
neroden wrote:Sheer irrelevance. <SNIP>
First of all, based on the objective realities of modern freight railroading, I can't support any publicly funded study on a topic that is so utterly beyond the bounds of reason. The New York waterfront has been largely consigned to history, the car float business is very nearly extinct and it took the spin off LIRR freight operations to save the little freight business that was left on all of Long Island. Looking at New England as a whole, it's clear that the current B&A route is more than adequate to service all of the remaining business, despite clearance restrictions, and even then, CSX has sold off the trackage east of Worchester to the state.

Of course, the amazing thing is that Alfred Perlman anticipated future trends with remarkable clarity back in the 1960s, and demonstrated tremendous foresight in centralizing operations at the ultramodern Selkirk yard. Even then, it was clear that New York was in terminal decline as a port, and much of the old fashioned industrial and manufacturing base was already disappearing. Even 50 years ago, it was clear that there was an irreversible shift in the freight railroading industry in New York and New England.

It's very obvious given the high real estate values, high population densities, high labor costs and primarily residential orientation of land use that Long Island is no place for a major container terminal. For that matter, the Brooklyn waterfront is entirely unsuitable for offloading containers on an economical scale. More to the point, the remaining un-redeveloped waterfront areas of Brooklyn are best reserved for residential purposes.

In the end, you can argue that there is trucking congestion in Long Island, but railroad freight traffic is not an economical or practical solution. Basically, the truck traffic is not related to industrial shippers, since there are very few left on Long Island, but to servicing the consumers of primarily residential Long Island. Long Island is really just a large, residential cul-de-sac, best serviced by the trucking industry.

If there are substantial costs associated with dredging in New Jersey, they are most likely covered by the Army Corp of Engineers, and are entirely justifiable as an expense of maintaining navigable waterways. There are many practical reasons why almost all New York port traffic shifted to New Jersey, but such a discussion is beyond the scope of this forum. Needless to say, the cost of dredging did not prevent such a shift. It also goes without saying that it would take many decades, perhaps even centuries of dredging to equal the costs of a freight tunnel, which I would estimate to be in the neighborhood of $100 billion, given the likely cost overruns and inflation.
  by hrfcarl
 
goodnightjohnwayne wrote:First of all, there isn't enough freight business on Long Island to justify such an investment. There's a reason why the LIRR spun off its few remaining freight customers to the NY&A, which essentially pays shortline wage scales. The NY&A seems like an admirable little operation, and they even have a few practices that the Class 1s should emulate, but the freight business on Long Island isn't likely to ever amount to much.

Second of all, the limited clearances would preclude most modern freight equipment. For instance, CSX runs single stacked container traffic into Boston, but you couldn't run well cars through 3rd rail territory.
Seems if CSX is willing to run single stacked containers into Boston, which seems to sound non standard practice, then COFC/TOFC could be run in 3rd rail territory. There is enough clearance thru NYP for RB Circus Train with its flat cars. Another poster mentioned study done about whether cross harbor freight tunnel needed, using NYP would allow limited test of that report. Use of DM freight engines not necessary, but would be nice as way to eleminate need for interchanges/engine swaps although would drive up cost of this test. Still need intermodal site somewhere on LI (which includes Queens & Brooklyn).
  by Noel Weaver
 
goodnightjohnwayne wrote:
First of all, based on the objective realities of modern freight railroading, I can't support any publicly funded study on a topic that is so utterly beyond the bounds of reason. The New York waterfront has been largely consigned to history, the car float business is very nearly extinct and it took the spin off LIRR freight operations to save the little freight business that was left on all of Long Island. Looking at New England as a whole, it's clear that the current B&A route is more than adequate to service all of the remaining business, despite clearance restrictions, and even then, CSX has sold off the trackage east of Worchester to the state.

Of course, the amazing thing is that Alfred Perlman anticipated future trends with remarkable clarity back in the 1960s, and demonstrated tremendous foresight in centralizing operations at the ultramodern Selkirk yard. Even then, it was clear that New York was in terminal decline as a port, and much of the old fashioned industrial and manufacturing base was already disappearing. Even 50 years ago, it was clear that there was an irreversible shift in the freight railroading industry in New York and New England.

It's very obvious given the high real estate values, high population densities, high labor costs and primarily residential orientation of land use that Long Island is no place for a major container terminal. For that matter, the Brooklyn waterfront is entirely unsuitable for offloading containers on an economical scale. More to the point, the remaining un-redeveloped waterfront areas of Brooklyn are best reserved for residential purposes.

In the end, you can argue that there is trucking congestion in Long Island, but railroad freight traffic is not an economical or practical solution. Basically, the truck traffic is not related to industrial shippers, since there are very few left on Long Island, but to servicing the consumers of primarily residential Long Island. Long Island is really just a large, residential cul-de-sac, best serviced by the trucking industry.

If there are substantial costs associated with dredging in New Jersey, they are most likely covered by the Army Corp of Engineers, and are entirely justifiable as an expense of maintaining navigable waterways. There are many practical reasons why almost all New York port traffic shifted to New Jersey, but such a discussion is beyond the scope of this forum. Needless to say, the cost of dredging did not prevent such a shift. It also goes without saying that it would take many decades, perhaps even centuries of dredging to equal the costs of a freight tunnel, which I would estimate to be in the neighborhood of $100 billion, given the likely cost overruns and inflation.

There are a lot of things that this particular individual has posted on here that I do not agree with but on this one I think
he is clearly on the mark. It would take lifetimes for a tunnel to be paid for and it will not accomplish much. They have a
facility on Staten Island and perhaps this could be used but to even think that it makes sense to move a major amount of
rail freight onto New York City proper or Long Island is just being blind to reality. New York City is no long a port that amounts to anything and it is not going to amount to anything again in the future either most likely. It might make sense to use the facilities on Staten Island in order to avoid Manhattan and the bridges and tunnels there but to try to do more
isn't going to work.
As for running freight through Penn Station at night, this is even more foolish, first time one of them has trouble in the tunnels or the terminal it will tie up the AM rush hour and then you will have major delays to all commuter and Amtrak
service through there for a long time, forget this one.
Things will stay just like they are for a long, long time.
Noel Weaver
Last edited by Noel Weaver on Tue Oct 20, 2009 11:39 am, edited 3 times in total.
  by goodnightjohnwayne
 
hrfcarl wrote: Seems if CSX is willing to run single stacked containers into Boston, which seems to sound non standard practice, then COFC/TOFC could be run in 3rd rail territory. There is enough clearance thru NYP for RB Circus Train with its flat cars. Another poster mentioned study done about whether cross harbor freight tunnel needed, using NYP would allow limited test of that report. Use of DM freight engines not necessary, but would be nice as way to eleminate need for interchanges/engine swaps although would drive up cost of this test. Still need intermodal site somewhere on LI (which includes Queens & Brooklyn).
Well cars!

Basically, the double stacks come into DeWitt, where the upper level containers are removed to be trucked to destination to New York and New Jersey. Then the trains proceed as single stacks to Boston over the height restricted B&A, but using the same well cars that you see on every double stack. Of course the well cars would not clear a 3rd rail, not that it's an issue, because there's no need from them to go into third rail territory.
  by workextra
 
A container would fit on a different well car based off the LIRR C3's but, that would require a reloading which my or may not effect the cost of shipping.
The goal here is to get ride of long island bound trucks from the drive from NJ to LI and let the railroad handle that trip.
Logistically trucking is currently the most effective method. But we are suffering from a big problem.
Yesterdays HTS infrastructure was not designed for the amount of truck traffic of today and the amount of single person cars have more then tripled. The HTS is no longer safely capable of doing what it was built for.
Which on Long Island (until the LIE) was built for pleasure and pleasure driving.
On the other hand. This very same infrastructure is failing under the rubber and aluminum foil riding on it. The roads that are considered major truck routes into and out of Manhattan, Bronx and LI (Brooklyn, & Queens are on LI, pull out a map) are in major disrepair and are held together by patchphalt and other cheap grades of asphalt. bridges need work done to them and more. The system cannot by any means handle the current amount of traffic and be rebuilt into the new generation without deadly traffic jams.
There is only one way to alleviate the problem. That was is what Moses despised of, The railroad.
Freight on LI should be subsidized, and unlike the MTA, the subsidized freight has to show a profit motive to get state and federal money.
Weather the float, use Penn, or Selkirk, they need to figure how to get freight bound to long island on the rails.
The trans load facility is the best way possible. A minimum one in Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk
On a side note. if the state offered a tax rebate "going green incentive" for a business to except rail even via a team track, then I bet Long Island rail freight would go up.
There is only one way to find out, and that is to try it.

Any thoughts?
  by goodnightjohnwayne
 
First of all, it is entirely uneconomic to employ TOFC or intermodal over such short distances. Trucking is the only obvious and economically viable solution.

Second of all, if it is necessary to invest more into highway infrastructure, why should public funds be squandered on studies for such an improbable rail freight project?

Third, Robert Moses wasn't against any aspect of railroading. For most of Robert Moses carreer in the public sector, almost every aspect of railroading, outside of the subway system, belonged to the private sector. In other words, the railroads had nothing to do with Robert Moses. I can even cite instances where Robert Moses improved railroad infrastructure as a part of highway projects, such as the West Side Improvement, where freight tracks were covered to provide for highways and public parks, removing what was considered to be major public nuisance. Every Amtrak passenger taking the Empire Service into NYP benefits from the work of Robert Moses. I would encourage you to read about the life of this great civil servant, who was uniquely honest in his era. The great irony is that Moses would have corrected many of the major highway access issues you mentioned with a Rye to Oyster Bay Bridge, a project that was undermined by Nelson Rockefeller.

Fourth, publicly subsidized freight railroading has already failed on Long Island. The reality is that spin off of freight operations to the NY&A was the only way to save a nearly extinct freight business. Argually, the NY&A is already indirectly subsidized through the use of taxpayer maintained LIRR trackage.

Finally, there is no need for a "trial" of a concept that has no practical application. There is no demand for railroad container or TOFC traffic to Long Island. There are no major shippers demanding such a service, trial or otherwise.

Incidentally, the concept of using a "team track" has been obsolete for 5 or 6 decades. I would encourage you to read about modern railroading, since many of your concepts date back at least 50 years. The rail freight system of yesteryear died for many good and sufficient reasons. Basically, there was too much expensive labor involved in an infrastructure of team tracks and freight houses, with too much damage and pilferage.

Your last post referred to "less than carload" lot freight and now you're talking about "team tracks?" Where are you getting these dated concepts? Do you have some sort of personal experience or work history with a railroad back in the 1950s or before? I just have to wonder where you're getting these ideas?
  by hrfcarl
 
goodnightjohnwayne wrote:Third, Robert Moses wasn't against any aspect of railroading. For most of Robert Moses carreer in the public sector, almost every aspect of railroading, outside of the subway system, belonged to the private sector. In other words, the railroads had nothing to do with Robert Moses. I can even cite instances where Robert Moses improved railroad infrastructure as a part of highway projects, such as the West Side Improvement, where freight tracks were covered to provide for highways and public parks, removing what was considered to be major public nuisance. Every Amtrak passenger taking the Empire Service into NYP benefits from the work of Robert Moses. I would encourage you to read about the life of this great civil servant, who was uniquely honest in his era. The great irony is that Moses would have corrected many of the major highway access issues you mentioned with a Rye to Oyster Bay Bridge, a project that was undermined by Nelson Rockefeller.
I do not dispute Mr. Moses as being a great man, but one short fall is best described in the last sentence of the 1st paragrahp of this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Moses: "His decisions favoring highways over public transit helped create the modern suburbs of Long Island and influenced a generation of engineers, architects, and urban planners who spread his philosophies across the nation." One has to ask: If Mr. Moses was as involved in rail/public transit as he was in highways, where would we be today?

The Rye to Oyster Bay Bridge you mention is a perfect example of this flaw - how are the vehicles suppose to get to this bridge? Yes offers another route to/from LI further east (extension of Rt 135, right?) than current routes, so great if heading North or to N.England (helps pleasure drivers), but what about to NJ? Still get funneled thru the Bronx and GWB.

A reason the Brooklyn water front, especially the 50th to 65th streets area, became (still) unsuitable for container terminals was (is) lack of good connection to the national rail system. Hell Gate Bridge use became very restricted when MNRRs took over of passenger service north of NYC and float operations seem to be too undependable or time consuming or costly or all three to compete.

So if not rail, then what solution?
  by goodnightjohnwayne
 
hrfcarl wrote: I do not dispute Mr. Moses as being a great man, but one short fall is best described in the last sentence of the 1st paragrahp of this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Moses: "His decisions favoring highways over public transit helped create the modern suburbs of Long Island and influenced a generation of engineers, architects, and urban planners who spread his philosophies across the nation." One has to ask: If Mr. Moses was as involved in rail/public transit as he was in highways, where would we be today?

As previously stated, Robert Moses was working in the public sector at a time when intercity and commuter passenger service were a function of private sector railroads. It's worth noting that the great infrastructure projects of the early 20th century, such as Grand Central and Penn Station, were completed decades before the peak of Robert Moses career. Robert Moses worked primarily with highway infrastructure because that's where there was a need at the time. Automotive technology was rapidly advancing at a time when passenger rail represented a mature, turn of the century technology. New York needed new highways, but had plenty of passenger rail capacity.

Mass transit was a different issue. The much loved NYC subway system had been partially private, but had been brought entirely into the public sector, in part because the public demanded that the nearly sacred nickel fare be preserved. In contrast, many New Yorkers, especially on the East Side of Manhattan, viewed the Els as a public nuisance. So did LaGuardia - so they were torn down, without replacement. Removing the East Side Els actually increased real estate values and further increased the popularity of LaGuardia. It's clear that mass transit wasn't politically popular in the time of Robert Moses, except of course for that sacred nickel subway fare - and that 5 cent subway fare, which stayed in effect for far too long, was one reason why the expansion of the NYC mass transit system stagnated.

hrfcarl wrote:The Rye to Oyster Bay Bridge you mention is a perfect example of this flaw - how are the vehicles suppose to get to this bridge? Yes offers another route to/from LI further east (extension of Rt 135, right?) than current routes, so great if heading North or to N.England (helps pleasure drivers), but what about to NJ? Still get funneled thru the Bronx and GWB.
It seems to me that it would have connected the Hudson Valley with Long Island while completely bypassing the metropolitan area, something that is sorely lacking today. It would have eased trucking congestion and changed patterns of work and distribution, to the benefit of NYS. In the modern world, many people don't commute from a suburban area to an urban core, but from one suburb to another, bypassing the urban core altogether. Long Island is uniquely isolated and consequently, its residents are denied a number of employment opportunities.
hrfcarl wrote:A reason the Brooklyn water front, especially the 50th to 65th streets area, became (still) unsuitable for container terminals was (is) lack of good connection to the national rail system. Hell Gate Bridge use became very restricted when MNRRs took over of passenger service north of NYC and float operations seem to be too undependable or time consuming or costly or all three to compete.

So if not rail, then what solution?
Why attempt to find a solution to a non-existent problem?

Looking at the Brooklyn waterfront, I see a venue for residential real estate, which would benefit all New Yorkers more than seeing the development go to New Jersey instead. There isn't any great demand for a container terminal in Brooklyn, and there are precious few rail shippers left in all of New York City. It's time to accept that the port business have gone to NJ for a number of good and sufficient reasons. As far as I'm concerned, there is no need for a container terminal between NJ and Boston because there's more than a enough current capacity for the foreseeable future.
  by Jeff Smith
 
I have to say the discussion on this thread has been very informative and clarifying from both sides of the issue. My initial instinct was that this was a sorely needed project, the original reason for the PANYNJ (unless that's an urban legend), and NY was getting screwed. I even posted something recently to that effect in the PANYNJ forum.

I think my opinion has come around to "Nice to have, but other projects provide more bang for the buck". I think John Wayne's most recent post(s) was (were) right on point regarding the efficacy of this proposal. That's not to say that HRF's point about a more direct connection to the national (freight) rail system isn't a good point, but how much is that connection needed? I'm not that familiar with commerce on LI. How many distribution facilities are on the island? It has been mentioned that there is an extreme lack of space for intermodal, and there are other infrastructure restrictions, including height, grade crossings, and intense passenger traffic. I've also learned through access over the Hell Gate is problematic as well; I believe there's one dedicated freight track, there's modest yards in the Bronx, a dedicated freight track along the NEC which does not run all the way to the New Haven line in New Rochelle, and infrastructure and traffic restrictions on both the Hudson and New Haven lines. There is also limited or no space for expansion or additional tracks along those lines (although I think the Hudson has a dedicated freight track for some distance south of Croton).

As for the Rye-Oyster Bay bridge, it did offer a potential connection to NJ via the 287 connection between I-80 and I-87, which was finished some time in the 80's, I think? I'm old enough to remember the proposals for this bridge, and Rockefeller's lack of support for it. It was also during the time of rising environmental awareness/opposition (anyone remember Westway and Snail Darters?). There was a route, and plans for property acquisiton; unfortunately for Moses and the bridge, the property didn't run through "poor" areas like the Cross-Bronx expressway. The bridge is sorely needed today, although I would think the TZB would have been replaced long ago if Rye-Oyster Bay had happened. It definitely would have opened up job markets between CT and LI.

Of course, ROB has nothing to do with mass transit or rail. And soon enough, LI residents will have access to job markets in Westchester and CT through ESA, although it won't exactly be direct.
  by hrfcarl
 
goodnightjohnwayne wrote:"hrfcarl wrote:
The Rye to Oyster Bay Bridge you mention is a perfect example of this flaw - how are the vehicles suppose to get to this bridge? Yes offers another route to/from LI further east (extension of Rt 135, right?) than current routes, so great if heading North or to N.England (helps pleasure drivers), but what about to NJ? Still get funneled thru the Bronx and GWB."

It seems to me that it would have connected the Hudson Valley with Long Island while completely bypassing the metropolitan area, something that is sorely lacking today. It would have eased trucking congestion and changed patterns of work and distribution, to the benefit of NYS. In the modern world, many people don't commute from a suburban area to an urban core, but from one suburb to another, bypassing the urban core altogether. Long Island is uniquely isolated and consequently, its residents are denied a number of employment opportunities.
Instead of trying to get people to drive to their local LIRR station, you want them driving to CT & Westchester for jobs - how does this reduce congestion? And how many trucks travel between the Hudson Valley and LI? This is not to say that I am against this Bridge, but seems like it would do very little to solve the issue to getting stuff from ports/distribution centers in NJ to NYC & LI.
goodnightjohnwayne wrote:Why attempt to find a solution to a non-existent problem?
So you see no problem with the congested roadways to/from NYC & LI? There is no room to build more highways in NYC & LI, so even adding a new express vehicle tunnel under Manhanttan from NJ to LI (Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau & Suffolk) would have minimal effect. Of the 2 Cross Harbor Rail Tunnel projects, I have preferred the SI alignment since that has the potential to incorporate a subway level to the tunnel allowing SI subway to connect to the rest of that system taking busses off the road/reducing the use of ferries which has cost savings long run. Bay Ridge Branch was to be upgrade to accommodate double stacks, if not done already, so could run double stack to intermodal site in Queens. Not sure if Hell Gate Br can accommodate double stacks for trip to a Bronx intermodal site (Oak Point?). Have to be single stack to CT. This should take a good number of trucks off the roads between NYC/LI & NJ. LIE still mess, unless intermodal site in Queens could transfer the containers to flat cars for run to intermodal site in Nassau/Suffolk. If not this, then what?

As to the Mr. Moses debate: Again I do not dispute what he accomplished or the necessity of his projects. I probably should have hi-lited a few other words from that source "influenced a generation of engineers, architects, and urban planners ". For passenger rail on LI, one could look at Mr. Levitt refusal to incorporate LIRR's Central Branch into his PLANNED community and the problems that decision have created today - was Mr. Levitt influenced by Mr. Moses preference? As you pointed out, rail services did not fall under Mr. Moses scope, but a question I posed was: If Mr. Moses or someone like him could have influenced rail service in the NYC & LI region, what would it be like today?
  by goodnightjohnwayne
 
hrfcarl wrote: The Rye to Oyster Bay Bridge you mention is a perfect example of this flaw - how are the vehicles suppose to get to this bridge? Yes offers another route to/from LI further east (extension of Rt 135, right?) than current routes, so great if heading North or to N.England (helps pleasure drivers), but what about to NJ? Still get funneled thru the Bronx and GWB."
No, it should be obvious that a Rye to Oyster Bay Bridge would have been a conduit for truck traffic, going around NYC rather than through it, decreasing the very truck congestion you're citing. Moreover, it would have opened up new job markets in the Husdon Valley, and as "Sarge" pointed out, in Conn. and NJ as well.

Personally, I don't think that many people could accept the expense and delay of taking the LIRR to Grand Central by way of the upcoming East Side service, and then transferring to Metro North - and still being stuck without a car at their final suburban destination. The Rye to Oyster Bay bridge would have made this sort of long distance automotive commute more convenient and flexible. Without it, Long Island is just a big suburb of NYC, without the sort of access that would allow modern suburb to suburb commuting.

In contrast to a Long Island Sound Bridge, which would have been expensive if worthwhile, a Crossharbor Freight Tunnel is entirely without any merit whatsoever, for the many reasons previous enumerated.


hrfcarl wrote:As to the Mr. Moses debate: Again I do not dispute what he accomplished or the necessity of his projects. I probably should have hi-lited a few other words from that source "influenced a generation of engineers, architects, and urban planners ". For passenger rail on LI, one could look at Mr. Levitt refusal to incorporate LIRR's Central Branch into his PLANNED community and the problems that decision have created today - was Mr. Levitt influenced by Mr. Moses preference? As you pointed out, rail services did not fall under Mr. Moses scope, but a question I posed was: If Mr. Moses or someone like him could have influenced rail service in the NYC & LI region, what would it be like today?
[/quote]

At the time Levittown was being built, the concept of the "streetcar suburb" had long been discredited, and it's pretty clear that Levitt was fully aware that the presence of a fully active LIRR line would not be a selling point. A revitalized Central Branch most likely would have lowered real estate values in Levittown, which is precisely why Levitt was willing to make use of the line for building materials, but wanted nothing to do with commuter service. It's worth remembering that in the 1950s many New Yorkers wanted to get away from the noise and vibration of trains, especially the much hated Els, which is precisely why people gravitated to automotive centered suburbs. Levitt didn't want the LIRR because it would have reduced property values in his development, the residents of Levittown most likely didn't want the LIRR either and the owner the of the LIRR, the PRR, most likely didn't want to expand money losing commuter operations.

None of this has anything to do with Robert Moses, who unlike Levitt, was working in the public sector at a time when commuter operations were unsubsidized and belonged to private sector companies, as did the stations and major rail infrastructure. I've never seen an indication that Robert Moses ever wanted to work in the railroad industry, and even if he had, there were no major passenger rail projects that would have required his organizational talents, since the infrastructure had been complete for decades in this mature, stagnating and largely unprofitable business.

The bottom line is that Moses didn't instigate the decline of commuter rail and Levitt was only acting in his own self interest, which incidentally, coincided with the desires of the aspiring suburbanites of the era. Of course, the Central Branch was pretty much dead long before Moses and Levitt came along, and the entire LIRR had been unprofitable long before the automobile became a determining factor in suburban development.
  by hrfcarl
 
goodnightjohnwayne wrote:No, it should be obvious that a Rye to Oyster Bay Bridge would have been a conduit for truck traffic, going around NYC rather than through it, decreasing the very truck congestion you're citing. Moreover, it would have opened up new job markets in the Hudson Valley, and as "Sarge" pointed out, in Conn. and NJ as well.
Umm, well it is not obvious to me how this bridge would have been a good conduit for truck traffic. OK, there is now another access point to/from LI, so maybe takes some trucks off the roads between Queens and Western Nassau, but now those trucks are on the routes thru Bronx and Westchester at the same number. You also still have the SAME number of roads leading to/from this bridge, which seems to be the real problem. On top of that you are now saying there is a chance for people to get off the LIRR and DRIVE to jobs in CT & NJ - adding MORE cars to roads leading to/from this bridge, which are already at capacity. So in this scenario there is no reduction in truck traffic, no new access across Hudson River, no new roads leading to this bridge and maybe MORE cars on the road - how does this help?

Let me say again, I am NOT AGAINST ANY vehicular tunnel/bridge across LI Sound, but unless new roads can be added on BOTH sides of the sound and across the HR, any such crossing will bring mimimal relief. Do you think there will be any chance for NEW highways to be built on LI, thru Westchester or the Bronx and a NEW Hudson River crossing?
goodnightjohnwayne wrote:Of course, the Central Branch was pretty much dead long before Moses and Levitt came along, and the entire LIRR had been unprofitable long before the automobile became a determining factor in suburban development.
Well until Mr. Levitt planned to build his community where the Central ROW passed, was there much along this line to be served? Being dead seems to suggest no, but Mr. Levitt’s community and ALL those that followed that should have changed that. Considering that all these communities were PLANNED meant that the area near the tracks could have been used for all the commercial/business needs of a community, so all houses would be away from the tracks. Also being planned meant there could have been no grade crossings, further reducing noise and nuisance of RR. What is even worse about this situation is that Mr. Levitt and follow on community planners did not build ANYTHING on the ROW, but due to its proximity to housing it will now sit UNUSED by either rail or vehicle.

Again I ask: How do we fix the problem of overcrowded roads?
  by goodnightjohnwayne
 
hrfcarl wrote:
goodnightjohnwayne wrote:No, it should be obvious that a Rye to Oyster Bay Bridge would have been a conduit for truck traffic, going around NYC rather than through it, decreasing the very truck congestion you're citing. Moreover, it would have opened up new job markets in the Hudson Valley, and as "Sarge" pointed out, in Conn. and NJ as well.
Umm, well it is not obvious to me how this bridge would have been a good conduit for truck traffic. OK, there is now another access point to/from LI, so maybe takes some trucks off the roads between Queens and Western Nassau, but now those trucks are on the routes thru Bronx and Westchester at the same number. You also still have the SAME number of roads leading to/from this bridge, which seems to be the real problem. On top of that you are now saying there is a chance for people to get off the LIRR and DRIVE to jobs in CT & NJ - adding MORE cars to roads leading to/from this bridge, which are already at capacity. So in this scenario there is no reduction in truck traffic, no new access across Hudson River, no new roads leading to this bridge and maybe MORE cars on the road - how does this help?

Let me say again, I am NOT AGAINST ANY vehicular tunnel/bridge across LI Sound, but unless new roads can be added on BOTH sides of the sound and across the HR, any such crossing will bring mimimal relief. Do you think there will be any chance for NEW highways to be built on LI, thru Westchester or the Bronx and a NEW Hudson River crossing?
I don't think that you quite understand that the Rye to Oyster Bay bridge project would have changed patterns of development, redirecting truck and commuter traffic around the most congested parts of NYC and its immediate environs. It's all a moot point, as a Long Island Sound tunnel or bridge seems unlikely, although it is still less improbable that a railroad freight tunnel.

hrfcarl wrote:
goodnightjohnwayne wrote:Of course, the Central Branch was pretty much dead long before Moses and Levitt came along, and the entire LIRR had been unprofitable long before the automobile became a determining factor in suburban development.
Well until Mr. Levitt planned to build his community where the Central ROW passed, was there much along this line to be served? Being dead seems to suggest no, but Mr. Levitt’s community and ALL those that followed that should have changed that. Considering that all these communities were PLANNED meant that the area near the tracks could have been used for all the commercial/business needs of a community, so all houses would be away from the tracks. Also being planned meant there could have been no grade crossings, further reducing noise and nuisance of RR. What is even worse about this situation is that Mr. Levitt and follow on community planners did not build ANYTHING on the ROW, but due to its proximity to housing it will now sit UNUSED by either rail or vehicle.

Again I ask: How do we fix the problem of overcrowded roads?
As previously stated, nobody wanted an active LIRR line running through the middle of Levittown at the time it was built. It wasn't in the interests of either the developer or the railroad, and judging by the success of the development itself, the prospective homeowners didn't want it either.


Today, the homeowners still wouldn't want a reactivated, rebuilt LIRR running through this area. By the same token, Upstate NY taxpayers would most likely object to any further public bond issue for the LIRR, as the massive investment in the previous decade has brought largely negative returns, actually driving lucrative ridership towards private sector bus services such as the Hamptons Jitney.
  by hrfcarl
 
goodnightjohnwayne wrote:I don't think that you quite understand that the Rye to Oyster Bay bridge project would have changed patterns of development, redirecting truck and commuter traffic around the most congested parts of NYC and its immediate environs. It's all a moot point, as a Long Island Sound tunnel or bridge seems unlikely, although it is still less improbable that a railroad freight tunnel.
You are correct, I do not understand and, as stated, I am FOR such a project. The redirected traffic is where I get the most lost.

Let’s start with trucking. Due to declining industry in NYC (5 boroughs) and LI (shares space with 2 of those boroughs) plus no reliable/close direct rail freight access to national rail system in NJ means ports/distribution centers still move to NJ. To cross the HR, there are basically 4 conduits: Staten Is bridges, Holland & Lincoln Tunnels and George Washington Br, all of which are passing thru some part of NYC (5 boroughs). A new bridge/tunnel is built across the LI Sound to connect at Rye, but still only the 4 conduits across the HR. With the GWB being the closest to this new point of access, there are still the same number of trucks crossing the GWB and all others for that matter plus the same number of roads for them to use thru NYC (5 boroughs). Even if expecting some truckers to go 15+ miles out of their way to Tappan Zee Bridge then 10+ across Westchester to this new access point, you just shifted some trucks to another crowded corridor (87). Also once the trucks are on Brooklyn, Queens & LI there is still the same number of roads to use as well.

Now let’s look at commuter traffic. As you put it, right now LI is basically just a suburb of NYC where most who can avoid driving to work take the LIRR. The idea of opening the job market in the northern suburbs/CT and vice-versa with a new access point across LI Sound sounds great, until, as you pointed out, these commuters, on both sides of the sound, will now NEED their cars to get to/from home and destination. This takes LIRR (& some MNRR) riders and puts them on the road. Again there is still the same number of roads to use on both sides of the sound and now MORE cars using them.

Summarize: Ports/Distribution centers still in NJ, same 4 conduits across HR, same number of roads in NJ, NYC (5 boroughs), LI, Westchester& CT, same number of trucks, MORE cars driven on those same number of roads to/from job markets out of NYC (5 boroughs) and one additional route across LI Sound. For non commuter drivers, not having to drive thru Queens for destinations upstate or New England would be nice, but to solve the overall traffic problems for NYC & LI, I am not so sure about how big an impact such a project would have. What part of the picture am I missing?
goodnightjohnwayne wrote:As previously stated, nobody wanted an active LIRR line running through the middle of Levittown at the time it was built. It wasn't in the interests of either the developer or the railroad, and judging by the success of the development itself, the prospective homeowners didn't want it either.
Relatively inexpensive home ownership was the main sell point, not lack of railroad. All those successful towns and villages along the Babylon branch for example counter that claim. The belief of the planners that the highways were going to meet the needs of their communities seemed to be the blame for the lack of interest in RRs and we are now paying the price. I am sure the belief that we would all be driving vehicles that could fly by the year 2000, making RRs and highways irrelevant, also factored into planners’ minds. :-)
  by workextra
 
If backdating to the old system of team track and storage yards does not seem to provide any relief.
Then we must re invent the wheel and figure out how to make TOFC and single stack container cars fit on Long Island track and through this new tunnel which could be a Joint Rail and Road tunnel to make the project more feasible.
I know LI experimented with TOFC in the past and it apparently failed for reasons I have yet to look into.
To bring this operation back to life we need to look into the feasibility of placing trailers from NJ onto train cars, take those that are already on train car that are bound for LI and get them by rail to LI instead of by the GWB or some other paved means of congestion. If shipping from a distribution center in say, CT to LI, Then you ship your trucks by rail south to LI via Fresh Pond for distribution to a location on Long Island. the longer the truck is on the train car the less traffic will be on the roads.
TOFC or COFC might be the last stand to see less long distance trucks on the local roads.
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