Wednesday Winners (& Losers)

A weekly roundup of good deeds, missteps, heroic feats and epic failures in tri-state transportation news.

Winners

Amtrak — Amtrak ridership is up during the first six months of fiscal year 2013, and this past March saw the highest ridership of any month in Amtrak history.

New York City Bike Share — Despite setbacks caused by Hurricane Sandy and technology glitches, Citibike stations are beginning to appear on streets and sidewalks in Manhattan and Brooklyn in preparation for next month’s highly anticipated launch.

Rutherford Green Team — This New Jersey environmental organization is pushing the Rutherford borough council to take heed of NJDOT’s Complete Streets policy and make the notoriously wide Orient Way more accommodating for pedestrians and cyclists.

Losers

NJ Governor Chris Christie — Governor Christie’s 2010 cancellation of Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) continues to haunt New Jersey Transit and Garden State taxpayers, who bear the burden of $29.8 million in leftover costs, but get no increased trans-Hudson transit capacity.

NY State Senator Bill Perkins — Perkins is asking the New York City Department of Transportation to “slow down” the implementation of 125th Street Select Bus Service in his district, even though NYCDOT has conducted a robust public participation process, he has taken a walking tour with NYCDOT of the corridor, and 80 percent of households in his district do not own a vehicle and demand better transit service.

NY State Senator Malcolm Smith and NYC Councilmember Dan Halloran — The Democratic New York State Senator and Republican New York City Councilmember, who were recently charged for bribery, sought to take funds from the State’s multi-modal transportation program to buy Smith a spot on New York City’s Republican mayoral ballot.

6 Comments on "Wednesday Winners (& Losers)"

  1. Lynne Shapiro | April 10, 2013 at 3:35 pm |

    Here’s a possible loser–the CTTransit riders on the new J3 bus just to Cheshire that CTTransit has No publicity about on its website or as notice on the bus. This new bus leaving New Haven at 8:05 is a supplement to the 8:10 J4 bus to Waterbury through Cheshire and Hamden that is very crowded. Today the driver told the J3 passengers going to jobs along Whitney Avenue that the company was going to run the bus for a while then see if it should be continued if it had enough ridership. We all asked him “how can we get enough ridership on the bus if CTTransit doesn’t let anyone know of its existence?” This is typical for bus transit management companies. They put on new buses or have new routes, don’t publicize them well enough, then discontinue them due to low ridership. One group of people in general you could never have as winners here for this and other reasons–local bus riders.

  2. Clark Morris | April 10, 2013 at 8:17 pm |

    Maybe Tri-State Transportation Campaign thought the ARC to a dead end station was a good idea but a lot of other people think New Jersey got off cheap.

  3. ARC went off the rails years ago. Besides a faulty plan, I smelled an “ESA” coming on with endless delays and ballooning costs.

    Still, the need for another tunnel is there, but I wonder why this is “current” to warrant inclusion in a weekly list?

  4. The original ARC project – two new trans-Hudson tunnels heading into Penn Station NY and following on to Grand Central Terminal for $8 billion was a GREAT project. ARC-lite, or the Tunnel to Macy’s Basement, for $12 to $14 billion was an unmitigated disaster. ARC-lite lost the important NYC East Side ride NJ commuters still want, provided no redundancy for Amtrak intercity rail. put New Jerseyans even further from the developing High Speed Rail station at Moynihan/Penn, detrained commuters further away from NYC subway lines, and would have resulted in tremendous confusion for NJ bound passengers — should he go to Penn Station to board the train or go to the Macy’s station, nearly a half-mile away? And all this for a cost overrun of $6 billion which would have been borne entirely by NJ taxpayers.

    Tri-State needs to stop beating the bones of this already dead horse. The expenditures now being paid to get out of the ruinous contracts are small change compared to paying for the gigantic cost-overruns of ARC-lite.

    And, besides, the Gateway project being directed by Amtrak is a far better solution, for both NJ Transit and Amtrak. Doesn’t have East Side access (#7 subway to Secaucas just floated by Mayor Bloomberg again today would fix that). Christie made the right call – for both New Jersey and the entire Northeast Megaregion.

    Richard Arena
    President, Association for Public Transportation

  5. Michael Sanders | April 11, 2013 at 4:00 pm |

    @Lynne

    There were chronic complaints about severe overcrowding on the 8:10 outbound trip from downtown New Haven to Waterbury. Rather than wait until the next bid, we added the helper trip at 8:05 that goes only as far as Cheshire. It was done as an experiment to see if it would help relieve the overcrowding and to help us determine when would be the optimal departure time from downtown. The added trip has definitely had the desired result. The next New Haven service review is on May 1 at which time the planning and scheduling department will recommend making it permanent. At that point, the trip will be added to the published schedule and publicized.

  6. Transit Guy | April 11, 2013 at 7:51 pm |

    The Amtrak Gateway project is much better than the NJ Transit ARC project. Gateway provides access to new tracks and platforms south of Penn Station as well as the existing Penn Station tracks. This redundancy is a very important difference between the 2 projects. With Gateway Amtrak and NJ Transit will be able to serve Penn Station with few delays or service reductions when one tube is closed overnight and on weekends for maintenance and repair. Similarly, in low demand periods the new tunnel can be closed to reduce operating costs with no impact on station access from NJ.

    Perhaps the only downside of Gateway is less capacity than ARC.

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