Tag Archives: subway

Unclear on the concepts

Norman City Council candidates clarify views at public forum before April 1 election

Key quote:

““Something I would love to see — some type of light rail from Norman to Oklahoma City all the way to Tulsa,” [Matthew] Leal said.”

Dallas’ DART system pushes the limit on how long a light rail line can: it’s about 20 miles from the Parker Rd stop in Plano to Union Station in Dallas.  The San Diego Trolley has a similarly long lines down to the Mexican border and out to Santee, California.  DART’s route is scheduled for about a 45-minute run and I’m not sure you’d want to spend that much more time on that type of vehicle.

“Light rail”, at least for buzzword-compliant politicians and candidates, seem to be short-hand for high-speed rail, commuter rail, intercity rail, light rail, heavy rail, subways, streetcars, etc, etc, etc.  Pro tip: though they all share a 4′ 8.5″ track gauge, the technologies aren’t the same.   In fact, by law, some of them can’t even share the same tracks with the others.

Maybe I need to do a series on the different technologies.


“Record 10.7 Billion Trips Taken On U.S. Public Transportation In 2013”

Record 10.7 Billion Trips Taken On U.S. Public Transportation In 2013.

Much good news here, but I think APTA buries the lede.  “Most since 1957” sounds good until you adjust for population growth – many more rides per capita than now.  And no, I was not riding transit that year.

To me, the bigger deal is that since 1995 transit ridership is up 37.2% while population is only up 20.3%.  That means the number of trips per capita is rising and that’s a good thing.  Transit is even outpacing VMT which grew at 22.7% over the same period.

One thing thing that bugs me is the emphasis on mode.   Except for the fact that commuter trains generally serve suburbs and heavy rail usually serves large cities, mode doesn’t tell you a lot.

(Also remember that these are “unlinked trips” – if a passenger’s journey to work requires her to take a bus to the subway, that’s two trips.)

A billion here, a billion there …

At Trade Center Transit Hub, Vision Gives Way to Reality

Pretty soon, it’s real money.  The new subway station profiled above replaces the one damaged on a Tuesday morning in September a few years back.

This new station replaces a temporary station that was opened in 2003 and uses the same track layout.  The 2003 temporary station used the same track layout as the original PATH station built in 1971.  (PATH is the Port Authority Trans Hudson subway system operated by the Port Authority of NY and NJ that runs from Newark and other points in New Jersey through two different sets of tubes to several points in Lower Manhattan.  It’s not part of the NYC Transit Authority.)

The 1971 station replaced the original Hudson Terminal of the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad who opened it in 1909.  The H&M was a subsidiary of the Pennsylvania Railroad who built the line to allow passengers headed to Manhattan to connect from several main line train stations in New Jersey.  The terminal was purchased in the early 1960s by the Port Authority to be used as the site for a World Trade Center.  They bought the railroad, too.

The original Hudson Terminal had more platforms than the current station.

Cost of the stations?

1909 – $8,000,000 (at least $189M adjusted for inflation, but this number also included a huge, for the time, office complex)

1971 – $35,000,000 ($202M adjusted)

2003 – $253,000,000 ($321M, adjusted)

2014 – $3,400,000,000

Yet Another Reason why you can can’t compare anything else in the US to the New York area.

Rapid Transit in NYC

Those of you in the Infrastructure class saw most of this already …

Beach Pneumatic – Alfred Beach’s Pneumatic Subway and the beginnings of rapid transit in New York

Jim E and I were yakking after class about NYC and how much of an outlier it is compared to the rest of the country — e.g., the IRT Lexington Ave line carries more passengers in a day (1.9M) than Boston’s MBTA (~1.3M)  and more than the Washington, DC, Metro system (~750k) and  the SF Muni (~700k) combined [1]) —  and the conversation did, of course, roll around to rapid transit.

I used to be on a train-related mailing list with a fellow named Joe Brennan who does similar work as me but at Columbia College in NYC.  He put together a great web-based “book” about the history of rapid transit in New York and surroundings (remember, Brooklyn was a separate city before 1898 and Queens was a county full of rural towns).  If you’re into that kind of stuff (I am, obviously, and so is Jim and probably Patrick) it’s a good read if a little long.

I think I like the work because it’s much more historical than it is nostalgic and lord knows there is plenty of railroad nostalgia stuff out there.  :eyeroll:

There are a few other “outlier” examples cluttering my head but I’ll save that for another post.

Bottom line is that when you hear someone say “Yeah, well in New York City they …” you should be skeptical of whatever the person says next!