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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

20 Light Rail Lines for New York City

Auto-free New York has been on the scene for many years promoting various rail friendly projects including light rail for 42nd Street in Manhattan.  According to their website, on January 20, 2015 they had a guest speaker that suggested that New York City can use twenty light rail routes.  The introductory paragraph on the matter is shown below:

 Paul Gawkowski, former MTA planner and our guest speaker in December, brought to the December 30 forum his list of twenty NYC bus lines that are best candidates for conversion to light rail. The list was of considerable interest to City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, as he is concerned with a five-borough approach to transit improvement. The challenge for the working group is to make the case that advancing vision42 will stimulate citywide interest in light rail lines for each of the five boroughs.


A member of the group has given me a list of these twenty routes and they are below:  Notice that City Councilman Y. Rodriquez is also interested in this list.  Remember that a few weeks ago, MTA officials stated that they are interested in light rail for New York City as a fast way, probably using unused rights of way of rapidly bringing rapid transit to underserved areas.  I saw this list for the first time a few hours ago and I will make the following comments.   A member told me that lines for Staten Island should have been included.  I am familiar mainly with Broooklyn and here are my comments:  The B-46 Utica Avenue route, B-44 Nostrand Avenue, b-35 Church Avenue, B-41 Flatbush Avenue streetcar routes were among the last trolley routes in Brooklyn and they lasted until 1951-1956.  These are heavily used routes. Perhaps they lasted so long because the carried the most passengers and were efficient.  Other routes such as the McDonald Avenue, Coney Island Avenue routes lasted almost to the end but were not included in the list.  Notice that the B-6 Avenue D route is way up there and it was never a streetcar route.  I remember seeing in an ERA Bulletin a piece that said that the New York Regional Plan recommends light rail for bus routes that meet a certain criteria of passenger use.   It also said that most Manhattan bus routes meet this criteria.  Sorry folks, I cannot give you a reference.


More to follow on this interesting topic in the future.




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