Sunday, November 21, 2010

Administration Would Back Subway Line To Jersey

The plans are still preliminary, but the concept has the city administration excited: A New York City subway stop in Hoboken. 

According to a ?story by the Associated Press earlier this week, an extension of the Metropolitan Transportation Organization's #7 line under the Hudson River into New Jersey would include a stop in Hoboken, before ending in Secaucus. 

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg made the proposal, pointing out that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority was already extending the #7 line west all the way to 11th Avenue and the line could be further extended into New Jersey just as it currently extends on the other side of Manhattan under the East River into Queens.

The proposal comes in the wake of the cancellation of the plans to build a new rail tunnel from Manhattan to New Jersey, which was killed by Gov. Chris Christie for being too costly. The ARC Tunnel would not have been accessible from Hoboken, but would have alleviated the traffic into the city, in turn making the commute from Hoboken into Manhattan easier. 

In response to the cancellation of the ARC Tunnel, Mayor Dawn Zimmer wrote the governor a letter, asking him to re-consider "a much better alternative that achieves equivalent connectivity for rail passengers?, preserves the economic and job benefits of a major infrastructure project, and saves billions of dollars and years of construction time."

The plan the mayor is proposing is the "Hoboken Alternative," a plan put forth in 2005, according to Zimmer's Oct. 12 letter to the governor.

Zimmer writes also that the "Hoboken Alternative" would cost less than $4 billion, would use an existing rail structure under the Hudson and provide direct connectivity to New York Penn Station. 

A subway line from Manhattan to Hudson County could also provide Hoboken with the same perks the ARC Tunnel would have brought, said Director of Transportation and Parking Ian Sacs. He said that additional trains would lighten the pressure on Hoboken's PATH terminal. It would also ease congestion in the Hudson and Lincoln tunnels, he said, which—in turn—would make the commute from Hoboken to Manhattan easier.

Zimmer said she already had a meeting scheduled with New York City Department of Transportation Director Janette Sadik-Khan? on Dec. 4. 

"It's perfect timing," said Zimmer about the preliminary subway proposals. "I will definitely talk to her about this."

Assemblyman Ruben Ramos Jr. also supported the idea. "I hope to see this project come to fruition," he said in a press release, "especially for the benefit of Hoboken and all Hudson County residents and businesses.?"

The subway stop for the 7 line, which runs from Manhattan's Times Square across town all the way to Queens, would probably be at the Hoboken Terminal, said Sacs. An addition of an MTA line into Jersey could also mean that the PATH and the MTA could start talking about a joint payment system. 

However appealing, it may take a while until these ideas actually turn into plans. According to a New York Metro article, there's a distrust of New Jersey among New York and federal officials ever since the governor cancelled the ARC Tunnel. 

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