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

Moderator: GirlOnTheTrain

  by Gilbert B Norman
By now, many who participate at this Forum are aware of this little dust-up on which I reported over at the CTA Forum:

viewtopic.php?f=61&t=165538" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Volks I must ask; have things REALLY gotten that bad since I was last out during '15?

During May '15 I visited with my Niece who resided (she has since emigrated to Australia so I guess the trip was a "one-off") on 93rd near 3rd Ave. I stayed at a hotel (Gregory) 82nd and 4th Ave, and from there over the three day visit rode R Train to the Transit Museum, to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, to Lincoln Center, and finally to JFK (JFK to Brooklyn was a $70 taxicab ride stuck in a traffic jam on the Belt and that had I done more planning than just hearing "Uncle Gil, just take a cab", could have been avoided).

The only incident occurring was on the trip to Lincoln Center, a panhandler started "working" when X-ing the Manhattan Bridge, this really nice young girl sitting next to me offered him some food. I said to her "Dear, you came prepared; that was so nice of you". "If you give them $$$$, it goes up their nose, food goes in their stomach".

CTA, I really have occasion to ride Blue Line Clinton to O'Hare; that's enough. I have two flights next month; not sure if I will take my "poor man's way to O'Hare".
  by Allan
I looked at the "dustup" as you called it, Gil, and all I can say is - what did you expect?

Quite frankly there is no comparison between the systems. The NYC system is significantly larger in all aspects than the Chicago system.


Daily ridership - CTA 730,000, NYC 5.6 million
Train lines - CTA 8, NYC 21
Distance between car breakdowns - CTA 10, 376 miles, NYC 130,176 miles
Daily train trips - CTA 2,276, NYC 8,200
Stations - CTA 145, NYC 472
Annual Operating budget - CTA $1.5 Billion, NYC 8.2 Billion

(Statistics provided to the NY Daily News by the CTA and the MTA]

No one here is going to argue that the MTA hasn't fallen down on the job (lots of political nonsense going on behind the scenes). Those facts are quite evident as reported in the various articles in the NY Newspapers. But I doubt that Rahm Emanuel would be able to run the NYC system. I don't think that Bil DeBlasio could run it either. THe NYC system needs a big fix but the MTA needs an even bigger fix.
  by jonnhrr
Both systems have their pluses and minuses. But they both do a good job at what they were built for, which is to move people efficiently around the respective cities, said cities could not function without them (especially true for Manhattan). One city is larger than the other and therefore has a system to match.

New York has the advantage of some redundancy in routes (look at how many ways there are to get from Coney Island to Manhattan for example).

Chicago has direct lines from each airport to downtown and has the loop L downtown which is somewhat unique (although non railfans might consider that a bug not a feature).

I would have no hesitation about taking the Blue Line, at least during normal civilized hours. It's fun to speed past all the cars (and cabs headed to O'Hare) stopped on the Kennedy Expressway.

  by Passenger
Also, the CTA cars are much smaller than NY subway cars. More comparable to the PATH train cars.
  by railfan365
I disagree with Emmanuel's remark about maintenance being more important than expansion. Of course a system is useless that can't provide reliable service. But it's just as important to provide service to all areas that require it. The Chicago mayor's rhetoric can be compared to having a New York city subway that only runs between downtown Brooklyn and 86th Street.
Passenger wrote:Also, the CTA cars are much smaller than NY subway cars. More comparable to the PATH train cars.
...And the IRT cars on NYCT's numbered routes...

This subject seems like a bragging dispute that reminds me of the NYC vs. Chicago "rivalry" during the 1970s...

A 70s era airline commercial text: "Who are we: Chicago...and who are we going to beat: New York"...

Off topic but relevant to this "dispute":

One of the best examples of that so-called rivalry was the subject of which city had the tallest building(s)...
Chicago's response was the construction of the Sears Tower after the World Trade Center was finished in Downtown Manhattan...

There was back-and-forth rhetoric between Chicago and NYC Mayors back then especially during the Richard J. Daley and John V. Lindsay
years respectively during that same 70s era...

Back to topic: Both systems have their strong points...The CTA and NYC Subway have changed over the years and both NYC and Chicago
realize how important NYCT and CTA are beneficial to the health and well being of both cities.

  by Passenger
Chicago's transit system has benefitted greatly from not having the NYC ideological polarization that transit and cars are somehow natural enemies.

For example, note all those post WWII highways built with transit in the median.

Very contrary to the "law of Moses". :wink:
  by Gilbert B Norman
Indeed Mr. Passenger, Moses was ready to "part the seas" in all boroughs. Even where he did not succeed, Manhattan, there were grandiose plans for an X-Manhattan Expy.

While I think the title goes to Boston, or maybe Philly, Chicago ranks very high on "most mass transit vehicle miles per capita" metric. Of course, so does New York.

Finally, I'm ambivalent as to the efficacy of having New York mass transit and Interboro bridges under control.of a State rather than a regional agency. It would seem as if lines of communication could get garbled along the 145 miles "up the River".
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by railfan365
I agree that Robert Moses had too much power, and too much of an attitude that worthwhile regional development would be centered on automobile travel. I also wonder what can be done to remedy that now, as well as what can be done to speed the progress with which mass transport can be built.
  by Gilbert B Norman
I think, Mr. Railfan, the "auto is king" is over in the NY Metropolitan Area.

Moses never got his X-Manhattan, nor did he ever get a Manhattan-Bronx bridge/expy.

He did get his Triboro, Whitestone, Throgs Neck, and Verrazano, but he did not get any further "land grabs" for expansion of the XBX, LIE, BQE, Grand Central, and Van Wyck. In short, his highways everywhere expansion visions have become dead in their tracks.

Now it's time for rail expansion to "step up to the plate".
  by trainbrain
I agree that investment in public transit is much more important than investment in highways at this day in age.

Found this map showing all the highways that Moses planned but were never built. Basically would've turned NYC into another LA if you ask me.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewe ... 999996&z=9
  by railfan365
Definitely, it seems right that more emphasis should be placed onexpanding and improving rail travel. Part of that would address the several times dicussed issue of fixing the problem of why it now takes decades to build as much subway as used to take 5 to 10 years. (BTW Gilbert, on a point that you wouldn't know without this correction: It's Mrs. Railfan).
  by Gilbert B Norman
Mrs. Fan, here is material from a sociolologial perspective and as such should be considered opinion, related to Mr. Moses' "accomplishments" (as well as one or two that didn't make the cut):

http://untappedcities.com/2013/12/18/5- ... bert-moses" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Part of this material's editorializing is the photo of Mr. Moses very similar to ones I remember from Sunday School renderings of one parting the Red Sea.

Now regarding my adopted home (I am from NY area and may actually been a resident of NYC during '61-'62), Chicago built all four of its arterial expressways (trivial: two named for Dems, one for a Rep, and one for a Local "hack") with mass transit in mind. Three have mass transit running in their medians and the fourth on railroad ROW essentially parallel. Both major airports are directly connected to other mass transit lines.