USA: WSP USA has been appointed to undertake the environmental review for the Interborough Express light rail project which would link Brooklyn and Queens in New York.
The contract announced by state Governor Kathy Hochul on August 2 covers conceptual design and general planning support, preparation of the scoping information and environmental impact statement, and support for preliminary engineering and applications for federal funding for the estiated $5·5bn project.
The proposed line would cover a 22·5 km route from Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park to Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights using the right-of-way of the existing Bay Ridge freight railway, which would remain in use.
The 19 stops would offer connections to 17 Subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road. Services would run every 5 min in the peaks and every 10 min off-peak, with an end-to-end trip of 40 min being up to 30 min quicker than at present. Initial studies estimate weekday ridership at 115 000 passengers.
The Interborough Express is a transformative rapid transit project that will connect currently underserved areas of Brooklyn and Queens.
About the project
The Interborough Express is a transformative rapid transit project that will connect currently underserved areas of Brooklyn and Queens. It will substantially cut down on travel times between the two boroughs, reduce congestion, and expand economic opportunities for the people who live and work in the surrounding neighborhoods.
The project would be built along the existing, LIRR-owned Bay Ridge Branch and CSX-owned Fremont Secondary, a 14-mile freight line that extends from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, to Jackson Heights, Queens. It would create a new transit option for close to 900,000 residents of the neighborhoods along the route, along with 260,000 people who work in Brooklyn and Queens. It would connect with up to 17 different subway lines, as well as Long Island Rail Road, with end-to-end travel times anticipated at less than 40 minutes. Daily weekday ridership is estimated at 115,000.
Using the existing rail infrastructure means the Interborough Express could be built more quickly and efficiently. It would also preserve the Bay Ridge Branch’s use as a freight line, providing an opportunity to connect to the Port Authority’s Cross-Harbor Freight Project.
After extensive planning, analysis, and public engagement, Light Rail was chosen because it will provide the best service for riders at the best value. It also announced a preliminary list of stations and advanced other important planning and engineering analysis of the project. The formal environmental review process is anticipated to begin in winter 2023.
A direct public transit option between Brooklyn and Queens
Connections with up to 17 subway lines and Long Island Rail Road
A faster commute — end-to-end rides are expected to take 40 minutes
A new transit option in underserved locations where more than a third of residents are below the federal poverty line
• What is the proposed route? The proposed IBX, would run along a li le-known freight line in a semi-circle between southern and eastern Brooklyn and Central Queens, connecting the ethnically and economically diverse neighborhoods of: Sunset Park, Borough Park, Kensington, Midwood, Flatbush, Flatlands, New Lots, Brownsville, East New York, Bushwick, Ridgewood, Middle Village, Maspeth, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights with several new stations in communities not currently served by rail transit. See map below.
• Why does the project terminate at Jackson Heights, and why are you not continuing to the Bronx? To continue north of the proposed Jackson Heights terminus would involve the same right-of-way that will be used for Metro-North Penn Sta on Access, a top-priority project for the MTA and for the Bronx. Penn Station Access will create four new Metro-North stations in the East Bronx with service to Manhattan and Westchester and Connecticut, using the existing Amtrak Hell Gate Line in the Bronx and Queens. Penn Station Access’ construction contract was awarded in late 2021 and service is anticipated to begin in 2027. With the opening of Penn Station Access, the existing Hell Gate Line that connects to the Bronx will be at capacity, as Amtrak intercity trains and CSX freight trains also use the line. It would not be possible to add another, very frequent service like the Interborough Express IBX to the mix within the existing infrastructure. As such, extending the IBX to the Bronx would require construction of an entirely new parallel bridge and line at enormous expense (given property impacts, engineering, and construction costs.) As a result, the route planning for the IBX will focus initial attention on the segment of the line that can be upgraded without interfering with the Metro-North Penn Station Access Bronx expansion.
• Why doesn’t the Interborough Express go to LaGuardia Airport? The IBX project’s goals include improving transit service for residents and workers taking trips throughout Brooklyn and Queens, while making use of an existing major rail corridor. As we understand that the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey is currently evaluating options for transit access to LaGuardia Airport, the IBX project will not preclude the ability to provide some manner of airport connection in the future.
The ongoing expansion of the Second Avenue subway may take a westward turn.
Gov. Kathy Hochul is throwing her support behind a new plan to extend the Q train along 125th Street to West Harlem — a measure that calls for building an additional three stations to help bring the line across Manhattan to Broadway, Gothamist has learned.
Hochul will make the announcement as part of her State of the State address Tuesday afternoon, marking the start of a new, expanded vision for the still-nascent Second Avenue train line first opened on the East Side in 2017. If completed, new stations would be built at Lenox Avenue, St. Nicholas Avenue and Broadway.
The westward expansion would be years away and comes with an estimated price tag of $8.1 billion, which includes the cost to buy a new fleet of trains. Hochul’s support comes before construction has even started on a separate, $7.7 billion extension project on the Second Avenue subway that is expected to take eight years to complete.
Hochul is also expected to announce the long-sought Interborough Express — a planned light rail line between Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and Jackson Heights, Queens — is taking the next step forward, with the MTA set to begin the formal engineering process for the project.
"There are too many transit deserts in New York City — communities that have been left out and left behind for far too long,” Hochul said in a statement. “That's why I'm so committed to the future of the Second Avenue Subway and the Interborough Express, two projects that will transform the way New Yorkers get around our city."
Interborough Express light rail project moves to next phase, Hochul says
The governor’s 2024 State of the State policy book, accompanying her big speech to a joint legislative session in Albany Tuesday, notes that the MTA will “initiate formal design and engineering” on the IBX, which aims to convert the underutilized Bay Ridge Branch rail spur, owned by the Long Island Rail Road and currently used by CSX freight rail, into a light rail line between Brooklyn and Queens, sharply reducing commute times between the two boroughs.
The line would run 14 miles between Bay Ridge and Jackson Heights, running through many neighborhoods with few transit options while also connecting to 17 other subway lines. The MTA estimates the line would see 120,000 daily riders by 2045, and cost $5.5 billion to construct.
A conventional subway had been considered, but rejected as it would add a $3 billion premium to the project without many additional riders, the MTA contended.
Unlike a subway, a light rail can travel at the street level, and the MTA plans to briefly divert the right-of-way onto Metropolitan Avenue and 69th Street in Middle Village for about 2/3 of a mile before returning to the pre-existing tracks. How the MTA would actually go about doing that is one of the key engineering problems they must get to the bottom of, even before worrying about potential lawsuits from local residents.
The Queens graveyard that could put Hochul’s Interborough Express six feet under
The success or failure of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s marquee transit proposal, the Interborough Express (IBX) connecting Brooklyn and Queens by light rail, is centered on a short, skinny tunnel underneath a Queens cemetery that the MTA says requires the line to be routed away from existing railroad tracks and onto the street.
The basis for that claim lies buried among the dead beneath All Faiths Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens, just across the way from the M train’s Metropolitan Avenue terminus. The cemetery opened for business in 1852, and today its 225 acres are the final resting place for 540,000 people, including the grandparents, parents, and older brother of former President Donald Trump.
Also underneath All Faiths is a short tunnel, about 520 feet in length and 30 feet in width, that freight trains under the CSX banner travel under en route to and from Bay Ridge. The MTA says this tunnel is too narrow to add in passenger tracks alongside the freight ones, and expanding it would be prohibitively expensive and require disturbing final resting places above it.
Jeff Smith wrote: ↑Sun Jan 28, 2024 11:07 am Someone's not so sure...We were talking about this in other circles and the summary of the discussion is: RM Transit is anti-Light Rail system full stop, no research, just biased against it. Another Youtuber, "Not Just Bikes" is also biased against any American transit and rather have folks move to the Netherlands or Europe.