from Mobilizing the
Lex Line Sardine Fest
Two potential MTA mega-projects could radically alter the way East Siders
travel. The East Side Access project would connect the Long Island Rail Road
to Grand Central Terminal via the 63rd Street Tunnel. The political runner-up
is NYC Transit's Manhattan East Side Alternatives (MESA) study, which would
build a Second Ave. subway uptown, and implement a busway or light rail in the
Lower East Side and East Village. The LIRR-GCT connection project has strong
backing from Gov. Pataki and Sen. D'Amato because of its suburban constituency
and possible tie-in to an airport rail project. The MTA officially says that
the LIRR-GCT is the only mega-project that's ready. But the MESA study is not
far behind, and it is essential if the horribly crowded conditions on the 4, 5
and 6 are to be improved. This is especially true if 30,000 more riders are
pumped onto the line from the LIRR connection.
The MESA study seeks to
address overcrowding on the Lexington Ave. line with a Second Ave. subway from
125th Street to 63rd St., connecting the line to unused N and R express tracks
under Broadway via the 63rd Street line. MESA also proposes a transit desig-
nated right-of-way on the Lower East Side, terminating near South Ferry and at
Union Square for either bus or light rail.
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In the Subways
Straphanger's Campaign Scores Big With "State of The Subways Report"
For the first time ever, the public has a base line with which to
objectively rate improvements or deterioration in subway service. The news
media responded to the report with a deluge of coverage, which is vitally
important if subway budget and service cuts are to remain on the political
radar screen. The Straphangers Campaign report rated six factors for 20 of New
York City's 23 subway lines to establish an overall grade for each.
The State of die Subways
study was prompted by die severe City and State cuts the subway operating budget has endured since 1994. Transit managers say they can do more
with less, but is it true? The only real way to judge performance is to
measure it. A Straphangers report on NYC's 42 most heavily traveled bus lines
is forthcoming later this year.
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Spanking New Subway Cars
The Transit Authority announced its largest ever single contract, $1.4
billion for 1,080 subway cars to replace the 1950's-era 'red bird' IRT
cars. The cars will have features such as electronic voice
announcements, street maps and signs.
Speeders Having More Fun
The CT House voted on May 27, in two separate bills, to raise speed limits on
major highways to 65 mph and reduce speeding fines 25%, despite concerns it
would cause more crashes, injuries and deaths. The bill, originally written to
raise the limit to 60 rnph, was amended to 65 mph the day of the vote. A Courant
poll of 500 residents revealed 86% favoring the higher limit.
Read the latest news
about this issue.
How Does Your Garden Grow? NJ Greens Launch Anti-Sprawl Campaign
The NJ Audubon Society and the State Federation of Sportmen's clubs
launched a statewide petition drive this week to put teeth into the State
Development and Redevelopment Plan. The groups intend to collect 10,000
signatures calling on legislators to "Save our Farms and Forests,"
by creating strong growth boundaries, zoning limits on subdivisions in
agricultural and forested areas, and other sprawl preventing provisions.
The groups are mobilizing
because voluntary compliance with open space preserving rules have completely
failed because local officials cannot withstand pressure from big bucks
developers. For a copy of the petition call NJ Audubon Society, 908-766-5787.