Friday, August 30, 2013

Old cross-borough transit plan gets new push

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New York’s Regional Plan Association has revived an old idea, “Tri-Boro RX,” which would link three New York City boroughs with rail transit in a circumferential route around Manhattan.

RPA Senior Fellow, Transportation Jeff Zupan said Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 that the route would facilitate access to various existing transit hubs in the outer boroughs of the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn.

The proposal, erroneously dubbed "new" by local media, would route either rail transit or buses mostly along existing, underutilized freight rail lines, running through the Bronx over Amtrak's Hell Gate Bridge (where excess capacity exists), through (and over) Queens into Brooklyn.

Competing proposals for the Brooklyn rail right-of-way, including possible use for revived freight traffic should a Cross-Harbor freight rail link be built between Brooklyn and New Jersey, could prove problematic. RPA's Zupan, however, noted freight and passenger service could co-exist.

Not surprisingly, critics of the plan Thursday advance bus alternatives as a cheaper and quicker alternative for the route.

New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority said Thursday the Tri-Boro RX plan presents a number of challenges, including funding, but the agency is open to hearing more about the idea. That stance was more welcoming than previous, brusque MTA dismissals of the plan, usually citing cost as the fatal flaw.

The Regional Plan Association, founded in 1922, “aims to improve the New York metropolitan region’s economic health, environmental sustainability and quality of life through research, planning and advocacy.”