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Old June 25th, 2011, 10:25 AM   #1221
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the 7 train video. what's the speed limit on those tracks? the train never seem to really "speed up".
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Old June 25th, 2011, 05:59 PM   #1222
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I don't know why anyone would be surprised that the subway runs faster; after all, it has its own right of way, signalling et al... can easily hit and maintain 45 or so on a nice stretch...
My posts often fail to be as coherent as I could make them (what can I say, the Internet makes me lazy), but in the context of the post I responded to, it was to demonstrate how badly the buses in New York fare against a rapid transit system that is slowed by close station spacing. That short station spacing also prevents trains from getting too far above 30 mph except in the case of the express trains and some areas of local running (like under Queens Blvd or Fulton Ave)

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I am well aware the select bus service. I would like to see how it compares to the subway performance. The +SBS+ even has it's own bus lane and pre-payment before boarding so it should rival the subway performance, correct?

And 1/8 mile bus stops? What is it with New York and having close spacing?
I wasn't terribly clear in my earlier post, but if you look through my earlier posting, you'll see that the running time for the M15 SBS is 28% faster than the regular M15 between 125 St and Houston, but that's still 216% the running time of the parallel local train. The MTA could be more aggressive in cutting the running time by adding much greater signal priority and adding a median between general traffic lanes and the SBS lanes so it's possible it could someday be time competitive with the local trains. Frankly though, the whole bus vs SBS is asinine: most of the SBS improvements – pre-payment and better station spacing – can and should be adopted on all buses since it's not a politically sensitive issue like bus lanes and the average speed of city buses would significantly improve. If there's going to be a "special bus", it should be BRT.
I can't claim to know why bus stops are as frequent as they are, but I would hazard that because there's almost no fixed infrastructure and community complaints can sway the politicians, it's very easy to cater to the transit desires of everybody, hence bus stops as close as 1/8 mile.
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Old June 26th, 2011, 01:44 AM   #1223
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Originally Posted by MarneGator View Post
My posts often fail to be as coherent as I could make them (what can I say, the Internet makes me lazy), but in the context of the post I responded to, it was to demonstrate how badly the buses in New York fare against a rapid transit system that is slowed by close station spacing. That short station spacing also prevents trains from getting too far above 30 mph except in the case of the express trains and some areas of local running (like under Queens Blvd or Fulton Ave).
I understand that, but the station spacing, even for locals, isn't particularly small. On average, it's around six blocks, which is slightly under a third of a mile. While that might contextually be a smaller distance than DC, deep-level Tube, and Moscow stations (note that those act as hybrid commuter/metro systems), it's actually longer than Paris, Tokyo Subway, and cut-and-cover Tube stations (which function in the more traditional city proper-limited rapid transit model). The station locations are also determined by the city's geography in terms of cross streets at squares delineated by the intersections of the avenues and Broadway (thus 14, 23, 34, 42, 59 et al will all need subway stops at minimum). At the same time, it's also important to note that the original subway system used 5-car trains, so station spacing was larger until the platforms were expanded, thus rendering closer stops as accidental.
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Old June 26th, 2011, 04:51 AM   #1224
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^ I forgot about the train and station lengthening since the earlier stations opened and that's definitely a good point. Still, even at shorter train lengths, some stations were nonetheless quite close together even then: Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall to Worth St and 14 St to 18 St.
My original contention, three of my posts up, with short spacing was in regards to the older lines; I noted that later construction had consistently longer spacing. That being said, parts of the old were reasonable, like the 1 train above 42 St or the pre-subway era Jamaica Line, but there's still little doubting that some older parts of the subway have more stations than actually necessary for the purposes of coverage; just compare the two IND lines* to the others between 14 St and 34th or the spacing in the Financial District.
I'm not so sure that Tokyo or the sub-surface Tube lines are spaced closer than IRT construction. Even in the business districts of Shinbashi or Shinjuku in Tokyo, no stations (that I could determine) are as closely spaced as in the Financial District and very few are as close together as the 1 or 6 train in chunks of Manhattan below 34 St or most of the 7 train's run. As far as I can tell, most stations are at least .43 miles / 700 meters apart. Ditto for London: sans some exceptions - Charing Cross to Embankment on the Northern Line or between Monument, Cannon St and Mansion House on the District Line - most stations seem, at worst, to be the average seen on the older parts of the subway. The subway does compare more favorably outside New York's business districts, but it's still generally more closely spaced than what's seen in any other rapid transit system, Paris and maybe Madrid excepted.
I suppose this is all splitting at hairs since we both earlier acknowledged that even the parts of local lines I originally criticized are faster than a bus (and depending on conditions, a car) for a given route.

*to others following the conversation and unfamiliar with the statement, I'm referring to the lines under 8 Ave (A, C, E) and 6 Ave (B, D, F, M) in Manhattan, built by the city-owned Independent Subway System in the 1930's
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Old June 26th, 2011, 07:37 AM   #1225
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I guess part of it comes down as well to making the local/express system work out; if there are too few stations between them it doesn't improve journey times (as is seen on many of the IND lines, where in Midtown and Downtown Manhattan the system is in essence pointless; there's only a minute of so time difference between 47/50th Streets and Broadway/Lafayette depending on using a local or express train), while having incredibly long stretches forces passengers to take long local journeys (between 59th and 125th on the Eighth Avenue Line).

The ideal setup seems to be between Brooklyn Bridge and 14th or Chambers and 14th on the IRT with four local stops in between two express ones, giving express trains enough time to drastically cut down on journey times and maintain high speed. These cases also acts as an effective passenger distribution system that neither overloads express trains nor makes local trains so pointless so as to have people just leave the system and walk to their final destination. That being said, the IND concept of keeping passengers on local trains has merit as well, but having only one local stop between two major express stops (ie 23rd on the Eighth Avenue Line) is quite annoying, especially considering now how bad the C is, but that's another story.
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Old June 26th, 2011, 08:17 AM   #1226
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So we can all agree the mighty NYC HRT local lines are as slow as street running Light Rail, a mode of which allot of members on this forum seem to have grudge against with speed being one of the most major arguments.
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Old June 26th, 2011, 08:12 PM   #1227
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geoking66 View Post
I guess part of it comes down as well to making the local/express system work out; if there are too few stations between them it doesn't improve journey times (as is seen on many of the IND lines, where in Midtown and Downtown Manhattan the system is in essence pointless; there's only a minute of so time difference between 47/50th Streets and Broadway/Lafayette depending on using a local or express train), while having incredibly long stretches forces passengers to take long local journeys (between 59th and 125th on the Eighth Avenue Line).

The ideal setup seems to be between Brooklyn Bridge and 14th or Chambers and 14th on the IRT with four local stops in between two express ones, giving express trains enough time to drastically cut down on journey times and maintain high speed. These cases also acts as an effective passenger distribution system that neither overloads express trains nor makes local trains so pointless so as to have people just leave the system and walk to their final destination. That being said, the IND concept of keeping passengers on local trains has merit as well, but having only one local stop between two major express stops (ie 23rd on the Eighth Avenue Line) is quite annoying, especially considering now how bad the C is, but that's another story.
Yeah, the IND did some things well, but they had flaws of their own. Like you mentioned, express trains on the IND lines are worthless in their role in the lower half of Manhattan, being just two minutes faster from 42 St to Chambers St versus the local. Part of this problem is the relative nearness of worthy stops for express service - Penn Station, Times Square, and transfers to other lines at 14 St and 59 St (but why an express stop at Canal St... why??) - but each being far enough away from each other to justify their own stations. This does render much of the local / express concept useless in the lower third of Manhattan and there's that weirdly long stretch between 59 St and 125th (to compensate for the run below that?), but the IND's local / express setup is more sensible in Brooklyn and Queens, which brings me to your second point.
You're right to say that the ideal setup is (about) four local stops between the express stations but, not to beat a dead horse, I would opine that that's also appropriate when the distances and spacing are themselves pretty ideal, so the better example methinks is the Queens Blvd Line. Compared to the 7 Ave Line, the Queens Blvd Line's local and express trains are 22% (21 vs 27 min) and 18% (13 vs 16 min) faster, respectively, over the same distance (96 St to Chambers St against Queens Plaza to Forest Hills-71 Ave, ~5.8 miles). I don't know how many people would truly care about the three minute difference for the express run difference, but a six minute difference between the locals is pretty good and pretty noticeable. To put it in perspective, six minutes is the difference between the local and express trains between 125 St and 42nd St on the Lexington Ave Line (and the locals there are not too badly spaced).
Of course, as you mentioned two of your posts ago and me just above, the express spacing in my example wouldn't suit the layout of Manhattan particularly well since too many transfer opportunities or significant stops would be missed if one were to ruthlessly adhere to the setup on Queens Blvd. On the other hand, seeing as how the local trains on the IND lines are within a couple minutes of the express trains of the IRT lines for trips between Midtown and and the Financial District, there's no real need for a full local / express setup in the lower third of Manhattan. If anything, the quad-tracked setup below the avenues of Manhattan should be thought as better capacity than would otherwise be possible.


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So we can all agree the mighty NYC HRT local lines are as slow as street running Light Rail, a mode of which allot of members on this forum seem to have grudge against with speed being one of the most major arguments.
Maybe. Light rail, as implemented in much of the United States, is fantastically slow, plodding along in traffic lanes and unable to move around standing taxis or turning traffic; there is little chance of it being much faster than Select Bus Service or limited stop buses in New York, much less exceed the speed of some of the local trains. If light rail was given its own lanes, decent spacing, and some signal priority, it could maybe compete in speed. If all of that is done, the question ceases to be one of average speed and then one of capacity and appropriateness for transit needs.
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Old June 26th, 2011, 08:37 PM   #1228
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Maybe. Light rail, as implemented in much of the United States, is fantastically slow, plodding along in traffic lanes and unable to move around standing taxis or turning traffic; there is little chance of it being much faster than Select Bus Service or limited stop buses in New York, much less exceed the speed of some of the local trains. If light rail was given its own lanes, decent spacing, and some signal priority, it could maybe compete in speed. If all of that is done, the question ceases to be one of average speed and then one of capacity and appropriateness for transit needs.
I think you are confusing Light Rail with streetcars, like the ones found Philly or SFO. I can't think of any actual light rail system in the US that doesn't have the 3 things I highlighted.
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Old June 26th, 2011, 09:11 PM   #1229
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That's not strictly true. The system in SF is indeed light rail, but also happens to be something of a streetcar outside of the Market Street tunnel. Although many systems do a reasonable job of creating dedicated lanes, it isn't universally applied to most systems. Signal priority also tends to either be rare or very subtle because many dense urban corridors for US light rail seem to underwhelm in terms of speed.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 10:34 PM   #1230
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@State of the Union
As a more detailed response to your earlier post - "...agree the mighty NYC HRT local lines are as slow as street running Light Rail..." - I looked a bit and I still stand by statement: maybe.
In Portland, the Blue Line of the MAX Light Rail manages a 20 mph average end-to-end. This is indeed faster than most of the local trains in New York. In fact, only the C and G trains have average speeds at that level, averaging 18 and 20 mph, respectively. However, the Blue Line's impressive speed doesn't hold up too well under scrutiny. Immediately east and west of Portland's downtown, there are several stations that have spacings of over a mile (tunneling through a major hill and/or running alongside a freeway) and are thus not reflective of actual urban spacing practice; this "cheats" the running average. Let's try doing the extreme opposite and just look at the downtown run for the Blue Line: between Jeld-Wen Field and Rose Quarter, only a 7.6 mph average can be achieved as scheduled. This isn't just a problem with Portland's light rail: excellent foreign systems, like in Lyon, struggle to maintain double-digit speeds in a downtown environment. I'm sure the schedules have some padding incorporated to account for some traffic conflicts, but even if ahead of schedule light rail will be struggling to keep up with a local train in New York. To be fair to light rail speeds, though, while most local subway trains average 15-16 mph in their entirety, some trains for part of their route might only average 12 mph (the 6 train below 59 St, for example), though you'll note that that's still faster than the scheduled downtown run of the MAX's Blue Line.
Light rail wouldn't be used to connect the Manhattan business districts to the rest of the city like the subway because the capacity is simply much lower than what the subway offers, exactly what's needed to funnel the masses into the lower half of Manhattan, so let's change the parameters of the comparison: put the light rail outside the great traffic woes of Manhattan's great business centers and make it a means for peripheral travel between neighborhoods. Light rail should be able to maximize it's speed and compare favorably with local trains, right? Again looking at Portland's MAX, the northern parts of the Yellow Line has a seemingly ideal template that would (should, if built) be adopted in New York: dedicated lanes in the median with wide spaces between stops. At 16 mph, the Yellow Line matches the speed of most local trains. This is a scheduled time in a much smaller city however, so I'm not so sure how well that number would hold in the far more dense environ of New York; I would assume a 1-2 mph dip in the average.
This is all trivial, of course, because light rail wouldn't be built along similar corridors to compete with the subway nor would future lines be as slow as something like the 6 train, rendering the basis for this discussion moot - a future T train under 2 Ave and the proposed X train of the TriboroRX line would average ~22 mph. I would personally love to see light rail implemented in New York, but it really comes down to the appropriateness of the mode to the need.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 06:39 AM   #1231
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. While that might contextually be a smaller distance than DC, deep-level Tube, and Moscow stations (note that those act as hybrid commuter/metro systems), it's actually longer than Paris, Tokyo Subway, and cut-and-cover Tube stations (which function in the more traditional city proper-limited rapid transit model).
There is little or no difference between the 'tube' and 'sub surface' lines in terms of station spacing or how far they go out of the city. Here is a geographically accurate map that shows this.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 08:14 AM   #1232
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One should not underestimate the impact of ROW interference on street-level light-rail, even with signal-priority. If are to allow operational speed profiles (e.g., acceleration, top speed, deceleration) of subway trains on surface, you need more than merely fencing off a street with a 3ft guard-rail in its median.

In the case of Manhattan Midtown and above (roughly north of 55th Street), street cars could do a good job of feeding the 3, future 4 subway lines running North-South, substituting for crosstown buses.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 01:18 PM   #1233
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Some time ago, I read about a project of a Light Rail line from Carrol st. to Red Hook. Someone knows it and can tell me more?
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Old June 28th, 2011, 07:29 PM   #1234
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One should not underestimate the impact of ROW interference on street-level light-rail, even with signal-priority. If are to allow operational speed profiles (e.g., acceleration, top speed, deceleration) of subway trains on surface, you need more than merely fencing off a street with a 3ft guard-rail in its median.

In the case of Manhattan Midtown and above (roughly north of 55th Street), street cars could do a good job of feeding the 3, future 4 subway lines running North-South, substituting for crosstown buses.
I wouldn't think extensive separation is really required: in the area I saw it running, Sacramento's light rail had nothing more than flimsy traffic reflector posts to warn and keep away cars and pedestrians, yet it was almost going the flow of traffic between stations. The only thing necessary is to minimize automotive intrusion into the light rail ROW to keep operations as smooth as possible (whatever that may be). Safety measures wouldn't hurt, but nothing more than a raised curb should be required. After all, it's never really going to exceed 25 on city streets, which makes it no more unique an obstacle to others than a car or bus.
I wouldn't bother replacing the crosstown buses with light rail between 59 and 125 St: combined daily ridership on the 7 existing routes is 91,549, the busiest only being 26,028 (the M86), hardly impressive between two areas that have population densities above 100,000 a square-mile and connect several popular subway stations. Turn those routes into SBS, like the M15 or Bx12, and that would probably suffice (thought that should be true of all buses).

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Some time ago, I read about a project of a Light Rail line from Carrol st. to Red Hook. Someone knows it and can tell me more?
Abandoned by planners because of low projected ridership.
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Old June 29th, 2011, 05:03 AM   #1235
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Yeah, the IND did some things well, but they had flaws of their own. Like you mentioned, express trains on the IND lines are worthless in their role in the lower half of Manhattan, being just two minutes faster from 42 St to Chambers St versus the local. Part of this problem is the relative nearness of worthy stops for express service - Penn Station, Times Square, and transfers to other lines at 14 St and 59 St (but why an express stop at Canal St... why??) - but each being far enough away from each other to justify their own stations. This does render much of the local / express concept useless in the lower third of Manhattan and there's that weirdly long stretch between 59 St and 125th (to compensate for the run below that?), but the IND's local / express setup is more sensible in Brooklyn and Queens, which brings me to your second point.
You're right to say that the ideal setup is (about) four local stops between the express stations but, not to beat a dead horse, I would opine that that's also appropriate when the distances and spacing are themselves pretty ideal, so the better example methinks is the Queens Blvd Line. Compared to the 7 Ave Line, the Queens Blvd Line's local and express trains are 22% (21 vs 27 min) and 18% (13 vs 16 min) faster, respectively, over the same distance (96 St to Chambers St against Queens Plaza to Forest Hills-71 Ave, ~5.8 miles). I don't know how many people would truly care about the three minute difference for the express run difference, but a six minute difference between the locals is pretty good and pretty noticeable. To put it in perspective, six minutes is the difference between the local and express trains between 125 St and 42nd St on the Lexington Ave Line (and the locals there are not too badly spaced).

Of course, as you mentioned two of your posts ago and me just above, the express spacing in my example wouldn't suit the layout of Manhattan particularly well since too many transfer opportunities or significant stops would be missed if one were to ruthlessly adhere to the setup on Queens Blvd. On the other hand, seeing as how the local trains on the IND lines are within a couple minutes of the express trains of the IRT lines for trips between Midtown and and the Financial District, there's no real need for a full local / express setup in the lower third of Manhattan. If anything, the quad-tracked setup below the avenues of Manhattan should be thought as better capacity than would otherwise be possible.
I agree that the Queens Boulevard Line works incredibly well, but remember that part of this is that the express tracks actually diverge between Queens Plaza and Jackson Heights so as to shorten the express track length by around a third, almost halving the total trip time via express. Also is that the IND was designed more as a commuting system rather than the IRT and BMT's view of the subway as a passenger distribution system (ie local lines tend to stay within Manhattan and the Bronx while express lines operate as locals further out; while this pattern does exist on the IND it's less prevalent). Take the E for example, it runs express on Queens Boulevard and then local underneath Eighth Avenue, meaning that passengers don't have to transfer. In essence, by reducing station stops not only in Queens but also in Manhattan, passengers are given a more "direct" trip than they would on the IRT or BMT. Finally, in response to Canal, I think it's pretty stupid that it's an express stop, but I believe the rationale is that what we now call WTC (then Hudson Terminal) was originally an interchange with PATH (then called the H&M, thus Hudson) and is meant as a terminal rather than a connection point, kind of like how 34th and 42nd on the 7th and 8th Avenue Lines are both transfers, but with the latter meant for cross-platform transfers between lines instead of as a destination.
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Old June 30th, 2011, 10:20 PM   #1236
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Kind of cruel not to be partitioning off all that pointless clatter with plexiglass or some material, no (I ask this what from hearing all this news lately about NYC's progress @going_green when all that noisiness's detrimentally unhealthy)?
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Old June 30th, 2011, 11:01 PM   #1237
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Some time ago, I read about a project of a Light Rail line from Carrol st. to Red Hook. Someone knows it and can tell me more?
Unfortunately this project was cancelled. I believe it was more of a heritage streetcar than light rail.
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Old July 1st, 2011, 05:35 AM   #1238
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Kind of cruel not to be partitioning off all that pointless clatter with plexiglass or some material, no (I ask this what from hearing all this news lately about NYC's progress @going_green when all that noisiness's detrimentally unhealthy)?
That station is not the loudest , 14th Street Union SQ , and Grand Central are the 2 worst for noise. Some of the tunnels and curves are bad aswell , but the noise issue mostly applies to the older cars.....which are louder. Honestly theres not much you can do for the station noise.
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Old July 1st, 2011, 05:40 AM   #1239
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Honestly theres not much you can do for the station noise.
There is: platform screen doors that seal all the way to the top and are double-glazed. But that will disrupt the flow of air into the tunnels, meaning you need to massively upgrade a dual ventilation system: one for stations, other for tunnels.
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Old July 1st, 2011, 05:48 AM   #1240
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There is: platform screen doors that seal all the way to the top and are double-glazed. But that will disrupt the flow of air into the tunnels, meaning you need to massively upgrade a dual ventilation system: one for stations, other for tunnels.
Thats to expensive , and the MTA probably won't do that in my lifetime....they expand the system twice over ....but never add Platform Screen doors.... Some trains are different lengths and the doors are different , so it wouldn't work at all.
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