Subway to Secaucus - Our Proposal

The New York City region suffers from traffic congestion and a shortage of trans-Hudson passenger transit capacity. This situation threatens public health and safety and constrains regional economic growth and global competitiveness in the new century. It is often too difficult and expensive to get around this region. That adversely impacts our region's comparative quality of life, access to jobs and affordable housing, and business location decisions.

In response to this situation, we propose that the cross-Manhattan No. 7 subway line be extended west under the Hudson River to the Lincoln Harbor (Weehawken) light rail station. From there, it should proceed directly through a new tunnel under the Palisades, then above ground to the Secaucus Transfer station.

This extended No. 7 line (see Maps), to be operated by the New York City Subway, with New Jersey paying its share, can be built quickly at a competitive cost. It would take the majority of riders directly to where they want to go: to the 42nd St. and Grand Central Station area. Among New Jersey commuters to New York, there are more than twice as many bus riders as train riders. Current alternative proposals do not offer all the benefits found in our plan. See new Comparison Chart. For recent news, see Updates)

The extended No. 7 line would also:

  1. Leverage existing public rapid transit operations and skills and proven rail technologies to the maximum. The rapid transit model of fast passenger loading and unloading, with plenty of standing room for the short distances involved, allows for faster, more frequent service than possible with traditional commuter railroads. This would not preclude further improvements, such as advanced signaling systems, video cams for enhanced security, two-way communication devices for transit riders, and other high tech applications.
  2. Provide speedy, direct access to multiple bus and subway stops at Manhattan's far West Side (new), Port Authority Bus Terminal (new), Times Square, Fifth Avenue, Grand Central Station, and beyond, to Queens. From those stops, it is currently easy for public transit riders to reach ground level and walk to mid-town work, shopping, and cultural destinations, where they actually want to go, rather than the congested Penn Station bottleneck with its difficult transfers. They would also have many bus and subway transfer options in the NYC transit system.
  3. Unlike the trans-Hudson tunnels to Penn Station proposals, avoid construction of additional midtown Manhattan tunnels, costing untold billions of dollars and years of disruption, to connect the West Side to Grand Central Station. Such cross-town tunnels would also face formidable engineering challenges and New York MTA refusal to receive them at Grand Central Station.
  4. On the New Jersey side of the river, offer easy connections at two major bus- and rail-fed New Jersey transit hubs in Weehawken and Secaucus. At Weehawken, riders could connect to buses and the Hudson Bergen Light Rail (HBLRT), which currently runs south to new business centers in Hoboken and Jersey City. Under current plans, HBLRT will also run north to eastern Bergen County. At Secaucus Transfer, riders could connect to/from Amtrak, plus NJ Transit buses and trains from northern and central New Jersey.
  5. Redistribute passenger load from commuter buses headed through the Lincoln Tunnel to the Port Authority bus terminal on 42nd St and from commuter trains headed to Penn Station. Currently, the Lincoln Tunnel is a major bottleneck. NJ Transit and the Port Authority must now employ draconian measures to force-feed thousands of buses through the Lincoln Tunnel at commuter rush hours and other peak periods. This system is vulnerable to random accidents and motor vehicle failures. Under our proposal, however, many New Jersey bus riders could be transported to now underutilized Secaucus Transfer by bus or train for transfer to a No. 7 train that could take them to multiple New York City destinations more speedily, comfortably, and safely.
  6. Reduce travel time for both New Jersey and New York commuters. Current transfers are time-consuming and physically demanding. Not only do New Jersey riders work and shop in New York; thousands of New York transit riders also work and shop in New Jersey. They currently run an obstacle course to New Jersey; they must walk long distances and climb many stairs to transfer to PATH, Port Authority buses, and Penn Station trains.
  7. Reduce road traffic, energy consumption, and air pollution. If area residents and visitors were given more convenient and inexpensive public transit options, they would less likely take cars to their destinations. The shift to public transit would also help reduce the region's energy costs, air pollution, and greenhouse gases output. Rail, in high-density corridors, is more energy efficient per rider than cars and buses.
  8. Include the New York City option of building a subway spur from 42nd St. and 11th Ave. to the Javits Convention Center to support further far West Side development championed by Mayor Bloomberg.
  9. Provide a truly regional rapid transit solution unconstrained by 17th century political boundaries and expensive 19th century commuter railroad paradigms
Ralph Braskett
Steve Lanset    sLanset at hotmail.com

Revised 02-07-2011