Friday, January 25, 2008

Does Q Train + F Train = Happy Roosevelt Island Subway Commuters

Image from MTA

Image from MTA

Below is the unedited content of letter sent jointly by Roosevelt Island elected representatives to Howard Robert, President of the MTA concerning the problems of F line subway service as it effects Roosevelt Island. Be interesting to see what, if any, response from the MTA. They urge the MTA to extend the Q line:
through the 63rd Street tunnel, with a new terminus at 21st St./Queensbridge, would allow NYC Transit to increase service to Roosevelt Island by alternating Q trains with F trains, without adding any trains to the Queens Boulevard line.
Here is the letter.

January 22, 2008

Howard H. Roberts, Jr.
MTA New York City Transit
2 Broadway
New York, NY 10004

Dear President Roberts:

As elected officials representing the thousands of New Yorkers who live and work on Roosevelt Island, we urge you to address the developing crisis in the island’s mass transit link to Manhattan and the rest of New York City. Already, Roosevelt Islanders are faced with overcrowding on the island’s sole subway connection, the F line. With thousands more residents projected to join the island’s population in the near future, as well as a prolonged period of downtime planned for the Roosevelt Island tram, immediate action is required to prevent a transportation overload of critical proportions.

New development already underway is projected to increase the island’s population by as much as 80% – to more than 18,000 – within the next ten years. Many of these new residents will be arriving within the next year. Further affecting the island’s transportation situation, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation is planning a major overhaul of its tram system, a project that will entail suspending tram operations for approximately six to nine months, beginning in early 2009. During this time, the estimated 4,000 – 4,500 daily tram users will be forced to use alternative means of transportation – and, as in the case of previous tram outages, the great majority of them will use the subway. Additionally, repairs currently being made to the F train line have often eliminated weekend subway service to the island. Since these repairs are expected to continue while the tram is taken out of service, it will be increasingly difficult for residents of Roosevelt Island to travel between their homes and the rest of the City.

In a letter dated July 26, 2006, Councilmember Lappin urged to you consider means of improving subway service to Roosevelt Island, including the possibility of extending the Q line from the 57th Street/7th Avenue station in Manhattan to the 21st Street/Queensbridge station in Queens, thus increasing the number of trains able to serve Roosevelt Island. Councilmember Lappin wrote to you again on June 25, 2007, reiterating her concerns about rush hour service levels on the F line. In your response to Councilmember Lappin, dated July 27, you made no mention of the proposal to extend the Q line, instead focusing on the impossibility of adding additional F trains, due to the fact that “AM and PM F service is operating at full track and signal capacity along the Queens Blvd line.”

However, extending the Q line through the 63rd Street tunnel, with a new terminus at 21st St./Queensbridge, would allow NYC Transit to increase service to Roosevelt Island by alternating Q trains with F trains, without adding any trains to the Queens Boulevard line. It is our understanding that NYC Transit has, at times in the past, operated such a service via a currently-unused tunnel under Central Park. While we understand that this arrangement might eventually conflict with service plans for the Second Avenue line, we see no reason why it could not be undertaken as, at the very least, an interim measure.

In your response to Councilmember Lappin you stated that “our recent data continues to show that, on average, the F line operates within passenger loading guidelines.” While this may be true – though it conflicts with the daily experience of Roosevelt Island residents who ride the F line – it strikes us as a somewhat shortsighted view of the problem, in light of the island’s rapid population growth and the impending overhaul of the tram.

Given these realities, it is imperative that NYC Transit seriously consider ways to augment subway service to Roosevelt Island as soon as possible. We urge you to consider extending service on the Q line to 21st St./Queensbridge. If you believe this would not be practicable, we ask that you investigate alternate possibilities for increasing service to the rapidly growing population of Roosevelt Island.

Very truly yours,

Micah Z. Kellner Carolyn B. Maloney José M. Serrano Jessica S. Lappin
Assembly Member Member of Congress State Senator Council Member

cc: Stephen H. Shane, President, Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation
Deborah VanAmerongen, Commissioner, NYS Division of Housing and Community
Matthew Katz, President, Roosevelt Island Residents Association


Anonymous said...

mr. killjoy here.


ain't gonna happen. here are the maps you need to see why:

the rush hour F will be forced to wait while the Q backs out of the station, and switches on to the opposite track. that, as a general rule, means delays. i'm not sure if delaying the F on a frequent basis will solve anything. non-rush hour is prolly ok... but do we need it so much then? also, why bother with a temporary measure? people will move here thinking 'it ain't so bad; we have the Q, too!' then when it goes away, we'll have an overbuilt island with the same system we have now. and queens will likely be growing as well, meaning the F will get MORE crowded before it gets here.
no stopgaps should be allowed - either FIX the island's transportation for good, or CANCEL any buildings not started.

unless lapin is gambling that the 2nd ave line is never finished, and we'd get to keep whatever Q service we wheedle out of the mta!

Anonymous said...

one more thing... the mta says the culver line is at track and signal capacity, and no more F trains can be run.
saying 'yes but the Q doesn't mean more Fs!' is overlooking the point: the TRACK can not SAFELY hold more trains; it doesn't give a damn about the letter on the front of the things. the mta would need to at least reduce the allowable distances between trains, and possibly increase speeds, thus upping the accident probability rate.

they MAY do it. but i doubt they would.