By Steven Spinola
In a city with more than eight million people, and another million expected by 2040, we need to focus on New York’s transit system and how important it is to our future.
Our trans-Hudson transportation is in dire need of attention.
New York City’s population has almost doubled since the last rail connection under the Hudson was built over 100 years ago, and the population of the counties on the other side of the river has tripled.
More significantly, almost a third of the city’s workforce is now comprised of suburban workers, with a growing share coming from New Jersey.
We cannot afford to wait for another 9/11 or Super Storm Sandy before we address the issue of transportation in and out of our city and the surrounding region.
Recently, a study group including the MTA and the City explored the possibility of extending the 7 line into Secaucus at the Frank Lautenberg Station, and concluded that the extension was feasible.
However, the plan faces many challenges, including funding, ownership, operational responsibilities, and fare prices.
The MTA has taken the initiative on addressing these concerns by providing rail service to the Meadowlands and allowing the PATH system to accept Metro Cards, and I commend the MTA for taking these encouraging steps towards inter-transit network collaboration.
Although the proposal to extend the 7 line into New Jersey would be expensive, the potential benefits are too great to warrant not exploring the idea further.
The 7-train extension proposal has become urgent for REBNY members, as well as Community Board 4 in Manhattan and the residents they represent.
In addition to improving transit access for the city, this proposal would effectively address the overcrowding at the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the lack of capacity at the Lincoln Tunnel to accommodate the increasing number of buses and riders coming to Manhattan.
We cannot allow avenues ready for investment and growth to remain a staging area for commuter buses waiting to get into the bus terminal.
Ultimately, we need to plan strategically for the future, keeping in mind the relationship between our transportation system and regional economic development.
Extensions and enhancements to our transit network are essential to a growing and prosperous city. Another example of this that has already begun is the initial work by the Port Authority to bring rail access from downtown Manhattan directly to Newark airport. his is a critical infrastructure improvement for the future of lower Manhattan.
We need to continue to find ways to make transit service better and ways to sustainably fund a state of good repair and system expansion.
New York and the region will not continue to prosper without projects like these and a program of proper maintenance.
Last week, the MTA held public hearings seeking ideas on how to reinvent our transit system. The good people serving on this commission would do the public a great service if they could begin to identify how the region can come together and find the funds for important projects such as extending the 7 line to New Jersey. Our collective future depends upon it.
In other REBNY News:
August 12-13 from 9:00am – 5:30pm is the Certified Buyer Representative (CBR) Course. This two-day course, a national trademarked designation of REALNET Learning Services, is facilitated by REBNY and is available to those who wish to differentiate themselves with advanced training in buyer representation. This course takes place in the REBNY Mendik Education Center.
August 14 is the annual REBNY Spring Golf & Tennis Outing at the North Shore Country Club in Glen Head, a fun-filled day during which attendees will be able to network with each other and have a good time. Golf is $425, tennis is $315 and includes singles and doubles brunch, all-day is $225, dinner-only is $150, and a swimming pool is available to all. Each package includes cocktails and dinner, and sponsorships are available. For more information, contact Kathleen Gibbs at 212-616-5246, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 20 from 9:00am – 10:30am is REBNY’s Residential Ethics Course for New Members, a non-credit course required for new REBNY members. To register, visit REBNY.com, or contact ResidentialEthicsCourse@REBNY.com.