Philadelphia’s Transit Map, Managed by SEPTA, Includes PATCO Speedline to NJ

When public transit agencies collaborate and build maps that display each other’s services, riders benefit. For example, the Philadelphia Rail Transit Map shows rapid transit services provided by two agencies: Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), which operates most lines, and Delaware River Port Authority, which operates the PATCO Line connecting Philadelphia with Camden and several other points in New Jersey. The SEPTA map key includes the disclaimer “not a SEPTA service” next to the PATCO Line, but represents the line using a visual style consistent with all other rapid transit lines in Philadelphia.

Closeup: PATCO Speedline on SEPTA Rail Transit Map

NYC Subway Map Displays AirTrain JFK; Sets Precedent for Including PATH

Subway NY NJ proposes more prominently displaying ‘New York’s second subway”–PATH to New Jersey–on the NYC Subway map, for a more complete map of transit in the NY & NJ urban core. The map has a long history of including NJ subway connections. The current subway map also prominently displays AirTrain JFK, which connects terminals at John F. Kennedy International Airport with the A Train at Howard Beach, and the E, J, Z, and Long Island Rail Road at Jamaica. Like PATH, AirTrain JFK is operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

AirTrain JFK on Subway Map

The presence of AirTrain JFK on the NYC subway map sets a precedent for including other non-MTA transit services that directly connect to the subway system, accept the pay-per-ride MetroCard for fare payment, and serve transit needs in the urban core. PATH meets this threshold in all three ways: it is even more centrally located in the urban core than AirTrain JFK, also accepts the pay-per-ride MetroCard, and connects to 18 subway lines: B,D,F,M at 33rd, F,M at 23rd, 1,2,3,L,F,M at 14th, and 2,3,4,5,A,C,J,Z, and R at Fulton Center.

PATH to Newark Airport is a Great Idea

On a recent fall morning, I awoke to two helicopters buzzing overhead. A quick check of Twitter confirmed my suspicion: mounting delays at the inbound Lincoln Tunnel because of a crash in one of the tubes. The likelihood that travel on New York-area roads can suddenly come to a screeching halt, especially during morning and evening rush, is a major reason why we need to invest in public transit, especially to increase cross-Hudson capacity.

I was thinking about those morning Lincoln Tunnel delays when I left the office recently to catch an evening flight from Newark Airport to Chicago. I decided to take PATH from World Trade Center to Newark Penn Station, followed by a quick transfer to NJ Transit for the roughly two-mile-long, one-stop trip to Newark Airport. It’s a trip I’ve taken regularly for years, and at about 45 minutes, it’s generally shorter than the trip to LaGuardia or JFK. But it can be unpredictable.

A few years ago, I arrived at Newark Airport on a Sunday evening. NJ Transit was running service only every 30 minutes, so I tried taking a taxi from the airport to Newark Penn to catch PATH. Thanks to traffic, I spent more than a half hour in traffic on a trip up Lincoln Highway that should have taken no more than 10 minutes. NJ Transit runs two bus services connecting the airport with downtown Newark. The 62 bus is a local route and trip time is equally unpredictable in traffic, while the 28 Go bus, similar in concept to the MTA’s limited-stop Select Bus Service, doesn’t leave from Newark Penn. One has to either walk or take Newark Light Rail to Broad St. Station, easily adding as much as 10-15 minutes to the trip. Once on board the 28, a trip to Terminal C, geographically closest to downtown Newark, adds another 16 minutes to the overall travel time.

This evening, I left WTC at 5:10 on a Newark-bound PATH train and arrived Newark Penn at 5:35. After buying an NJ Transit ticket, I boarded the 5:44 South Amboy-bound NJ Transit train, and exited the Newark Airport station turnstiles at 5:49, for a trip time of 39 minutes.

Extending PATH to Newark Airport has been proposed, debated, and scrutinized for years, but it’s a really good idea that’s long overdue. New York has fallen behind other leading global cities that have far better transit connections to their airports. Trains in Brussels terminate at a station directly below the main terminal, and elevators carry passengers to and from departure and arrival concourses in a multi-story structure. London has multiple direct connections. The Piccadilly Line provides Tube service, while Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect provide rail service at varying price points and travel times. Shanghai has a maglev shuttling people between airport and city at impressive speeds.

An update on PATH to Newark Airport presented at the Port Authority’s April 2015 Board meeting shows that the project team isn’t just thinking of it as an airport-only service. PATH, infrastructure firm HNTB, and the Regional Plan Association are studying how new PATH service, combined with a revitalization plan for Newark’s Dayton neighborhood could lay the groundwork for new mixed-use development on the formerly industrial area adjacent to the proposed extension. Critics often argue that transit extensions to airports prioritize business travelers and tourists over local populations, but a look at PATH’s public materials reveals a forward-thinking approach to this already good idea that could make it into a unique success story for transit and community growth.

NY Officials, on Hudson River Tunnels: “It’s New Jersey, so Who Cares?”

On Sunday, NorthJersey.com published an opinion piece by Philip Mark Plotch that shed light on the political attitudes that have led to the precarious and deteriorating state of cross-Hudson transit. Plotch is well-placed to offer this insight: he was previously director of WTC Development for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, a joint city-state public entity created to plan redevelopment of Lower Manhattan after the September 11 attacks. He is currently professor and director of the MPA program at St. Peter’s University, and author of Politics Across the Hudson, a book about the megaproject to rebuild the Tappan Zee bridge.

While writing his book, Plotch interviewed numerous New York state officials to better understand why they didn’t promote Access to the Region’s Core (ARC), the cross-Hudson tunnel project canceled by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in 2010. Their answers, Plotch says, “made my head spin.” Continues…

Amtrak, MTA, NJ Transit, Port Authority & RPA on Expanding Trans-Hudson Capacity

As delays and interruptions become more frequent in the century-old North River Tunnels connecting New York and New Jersey, and the political debate grows louder over who will pay for the two new tunnels proposed by Amtrak, some context on the issue is helpful.

In May, the Port Authority, MTA, NJ Transit, Regional Plan Association, and Amtrak jointly convened a Trans-Hudson Summit to discuss the needs, challenges, and solutions for NY & NJ transit infrastructure. The Port Authority also prepared a Profile of the Regional Interstate Transportation Network, a snapshot of trends and market patterns:

Manhattan’s extraordinary concentration of high-value jobs would not be possible without its access to a huge, diverse, and talented labor market over a large geographic area that its extensive transit network makes possible. Efficient public transit is essential to providing the regional mobility needed to sustain its economic competitiveness. And interstate commuting to employment sites outside Manhattan has been growing as well. Access to skilled workers means gains in productivity and profitability for area businesses and a growing standard of living for the entire region.

A Vital Link: Expanding Transportation Capacity Across the Hudson
May 7, 2015

The morning sessions began with a series of presentations from the sponsoring transportation agencies, each of which focused on different aspects of the trans-Hudson challenge. The presentations covered the changes in the volume and nature of trans-Hudson travel that have occurred over the past generation; the condition of the physical infrastructure and capacity constraints on the trans-Hudson crossings and facilities; and referenced potential solutions to expand transportation capacity for further discussion, including project costs and benefits.

Moderator
Thomas K. Wright, President, Regional Plan Association

Presentations
Andrew Lynn, Director, Planning & Regional Development, The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
Drew Galloway, Chief of Planning & Performance, NECIID, Amtrak
Veronique Hakim, Executive Director, NJ TRANSIT
Rich Roberts, Chief, NEC Trans-Hudson Projects, NJ TRANSIT
Bill Wheeler, Director of Planning, Metropolitan Transportation Authority

A Vital Link: Expanding Transportation Capacity Across the Hudson
May 7, 2015

The second morning session began with remarks from the distinguished panelists listed below representing other partners in addressing the trans-Hudson challenge, who responded to the agency presentations. Then there was a moderated discussion of potential solutions and a process for moving forward.

Moderator
Thomas K. Wright, President, Regional Plan Association

Distinguished Panelists:
Peter Rogoff, Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy, U.S. Department of Transportation
Joel Ettinger, Executive Director, New York Metropolitan Transportation Council
Mary K. Murphy, Executive Director, North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority
Martin Robins, Founding Director, Voorhees Transportation Center, Rutgers University

Amtrak Panelists:
Anthony Coscia, Chairman of the Board
Stephen Gardner, Vice President, NECIID
Drew Galloway, Chief of Planning & Performance, NECIID

New Jersey Panelists:
Veronique Hakim, Executive Director, NJ TRANSIT
Rich Roberts, Chief, NEC Trans-Hudson Projects, NJ TRANSIT

New York Panelists:
Polly Trottenberg, Commissioner, New York City Department of Transportation
Bill Wheeler, Director of Planning, Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Port Authority Panelists:
John Degnan, Chairman
Scott Rechler, Vice-Chairman
Patrick Foye, Executive Director
Andrew Lynn, Director, Planning & Regional Development

Regional Plan Association Panelist:
Elliot G. Sander, Chairman

A Vital Link: Expanding Transportation Capacity Across the Hudson
May 7, 2015

This panel discussed innovative financing models, including the role of public-private partnerships, in funding the massive capital investments required to substantially expand cross-Hudson transit capacity.

Moderator
Rohit Aggarwala, Principal, Bloomberg Associates

Panelists
D.J. Gribbin, Managing Director, Macquarie Group
Chris Ireland, Director of Infrastructure Investments, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan
Sam Schwartz, President, CEO & Founder, Sam Schwartz Engineering
Robert Yaro, President Emeritus & Senior Advisor, Regional Plan Association

A Vital Link: Expanding Transportation Capacity Across the Hudson
May 7, 2015

This panel explored the project delivery process and the labor, regulatory and environment permitting involved in expanding cross-Hudson transit capacity, and possible strategies for “fast-tracking” necessary projects of national and regional significance.

Moderator
Joshua Schank, President & CEO, Eno Center for Transportation

Panelists
Mark Chertok, Principal, Sive, Paget & Riesel
Philip Howard, Chair, Common Good
Marilyn J. Taylor, Dean, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania

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