Should NJ Appear on the NYC Subway Map?

The Star-Ledger, New Jersey’s largest newspaper, published a feature story about the New York & New Jersey Subway Map, highlighting the need for a more complete representation of rail rapid transit in the urban core regardless of state boundaries:

Should NJ Appear on the NYC Subway Map?

See what riders at the Fulton Street subway station had to say about the proposed Subway NY NJ map.

Posted by Subway NY NJ on Wednesday, November 4, 2015

 

Although the PATH tracks are shown heading west into the Hudson River, they disappear off the western edge of the map, with New Jersey completely out of the picture. Someone looking at a subway map who was unfamiliar with the PATH system would have no idea he could arrive just steps from Washington Street in Hoboken or right on Grove Street in the middle of downtown Jersey City.

It’s a missed opportunity, Mader said, to illustrate just how conveniently the two sides of the Hudson are linked by rail transit, and how appropriate the term “sixth borough of New York” is for that part of Hudson County.

In conjunction with the story, NJ.com asked readers, “Do you want N.J. included on NYC’s subway map?” 62% of respondents said yes. Riders interviewed at the MTA’s Fulton Street Subway Station also expressed support for the proposal.

Cameron Booth, editor of Transit Maps, called it “a compelling proposal”:

I personally think that this is a simple but incredibly awesome amendment to the New York subway map that provides useful information to the end user – which is what a transit map should be about, right?

One man’s mission to put New York’s secret subway back on the map, by John Elledge, CityMetric:

As late as the 1960s, the PATH trains did appear on the subway map, albeit in a different colour to the main system. Resurrecting this combined effort could be an easy win for the city authorities, Mader argues, expanding the functional area of the city for many residents at almost no cost. “We live in an era when capital construction is expensive. But ‘expansion’ doesn’t have to mean building a new line – it can come from giving a clearer map.” By making the map himself, Mader told us, he hoped to demonstrate to the MTA quite how easy it would be to actually, well, make this map.

The PATH is as much a part of New York’s transport system as the DLR in London, or the S-Bahn in Berlin. It shares four stations with the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) subway system; crosses the Hudson through two tunnels (one from the Village, the other from the Battery); and provides frequent services to Hoboken, Jersey City and Newark.

Elledge, and Barbara Speed, interviewed Stewart about the map on Skylines, the CityMetric podcast: You Are Here.

CityMetric reports that it was their biggest story of the week:

NJ Man Leads Fight To Feature PATH Trains Prominently On The NYC Subway Map, by Jen Carlson, Gothamist:

Mader has created a rendering of the new map himself, and his website Subway NY NJ holds his entire proposal. The idea is an inexpensive one, Mader claims, “it’s meant to be the kind of regional thinking and cooperation that wouldn’t cost the agencies much in terms of time or money, especially compared to capital projects.”

The article prompted a spirited discussion, including a few comments with the usual New Jersey bashing, but many offer good, constructive suggestions. JRod5417 supports the proposal’s rationale for building awareness of trans-Hudson transit:

SubwayNYNJ-Gothamist-Integration

Michael Langwell agreed with the proposal’s logic that PATH should be more prominently displayed because it accepts the MetroCard, and steeb suggested further differentiating PATH visually from the Subway:

SubwayNYNJ-Gothamist-MetroCard

Deter Pinklage argued that including PATH would add clutter to the Subway map. Others rebutted, noting that PATH occupies a currently empty region of the map, and that the map itself doesn’t use space effectively where it shows eastern Queens:

SubwayNYNJ-Gothamist-Crowded

Jamie questioned the relevance of including Staten Island Rapid Transit (SIRT) on the NYC Subway Map:

SubwayNYNJ-Gothamist-SIRT

We need the most widely-used rail rapid transit map to provide a comprehensive view of service in the bi-state urban core. That, of course, includes Staten Island Rapid Transit, but it should also include PATH as an equally relevant part of the network. After all, a 1909 proposal would have extended PATH service to Staten Island via Bayonne:

Tubes were to run from the Grove-Henderson Station to a station under the CNJ tracks at Communipaw where the CNJ would terminate its runs, eliminating the Jersey City Terminal and the CNJ ferry service. The tunnels would continue to a portal near the CNJ Van Nostrand Place Station, where H&M trains would run along the CNJ line, with stations at Greenville Avenue, 45th Street, 33rd Street, 22nd Street, and West 8th Street. South of West 8th Street, the trains would enter twin tubes under the Kill van Kull and run to points on Staten Island. This line was to be built after the Sixth Avenue-Grand Central Station extension, allowing uninterrupted travel from 42nd Street to Staten Island.

Curbed NY writer Jeremiah Budin also covered the story in an article titled Should New York’s Subway Map Embrace NJ’s PATH Trains?. Budin’s take was disappointing, beginning with this:

We’ve seen a lot of outlandish proposed changes to the New York City subway map around these parts, but this may be the most galling one yet.

Thankfully, many of the 42 comments on Budin’s article strongly support the proposal. Here’s a sampling:

Mass transit makes the city work. Without question the PATH routes should be shown as proposed.

Either way, it makes no sense that the AirTrain is on the map as a colored line but PATH, which is run by the same agency, is not. The logical line to be drawn is not an arbitrary political border, but level of service and utility to users. That’s the line between rapid transit services (such as NYCSubway, AirTrain, PATH) on the one hand, and commuter railroads (NJT and LIRR) on the other. LIRR and NJT run much more limited services (not 24/7/365, LOOOONG headways), do not accept Metrocards, and are an order of magnitude more expensive. Not very relevant to most rapid transit users, who care about frequent, convenient, all-day services.

The JFK AirTrain, which is not run by the MTA, is not an NYC Subway line, and does not have integrated fares, is also on the map as a “colored” line.

Why all this attitude of “NJ sucks and can just go away”? We’re an integrated region that crosses state lines. We need to deal with that realistically. PATH benefits NYC and the whole region, not just NJ.

SubwayNYNJ-Curbed-Integration

SubwayNYNJ-Curbed-Economy

SubwayNYNJ-Curbed-Transfer

SubwayNYNJ-Curbed-Zippered

In another comment, Microphone noted (emphasis mine):

Either way, it makes no sense that the AirTrain is on the map as a colored line but PATH, which is run by the same agency, is not. The logical line to be drawn is not an arbitrary political border, but level of service and utility to users. That’s the line between rapid transit services (such as NYCSubway, AirTrain, PATH) on the one hand, and commuter railroads (NJT and LIRR) on the other. LIRR and NJT run much more limited services (not 24/7/365, LOOOONG headways), do not accept Metrocards, and are an order of magnitude more expensive. Not very relevant to most rapid transit users, who care about frequent, convenient, all-day services.

Finally, NYCsince83 kept it short and sweet:

SubwayNYNJ-Curbed-Yes

Subway maps in New York City have a long history of including the Hudson Waterfront and subway connections between New York and New Jersey, as well as other transit connections in the vicinity of the five boroughs.

Transit maps in other cities display multiple services, regardless of whether they are run by multiple agencies. 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. In Berlin, Germany, the two agencies that run public transit services appear together on the city’s official transit map.

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