Our weekly “New Starts” guide to new and newsworthy transportation developments worldwide.
New York Gov. Floats Subway Extension to Red Hook
The New York City subways are in a spiral of decline similar to that of the 1970s, which cost some $12 billion to reverse. A New York Times examination of the current state of the subways concludes that reversing this one may cost as much as $100 billion. Work on one enormously expensive new subway line and another even costlier regional rail tunnel proceed slowly in the meantime.
So what does New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the man at whose desk the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s buck stops, want for Gotham’s subways now?
Another new extension, that’s what.
Railway Track and Structures reports that the governor wants the MTA and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to study ways they could make possible a subway extension to Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood.
The extension is clearly tied to a vision of a transformed Red Hook, as the governor also suggested in his 2018 “State of the State” agenda that one thing the PANYNJ should do as part of any plan is relocate its Red Hook container ship terminal to another facility in South Brooklyn. The move, he said, would free up waterfront land for use by the community.
According to the report, a “Brooklyn-Battery” subway tunnel is just one of several possible alternatives for improving transit access to Red Hook the MTA should consider as part of any study it conducts. Gov. Cuomo said in his agenda that once the Port Authority has figured out how to relocate and consolidate its Brooklyn port facilities and the MTA has completed its study, a community-based planning process involving all area stakeholders would determine how best to reuse the freed-up port land.
Red Hook’s inaccessibility relative to the rest of Brooklyn is the main justification proponents of the proposed BQX streetcar have given for that project, which faces challenges of its own.
Berlin Plans First Major Tram Extension Since World War II
The International Railway Journal reports that the city of Berlin has begun soliciting bids for planning work on the first major addition to the city’s tram network since World War II.
The work involves a 3.35-km (2.08-mile) double-track tram line that would run from Alexanderplatz to a major redevelopment area near Potsdamer Platz via reserved track, mostly along Leipziger Strasse. The line is part of a larger network of new and extended tram routes announced in the BerlinStrategie 2030 planning document. These routes would both expand the already dense tram network in the city’s eastern half and return trams to its western half for the first time since the 1960s.
The deadline for submitting bids to Berlin Transport is February 7.
Rail Transit Startup Comes to Polish City
Railway Gazette International reports on a new rail transit startup launching later this year in Poznań, the capital and largest city of the Polish voivodeship (province) of Wiekopolska (Greater Poland).
The Poznań Metropolitan Railway will consist of nine routes emanating from the city’s central railway station. The first four, set to begin service in the first half of this year, will have trains operating at up to 30-minute intervals between Poznań and Wągrowiec, Jarocin, Grodzisk Wielkopolski and Nowy Tomyśl.
Five additional routes will launch over the next three years. A line to Rogoźno is set to open in late 2019 or early 2020. Service to Września and Kościan is planned for 2020 and routes to Wronki and Gniezno should be added in 2021.
Koleje Wiekopolskie (Greater Poland Transport), a company owned by the voivodeship, will operate the service, and the voivodeship will cover 40 percent of its operating costs. The remainder is to come from the local authorities served by the network.
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Next City contributor Sandy Smith is the home and real estate editor at Philadelphia magazine. Over the years, his work has appeared in Hidden City Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Inquirer and other local and regional publications. His interest in cities stretches back to his youth in Kansas City, and his career in journalism and media relations extends back that far as well.