LGA_A320 wants a bailout for cities and states Profile picture
8 Apr
Rail corridor planning 101 will tell you that connecting cities which exist along a line is really good. Cheyenne and Pueblo demarcate the north and south ends of a rel. populous corridor following the front range of the Rockies.
There are criticisms to be made of The Map, but can we please make them after we spend more than a few seconds thinking about what we're gonna type?
As others have noted, this Politico article basically boils down to "Amtrak should be investing in the NEC vs a bunch of extensions in the (Mid)west." Yet, the bill provides more money for the NEC than the rest of the country *combined*!
Read 8 tweets
6 Apr
Don't mean to pick on Jeremy here bc I really appreciate the productive engagement, but I do wanna push back on this line of logic. Though LIC did add a lot of housing, it was one of vanishingly few places in the NY region that did: we consistently rank _very_ low in hsng prod'n
New supply absolutely will not solve all housing-related crises -- renter protections and housing subsidies are critical part of the toolkit here -- we should be careful in making our analysis here.
Per research like this upjohn.org/research-highl…, it seems likely Qns's gentrification and displacement crises would have been even worse had it not been for LIC to absorb high-earners looking for housing in the region.
Read 5 tweets
5 Apr
Not nearly back to full ridership yet, and my (admittedly small sample of) weekend trains seem to be rapidly approaching 125% seated load — NYCT’s definition of “at capacity” Image
This should be a reminder that, over the last 15 years, weekend subway service has been slashed to accommodate diversions and a huge ramp up in the restrictiveness of work protection rules
In 2006, the only letter lines whose Saturday base schedule ran less frequently than every 8 mins were the C (10min), J (mostly 9min) and M (ditto). Today, the only routes scheduled to run better than a 10 min headway are the Q and L.
Read 5 tweets
19 Dec 20
One little thing to be excited about going into 2021 at NYCT: it looks like the hegemony of diesel work locomotives is finally coming to an end.
In the NYC subway, we overwhelmingly use diesels to power work trains, as the third rail is switched off in work zones. The negative implications on passenger -- to say nothing of work train crew -- respiratory health should be self evident.
Though other systems (for example, London) have used battery locos for over a century, NYCT has historically resisted this, and has bought overwhelmingly diesel equipment until very recently.
Read 5 tweets
18 Dec 20
Thinking a bit about alignments for Phillipsburg-Allentown rail service (which is so, sorely needed). The route choice is surprisingly complex.
Phillipsburg-Easton is pretty easy -- you just follow the former CNJ ROW across the Delaware and Lehigh, and you get a stop just south of the downtowns in both Easton and Phillipsburg. Not perfect (you'd optimally run through the activity density), but workable.
From there on out things are a bit less pretty. You can continue following the CNJ, but that means you'll be under a cliff from the denser residential areas of Easton. Elevators and all would help, but I suspect that 10 min bus service would be much more effective in these nhbds
Read 13 tweets
18 Dec 20
Always loved how clearly strong the PA influence is in Phillipsburg NJ's architecture/planning. The town has the mid-block alleys and gabled rowhouses that are so quintessentially E PA.
so many really interesting alleys in phillipsburg. this particular one a little bit of a 19th century 'disorganized wires' vibes.
Attached vs detached, but Trenton notably also has this sort of thing going on.
Read 4 tweets
17 Nov 20
I really don't think there's any bit of railroad anywhere in the US that screams "electrify me" more than Metra's Suburban Branch of the Rock Island District.
With twelve stops in seven miles through relatively dense neighborhoods on Chicago's South Side, the line has the stop spacing of a subway, but is run with agonizingly slow-accelerating diesel equipment -- which also contributes to air pollution in surrounding communities
The line also faces little interference from freight traffic and is owned by Metra; this is one of (surprisingly many) places in the Chicago region where you could pretty easily make real regional rail-style improvements without running into freight railroad opposition
Read 6 tweets
17 Nov 20
One little bit of tri-state rail obscura about by which I am fascinated is the Hospital Branch in Poughkeepsie.
After the bridge burned in '74 and the Maybrook Line to the east was abandoned in '80, customers up the hill in Poughkeepsie were only accessible by this funny little route, which involved a switchback and some steep grades
The line made it all the way through Conrail, but (sources conflict) either CSX or the town of Poughkeepsie was reluctant to continue its operation. Last train ran sometime btwn 1999 and 2001, and after an abortive attempt to make it into a short line tracks were lifted in 2005.
Read 5 tweets
14 Nov 20
You may be thinking: 9 minutes to go from 3rd Avenue to E180!? That's great! It's not. @NYCTSubway seems to have used express runtimes with local stops interpolated in for 5 service on White Plains Road this weekend. Not the end of the world, but it sure won't help lateness! Image
It also looks like we've got some 30 second scheduled headways on Lex this weekend. Again, not the end of the world, but not great either! Image
Also, @NYCTSubway, I'm not sure what the backend changes that would be required to do this are, but would it be possible to look into making sure that every trip in the supplemented GTFS has a shape_id associated with it?
Read 6 tweets
16 Oct 20
The LGA EIS has been torn to shreds already, but I just want to hone in on the reasons they chose for rejecting Alt 8B (N to LGA over 31 St and 19 Av) for one sec. They're....lol.
The formal reason for rejecting this alt is that it has the potential to disrupt infra during its construction. Specifically, the report writers are concerned about impacts to NEC service, and to sewer infrastruction.
The former line of reasoning has me perplexed. This is the detail they give on the potential impacts to the NEC, but folks, no new-build section of this route crosses the NEC! The NEC crosses the N just south of Ditmars; the new stretch of track would begin beyond it.
Read 6 tweets
14 Aug 20
.@akgerber successfully goaded me into making a southwards bend, so we're making a detour down to Morgantown WV, aiming to resume normal route back at Johnstown #SEANYC Image
On one of these mountain-defying highways. Geographic aesthetics aside, road building really transformed the jobs geography of river towns: post-highways, industry/employment had an unprecedented ability to sprawl away from valley sites/routes.

Some of the stuff seen yesterday in McKeesport is just that: malls (and office/industrial parks) in the Mon Valley wouldn't have been nearly as possible if activity had been constrained to rail/water-proximate valley sites
Read 672 tweets
21 Jul 20
Entering Milwaukee #SEANYC Image
These densely packed single fam houses have a strong 1940s/50s Canadian/LA suburb feel to them: Image
This sad looking bit of track may not look like much, but is in fact the last remnant of Milwaukee's storied Beer Line, a once-bustling industrial route through the city owned by the Milwaukee RR. We'll be loosely tracking this ROW. #SEANYC Image
Read 596 tweets
20 Jul 20
Oshkosh, WI #SEANYC ImageImageImage
I always love it when streetview veers into a parking lot. You get a sense for where the photo car stopped along its journey. #SEANYC Image
You can't really see it in this pic, but it's worth remarking on car shredding machines. They completely revolutionized car recycling by making it easier to separate component materials of old cars, helping ameliorate the issue of abandoned cars in the 70s and 80s. #SEANYC Image
Read 595 tweets
11 Jul 20
Perhaps one of the more fascinating freight rail operations issues in the Northeast is the unending saga of Allentown and Enola, the two somewhat duplicative and inefficient Eastern PA hump yards that no one has figured out how to consolidate.
These yards, both owned by Norfolk Southern, serve a critical function insofar as they sort most carload traffic moving from the South to the Northeast, and handle most local traffic moving to points on the NS network east of the Susquehanna River.
Before we dive in, some background...

...on hump yards
...and on Conrail
Plus a map of PA railroads...
...and a map of the NS system (with a PDF link at bottom for those who prefer)
Read 36 tweets
3 Jul 20
Back along the Northern Pacific in Forsyth, MT. Coal trains, almost certainly loaded with Powder River Basin Coal, below us. #SEANYC
For those of you who are wondering, yes, this town is named after *that* Forsyth, the colonel who commanded the US Army unit involved in the Wounded Knee Massacre, where our country indiscriminately murdered 300 people. #SEANYC
Colstrip, MT. A town where -- you guessed it -- they strip mine coal. I believe Colstrip was first settled by the Northern Pacific to provide for their steam locos. They then sold the mine (called Rosebud) to Montana Power & Light, which uses it to this day. #SEANYC
Read 431 tweets
19 Jun 20
I've decided I'm going to drive from Seattle to NYC on Google Streetview. Have been considering this since quarantine began, but am now finally biting the bullet. Trying to get in 30-60 mins a day until I reach. Will post periodic updates here. Here's my starting point:
New rule: I will not drive on the correct side of the interstate...ever, if I can avoid it.
One of my highway design pet peeves: exits to nowhere _with duplicates_! Not that this is a Q that is seen as meriting an answer in general, but why do you need the exit in the black box when its connectivity is duplicated just to the east and west & it barely touches anything!?
Read 107 tweets
18 Apr 20
There are a lot of stories in the NYC subway whose theme is "plus ca change," but I really don't think anything can beat Dekalb Avenue for such consistent troublemaking.
The junction and associated stations were built in stages from the early 1910s until 1920, when the Montague St tunnel opened, becoming the nexus of the BMT's subway network.
While it's import to the subway is nothing to be scoffed at today, it was even more so back then. Not only was subway ridership in South Brooklyn generally higher in the 20s, 30s and 40s, but Dekalb was also just responsible for Manhattan access in more of Brooklyn.
Read 38 tweets