"Let's build a new shiny station" (that would make everyone walk even further to transfer to the subways to get them to work) - tons of interest! tons of excitement!
"Let's rebuild 2 tunnels. And maybe build 2 more." (Before they collapse and destroy the economy.) - Boring. Not sexy. No photo-ops.
And that's the problem with humans. :(
It's staggering to spend time in some of the US's biggest transit hubs - LAX, Penn, the NYC airports, and then go and spend time in some around the world.
The US has a lot of catching up to do on it's basic infrastructure.
Somehow this reminds me of the previous story on NY infrastucture ( https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/12/28/nyregion/new-york-subw... )
We were able to both fund and construct these tunnels a century ago, but somehow they now seem hopelesly out of our reach.
This is a fairly poorly-informed piece, especially in light of the recent NY Times piece on construction costs in the New York area: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/28/nyregion/new-york-subway-...
Alon Levy, who was the source for many of the initial investigations into high costs here, argues quite convincingly that, at the current projected price tag, Gateway is not a justifiable project: https://pedestrianobservations.com/2015/11/13/when-theres-no...
The real problem here is that ARC, Gateway, &c. all have unjustifiably huge multi-billion-dollar price tags. We only have this problem in the first place because of the absurd construction costs in New York.
Additionally, the writer does not appear to have reached out to any independent transit people. Penn Station is actually less busy than, say, Châtelet-les-Halles in Paris, which has many, many fewer tracks. The biggest reason that it doesn't work well is just organizational – Penn Station would be able to handle its current capacity just fine if it did things that were standard elsewhere like through-running.
Lastly, neither Moynihan Station nor many of the Penn Station revamp ideas are well-regarded in transit circles. As noted, Moynihan Station makes people walk an extra long block. The original Penn Station, meanwhile, was not particularly well-regarded for things like pedestrian flow. It had a beautiful waiting room and some great architecture, but it's generally been regarded as being mediocre functionally, especially compared to Grand Central, which is both beautiful and has very good pedestrian flow.
A non-profit architectural foundation of which I am part is proposing to rebuild the original beaux arts Penn Station: https://www.civicart.org/rebuilding-new-yorks-original-penns...
If there's demand, I could ask the team/architects to do an ama of some kind.
In order to avoid death by 1,000 cases of crumbling infrastructure, the US should redirect $100 billion in military spending per year to infrastructure spending.
We don't even need to make that redirect last longer than a few years to fund most of our pressing infrastructure projects.
And our military would still have a budget $300 billion greater than the next biggest military spender (China)!!!
I currently commute in on the LIRR everyday and man is it rough. I'm pretty sure my train is delayed more often than on time. I usually give my mom a call in the morning just to say hi and check in. When my train does arrive on time she will go, "Oh you're early today".
I fear it could really hurt the economic activity of NYC. Take me for example, I like my job and I like the city, but I'm looking to work remotely or on Long Island rather than commuting. It's long but not so bad if everything is going well. The problem is the lack of consistency makes it unbearable. You never know when your train is going to be delayed and you're stuck on a packed train, or worse, stuck in Penn Station for an unknown amount of time. Life is too short to spend it like that.
> A few weeks later, a sewage pipe spewed waste onto a heavily trafficked concourse—an honest-to-God shitstorm. “I’m like, ‘Literally, it’s raining in Penn Station,’ ” recalls Marigo Mihalos, a booking agent from New Jersey who witnessed the fecal deluge on her way to work.
For those who have never been to Penn Station, this is an accurate description of it on a typical summer day.
Somewhat surprized that the article didn't touch on the expanse and glory of the old Penn Station that was torn down in the 60's. More information here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/penn/
And yet relatively speaking, it works a lot better than PABT. Penn Station has its short comings but it functions well enough that I can still say it is more convenient to go to Penn Station than it is do drive to NYC.
I have been using Penn Station since 2010. The first problem that started was trains backing up because of tunnel traffic. The second problem started happening in 2014 where trains were backing up in the tunnel because of platform traffic. The third problem started coming when the tracks (not trains) started breaking down and then you had derailments, collisions, breakdowns, etc.
Penn station just never got a break in usage. And never got a reprieve with accidents. It always worked at 110% and whenever repairs were being made, travelers complained because it caused daily delays.
What we really need is a whole brand new station, a whole brand new tube, and a whole bunch of brand new trains to put the other ones out of service and under repair. Only then will commuters and NYC goers be happy.
To state the obvious:
Build two new tubes besides the existing ones, the take the existing ones out of service, renovate them, bam.
Now you've got 4 (?) tubes and much fewer delays.
As for the train picture that's supposedly packed and dreary, it's still miles ahead of some of the oldest trains operating in some of the lines around Paris, which are ~50 years old and when they are packed, it's people standing up from one end of the wagon to the other. At least they're in the process of being replaced (the first new trains were delivered last month).
Still I'm glad that Paris has a good public railway system, even if the improvement work in the summer can be really annoying (like when they are cutting the West-East line for one month in Paris).
From the title, I knew it could be one of two things: New York Penn Station or Port Authority Bus Terminal. Both are nightmarescapes.
I applaud bloomberg for writing about this. The more these problems are talked about, hopefully, will result in some for of change. (The NY Times has done a great job in the NY region shining a light on subways, MTA, see below for stories linked.)
It is always incredibly challenging to have to design solutions ontop of exisiting,immovable, infrastructure and old stubborn corrupt people.
Regarding the article, these statements are absurd.
> K. Jane Williams, deputy administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, sent a curtly worded letter to New York and New Jersey officials that snidely made the deal sound made-up.
> “We consider it unhelpful to reference a nonexistent ‘agreement’ rather than directly address the responsibility for funding a local project where 9 out of 10 passengers are local transit riders,” she wrote.
With New York residents rated 44 out of 50 on Wallet Hub's "2017’s Most & Least Federally Dependent States " state residents being dependent on the federal government, meaning NY residents give more than they get back ( Scale : 1 = giving less and being more dependent on federal funds versus 50 being more independent and giving more than it receives, being less dependent on federal funds ) as well as other nearby states, such as Massachusetts(46), New Jersey(49) and Delaware(50), I find it incredibly irritating for them to make it as if people who rely on that form of transit do not matter especially with transportation being a way to get out of poverty. 
So much for infrastructure spending....
Regarding Amtrak,the author in my opinion should have explained how the Amtrak works/run. They suffer because they do not have funding, but lack the ability to be forced to innovate because of virtually zero competition.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amtrak#Controversy)
To understand how Amtrak works, I suggest reading this. (https://rctom.hbs.org/submission/amtrak-when-political-absur...)
>NY Times on MTA
(https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/07/opinion/nyc-leaders-subwa...) (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/03/magazine/subway-new-york-...) (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/28/nyregion/new-york-subway-...) (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/12/22/nyregion/what...) (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/20/nyregion/system-failure-n...)
The US’s record of reliable and efficient public transit is abysmal. Out west here you’re lucky to even catch a bus that takes an hour and fifteen minutes to get you where a 15 minute car ride would.
Why don’t they raise ticket prices? Or add a “Penn Station Facilities Fee” to tickets? I’m still paying a ridiculous “9-11 Security Fee” on airline routes that land in the US and I also pay a ridiculous “solidarity fee” for airline tickets in France.
Why not make Penn users pay for using Penn?
To contrast with Penn Station, just ~10-15 blocks to the northeast you have Grand Central, an iconic train station that is much better in almost every way.
Luckily, when I lived in NYC back in 2012, I never had to cross paths with Penn Station.
Mainly, I’d use the PATH train from Jersey City to 33rd Street, which ran frequently and mostly on-time.
The one time I had to visit a friend in Long Island, Penn Station wasn’t the horror show the article suggests. Then again, it was nearly 6 years ago, so it’s plausible that it has degraded. Fingers crossed that The Boring Company can actually execute.
Penn Station really sucks. It feels like the third world where trains are always delayed, passengers are shoving and pushing each other. Imagine the plight of employees working in Manhattan having to tell their upper east sides bosses why they are late every other day.
Before clicking I thought the article was going to be about the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
That would surprise me.
Penn, the Western Hemisphere’s busiest train station, serves 430,000 travelers every weekday—more than LaGuardia, JFK, and Newark airports combined
According to Wikipedia Zurich main station served on average 441,400 per working day. And that's in a city of roughly 400'00 people (or 1.2M if you count the metropolitan area).
That's peanuts compared to monsters like Shinjuku in Tokyo, which was used on average by 3.64 million people per day in 2007.
So I'm wondering where they come up with the "western hemisphere busiest train station"
Woah, after reading this article, my eyes have some lingering "lines", really messing with my head right now. Note to journalists/designers: DO NOT use black background with sharp contrasting white text.
This is all part of the long-standing "taxation is theft" meme that infected the USA in the late 1970s and early 1980s. There are many reasons we can't have nice things. One such reason is our collective unwillingness to pay for them.
I eagerly await the HN comments about how this demonstrates that mass tea sit is a failure and cars are our future.
Except I know we’ll only ever see complaints about “overloaded transportation systems” when referring to freeways and roads yet somehow obvious evidence that infrastructure of all kinds needs expansion and upgrades to keep up with demand will be ignored.
> In the era of climate change, hurricanes are becoming stronger and more frequent.