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Nashville commuter rail "re-evaluated"


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State challenges commuter rail plan


Staff Writer

State transportation officials are questioning the financing and need for a Nashville-to-Lebanon commuter rail line in what is clearly a reassessment of whether the state will continue supporting the project.

If the state were to pull its 10% funding, it would be a crucial setback

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I actually am very happy this is occuring. I used to think commuter rail was wonderful and it'd be an asset to Nashville - before I knew about the project. When I learned it only had 3 trains in during the morning, then 3 out during the evening; I didn't think highly of it.

Then I looked at the MTA bus schedules and saw how poor bus service is - that was another problem.

But then, when Light Rail failed to be brought up after the initial 1999 engineering study - I realized that commuter rail would be a big flop and give rail a bad name in middle TN.

So I'm all for enhancing bus services and looking at inner city rail first - while canning this commuter rail project.

Bredesen seems to be doing the right thing, IMHO.

MTA has a 5 year improvement plan, thankfully!


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It is true that commuter rail will not work if there is no (or poor) transit at the destination for it's riders.

New York City of all places is running into this problem. There is a desperate need for improved subway service in Queens, and better access to Manhattan from Queens. But the NY subway system is so crowded, there is no place for new service to go once it gets to Manhattan. A lot of Queens residents are crying foul that Manhattan may get the Second Avenue subway line while they've been waiting decades for adequet subway service, not realizing that 2nd Avenue is what will make improved Queens service possible.

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Brooklyn was a massive city in it's own right before the boroughs combined to become NYC. Queens on the otherhand was a loose collection of small towns. Brooklyn developed subways very early, whereas Queens relied more on Intercity type trains. Today if you look at a NYC subway map you'll see that it has two hubs, one in Lower Manhattan and one in Brooklyn, infact if one didn't know better, one might think by looking at the subway map that Brooklyn was the centre of the city, not Manhattan. Queens grew to rely on what became the Long Island Railroad, looking at a LIRR map you'll see that more of it goes through Queens. Queens came in late on subway building and didn't get much (it didn't need much). But now Queens has a larger population than Brooklyn and the lack of subways is taking it's toll.

Queens' subways rely mostly on the Queens Blvd. backbone, it's a rather odd configuration, if Queens were it's own city off far away from New York the subways wouldn't have developed the way they did. The Astoria line is little more than a spur of the Manhattan Broadway line, you really only have Queens Blvd. and The Flushing Line handling the entire population of Queens, which is then heavily dependent on buses to spread people out into the borough once they leave the trains. Some final extensions that were never built were partly the victim of Robert Moses' road culture.

The subways are very taxed now, but there is no room in the Manhattan system to bring more trains or new lines into Manhattan. The Second Avenue line will relive some of the pressure in Manhattan and allow for expansions in Queens. Also, LIRR service into Grand Central (currently being constructed), will give Midtown North riders a new option for getting into the city, giving some releif to the subways.

There are also some ferry services in the works, but there needs to be some intraborough transit to get people to the ferries.

Queens is probably New York's most auto-centric borough (behind Staten Island). You'd be surprised how many Queens residents actually drive to work in Manhattan.

Encouraging riders on the Queens-Brooklyn border to utilize Brooklyn trains could help Queens as well, but Brooklyn's system is almost as taxed as Queens. New York is going to have to start some massive subway building over the next half century if it is to maintain it's current population and increase it in the coming years.

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