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7. The completion of the Battery tunnel within the next few months will deflect a considerable part of the travel from the Brooklyn bridge. This will constituts the first fundamental remedy for the bridge congestion, inasmuch as it will be the first provision of an alternative method of crossing the East river by rapid transit.
8. The connection of the Broadway, Brooklyn, elevated road with the Williamsburg Bridge, so that through trains may be run to the station under Delancey street. The completion of this connection and the Delancey street station, both of which are now under construction, will attract part of the Williamsburg and Ridgewood travel to come to Manhattan by that bridge instead of by the Brooklyn Bridge, as at present.
9. The completion of the Centre street subway leading from the Williamsburg Bridge to the City Hall, Manhattan, now under construction, and expected to be completed in about two and one-half years, will probably afford the greatest relief to the Brooklyn Bridge of any single improvement now under contract, except the Manhattan Bridge. It will deflect a large portion of the Brooklyn Bridge travel to the Williamsburg Bridge, as the new route will afford the more direct line for Williamsburg, Ridgewood, East New York, Brownsville, Woodhaven and Jamaica.
10. The completion of the Manhattan Bridge, now in course of construction, and which is expected to be finished soon after the Centre street subwa will afford still more substantial relief to the Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge will have four sets of tracks for trains, instead of one set, as on the Brooklyn Bridge. It will connect through to City Hall, Manhattan, by way of the Centre street subway.
It will be seen from the foregoing that the city is now following a definite policy of Brooklyn Bridge relief.
Constant day and night inspection is carried on by this Commission as a basis for suggestions or orders to the operating companies for improvements.
Dated October 3, 1907.
EDWARD M. BASSETT, Chairman,
JOHN E. EUSTIS.
Brooklyn Bridge.- Regulation of vehicular traffic during rush hours.
[Recommendations made to the Bridge Commissioner that during rush hours no heavily loaded wagons be allowed to cross the Brooklyn Bridge and that all vehicles crossing during these hours be required to keep off the car tracks.]
Commissioner Bassett read the following resolution and then made a brief statement regarding it:
Whereas, The Bridge Department has compiled data showing that heavily loaded vehicles crossing Brooklyn Bridge in rush hours and the use of the surface tracks by the lighter vehicles are one of the main causes of delays and slow moving of surface cars over the Brooklyn Bridge, and these findings of the Bridge Department having been confirmed by investigation made by this board:
Resolved, That this board earnestly recommends to the Bridge Commissioner as a means of increasing the usefulness of the Brooklyn Bridge for the traveling public in rush hours, that he put into force two rules substantially as follows:
First. That during rush hours, from 7 to 9 A. M., and from 5 to 7 P. M., no heavily loaded wagons be allowed to cross the Brooklyn Bridge, and
Second. That all vehicles crossing the Brooklyn Bridge during these hours be required to keep off the car tracks.
Commissioner Bassett: Inspection during the last two months has discovered that one of the main causes for the slow movement of the trolley cars in rush hours is this blocking on the bridge roadway by heavily loaded teams that break down and by lighter vehicles that get on the tracks between the electric cars. The figures of the loss of time caused by overloaded trucks show that in July 192 minutes of stoppage was caused from this reason alone, and a total of stoppage due to vehicular traffic on the bridge amounted to 367 minutes. In the month of
*See footnote, page 9.
August these figures were 20 minutes, due to overloaded trucks and 402 minutes due to all vehicular traffic. Slow movements caused by vehicular traffic amount to as much more. The number of overloaded trucks that go over in rush hours is small, averaging only about eight vehicles during a single rush period, but out of those eight fully loaded vehicles, there is very great liability of one or more breaking down and causing the delay of thousands of people. We have carefully considered whether these regulations would be a hardship to the truckmen and merchants of the city, and have concluded that as the number of these heavily loaded trucks is so small and as it will be possible for them to go either before or after the rush hours or to cross the other bridge or ferries, it will benefit the greatest number to promulgate these rules. At the end of a hard day's work the horses seem to be in a weakened condition and going over the bridge with its high grades in the evening rush hours causes stoppages. I wish to say, too, that the same offenders have broken down one time after another and in some cases it has almost looked as though they depend upon getting in a steep part of the bridge and having the cars push them over with the help of poles in the height of the rush hours. This is a practice that can so easily be remedied without hardship to many that for the sake of the travelling public, it seems entirely right to put it into force. We have conferred with the Bridge Commissioner on these matters and are working in entire harmony with him.
In case of the lighter vehicles, the trouble is that they dash into the spaces between the trolley cars and run ahead and then cannot find an opening in the line of trucks to get out and into the stream of wagon traffic again, and the number of people rushing in in that way often completely fills up the space between the trolley cars, destroying all freedom of movement and thus obstructing traffic. Under the charter, the Bridge Commissioner is the one to promulgate these rules." Chairman Willcox: "They could, however, be put into effect by the Bridge Commissioner."
Commissioner Bassett: "They could have been, and will be if the Bridge Commissioner, as he no doubt will, will follow our suggestions in this respect." Commissioner Eustis: "I think he has power to keep the trucks off the bridge at all times. I think an overloaded truck should be kept off at all times."
Commissioner Bassett: "We are not using the words overloaded '— it is 'heavily
Chairman Willcox: "Do you know that the Bridge Commissioner has any rules relating to the bridge traffic?"
Commissioner Bassett: "Yes, he has."
Chairman Willcox: "But nothing to affect the points that you wish to make." Commissioner Bassett: "There is nothing that substantially affects these points." The resolution was adopted.
October 11, 1907.
Additional Subway for Manhattan and The Bronx.
[The Broadway-Lexington Avenue Subway route as modified ought to be constructed.
No connection should be made with present subway at Forty-second street, as the present subway has all the traffic it can handle and competitors of the Interborough would be at a disadvantage in bidding for operation.]
REPORT OF COMMITTEE.
The Committee of the Whole presented to the Commission the following report of its sub-committee, consisting of Commissioners Maltbie and Eustis, upon the matter of additional subways for Manhattan and The Bronx:
December 30, 1907.
To the Public Service Commission for the Frst District.
SIRS: Your committee appointed to report upon additional subways for Manhattan and the Bronx, beg to submit the following report:
The urgent need for the immediate construction of another rapid transit subway in Manhattan and the Bronx needs no proof. Every person who uses the present lines knows that they are congested, that the conditions of overcrowding are indecent and that every improvement that can be made will hardly be sufficient to
See footnote, page 9.
keep pace with the growth of traffic prior to the time when a new subway may be opened, to say nothing of relieving the congestion which now exists. The question is not whether a new subway is needed, therefore, but where a new line may be located most advantageously and which of the several routes that are needed should be constructed first.
In the opinion of your committee, the subway which should be started first is the Broadway-Lexington avenue line, running from the Battery up Broadway or Green. wich and Vesey streets to the post-office, thence up Broadway to Tenth street or thereabouts, thence under private property and public streets to Irving place, thence up Irving place and Lexington avenue to the Harlem river, thence under the Harlem river to One Hundred and Thirty-eighth street or thereabouts. Dividing here into two branches, one line would go up Mott avenue to East One Hundred and Fifty-first street, through One Hundred and Fifty-first street and Gerard avenue to Jerome avenue and thence up Jerome avenue to Woodlawn Cemetery; the other line would pass east through One Hundred and Thirty-eighth street to the Southern boulevard, and up the Southern boulevard and Westchester avenue to Eastern boulevard.
From the post office, and possibly from the Battery, the subway would contain four tracks until it reached One Hundred and Thirty-eighth street. The easterly fork would contain at least three tracks and likewise the westerly fork as far as Jerome avenue where there would be four tracks again. This is considered wise because at some future time a subway will probably be built in Eighth avenue to connect with the line up Jerome avenue, and then four tracks will be needed to afford facilities to both lines. The whole line would be underground, except possibly the Southern boulevard and Westchester avenue section. Some money would be saved by building an elevated road on Jerome avenue instead of a subway, but in view of the many obvious objections to an elevated road, in view of the important character of this thoroughfare, and in view of the small saving in cost when the expense of constructing the whole line is considered, your committee recommend that a subway be planned throughout Jerome avenue.
The line thus planned could be connected with the New York Central Railroad at the Mott Haven station, at One Hundred and Thirty-eighth street and at Fortysecond street, and suburban trains could be run through to the Battery via Broadway -a more direct route to downtown Manhattan than by the present subway. At this very moment, before the Grand Central station has been reconstructed and while the traffic is being so seriously interfered with by this reconstruction that the number of persons using the Grand Central station is very much less than it will be when the station has been rebuilt and the trains are again running upon schedule time, the present subway is congested by New York Central traffic. The proposed line would relieve this congestion and help handle the additional traffic that will come when the New York Central has completed its work of reconstruction and its lines have been electrified.
The proposed line will also run close to the Steinway tunnel at Forty-second street and the Blackwell's Island bridge at Fifty-ninth street, so that a connection may be made with the crosstown subway under Fifty-ninth street, planned by the Rapid Transit Commission. By either route the residents of Queens will be able to reach the lower portion of Manhattan much more expeditiously than at present.
The Broadway-Lexington avenue line, as proposed, is not a part of the "TriBorough route" as originally planned, but by means of the connection through Canal street, discussed later in this report, it has every advantage which the Manhattan portion of the "Tri-Borough route" possesses and certain other advantages which the latter does not have, inasmuch as the Manhattan portion of the "TriBorough route" would not tap the Broadway section, between the post-office and Tenth street. It is also possible to make a similar connection with the Williamsburg bridge, and any subway extended by this route into Long Island. At the Battery it could likewise be connected with the present tunnel to Brooklyn or any future subway built cast or west of Broadway.
Thus, while the proposed line is to be constructed in Manhattan and the Bronx, it will afford great relief to Brooklyn and Queens.
The value of the Broadway-Lexington avenue route both from the transit and from the financial standpoint is apparent. Below Fourteenth street, it would run through the very heart of the commercial and office centres of the city. It would
also tap the populous district between Forty-second street and the Harlem river, the residents of which at present can reach the lower Broadway district only by a circuitous route. The two branches in the Bronx would tap the sections which are most in need of transit facilities. The Jerome avenue line has been urged for years. The Southern boulevard section would run through a district already well populated and the Westchester avenue section would open up an area which has not developed owing to the lack of transit facilities. Further, the present subway carries the Bronxites by a very devious course from their homes to their offices. The Broadway. Lexington avenue route would shorten the trip very materially. Further, the directness of the line and the few curves (Lexington avenue is almost upon an exact line with Broadway) would safely allow cars to be run at high speed and would lower operating costs.
Inasmuch as more of The Bronx lics east than west of a line continued in a straight line upon the axis of Lexington avenue, the most natural connection of Jerome avenue would be with a future line down Eighth avenue, or a line between Eighth avenue and Lexington avenue, for it is probable that every subway built upon Lexington avenue or east of Lexington avenue will be needed for the portion of The Bronx east of Jerome avenue. But if the Commission were to build the Jerome avenue line and to lease it to the company operating the Broadway-Lexington avenue line under such conditions that it might allow a separate company operating the Eighth avenue to have running powers over the Jerome avenue section, the present connection of this section with Lexington avenue would not interfere with the ultimate normal development.
Attention should be called to the fact that the Broadway-Lexington line as above outlined, it not precisely the same as the Lexington avenue route proposed by the Rapid Transit Commission. The Lexington route, as originally planned, was not sufficiently direct and contained so many curves that the speed of the trains would be interfered with. It was also planned to connect the Lexington avenue line with the present subway at Forty-second street. This is considered objectionable for two reasons; the present subway has all the traffic it can possibly handle with decency, and perhaps more. To add to its burdens by feeding another line into it would be exceedingly unwise. Further, if such a connection were made, any competitor of the Interborough Company would be at a decided disadvantage when bidding for the operating lease. Upon the other hand, the subway as now proposed will not interfere with any longitudinal routes which may be built later. For example, a line connecting with the present subway at Forty-second street and Broadway could be brought downtown via Broadway to Union square, thence down University place, Wooster street and Church street to the Battery.
The estimated cost of the Broadway-Lexington line, including the two branches in The Bronx, would be about $60,000,000, and with the present traffic conditions in mind, work ought to be begun immediately upon every section. However, if for financial or other reasons it should be found desirable to delay the awarding of the contracts on construction of certain portions of the route until another year, it would be possible at once to begin on the section from the Battery to the Grand Central Station. Within another year the contracts for the section from Fortysecond street to One Hundred and Thirty-eighth street could be let, to be followed with the Gerard and Jerome avenue section. By the time the portion from the Battery to Forty-second street would be ready for lease to an operating company the other sections of the route would be under contract, so that even though they were not completed the bidders for a franchise to operate would know when they were to be finished, and a lease could be made for the unfinished as well as the finished portions of the line. Further, if the construction of the entire line were approved by this Commission and by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, it would be possible to advertise a lease of this route at the same time the lease for the Fourth avenue subway is advertised. Thus any prospective bidder could obtain not only a lease of the Fourth avenue subway in Brooklyn, but also of the very remunerative line up Broadway and Lexington avenue. Owing to the possibility of a physical connection through Canal street these two lines could be run as one system, making the proposition, from a financial point of view, very attractive and remunerative.
Your committee also recommend that plans be prepared at once for a two-track subway from the Manhattan bridge through Canal street to West street. According to
the present plans for the Centre street loop no means have been provided for connecting any of the bridges with the present subway, the elevated roads, the new subway up Broadway or any future subways west of Broadway. Even the Fourth avenue subway from Brooklyn has been planned to run down Centre street without any connection with any subway or elevated road in Manhattan. Such a condition is most inconvenient and inadvisable, particularly in view of the fact that by building a line across town under Canal street any person coming to Manhattan via the Manhattan Bridge could change to the present subway, the proposed BroadwayLexington avenue subway and each of the four subways to be built west of Broadway without climbing to the street, and also to the elevated roads whose stations are immediately above. It is also possible to make a physical connection with the proposed Broadway-Lexington avenue route and other subways, so that cars could be run through from the Bronx to Fort Hamilton or Coney Island via Manhattan bridge and the Fourth avenue subway. This plan does not interfere with a connection with the Centre street loop, but merely provides for the running of certain trains from Brooklyn through to the North River and certain others down Centre street to City Hall.
The estimated cost of this Canal street line is $7,000,000, but if it is not considered possible for financial reasons to construct the whole of it at once, it could end for the present just west of Broadway. But it should be constructed at least to this point at an early date, to provide for a connection with the present subway and the Broadway line.
A map submitted herewith shows the two routes recommended for your approval and indicates the relations these will bear to the present facilities for rapid transit in Manhattan and The Bronx, as well as certain of the connections which might be made with future lines.
If the two subway lines above proposed meet with your approval your committee recommend that application be made at once to the Board of Estimate and Apportionment for their approval and for permission to contract for the construction of these two routes as soon as the plans can be prepared.
In connection therewith, the Committee of the Whole recommended the adoption of the following resolution:
Whereas, In the opinion of the Commission a rapid transit system in the Boroughs of Manhattan and The Bronx should be laid out and offered for bids; and
Whereas, The rapid transit system which, in the opinion of the Commission, seems best to meet the requirements of the people of The City of New York is one described as beginning at a point under Battery park, running thence northerly through and under Greenwich street, Trinity place and Church street to Vesey street; thence easterly through Vesey street to Broadway; thence northerly along and under Broadway to Canal street, where connection will be made with a crosstown line hereinafter described; thence northerly to a point near East Tenth street, where the line curves generally in a northeasterly direction and under private property and across East Eleventh street to Fourth avenue, East Twelfth street, East Thirteenth and East Fourteenth street to Irving place; thence northerly along and under Irving place to Gramercy park; thence northerly under Gramercy park to Lexington avenue; thence northerly under Lexington avenue to the Harlem river and under the Harlem river to a point near the intersection of Park avenue and East One Hundred and Thirty-eighth street, where the lines will diverge, the easterly line continuing east along East One hundred and Thirty-eighth street to Southern Boulevard; thence in a generally northerly direction along Southern Boulevard to Westchester avenue; thence in a generally northeasterly direction along Westchester avenue to Eastern Boulevard or Pelham Bay park; the westerly line to begin at a point near the intersection of Park avenue and East One Hundred and Thirty-eighth street and running northerly along Mott avenue to One Hundred and Fifty-first street; thence northwesterly along One Hundred and Fifty-first street to Gerard avenue; thence northerly along Gerard avenue to the intersection of Gerard avenue and Jerome avenue near Clark place, from which the line to extend northerly along and under Jerome avenue to Woodlawn cemetery. Also a crosstown line on Canal street, connecting at Broadway with the other parts of this system, and beginning at the intersection of Canal street and West street, and thence running easterly under Canal street and, with proper connections at Broadway, to