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Gateway Project/NYP Capacity Improvement


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#21 Guest_Andrew_*

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 03:46 PM

1. How long would it take to construct Penn Station South assuming that buildings would have to be teared down on Block 780?

 

2. Here is another link about the urgently needed Gateway Project:  http://www.hhgraphic...id=93&Itemid=91



#22 afigg

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 05:02 PM

AFAIK tt's all system design studies now. There is an EIS and engineering ready to construct for the RoW protect box under the Gateway Real Estate footprint. Other than that I suspecy there will not be any EIS work done before the PEIS for NEC is completed in 2015. Until then it is just studies of alternatives and possibilities and preliminary design and conceptualization, occasionally leading to protection of potential use RoW from other developments.

The time to 2015 will have to be spent anyway building the political consensus, coalition, and public support for the Gateway project - or at least the first core components: both Portal bridge replacement, the new Hudson tunnels, future option for South extension. I expect Amtrak, NJT, NY will still be working on building the political and longer term funding support while launching the formal EIS phase - if Amtrak can get funding for a full up Gateway EIS stage. Putting together the coalition and funding for the Gateway project will be a daunting task.

For more background for those who have not sat through an Amtrak Gateway presentation, the viewgraphs from a March, 2013 presentation on the NEC & Gateway to the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition (building that political support) can be found here. The presentation provided me a better understanding of the current concept for the two level NYP South concourse. That it would be a combined concourse with direct access under the street from the current NYP lower concourse corridors is a big improvement over the 1 block away ARC "Macy's basement" extension plan.



#23 Guest_Andrew_*

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 05:11 PM

Did the presentation by any chance mention how long it would take to build the actual Penn Station South Expansion? I am trying to get a firm grasp of how long it would take to essentially built a new major section to a large terminal. 



#24 afigg

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 06:36 PM

Did the presentation by any chance mention how long it would take to build the actual Penn Station South Expansion? I am trying to get a firm grasp of how long it would take to essentially built a new major section to a large terminal. 

The presentation is a modest sized PDF file. Not difficult to read. However, with respect to your question, I doubt if it can be answered beyond a hand waving guess of N years. The project is only in the conceptual and feasibility study phase. There is a long way to go before a Preliminary Engineering and design stage that might estimate how long the property acquisition and construction phase might take. That, of course, ignores what is likely to be a very long process to get the funding for the earlier phases of the Gateway project.



#25 jis

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 09:03 PM

The biggest challenge will be real estate acquisition, something that could break the bank. Afterall it was real estate acquisition that finally broke the bank for good for ARC. Acquiring a whole block in Manhattan is not going to be cheap, and they will have to get a whole lot of Manhattan politicians and real estate wheelers and dealers on board to pull the Block 780 acquisition off.

Currently it is not a foregone conclusion that NYP South will ever be built. Many proverbial fat ladies have to sing first before that happens.

#26 Guest_Andrew_*

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 09:15 PM

Well, it appears that at least a small segment of the future Gateway Tunnels will begin construction this summer. I still believe that the ARC's New Jersey segments can mostly be incorporated into Amtrak's Gateway Program. The real engineering that is left is trans-hudson tunnel boring and Penn Station South. 



#27 jis

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 07:28 AM

Well, it appears that at least a small segment of the future Gateway Tunnels will begin construction this summer. I still believe that the ARC's New Jersey segments can mostly be incorporated into Amtrak's Gateway Program. The real engineering that is left is trans-hudson tunnel boring and Penn Station South. 
What is bweing constructed is a box structure to protect the RoW of the future tunnel. The actual tunnel through it will be built later.

Of course there has always been the possibility that the ARC alignment could be used for Gateway, but that is not the case in reality. At this point the ARC alignment is not the one that Amtrak plans to use for Gateway. They had all along had a different alignment they were working on, and even during the ARC exercise they ahd worked hard to preserve that alignment from encroachment by ARC alignment(s). Amtrak continues to advance Gateway using that other alignment. This I learned from two different folks from PB who are involved with the studies for the NY Mayor's Office and Amtrak respectively, so I tend to believe them. There is the minor matter of doing a EIS before any engineering or boring can happen.

BTW, one fundamental difference between the ARC and the Gateway alignments is that the Gateway alignment is a (horizontally) straighter alignment because it uses a higher ruling gradient than the ARC alignment. The ARC alignment bowed out to the south to get a longer tunnel to allow for the lower ruling gradient they had chosen.

#28 Guest_Andrew_*

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 07:50 AM

Are you essentially saying that ARC's engineering studies--which were expensive--are now basically considered a taxpayer's waste since the ARC Project is no longer viable?

 

Is PB the current company working on engineering for new trans-hudson tunnels and Penn Station South?



#29 jis

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 10:24 AM

Are you essentially saying that ARC's engineering studies--which were expensive--are now basically considered a taxpayer's waste since the ARC Project is no longer viable?
Parts of it on the NJ Meadowlands end is allegedly going to be used by Amtrak. Parts of the rest may be used by #7 to Secaucus if built. Otherwise it will be an asset that can potentially be monetized by someone that may want to use parts of it in the future. That asset is owned by NJDOT/NJTransit. Amtrak may eventually purchase relevant parts for its use. The sunk cost is mostly PANYNJ and NJ Taxpayer money, since NJDOT had to return much of the money it got from the Feds.
 
Is PB the current company working on engineering for new trans-hudson tunnels and Penn Station South?
There is no Engineering contract out at present for either the Gateway Tunnels or Penn Station South, and there is no funding for such in place. There will not be until an EIS is done first. I believe some preliminary study work funded by Amtrak is being done by a some joint venture outfit involving PB as a partner.

I get the impression that you appear to think that this tunnel and NYPS is about to be built. Rest assured that any real significant construction other than the RoW protect box is at least 5 to 7 years away. There is currently no funding and no plan or imminent proposal on how exactly any of this will be funded. That includes funding for the EIS which must happen first.

Edited by jis, 08 May 2013 - 10:32 AM.


#30 Guest_Andrew_*

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 02:00 PM

What is more realistically likely to occur in the future:

 

Amtrak's Gateway Project or the Seven Extension to Secaucus?



#31 afigg

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 06:12 PM

 
What is more realistically likely to occur in the future:
 
Amtrak's Gateway Project or the Seven Extension to Secaucus?
Depends on what you mean by the Gateway Project which can be and is likely to be broken into phases. And by when. What I would consider the "core" project, the North and South Portal Bridges, 2 new tracks and Hudson tunnels leading to NYP, is likely to happen before a #7 extension to NJ. The Gateway project is much further along in the study process and in building support for it.

I think both some form of the Gateway Project and a #7 extension to NJ are likely to happen in the next 15-30 years. Mayor Bloomberg is pushing to rezone Midtown to allow a wave of new taller office buildings to be built there. That with growth in the overall NYC business sector, city population, and increase in the number of daily commuters from the suburbs & intercity rail traffic will have to be met with additional capacity across the Hudson River.

Which might be best addressed by the Gateway project to NYP for intercity and commuter travelers going to NYC in general and a #7 extension for the NJ commuters who work in Midtown. A #7 extension to NJ would be in a sense, a mirror project, to the East Side Access project. ESA will bring LIRR commuters directly to Grand Central and Midtown. #7 to NJ would do the same for NJ commuters.

#32 Guest_Andrew_*

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 07:09 PM

Amtrak should partner with Related Companies, which is developing Hudson Yards in Midtown, and the Bloomberg Administration to lobby for federal funding to get new trans-hudson tunnels completed. The Gateway Project needs to get completed to meet tomorrow's travel demands--and it should have been completed yesterday. Is there any way that West Midtown gets all those new skyscrapers without additional trans-hudson capacity?



#33 jis

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 11:41 AM

Amtrak should partner with Related Companies, which is developing Hudson Yards in Midtown, and the Bloomberg Administration to lobby for federal funding to get new trans-hudson tunnels completed. The Gateway Project needs to get completed to meet tomorrow's travel demands--and it should have been completed yesterday. Is there any way that West Midtown gets all those new skyscrapers without additional trans-hudson capacity?
Actually the Bloomberg Administration and from what I have heard, the Gateway Reality group would probably like the #7 to Secaucus, possibly via Hoboken even more, since it (specially with CBTC) will inevitably have way more capacity and frequency than anything Amtrak and NJT can only dream of even with the additional tunnels. And it will drop off right at the doorsteps at 34th St and 11th, not 3 avenue blocks away. If it is run via Hoboken, it will connect up the NJ Gold Coast with the Hudson yards area which would be a huge boon for both. This is something that is unachievable via the Gateway Tunnels.

Unfortunately even with the additional Hudson Tubes, there will not be enough capacity to do as large a transfer of bus traffic to offload PABT either. Something that we railheads don;t realize is that the buses carry a far larger proportion of the trans Hudson traffic at present than rail does, and PABT is in way worse shape than Penn Station, not to mention the mess that Lincoln Tunnel is.

Presently there is not much connection between Hudson Tunnels work and Gateway Reality except for the tunnel box to preserve the RoW for the Gateway Tunnels under the Gateway Reality constructions.

#34 Guest_Andrew_*

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 12:32 PM

But the Seven Line to Secaucus would not increase ridership from other high-demand areas of New Jersey--such as Princeton and Metropark. Although the Gateway Project might be more expensive at first, it is a better investment to meet future travel demands. If trans-hudson tunnels are not completed, the Northeast will have more trouble competing against places such as China, London, and Brazil. Regardless of the current state of the economy, these infrastructure projects are common sense investments! 



#35 jis

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 02:19 PM

But the Seven Line to Secaucus would not increase ridership from other high-demand areas of New Jersey--such as Princeton and Metropark. Although the Gateway Project might be more expensive at first, it is a better investment to meet future travel demands. If trans-hudson tunnels are not completed, the Northeast will have more trouble competing against places such as China, London, and Brazil. Regardless of the current state of the economy, these infrastructure projects are common sense investments! 
Actually you are wrong about that IMHO. Because it will make it easier for people tog et to the East Side it will move more people out of their cars into trains. Notwithstanding that, the real high demand of NJ that is very poorly served by rail and will continue to be poorly served even after Gateway is Bergen County. What is needed is high capacity transportation from the west side of Hudson to the GCT area, and #7 gets us there the fastest. Pricneton and Metropark are relatively well served already and except for the two rush hours there is no dearth of capacity for those for many years to come.

As afigg has mentioned above Gate and #7 to SEC are complementary projects. People who want tog et from Princeton to the GCT area are not served any better by Gateway than they are now, whereas #7 to SEC gives them an emptyt rain to board at its origin to gos traight to GCT area instead of trying to get onto crowded trains at Penn Station.

The bottom line trans Hudson problme is getting people off the roads and buses on the west side of Hudson and getting them onto rail. That is done better by a subway line than by NJT/Amtrak. The Regional solution required both pair of tunnels IMHO.

As for the rest of the motherhood and apple pie stuff about competing against China, London and Brazil, you are preaching to the choir. Nobody is arguing that these projects are not important. All that at least I am doing is inject a bit of reality into the timeline.

#36 Guest_Andrew_*

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 04:51 PM

Where does the Christie Administration fit into this?



#37 jis

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 06:39 PM

Christie administration in the form of NJT boss Weinstein and DOT boss Simpson were informed of the #7 to Secaucus report before it was published by PB, and they both apparently were supportive of the effort. They are also on record being supportive of Gateway. But of course no one has offered any money for anything.

Meanwhile Christie has spent most of the money not spent on ARC from the NJT share on road projects. Chrisitie is a highway man and we have very low expectations of him doing anything for things running on rails. One of my ardent Republican friends jokingly quips that the only thing on rails that Christie reallyc ars about is the Seaside Heights Roller Coaster. :)

#38 Guest_Andrew_*

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 08:14 PM

Does that make the Gateway Project less likely to occur in the future?



#39 afigg

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 06:13 PM

Someone on rr.net found that the FRA Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and Environmental Assessment documents for the Concrete Casing tunnel box to be built under the Hudson Yards are available at the FRA eLibrary website. The documents provide technical information on the project that some might find interesting. At least, I do!

 

FRA FONSI Approval (8 pages) posted May 16, 2013

 

Hudson Yard Concrete Casing Construction Enviromental Assessments posted March 29, 2013. Link shows all the Environmental Reviews posted in March. The EA and Appendix A are the good stuff.

 

Basics for those who are not going to read the documents: the concrete box will extend from 10th to under 11th Avenue, will be approximately 800 feet long, 50 feet wide, 35 feet tall. From a skim read of the EA document, it looks as if it will be built basically using a cut and cover approach through part of the LIRR West Side yard, requiring demolition of part of the MOE building and temporary removal of shop tracks to the MOE building. The project will excavate approx 83,000 cubic yards of soil and bedrock.

 

There is a profile drawing on page 53 of Appendix A, the Final Report from Tutor Perini Corporation and Parsons Brinckerhoff: Looks like the tunnel box will drop about 20' from 10th Avenue to the western end. The top of the box will be about 45' below 11th Avenue and 30' below ground level as it goes under 11th Avenue. The profile shows the tunnel box will pass well above the No. 7 Line tunnels, which are rather deep under 11th Avenue at that point at around 110 feet.

 

 

 



#40 Guest_Andrew_*

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 05:09 PM

Where will these tunnels connect to the trans-hudson tunnels? Also, could Amtrak bore new tunnels into Penn Station, and build an underground cavern station--at the same depth as the current tracks--without razing all of the city buildings on Block 780?






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