Monday, July 19, 2010

Going to the End of the Line

As the post's title suggests-shamelessly cribbing from the Traveling Willburys-there is a looming problem for the data dumping EDC, an organization that has been known to play fast and loose with the truth. As we have pointed out-and as Brian Ketcham is studying-EDC has been having its crack consultant team dump automobile users from its auto-dependent Queens mall projects onto the mass transit system that is already both over crowded as well as scheduled for some serious service cutbacks.

The purpose? To low ball the road and street impacts of the thousands of additional cars and trucks that the developments will likely generate. By changing their assumptions on both car usage and ownership we get-voilĂ !-thousands of folks seemingly diverted off of the roads. Nowhere, however, do the EDC marionettes examine the capacity of the trains and buses to handle this excess ridership-especially when the cutbacks, on the 7 Line in particular, have already been outlined.

The NY Times has the report: "The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is preparing additional service changes for the fall and winter, including trims to rush-hour service on several popular buses and the No. 7 train, even as New Yorkers are bracing for the loss of two subway lines and dozens of bus routes in less than a week. The proposed changes, which must be approved on Wednesday by the authority’s board, would be far less severe than the cuts scheduled to take effect on Sunday. But they would reduce service on dozens of bus routes and increase commuting time for riders on the No. 7 line."

Yet, if Ketcham is correct, and he's the only one who has bothered to run the numbers, the Flushing Commons project-and the Willets Point development-will add thousands of additional riders on the 7 Line. How will they ever be accommodated? This is all a three card monte game by EDC, and before Flushing Commons is approved, it is incumbent on the city council to ask the MTA if it can handle the excess passenger load when train service is being cut back.

In the end, we believe that the EDC data is less than reliable, and that more of these folks will drive. But enough will be diverted into mass transit that can't sustain the excess load. Unsustainable and dishonest-a perfect epitaph for any of these EDC developments.