Forget Secaucus. If Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s dream to extend the 7-train to New Jersey is ever realized, the subway should stop in Hoboken, said one former MTA planner.
After New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie killed plans for the ARC tunnel in 2010, which would have added an extra tunnel under the Hudson River for NJ Transit and Amtrak trains, an idea circulated to run the 7 line through the tunnel instead.
In fact, Bloomberg’s office has already spent $250,000 to analyze the feasibility of extending the 7 to Secaucus. Bloomberg is reportedly pleased with the findings and, according to reports, will make an announcement on the plan within the coming months.
But Bob Previdi, a former New York City Transit spokesman and planner, thinks extending it to Hoboken makes much more sense than Secaucus. Hoboken’s bustling station, which already houses PATH trains and the light rail, is the perfect place for the 7, he said.
“It would make it the third major train station in New York City,” he said.
Hoboken has more tracks, more room in the station for passengers and is half the distance from Midtown than Secaucus — meaning half the cost, Previdi estimates.
“I always look at transit projects for where you can get the biggest bang for your buck,” he said.
But others cautioned against his enthusiasm, wondering how a cash-strapped MTA would fund the plan.
“Who’s going to operate it, who’s going to pay for it and where are they going to get the money?” asked Jeffrey Zupan, at the Regional Plan Association. Too many questions remain to extend the 7 anywhere in New Jersey, he said.
Why the 7 should go to Hoboken
Previdi makes his case for why The Mile Square City makes the most sense.
Secaucus has four tracks, and Hoboken has 18. “At Secaucus you would have to build at least one, if not a pair, of new tracks,” said Previdi.
500,000 passengers go through Penn Station daily, but at Hoboken, just 32,000 riders use the station every day. Adding the 7 would mean 30,000 more passengers could move through Hoboken in a peak hour, Previdi estimated.
Previdi surmised that moving the 7 to Hoboken would cost less than $5 billion — half the cost of an estimated $10 billion to send it to Secaucus.
The PATH goes from Hoboken to 33rd Street, but it does not offer access to Midtown, Grand Central Terminal and Times Square, which the 7 train does.
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