Secaucus Junction now Johnny Transit approved!

Yes, the rumors are true. Secaucus Junction is now my favorite way in and out of the city. I watched this station being constructed in the late 90s as I commuted to my office (at the time in Harmon Meadow/Mill Creek area of Secaucus) and after its completion, hoped and wished that it would soon feature a park and ride. Indeed, since 2009 it now has a place to pull off the NJTP (exit 15X, I LOVE THAT!!)  and park. Parking is as low as $5 (depending on when you get there) and the train ride is $8 round-trip. I first tried it out in late December on my way to the Vanguard for a Bad Plus concert. We were on our way in listening to WCBS 880 for traffic, and heard there was a 1 hour delay inbound on the Lincoln Tunnel, so we gave it a try. It took us 10 minutes to park and walk to the station, 12 minutes riding on the train. That was it. I was hooked. I recently went back with the fam and some friends, and again was delighted with the entire experience. Whether you say SE-caucus or se-CAUCUS, there’s no denying this gem is the best way in and out of town for the bridge and tunnel set.

Tweeting the NYC Subway

Quick little post for everyone. I just started following the NYC subway today. Check out@NYCTSubwayScoop for the latest via Twitter. I don’t get in to the city as much as I used to, but having this in my feed in case i end up in town will be super helpful, so I thought Johnny Transit should share…

DC and Crystal City

So it sure has been a while since I’ve posted. I was recently in the DC area attending the Spring Internet2 Members Meeting, which was great. The meeting and the hotel were in Crystal City, which is on the VA side of the river, and very convenient to the DC metro stop by the same name. My dad and I went together, and both spent quite a bit of time on the metro. While I find it clean, quite, and efficient, their fare structure still bewilders me. It may be because I’m used to the MTA in NYC and the one-fare-fits-all model they use. Regardless, the DC metro remains in my view one of the most appropriately sized and located metro systems in the country.

Johnny Transit on the road in LA

OK, so it has been a while. But give me a break, I have twins.  Anyway, next week (June 15-18) I’ll be in LA for the annual CLAC conference. I’m planning on riding the LA metro just so I can visit LA and NOT DRIVE somewhere. I’ll have a full report later, but one friend who now lives there tells me that “its like the NYC subway, except cleaner and empty.” Weird.


High-speed rail and the stim

While there’s been a lot of debate on how or if the stim will work, one thing that was added by President Obama at the last minute was an $8bn allocation to create a high-speed rail system in the country. They’ve designated several areas as “high-speed rail corridors” which would be eligible for some of the stim money. Of course, the Northeast Corridor from Boston to DC was high on the list. Here’s hoping they make it happen. While having the cash is nice, there are still many other issues to work out, including rights-of-way, designation of funds, and others. The NY Times covered the story yesterday.rail-map

RU Press and the GWB

rockland_lHow many acronyms can I use in a post?  Don’t tempt me.  But I digress.  This link comes to Johnny Transit by one of his few but faithful readers.  This new book on the GWB by Rutgers professor Michael Aaron Rockland looks like a great read on the bridge, its history, and its cultural place among the other civil engineering icons of NYC.  Also authored a great book entitled Looking for America on the New Jersey Turnpike.  A Johnny Transit must-read.

Where have you gone, Miss Subway

subwaysslide02The American Studies in me loves stuff like this:  a beauty contest held by the MTA to promote the subway.  Running from 1941 to 1976, the annual contest is now long since past.  However, it was revived in 2004 for a one-time event promoting the 100 years of the subway.  The NY Times ran a nice photo spread of past winners and photos of them now.  And while we’re on the subject, who could forget those NJ Turnpike “Pikettes?”

Johnny Transit on the road

about-light-railHere I sit in PHX Sky Harbor International Airport, having just taken a ride on the new Valley Metro Light Rail System. Serving Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa (Phase 1, with more to come), the system just opened in December 2008.  Having watched its developmet every year while here for an annual conference, I just had to take a ride.  The system was well signed, the cars nice and spacious, and I was happy to see the 4-car train fairly crowded even at 11.40am on a Tuesday.  While plainly lacking the street-cred of a more time-honored system like the MTA, CTA, London Underground, etc, whenever a major city opens a new public transit system, it is a good thing.  Go PHX!  Your Cardinals may have lost the big game, but your new light rail system is sweet.  Costs $1.25 each way, $2.50 for an all-day pass, and is 25 minutes from downtown Tempe to downtown PHX.

The maze at Fulton Street Station

On the plane to Tempe this Saturday, i saw a great article in the Times about the ongoing renovations of the Fulton Street Station.31fulton01-600 The author, who opens by claiming the station is something inspired by M.C. Escher, describes the craziness of this stop and the challenges in renovating it.  Many people forget that before June of 1940 the Subway system of NYC was owned and operated by 3 different authorities, the IRT, the BMT, and the IND.  Wherever there are stops in which these lines intersected, the stations are similarly a mess.  Train lenghts, platform standards, fare collection, and transfer rules differed from line to line.  This legacy has lead to many of the problems at this station and others in the system.