Monday, December 16, 2019

New York's Transit Revolution

From Curbed:
For a city gripped by some of the worst traffic in America, even this humble beginning must have seemed miraculous. A decade earlier, Harper’s magazine had reported that “in New York, we speak within limits when we say that a lady not unfrequently is compelled to wait half an hour” to cross the street, “and even then she makes the crossing at any point below the Park at her peril.”

New York needed a mass transit solution. The new “el,” as the train soon came to be known, was the city’s first real stab at reclaiming the street. For the next 80 years, the elevated railway would shape the city, spurring rival transit developments, pushing the city’s population outward, and changing the architectural fabric of the city. Today, New Yorkers who remember them are nostalgic for the elevated railways. But as New York struggles with an antiquated and seemingly unfixable subway system, snarled street traffic, and few viable alternatives, the story of the elevated railway seems a cautionary tale about how politics and greed are too often the motivating forces behind decisions that affect millions of New Yorkers. (Read more.)

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