5 Ways to Create a One-Seat Ride to JFK


There are numerous ways to create a one-seat ride to JFK. None are easy, and some options would cost a great deal or disrupt other transit service. To help policy makers and passengers understand what’s at stake, RPA has identified five one-seat ride options and described the pros and cons of each.

Learn more in our new brief: Creating a One-Seat Ride to JKF

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  1. 1
    David Weiss

    Would be helpful to: show stations along route; and estimate run time from Manhattan terminus to JFK. The figure shows that the AirTrain would stop at all terminals while the alternatives would end at Transit Center. This is an advantage.

  2. 2
    Brendan Read

    Great proposals. One of the big challenges is where to terminate the JFK trains, given that we have two midtown Manhattan hubs–GCT and Penn Station. So why not dust off plans to link them both with the JFK Express, serving GCT then Penn Station, using the long tail tracks in the new LIRR station? Could some form of value-capture financing be used to help pay for it? I was a Committee for Better Transit rep on the Access to the Region’s Core stakeholders subcommittee in the mid-1990s and remember that plan well.

    Speaking of plans, didn’t the RPA advocate for a Rockaway Beach Line (RBL)–Montauk Branch–63rd St. tunnel route from JFK in the 1980s? I’m curious whether that would still be feasible to the LIRR level with a deep underground fly-under junction. Alternatively has anyone looked at linking the Montauk Branch into two of the East River tunnels? Or if a subway option is on the table how about into the R jughandle under Sunnyside Yards?

    Either way would also permit important new transit service on the Montauk Branch while avoiding the thorny ballfields and parks issue by Forest Hills on the RBL. There is also a hybrid option of using the RBL– the New York Connecting RR through Middle Village–and the LIRR main line east of Woodside, linked by using above-ground flyovers that would be less expensive to construct than tunnels underneath Long Island City.

    Regarding the Queensway how about the alternative of having a Vancouver-styled ground level bike/walkway on the RBL with the tracks on a new elevated T-shaped structure (I used to live in Vancouver; outgoing MTA chair Thomas Prendergast briefly ran TransLink) on the same footprint? The T structures should also allow for the ballfields. Optionally, but at greater expense, the RBL can be trenched. LIRR but also subway track capacity can be found e.g., by splitting the R train route between the R (from Rockaway Park) and a new K train from 71st/Continental.

    The JFK Express could restore fast transit to the Rockaways. The FRA opened the door to the use of transit rolling stock on railroads in 2012 when it approved he Stadler GTW DLR cars for the DCTA A Train in the Dallas, Texas area that it shares with freight trains.. This would avoid the massive cost of a new Jamaica Bay trestle; the NYCTA guideway on the peninsula was built by the PRR. A new faster South Queens/Rockaways service would be an immense boon to residents; I used to live in Richmond Hill and remember all too well how slow and delay-prone the transit service is. Given that there is comparatively little difference between 600 feet of A division rolling stock and that of the LIRR joint running e.g. A to Rockaway Park, LIRR service to Far Rockaway (rebuild the loop?) and details like are handling can be worked out.

  3. 5
    Preston Garcia

    The clearly easiest option is to extend the #3 subway thru the terminal rail yard and continue under Linwood and Elton St thru the shopping center at Erskine St and continue above ground down Belt Pkwy/ Shore Pkwy right of way to the Howard Beach Line station. This could be extended as a raised subway directly into the airport by passing the air train. This is the cheapest and shortest expansion. Also, the A train at Ozone Park could be slightly extended to the Airtrain or Jamaica Station. You should spend money improving the airport, runways, and cargo facilities. The most obvious regional airport need is extending the PATH train directly to EWR by passing the connection to the Air Train.

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