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Analysis of the Staten Island Arterial Needs Study Data

by Daniel Convissor
25 March 1991
for Transportation Alternatives

The November, 1990 issue of the Staten Island Arterial Report, a newsletter published by the NY State DOT, mentions the Staten Island Arterial Needs Study is designed to "address not if improvements are needed, but what types of improvements are needed." The study is only looking at roadway capacity increases, so the study is fundamentally flawed. Recommendations for mass transit will not be made unless the MTA wants to be involved. Since some of the funds for the study were provided by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council -- NYC's Metropolitan Planning Organization -- this lack of comprehensive study goes against federal requirements. These actions will increase the level of driving, so will degrade air quality and thereby be out of conformity with the Clean Air Act.

SIANS is an attempt to justify the need for increasing roadway capacity on Staten Island. One of their surveys reveals the types and levels of dissatisfaction of the public regarding transportation. For instance, this survey showed that travelers encountered the most problems with driving. But when this survey is cross-referenced with SIANS data regarding the amount each mode is used, we can see that mass transit users are just as upset about the quality of their service as drivers. The cross-referencing indicates that each driver registered 1.04 complaints, though each mass transit rider registered .94 complaints.

Roadway improvements will help buses in addition to autos, but the capacity increases are not directly targeted at transit, so will not make mass transit more attractive. Since Staten Island has so little mass transit service and transit is far more desirable than autos in terms of environmental and community impacts in addition to the volume of people which can be moved, it is transit service which needs to be improved. Many of the roadway capacity increases will degrade the transportation infrastructure for persons walking and bicycling. Cyclists and pedestrians are the least costly and most positive modes of transportation and are the modes which need most need to be encouraged. The work of the SIANS and the thinking behind it should be scrapped. A new study of ways to improve transit, bicycling, walking and the interconnectivity of these modes should be advanced and the recommendations implemented.

---TRAVELERS' PROBLEMS (1)----  -----PRIORITY MODE (2)----
Problem Complaints Complaints / Mode User % Using Mode # Using Mode
Traffic Congestion 40%      
Road Condition 13%
Traffic Operations 6%
Construction 5%
Road Space 4%
    Motor Vehicle Subtotal 68% 1.04 65% 293,183
Transit Delays 13%      
Transit Service 10%
    Transit Subtotal 23% 0.96 24% 108,133
    Ferry Service 5% 0.54 9% 41,593
    Walk 2% 7,190

1) From November 1990 "Staten Island Arterial Report"
2) Derived from "Market Opinion Research," Tables 28 and 29

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Last updated: 4 April 1999