A second point people rally around is that they don't want to pay for mass transit if they don't have the option of using it. The Port Authority would like to address the first point by planning another span next to the Goethals Bridge, though the P.A. is missing the second point, keeping people on the Island stuck in their cars. Building another bridge for cars and trucks (and another two lanes on the Staten Island Expressway) will increase traffic throughout Staten Island, making it harder to drive everywhere.
The following is a dream. The Port Authority, the MTA, NJ Transit and Conrail build a rail bridge between Totenville and Perth Amboy and improve existing tracks to the west. People on the Island could then take the SIRT to New Jersey Transit's North Jersey Coast Line, the Northeast Corridor Line and the Raritan Valley Line. The bridge would provide access for bicyclists too.
If taken a step further, the MTA, Conrail, and the Port Authority build a tunnel from the SIRT tracks near St. George to the rail line in Bay Ridge. This line already is within one block of a station on every subway line in Brooklyn and Queens. The line also links to the Long Island Railroad.
In fact, this tunnel has already been started.
(The writer is a director of Transportation Alternatives, a transportation consultant.) [sic --DC]
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Last updated: 4 April 1999