“Yikes! What a Way To Go...New York City's Travel Experience
By Miriam Medina


Part VIII
New York City's Travel Experience
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Researched and Compiled by Miriam Medina

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A) The $92 million Throgs Neck bridge, easing the flow of traffic in and out of Long Island, opens.

B) The Throgs Neck Expressway (I-695). Throgs Neck Expressway serves as a link between the Bruckner Expressway - New England Thruway (I-95) and the Cross Bronx Expressway Extension (I-295) approach to the Throgs Neck Bridge in the southeast Bronx. Although it is just over one mile long, the six-lane expressway is an important link for traffic between Long Island and New England. Completed in 1961 at a cost of $16 million, the Throgs Neck Expressway was constructed with six 12-foot-wide lanes separated by a steel guardrail. A 10-foot-wide breakdown shoulder is provided along the entire length of the expressway. (25)

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A) Construction of the Sheridan Expressway began in 1958 as part of the elevated Bruckner Expressway project. The 1.2-mile-long Sheridan Expressway was constructed with two 12-foot-wide lanes in each direction, but like other early-Interstate era expressways in New York City, had inadequate shoulders and short acceleration-deceleration lanes. In October 1962, the $9.5 million expressway was opened to traffic. (25)

B)  March 19, 1962 :The New York State Legislature forms the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority (MaBSTOA), a non-civil-service subsidiary of New York City Transit, to take over bus service for the bankrupt Fifth Avenue Coach Company and Surface Transit, Inc. routes. (26)

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A) Since 1743, the cities of Newburgh and Beacon had been served by ferries crossing the Hudson River. Beginning with a fleet of sailboats and rowboats, the trans-Hudson service deployed three ferryboats by 1910. Each ferry, which measured 160 feet by 35 feet, could hold 30 passenger cars on each trip. By the 1950's, the growth in trans-Hudson vehicular traffic along NY 52 and construction of the nearby New York State Thruway (I-87) had rendered the ferry service obsolete. The original Newburgh-Beacon Bridge (I-84 and NY 52) was open to traffic on November 2, 1963. A parallel bridge was opened on November 1, 1980. (25)

B) The Alexander Hamilton Bridge (I-95 and US!) was opened to traffic on January 15, 1963 at a cost of $21,000,000. (25)

C)  The final link of the Cross Bronx Expressway was completed in 1963, some 15 years after construction began, at a cost of $140 million. One year later, the complex interchange with the Major Deegan Expressway was completed. (25)

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A)  The entire length of the $38 million Harlem River Drive opened in early 1964, in time for the New York World's Fair. According to the NYSDOT, the six-lane parkway handles approximately 100,000 vehicles per day. (25)

B)  November 21, 1964 : Bus service starts between Brooklyn and Staten Island via the Verrazano Bridge.(26)

C) The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge between Brooklyn and Staten Island, New York, opens on November 21, 1964. The Lower deck was opened on June 28, 1969. Until the building of the Narrows Bridge, the island's only connections with New York were ferries that crossed the harbor between the island, Manhattan and Brooklyn. During its first full year of operation in 1965, the six-lane Verrazano-Narrows Bridge carried approximately 48,000 vehicles per day. The total cost of this structure was $320,126,000. (25)

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As early as the 1930's, New York City officials saw the need for an express highway that would provide local and through-traffic service through Staten Island. Unlike the Willowbrook and Richmond parkways proposed elsewhere in the borough, the new route was to allow cars, trucks and buses. All three routes were to provide access to the proposed Narrows Crossing, as well as to the existing Port Authority crossings between Staten Island and New Jersey. The Staten Island Expressway (I-278) carried approximately 50,000 vehicles per day in 1965, the first full year of operation.(25)

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September 11, 1966 : Although a few air-conditioned buses were in service previously, air-conditioning becomes a regular NYC Transit bus feature with the arrival of 682 vehicles known as the 8000 series. (26)

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 A) November 26, 1967 : The Christie Street connection opens, enabling BMT lines that cross the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges to stop at Broadway-Lafayette (an IND station). The Grand Street station also opens to serve trains using the Manhattan Bridge. (26)

B) Since New York City arterial coordinator Robert Moses announced plans for this road in 1947, the Nassau Expressway has spent much of its life only on paper. Although the initial construction contracts were let out in 1949, it was not until the mid-1960's when construction actually began on the expressway. (25)

C) July 19, 1967: The first successful train of air-conditioned subway cars, composed of ten R38 cars, goes into service on the line. On June 24, 1975, two air-conditioned 10-car IRT trains enter service, the first air-conditioned IRT trains since the subway system opened nearly 70 years previously. The entire fleet of 5,800 cars now has air-conditioning. (26)

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August 2, 1971: Queens express bus service starts. The X18 operates from Hillside Avenue to Manhattan. (26)

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 A) Bruckner Expressway was completed. In the years prior to its 1972 completion, the Bruckner Expressway had a number of different Interstate designations. These designations were as follows: June 1958 to December 1958: I-278 from Major Deegan Expressway (I-87) to Cross Bronx Expressway (I-95); I-95 from Cross Bronx-Bruckner interchange to New England Thruway.; December 1958 to April 1959: I-895 from Major Deegan Expressway (I-87) to Sheridan Expressway (designated I-895 in the February 1959 plan); I-678 from Sheridan Expressway to Cross Bronx Expressway (I-95); I-95 from Cross Bronx-Bruckner interchange to New England Thruway; April 1959 to 1972: I-278 from Major Deegan Expressway (I-87) to Sheridan Expressway (designated I-278 in the July 1959 plan); I-878 from Sheridan Expressway to Cross Bronx Expressway (I-95); I-95 from Cross Bronx-Bruckner interchange to New England Thruway. 1972 to present: I-278 from Major Deegan Expressway (I-87) to Cross Bronx Expressway (I-95); I-95 from Cross Bronx-Bruckner interchange to New England Thruway. Note that this was the original route plan for the Bruckner Expressway from 1958. (25)

B) The first section of the West Shore Expressway, between the Outerbridge Crossing approach and EXIT 4 (Arthur Kill Road), opened to traffic in December 1972. The remainder of the expressway - the last section finished in the New York area during Moses' lifetime - was completed in November 1976. (25)

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April 29, 1973 : Bx55 bus service replaces the Bronx's Third Avenue El, which ceases operation. (26)

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" In 1974 there were over twenty-three million traffic accidents involving automobiles, which caused nearly five million injuries and forty-six thousand deaths. The urban transportation system, heavily dependent on the automobile, is largely responsible for the depletion of natural resources. The oil embargo of 1973-74 showed what happens when petrochemicals become more expensive and less readily available.  The use of mass transportation increased seven to eight percent as a result of the oil embargo (New York
Times, 30 December 1974-39). As oil becomes more scarce and more expensive, some people who now live in the suburbs may move to the downtown, changing both the social character and economic status of the inner city." (35)

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August 5, 1981 : The first General Motors RTS Advanced Design buses, which are equipped with wheelchair lifts, go into service on the B17 route in Brooklyn. (26)

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December 11, 1988: The Archer Avenue line opens, consisting of three stations and linking the Jamaica and Queens Boulevard lines in Queens. Six southeast Queens bus routes are rerouted to serve the city's first modern inter-model (bus-rail) transfer facility at the new Jamaica Center (Parsons-Archer) station. (26)

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A) September 10, 1989: The Gun Hill bus depot opens in the Bronx. It is the first NYC Transit facility to use solar energy. Solar panels on the roof generate roughly 40 percent of the energy the depot needs on a daily basis. (26)

B) From the time that JFK (then Idlewild) Airport opened in 1948, traffic was backed up for miles on the Van Wyck Expressway. The JFK Expressway was built as part of an ongoing, multi-billion overhaul of Kennedy Airport that began in the late 1980's. It was designed to relieve up to 30 percent of the traffic volume from the Van Wyck Expressway. (25)

C)  October 29, 1989 : Service begins to the 63 rd Street Extension's three new stations: Lexington Avenue, Roosevelt Island (Manhattan) and 21st Street (Long Island City, Queens). (26)

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September 13, 1992 : New M60 Interborough bus service between Harlem and LaGuardia Airport gives Manhattan residents a one-seat ride to and from the airport. (26)

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Sept 1, 1998 : Hybrid-electric buses enter passenger service. NYC Transit pioneered the use of hybrid-electric buses and now has the largest fleet in North America. More than 200 are on order; we expect to have 550 by the end of 2006.(26)

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January 3, 2000: Articulated buses begin service on the M79 route in Manhattan. They are 60 feet long (The average bus length is 40 feet), have 22 more seats than standard buses and can carry almost twice as many customers. They are called "articulated" because the accordion-like bend in the middle lets this bus turn corners. (26)

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