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Is the Construction of a Subway Connecting Staten Island to Manhattan Feasible and Desirable? Sonya Syvertsen, Margery Shane, Soumitri Seshadri, and Minna Greenspun. CUNY Honors Class of 2007 College of Staten Island Advisors: Michael Kress. Professor of Engineering, College of Staten Island Professional Engineer Kim. NY Metropolitan Transit Authority Professional Engineer Raymond Sandiford, Port Authority of NY and NJ Abstract Science is the foundation for the technology we have today and over the past century has enabled NYC to become a subway dependent city, transforming the way of life of its citizens. We present a study of the feasibility and desirability of a subway connecting Staten Island to Manhattan on the population, the economy, and citizens of Staten Island. We take into consideration feasibility, economic factors, and human interest. Our estimated cost for construction and hypothesis of feasibility is based on research of many previously constructed subways, including, but not limited to, the 2nd Avenue subway project, The Channel Tunnel, and the Seikan Tunnel in Japan. As part of this study, we survey the possibly affected population to see who is interested, and what is the interest level. The construction of a subway connecting contemporary Manhattan to the ‘forgotten’ Staten Island can pose several benefits to the Staten Island and Manhattan lifestyle. We conclude that 90.48% of the affected public would like to see the connection made and it is feasible to construct such a subway, with projected cost of $4.7 billion (excluding cost of subway cars). Introduction: Staten Island has an area of 58 square miles and contains 19.1% of the area of NYC. The population of Staten Island in 2002 was 457,383 people and is projected to grow to 569,636 by 2020 based on NYSIS at Cornell University- the official U.S. Census Bureau partner for Population projections. Staten Island had the highest population growth of any county in New York State from 1990-2000- 17.1% in ten years. However, Staten Island is unique in that it is the only borough that lacks direct subway connection to the rest of New York City. Another interesting fact is that regardless of travel type, Staten Islanders have the longest average commute in the nation- 43.1 minutes each way- according to the U.S. Census American Community Survey (ACS). This is mostly due to the heavy dependence on automobiles and Staten Island roads’ inability to hold them all. Staten Islanders also hold the gold medal for the longest commute by mass transit in New York City- 68.4 minutes on average each way. Presently the only direct link between Staten Island and Manhattan is the Staten Island Ferry. Eighteen million passengers rode the ferry during 2001, a daily average of almost 50,000 people a day. Our proposed project would suggest a quicker, easier, and more convenient way for people to travel from and to Staten Island. We predict that a more convenient service will increase the number of people who will take advantage of it. If we can convince more people to use mass transportation, this would relieve road congestion, decreasing the commuter time both by automobile and mass transit. Such a connection would pose several economic benefits to the North Shore of Staten Island. Based on research, with the introduction of a subway to an underdeveloped communities brings business opportunities and population shifts (Wagner 7). Purpose: Decrease in commuter time across the Hudson with possible benefits of: 1. Improvement of the North Shore economy due to direct, quick, and easy access to Manhattan. 2. Alleviate or demolish commuter inconveniences caused by use of a slow ferry. 3. Alleviate road congestion by offering improved mass transportation. 4. Decrease pollution as a result of less cars. Hypothesis: 1. People will believe a direct connection to Manhattan from Staten island to be convenient and useful 2. It is physically possible for this subway to be built Procedure: 1. Physical Science a. Obtain advice from professional engineer about feasibility of constructing a tunnel b. Research of related refereed articles, including: i. History of building subways under the Hudson. ii. Recently built subways, mostly outside the U.S. iii. Establish price estimate using costs of researched subways. iv. List alternative ideas and proposed benefits. 2. Social Science a. Survey: i. Obtain the publics opinion of building a subway via online survey, by assessing present inconveniences and subway interest. ii. Interpret findings and make a conclusion based on analysis. iii. Establish plan of payment. Datum and Calculations 1. Subways cost estimate a. The approximate cost estimate for building a tunnel connecting SI and Manhattan has been calculated using history as a guide. We first obtain some data on tunnel construction cost using previous projects. We have used two major projects, The Channel Tunnel and the Seikan Tunnel. Their figures are as follows: Please note that the Average Consumer Price Index(CPI) Tunnel Year Completed Length (mi) Cost Estimate ($) Today’s Cost Estimate ($) used for The Channel Tunnel and the Seikan Tunnel are 1.242 and 1.71 respectively. The Channel 1994 31.04 15,000,000,000 18,630,000,000 Tunnel Seikan 1985 33.5 5,300,000,000 9,063,000,000 Tunnel Ted Williams 2004 .75(underwater 1,222,459,000 1,222,459,000 Tunnel portion) Through Linear Interpolation, which is a technique often used in Engineering, the cost estimate for our tunnel is: 31.04 – 18,630,000,000 33.5 – 9,063,000,000 .75 = $.86 billion. (According to P.E. Kim, it is acceptable to use (2/3) of the cost of the whole tunnel to account the underwater portion of the tunnel). (.86)*(5.2/.75) = $6 billion. For 5.2 miles, the cost would approximate to 4.7 billion dollars. This is excluding the cost of railway and signals. Total Cost: $4.76 Billion, according to the engineer Raymond Sandiford from PA of NJ&NY. We are dealing with Soft Soil ground here. Thus the approximation was arrived in the manner as follows: Immersed Tube System: $40,000/ft., cross lining $.5 billion, backfilling $.5 billion. Total Construction cost: (40,000)x(5.2*5280) + .5 + .5 = $2 billion. Project cost (insurance and finance) = 1.75 * construction cost = $3.5 billion. Contingency Cost of 35%. = (3.5) * (.35) + 3.5 = $4.76 billion. Thus, The total cost is the sum of Construction cost, Project Cost, and the Contingency Cost. This is the final calculation. Using the Tunnel Boring System, at $10 million each machine (2 required), $30,000/ft., comes approximately to 1.9 billion dollars. To this, add contingency plan, project cost, you get the final result to $4.55 billion 1. Hudson River Building. a. After reading about the extensive building of the Hudson Tunnel connection Jersey City to New York City we have concluded that since tunnels have been built under the Hudson River in the past it can be done again. “It is extremely doubtful if a substance could be found which would be better adapted to submarine tunneling by compressed air than the so-called silt that constitutes the bed of the Hudson River” (Burr 49) We can learn from past experiences that the ground under the Hudson is suitable tunnel construction! This is a very good thing. 2. Alternative Ideas: a. Link up with Jersey City Light Rail i. NJT now had funding in place to take the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail to 3rd Street in Bayonne, which is about one mile from the Bayonne Bridge. The Bayonne Bridge was constructed with rail easements on both sides of the roadway, thus allowing for easy addition of a light rail link from Staten Island across the bridge and into the Hudson Bergen system. A probable Staten Island extension would cost approximately $150 million and would have a probable ridership of 15,000 people per weekday from Staten Island (Peters, Gordon 87) ii. Link between SIRT and the N and R lines in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn via subway tunnel or light rail corridor on Verrazano. Either of these proposals would develop the only subway to Brooklyn, a local destination of many Staten Islanders. 3. Survey results: a. An online survey was sent out to numerous people from all parts of Staten Island. One hundred sixty people replied. Our results are shown in the graphs below. b. Payment Plan: i. If asked whether Staten Islanders alone would be able to afford such construction of a subway the answer would be “no,” However, yearly taxing of people from Staten Island and Manhattan, in addition to MTA funds and government sponsorship would make the project possible. Staten Islanders produce in excess of $400 million in bridge tolls each year. The Port Authority and MTA make in excess of $200 million each year in profit from these tolls above operating costs. Analysis:- 1, Physical The estimated cost is approximated using previous projects. The number obtained is somewhat in the range of today’s cost. There are, however, other cheaper alternatives of connecting SI with Manhattan such as building train tracks underneath the Verrazano Bridge, or connecting SI with Jersey City via Bayonne Bridge and from their commuters can rely on the Path trains. This project 2. mainly focuses on the direct connection to Manhattan and proves it to be pretty costly. Social After analyzing the survey results, we learned that of the older, working respondents, 90.5% already take public transportation, and would appreciate this alternate form. 85.7% of this group References Gold, Jacqueline S., (1993). S.I’s Stature Rises as Economy Leaps. Crain’s New York complains that the worst part of their daily commute is travel time. A subway would be a form of transportation that could help this group work on days that there is snow on the ground, when it Business: 8756789X, Vol. 19, Issue 42 would be otherwise impossible. Conclusions: Gordon, Cameron & Peters, Jonathan. Present Problems and Future Solutions for Staten 1. Based on present survey results, people believe that a subway connection from Staten Island to Manhattan is convenient. Island’s Transportation System: College of Staten Island/ The City University of New 2. Based on research, it is possible for such a subway to be built. However, there are alternative ideas, which would be much cheaper and also very beneficial York. Staten Island Project. O’Connor, Leo. (1994). Tunneling Under the Channel: Mechanical Engineering, Vol.115. Issue 12, p60, 7p, 5c. Wagner, Cynthia. (1997). Reinventing the City. Futurist: Vol. 31, Issue 6. 2004 Annual Report, Massachusetts Turnpike Authority. Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, 2002. “Annual Report, 2002-2003. (Schedule E- Information on Port Authority Operations).” (New York: PANYNJ) Tunnels: World’s Longest Railway Tunnels. ENR: Engineering News-Record. 11/18/2003, Vol. 251. Issue 20a, p36, 2p, 5c. Acknowledgements We thank Dr. Kress for helping us to think outside the box. We thank Professional Engineer Kim for helping us with research methodology. We thank Professional Engineer Sandsiford for providing present rates, and confirming the data. We thank Professor Liu for his general advisment, constructive critisism and encouragement.
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