Friday, April 23, 2010

The Dual Contracts' "Second System" from 1920

And you thought the IND's Second System was huge. This, my friends is thus far the trippiest of the ego trips I've come across. It covers the ENTIRE city, ALL five boroughs including the waterfront of Hudson County, NJ (to be discussed in a future post). This map was included in the second of two New York Times' articles on the plan. What I love is that this wasn't submitted by some advisory panel or consulting engineer, but by the subway builders' themselves. It was completed by "Daniel L. Turner, chief engineer in the office of John H. Delaney, Transit Construction Commissioner":

Click on the "View Full Article" link below each to see a scanned pdf of each. Courtesy of the New York Times.

September 26, 1920: "$350,000,000 PLAN FOR SUBWAY ROUTES HAS BEEN COMPLETED; 830 Miles of New Track to Carry Five Billion Passengers a Year Contemplated."

October 3, 1920: "CITY'S GROWTH DISCOUNTED IN PLANS FOR ADDING 830 MILES OF TRACK TO RAPID TRANSIT SYSTEMS; Work to Cover Period of Twenty-five Years and Cost $350,000,000--New Lines and Extensions Would Provide for a Population of Nine Millions and Carry Five Billion Passengers"

I really like the way Daniel L. Turner thinks. He espouses the famous maxim attributed to Chicago city planner Daniel Burnham, "Make no small plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood". (I wonder if the two Daniels ever knew each other.) The goal of the plan was to ultimately eliminate all surface transit with elevateds, open-cuts, or subways as well as underground moving sidewalks (which had lately received much notoriety in the blogosphere). Many of the routes or their corridors in Manhattan, southern/western Bronx, and Brooklyn where already planned for rapid transit back in 1905 by William Barclay Parsons. The lines going to northeastern Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island were laid out first by Alfred Craven and then Mr. Turner. Later the Board of Transportation's IND would seemingly grandfather-in many of their plans from Turner's. (Notice what would be today's Culver IND and Fulton IND, but with notable exception is Queens Boulevard.)

My only criticism of Turner's plans is the insistence on parallel routes. It would have been better to mimic the pattern of railroad building and create multiple hub and spoke routes. The hubs around NYC include the downtowns of Flushing, Jamaica and Brooklyn plus Long Island City, Broadway Junction (BK), South Bronx, and St. George (SI).

If, nowadays, the city, state, and the MTA can get past their endless series crisis management, then a "100 Year Blueprint" on this scale should be produced and adhered to like a city charter.

Oh, you know I'm gonna create a Google Map of this. If anyone has more detailed information on the plans, please post them and give me a heads up.

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