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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 82, no. 2110: August 22, 1908

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August 22, 1908 RECORD AND GUIDE 375 ^ ESTABUSHED-^M.AR,CH2l'4^ie68. Dented p RE^L Estate . BuiLdiKg Aj^cKitecture .HousoJoib DEQOFtAnorf, Basit/Ess AtlD Themes or GEHER.ftl If^TtFt^Esi. PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Communications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET Published Every Saturday By THE BECORD AND GUIDE CO. President. CLINTON W. SWEET Treasurer, F. W. DODGE Vice-Pres. & Genl. Mgr.. H. W. DESMOND Secretary, F. T. MILLER Nos. 11 to 15 East 24th Street. New York City (Telephone. Madison Square. 4430 lo 4433.) "Entered at the Post Off 'ee ~at New York N. y.. OS second-class mailer." Copyrighted 1908, by The Record & Guide Co. Vol. Lxxxn. AUGUST 22, 1908. N 0. 2110 THE statement is made on apparently good authority that the Public Service Commission is beginning to be very open-mindetJ on the matter of elevated roads. It has been examining the elevated roads in Berliu and certain other for¬ eign cities and has discovered that they can be constructed in a wholly unobjectionable manner. The elevated struc¬ tures and stations can be constructed so as to adorn rather than disfigure the streets through which they run; and the trains can be operated with far less noise. Why, then, should New York again fall back upon elevated rapid transit? The Record and Guide welcomes this disposition on the part of the Commission to consider at least the possibility of new lines of elevated transit. Elevated trains are assuredly far pleasanter for passengers than are those which run throirgh subways, and if the structures can be made less of an eye-sore the sooner the city returns to elevated tracks for certain kinds of rapid transit the better. We do not want any more elevated roads in Manhattan, because in this Borough, the density of traffic is sufRcient to justify the building of sub¬ ways, but in the other boroughs the ease is different. It is only for short distances over a few main streets that subways can be profitably operated in the Bronx. Brooklyn or Queens. The traffic is not dense enough to warrant the enormous initial expense of constructing subways. In laying out rapid transit routes for the outlying boroughs, elevated roads shonld be freely used, and this policy would be of benefit to each one of the localities mentioned, because a smaller cost of initial construction wonld permit and .justify the early plan¬ ning of many additional lines. PUBLIC opinion in New York is just beginning to under¬ stand the importance of the intrusion of the New Haven Railroad into the local transit situation. It hae been obvious for several years that the plans of the New Haven for the development of its system in the Broux and Westchester County demanded a subway from the Harleni River to the Battery; but as long as the willingness of that railroad to build such a subway had not been explicitly announced, any discussion of its effect, if constructed, upon the whole transit situation was more or less in the air. Now. however, that the explicit announcement has been made that the New Haven wants a subway from the Harlem River south, this news profoundly modifies certain practical aspects of the transit problem in Manhattan, It introduces a new and powerful competitor into the field, and the existing situation of this competitor gives it opportunities and rights which should not and cannot be ignored. Hitherto the Record and Guide has always favored the confirmation of the monopoly of rapid transit in Manhattan now enjoyed by the Inter¬ borough Company. We have not. of course, believed in granting the Interborough Company additional privileges, except for fivll value received, and in ease that corporation refused to offer full value the city would be justified in building and operating an independent line or system of lines. But provided a fair price could be obtained, the city had more to gain from allowing the Interborough Company to build up a complete system of rapid transit in Manhattan and in the Bronx than by encouraging competition. Competition in such a service merely means waste. Economy is promoted ,fby a monopolized service—properly regulated in the public .interest and sufficiently contribirtory to the public treasury. It is because the Record and Guide believed in a "monopolized service that it has opposed the Broadway-Lexington avenue route as laid out by the Public Service Commission. That route has no meaning, except for the purpose of competing with the existing snbway. It parallels the subway from Forty-second Street south, and would, to a considerable ex¬ tent, merely divide up trafRc that already exists, instead of originating new traffic. The interest of the city in getting the greatest possible increase of service for tlie expenditure of a certain sirm of money would be best promoted by an extension of the present subway north from Forty-second Street on the East Side and south from Forty-second Street on tbe West Side. THE* announcement that the New Haven is ready to build a subway, necessarily modifies the former preference of the Record and Guide for a monopolized service. The Con¬ solidated Railroad has a much stronger claim on the city for an independent entrance into Manhattan than baa any other inter-State railway in the neighborhood. After it has constructed either the Westchester or the Portchester branch, it will come down to the Harlem River with over fifteen sub¬ urban tracks, and obviously the interest of the people who wil! use these tracks demands an adequate connection with the business district downtown. No existing transit company in Manhattan is in a position to supply the New Haven road with any snfflcient connection, and it looks as if the only pos¬ sible way the Consolidated road can do justice to its passen¬ gers will be the construction of one or more subways. But a subway whereby the New Haven would obtain entrance into Manhattan would be a very different thing from the subways sufficient for the needs of the Pennsylvania Railroad or the Public Service Corporation of New Jersey, The New Haven would need a iongitudinal tunnel of enormous capacity, stretching frora one end of Manhattan to the other, and capable, consequently, of developing a large local traffic. Su'Ch a subway would naturally be independent of the gen¬ eral rapid transit system of Manhattan, yet, just because o£ the large amount of local traffic it would handle, its route would have to be considered carefully in relation to the wliole Manhattan transit system. It would necessarfly compete with more exclusively local subways; and competition under auch circumstances would be legitimate. To that extent the Public Service Commission should deliberately plan to break the monopoly of rapid transit now enjoyed by the Interbor¬ ough Company. THE question is immediately suggested whether the Broadway-Lexington Avenue route would be adapted to tlie needs of the New Haven road. The Record and Guide does not believe that it would. That route would develop in the course of a few years after its construction, a volume of local traffic hardly, if at all. inferior to that carried by the existing subway, and in that event it would not be ade¬ quate to take care of the enormous traffic which would orig¬ inate along the existing lines of the New Haven road. The New Haven would apparently have its needs much better served by a straighter six-track subway, running south along First or Second Avenue. It might manage to carry its passengera for a few years in the Broadway-Lexington Ave¬ nue subway, but after a short while the congestion on that line would probably be worse than that on any single subway or elevated road now being operated in Manhattan. It has always seemed to the Record and Gu'ide that a subway under Broadway should be designed chiefly for Joea! traffic, just because the local traffic along that thoroughfare is so dense, and because the avenue is not wide enough even for four tracks situated ou the same level. In case a subway under Broadway is made to carry a large amouut of through ex¬ press traffic the service afforded to the local passengers will necessarily fall below the desirable standard. However that may be, the intrusion of the New Haven road into the rapid transit situation has made it suddenly much more interest¬ ing and promising. • Unlike the Interborough Company, this corporation is possessed of enormous resources and unim¬ peachable credit. It is in a pqjsition to carry out any plans which it may have drawn, and in arranging to construct a new subway, it is not in the same difficult situation as a purely local company. It can enter Manhattan under the same clause in the Rapid Transit Act which was passed in order to meet the needs of the Pennsylvania Railroad Cora¬ pany for permanent right-of-way. All that is necessary is to reach an agreement with the Public Service Commission and the Board of Estimate aa to routes, plans, and terms: and though this may not be an easy task, it is an easier one than the task which confronts any possible competitor for a similar privilege. li