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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 84, no. 2164: September 4, 1909

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September 4, 1909 RECORD AND GUIDE 423 llil^ ESTABLISHED ^ ^^^RCH 21^^ 1858. DEvfrlEBpR^LEsTAJE.BuiLOIfib ^fi,a(lTECTJR.E,KaUSEaoiDtosai{31DrfL Bifsffftss Alto Theses of GEffeRftl IjfitRf ai,^ PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Communications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET Published EVery Saturday By THE RECORD AND GUIDE CO. President, CLINTON W. SWEET Treasurer, F. W. DODGE Vlce-Pres. & Genl. Mgr, H. W. DESMOND Secretary, F. T. MILLER fios. tl lo 15 East 34tli Street, New York City (Telephone, Madison Square, 4430 to 4433.) "Entered at the Post Office at New York. N. Y.. tis sccnnd-cl'iss matter." Copyrigbled, l;»19, by The Record Sl Guide Co, Vol. LXXXIV. SEPTEMBER 4, 1909. No. 2164 THE explicit refusal of the Public Service Commission to approve the plans for subway extensions prepared hy the management of the Interborough Company only gives an official couflrmatiou to a decision for which everybody should have been prepared. The Commission ]ias given many indirect intimations that it would not allow any proposals of the Interborough Company to be substituted for its own Broadway-Lexington avenue route. The reasons given for the refusal are in pavt convincing, and in part wholly unconvinc¬ ing. The broad, general principle upon which Mr. 'Willcox bases the decision of the Commission is undoubtedly correct. He declares that in Manhattan a complete subway system should look, so far as possible, towards the occupation of each avail¬ able longitudinal thoroughfare, with a single direct subway. This rule, the ordinary good sense of which will appeal to everybody, is fatal to the proposal of the Interborough Com¬ pany to run two tracks up Lexington and two tracks up Third avenne. The space under Third avenue, north of 42d street, should unriuestionably be reserved for the day when a sub'way along the whole length of the Bowery and Third avenue is needed. The Commission is, consequently, right in rejetiting this part of the Interborough Company's plans; but it is wrong in assuming that the reasons for tliis rejec¬ tion would apply to a proposal for an extension of the exist¬ ing subway up Lexington avenue alone. The plain fact is that the occupation oC Park avenue, north of 42d street, by the New York Central tunnel makes it Impossible to stick rigidly to the rule that eacli subway should oc¬ cupy one longitudinal thoroughfare. If the present sub¬ way is to be given a northerly extension on the east side, it must run up either ' Lexington or Madisou ave¬ nue. The Interborough Company has always 'wanted Lex¬ ington avenne; but the Commission's answer to this demand is that Lexington avenue should be kept for a subway run¬ ning south of 42d street to a connection with Broad'\\'ay; and it suggests that the Interborough Company should occupy Madison avenue north of 42d street. To this reasoning the natural retort is that Madison avenue is really much better adapted to a northerly extension of a lower Broadway sub¬ way than is Lexington. A subway running up Broadway aud turning into Madison avenue at 23d street would be both a more useful and straighter subway than the Broadway-Lex¬ ington avenue route as laid out hy the Commission. Lex¬ inglon avenue, from 42d street to 23d street, does uot need additional means of transit. Neither does Madison avenue, between tho two streets; but a subway on Madison avenue would at least be rauch more convenient to the large uum¬ ber of passengers who want to reach points along Fifth avenue. As a mater of fact, the whole difRculty is gratuit¬ ously created by the proposal to lay out any longitudinal subway situated altogether on the East Side. Such a sub¬ way is bound in part to duplicate the existing subway. The economical way to obtain additional rapid transit is to ex¬ tend the Interborough's subway route from 42d street on the East Side and south from 12d street on the West Side. Then, as a next step, new through "West and East Side lines could he constructed down Madison avenue and Broadway and down Eighth avenue and Hudson street. of using independent routes only as an alteruative, in case sufficiently good terras could uot be obtained from the Inter¬ borough Company. For better or worse, tho Commission has definitely adopted au unreasonable attitude in this matter, and their lack of good sense must be taken as one of the conditions of the problem. If the management ot the In¬ terborough Company is wise, it will adapt its plans to this condition—as it can perfectly well do. The Broadway-Lex¬ ington avenne route is in part a wasteful duplication of exist¬ ing means of transit; but it should be a profitable route to build and operate, and the Interborough Company, in its own interest, should bid upon the official plans of the Com¬ mission, By the time the construction can be completed, there will be abundant trafRc to make remunerative the Eroadway-Lexiugtoii avenue route, ag well as a West Side extension of the existing subway south from 42d street along Seventh avenue. This would mean three subways south of 12d street and only two north thereof; but the three sub¬ ways south of 42d street would have the additional traffic furnished by the New York Central lines aud the Belmont tunnel, and the local traffic south of 42d street would be \ery dense. A few years later an exteusion could be con¬ structed along i\Iadison avenue to the Harlem River, which would mean three direct and complete longitudinal subways, each of them provided with proper connections in the Bronx. In the mean time the wants of the inhabitants of the East Side, east of Third avenne, could he met hy Imilding third tracks on the elevated structures, one of whicii could be connected with the Queensboro Bridge. The next step in the development of the complete Irausit system would be, of course, the construction of another West Side lino. In case the Interborough Company allows this development to take place withoui its co-operation, it will he acting not like a cool-headed and sensible business organization, but like an ill-tempered child. The Record and Guide agrees that its claims to consideration have not been sufficiently entertained by the Commission, aud that the official plans of tbat body demand the temporarily w-asteful and undesirable expendi¬ ture of a good many million dollars. But a corporation should not have any feelings. The oue object of the company's policy should be to preserve its monopoly without Incurring any -wholly unprofitable expenditure^ and it is certain that Ihe preservation of ils monopoly should be w'ortii even greater pecuniary sacrifices to the company than those de¬ manded hy the obstinate unreasoning of the Commission. The plain fact is that a Broadway-Lexington avenue route and a Seventh avenue extension can be made to pay, and with that salutary fact the management of the company should be satisfied. ■T'HE fact remains, however, that the Public Service Commis- * sion has definitely abandoned the sensible and economical policy of the old Rapid Transit Commission of seeking, in the first place, the extension of the existing subway and COiMMISSIONER WILLCOX is entirely confident that the proposed amendment to the Constitution, exempting money expended on self-supporting subways from computa¬ tion as part of the net debt of the city, will be adopted by popular vote; and it is very much to be hoped that this confidence wiil not be misplaced. It is just as desirable as ever that the city should be free, if necessary, to construct subways with its own funds. The offers of various bidders to provide the capital necessary for subway construetion, without calling on the city's credit, apparently does away with the possibility that the city wil! need to exercise its po^wer; but, in any event, the power should exist. Every corporation naturally seeks to make a bargain as advantage¬ ous as possible to itself; aud in ease bidders for transit privi¬ leges understood that the only way the city could obtain additional means of rapid transit was by means of capital furnished by themselves, they would inevitably put on the screws. The coustitutional ameudmeut is needed, conse¬ quently, as a weapon to be used in negotiations with private companies; and the mere fact that such a weapon exists will be the*best possible guarantee that it '^vill not be the cause of any increase in Ihe city's obligations. The oue serious objection to the amendment has been removed by the new rapid transit law. There -was a danger that a clamorous local ])ublic opinion might force the authorities to use the city's credit fo build unremunerative subways in the outlying dis¬ trict on Ihe ground that they might be remunerative. But under tbe new law subways of that kind, when they are built at all, must be constructed in large measure out of assess¬ ments levied ou the property benefited; and this provision wiil both cool the ardor of local property owners for unnec¬ essary subways and protect the city's treasury. The passage of the amendment is necessary as part of a comprehensive policy of transit development, and this fact should be made plain to the voters all over Greater New York,