[brooklyn and queens by the numbers]

Gothamist has a fascinating post that demonstrates just how closely population density is related to subway access in Brooklyn and Queens. The graphic, unlike the official MTA subway map, is to scale, and it reveals just how much more to Brooklyn and especially Queens there is beyond the reach of the trains.

Most of us who live subway-oriented New York lives have little notion of what exactly is out there in those territories beyond the subway. Who lives there? Where do they work? How do they get around What do the neighborhoods look like?

It also raises the question of what, if anything, the MTA is doing to expand subway service and bring those less densely populated areas into the NYC fold, so to speak. After all, population pressures are intense along the main subway lines, and the whole purpose of the subway from its beginning was to get people out of the overpopulated sections and spread them across the five boroughs.

2 Replies to “[brooklyn and queens by the numbers]”

  1. Yeah—my lovely wife has spent some time in those far-off areas for work, and they get wind-swept desolate pretty quickly (though quite cheap!). It’s hard to see how much the MTA can do about it, though, beyond running more buses—obviously, building more subway lines is prohibitively expensive and difficult.

  2. As a blanket statement, I’m not sure that’s reasonable. Yes, building more subways is very expensive, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. They’re currently extending the 7 line down the West Side of Manhattan, and building the 2nd Ave. subway line as well (no, really). They built new tracks out in Queens to relieve conjestion. Why couldn’t they put in new lines elsewhere?

    Furthermore, our federal government spends plenty on highways, so it’s not inconceivable that they could shift some of that money to other forms of transportation infrastructure. (Unlikely with this Congress, but who knows about the future?) And there are other transportation alternatives that are cheaper, like bus rapid transit systems (cleverer than just throwing more buses on the existing roads).

    I just have a hard time believing that large sections of NYC are permanently impervious to further development because of a lack of transportation infrastructure.

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