With Cornell set to open a high-tech campus on Roosevelt Island in a few years (with a multi-year stopover in Google HQ first) good old U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer is worried that the geeks won't be able to handle the tram or the F train. Because there is nothing really important going on in Washington, right? Anyway! Bring on the "nerd bus"?
Schumer's concern is not new. Pretty much from the get-go Roosevelt Islanders have been worried about how to get all those very smart young men and women onto their island without clogging the already congested transit there (as Roosevelt Islander notes, proposals include: "ferry service, increased subway service for existing F train station, building another station above the E/V subway lines traveling under Roosevelt Island near Southpoint Park, elevator access to the Queensboro Bridge, extending the Tramway to Long Island City and a pedestrian bridge over the East River."). What Schumer is suggesting, however, is a new one. He wants an extension of one of the new buses that the MTA announced in July:
On July 19, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) announced that along with service restorations in and around the city, it also proposed the establishment of two new routes: the Brooklyn Tech Triangle route, set to connect DUMBO with Downtown Brooklyn and the Navy Yard, as well as the Williamsburg Waterfront route. The Triangle route intends to service a growing technology hub centered around DUMBO, and is set to grow service for commuters into Downtown Brooklyn and the Navy Yard.
This is particularly important because dozens of tech companies are already on the waiting list for new Navy Yard office space, and NYU is proposing a tech campus in the old Jay Street MTA building in Downtown Brooklyn. Cornell is also planning a major tech campus on Roosevelt Island set to open in 2017, and Long Island City in Queens is seen by many as a new tech-hub in the making. As a result, it is vital that MTA create service routes that will meet the increasing demand for transportation from commuters as the tech campus continues to expand into Downtown Brooklyn and the Navy Yard.
In the long term, Schumer's idea for a so-called "nerd bus" (the deckhead on his press release is, honest to blog, "Schumer: You Don’t Need a PhD To Know The Nerd Bus Is A No-Brainer") is probably not a bad one. But right now it seems WAY premature. Again, Cornell isn't even going to actually move onto Roosevelt Island for a few years. Plus, as we are all well aware, the MTA only has so much money.