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Report: Mass transit in outer boroughs is mediocre

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The mass transit system in the outer boroughs is woefully inadequate, a growing problem as New Yorkers are increasingly commuting to jobs outside of Manhattan, according to a report released Wednesday.

Elected officials “need to support job growth there by making it easier for people to get to their jobs,” said David Giles, a researcher for Manhattan-based think tank Center for an Urban Future, which unveiled the study.

The report, which used census data and other studies for its analysis, found that emerging jobs in healthcare and education tended to be in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, resulting in job growth in the outer boroughs from 2000 to 2009.

Yet the study contends that it is in the outer boroughs where mass transit improvements haven’t been made. It is also in the outer boroughs where the average public transit commute takes about an hour, mostly impacting lower-income residents.

In addition, researchers point to a 2008 Regional Plan Association report that found that more than 60 percent of residents in Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island are underserved by mass transit.

“The predominant numbers of people working in their boroughs are using cars, and it’s because there isn’t accessible mass transit,” said Councilman James Vacca (D-Bronx), chair of the City Council Transportation Committee.

The MTA declined to comment.

City Hall spokesman Marc LaVorgna suggested in an e-mail response that if there had been more support for the mayor’s congestion pricing plan in the past, “that would have generated billions for mass transit and would have led to major expansions in our mass transit network, including in the boroughs outside of Manhattan.”

Growth of outer borough residents working in the borough in which they live from 1990 to 2008

Bronx – 25%
Brooklyn – 16%
Queens – 19%
Staten Island – 32%

Job Growth by borough: 2000- 2009

Staten Island: 4,045
Queens: 11,584
Manhattan: -109,029
Brooklyn: 35,010
Bronx: 16,557
NYC: - 41,833

Source: Center for an Urban Future

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