SkyscraperPage Forum

SkyscraperPage Forum (
-   Transportation (
-   -   New York City - Transit News (

NYC4Life Aug 29, 2008 6:52 PM


Airport Landings Auction Halted

The Federal Aviation Administration's effort to auction off prime landing slots at the city's major airports was recently stopped.

The FAA's Office of Dispute Resolution for Acquisition delayed a slot auction planned for next week at Newark airport, after a request from the airline industry.

The airline industry says the auctions are unfair, but the FAA argues that they are necessary to promote competition and reduce congestion.

Earlier this week, the Port Authority asked to join the Air Transport Association's lawsuit against the federal government over the auctions.

No word when the auction at Newark will be re-scheduled.

manchester united Aug 30, 2008 11:43 AM


Originally Posted by NYC4Life (Post 3764655)

Transit Worker Claims He Must Choose Between Using The Bathroom, Keeping His Job

By: Bobby Cuza

While most people take it for granted that they can use the restroom at work when they need it, one subway worker says he's been forced to choose between using the bathroom and keeping his job. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

For subway conductor James Mitchell, it all started on a downtown R train some nine years ago. He says he needed to use the bathroom, so he held the train at the City Hall station, and used the facilities in a dispatcher's office.

He said it took no more than four minutes, but he soon had two disciplinary claims filed against him – neither one for the brief stop.

"The Transit Authority cannot discipline an employee for using the bathroom, so what they do, they manufacture a rule violation," said Mitchell.

While those charges were dropped, it was not the end of his trouble. Mitchell was diagnosed with irritable bowl syndrome, and over the past nine years, he's stopped his train several times to use the bathroom.

That has led to more problems. Mitchell is currently reassigned to platform duty and says management is trying to fire him, using trumped-up charges that he filed medical forms that were not filled out properly.

"Every time he has anything related to this disability, which is a documented disability, supervision tries to get him fired, one way or another," said attorney John McHugh.

"It's as if they want to penalize you for being sick," added Mitchell.

Mitchell has sought treatment for his condition. In 2007, he underwent surgery to remove more than a foot of his intestines, and he says altogether he's been hospitalized seven times.

As for the passengers left waiting during Mitchell's bathroom breaks, he says they were told only there was a delay and the train would be moving shortly.

"I can understand that the passengers have to be where they want to go, but at the same time, I can't operate a train safely if I have a sudden urgency to use the men's room," he said.

Mitchell tried unsuccessfully to sue NYC Transit, and has filed several grievances. He's says the agency owes him about $12,000 in back pay, and he argues the delays he's caused are not significant.

"In the nine years or eight years this has been going on, he's stopped the train, I think, four times, for a total of less than 20 or 30 minutes – total," said his attorney. "And kids holding doors in rush hour hold trains up for longer than that."

NYC Transit said it could not comment on internal disciplinary matters. Mitchell's case is now going to arbitration.

But Mitchell was a conductor or motormen ?

NYC4Life Aug 30, 2008 7:25 PM

Subway conductor.

NYC4Life Sep 8, 2008 9:46 PM


Rider Say City Bus System Needs Improvement

City bus riders said in report cards that the bus system needs great improvement.

New York City Transit says more than 22,000 riders responded and gave the entire city bus system an average grade of C-minus.

Customers gave overall C grades to the buses’ cleanliness and smoothness of ride, while bus operators got a C-plus for courtesy
Riders say wait times for buses need the most improvement, and that they need to run more on schedule.

NYC4Life Sep 8, 2008 9:47 PM


Updated 3:49 PM

MTA Test Drives Double-Decker Buses

Some double decker buses are being rolled into service in the city for a 35-day trial run.

Officials say the 13-foot buses are cheaper to maintain, carry more passengers, and are more efficient than the extra-long buses currently in use.

"This bus is used around the world. It does a great job in both express and local. We're try it on several routes in the city," said MTA bus president Joseph Smith. "We have to get a few trees trimmed here and there, but this bus, from an environmental standpoint, carries more people that any other."

"I think it's great. It's one of the best buses they've had so far and they've been testing a few buses out, which is good," said a New Yorker.

"It's progressive management here and I think they're really on the right track.

Buses like these disappeared from city streets in the 1950s and made only a brief return in the 70s.

The new buses will run on select routes along First, Second and Fifth Avenues in Manhattan, and they will be on Staten Island as well.

volguus zildrohar Sep 9, 2008 2:17 AM

The whole concept of the NYC Bus seems nutty to me at rush hour.

And IBS conductor man needs to find a new job. I'd be raising a stink if I'm late for something because you've gotta go potty. He's an adult - he should know that jobs where there may not be instant bathroom access aren't for him.

NYC4Life Sep 20, 2008 7:49 AM


Updated 09/19/2008 10:05 AM

Tenth Avenue Subway Station Scrapped

Transit officials dropped plans to build an additional 7 subway line station in Midtown Manhattan Thursday.

Officials eliminated the plan to build a station at 10th Avenue and 41st Street when they were unable to obtain the $450 million to complete the project.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration, which previously offered to fund half of the costs, said Thursday that a station is not necessary since the neighborhood is already developed.

Advocates for the station do not think that is an excuse to stop construction.

"Is that the only reason we build subway stations now, to spur development? How about to serve the people that are already in a neighborhood? I just don't buy that logic at all," said Andrew Albert of the NYC Transit Riders Council.

Supporters of the station claimed it could cost three to four time more to build in the future, once current work on the 7 line is completed and would be more disruptive to the neighborhood.

In a statement, the MTA said, "While we would prefer to include a station at 10th Avenue, it is not critical to the success of the overall project. If funding is identified at a later date we will revisit the issue."

Plans for one additional station on the 7 line are still underway and construction should be complete by 2013.

The project is being financed by the city, and officials hope it will spur development at the Hudson Yards project south of the Javits Center, which is the mayor's pet project.

ardecila Sep 21, 2008 6:37 AM

How the hell does ONE STATION cost $450 million? That amount builds an entire light-rail line in other cities. I mean, I know it's a subway, but I still can't see why it's more than $150 million at the absolute top. Rebuilding a subway station in Chicago from the ground down costs $67 million.

NYonward Sep 22, 2008 8:24 PM


Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3813492)
How the hell does ONE STATION cost $450 million?

Welcome to New York City.

NYC4Life Sep 24, 2008 5:32 PM


MTA Board Votes To Pull E-ZPass Perks

The full Metropolitan Transportation Authority board voted today to revoke free E-ZPass tags for city employees – a perk which has been offered for decades.

The board barely passed the measure, 7-6.

The MTA's finance committee narrowly approved a plan earlier this week, which requires police, fire, and other agencies to get their own pre-paid E-ZPass accounts, just like other drivers.

The committee voted 3-2 in favor of the plan, with Mayor Michael Bloomberg's appointees both voting against it.

The vote comes as transit officials are planning for the worst, as they deal with a nearly $900 million deficit. And that could lead to cuts in subway, bus, and commuter rail service.

Agency heads are being told to target management-level expenses, but MTA officials acknowledge it would be tough to cut the budget any further without cutting service.

The MTA has already proposed fare and toll increases that would go into effect in July.

Meanwhile, the MTA inspector general is investigating the bid process that lead to the agency being charged more than three times what it paid last year for fuel for city buses.

It negotiated a one-year contract extension in August with Sprague Energy, after it did not receive any other bids on a contract to deliver the custom-made diesel fuel, designed to minimize pollution from buses.

Officials say they agreed to pay $200 million for the contract because officials worried the system would run out otherwise.

NYC4Life Sep 24, 2008 7:45 PM


09/24/2008 09:55 AM

More Delays In Subway Screen Installation

The wait goes on for straphangers, wondering when the next subway will arrive.

Transit officials say the project to outfit subway stations with electronic screens that display the arrival time of the next train is several years behind schedule.

The info screens are already in place on the L line.

They were supposed to be installed by now at more than 150 stations on the 1, 2, 3 and 4, 5, 6 lines.

But transit officials now do not expect the project to be finished at those stations until 2011.

Busy Bee Sep 25, 2008 1:33 AM

:yuck: What's the deal with the multi-color display? It really doesn't look very official, professional or clean. It looks more like a quick loan joint or a nail shop LED board.

Should look like this:

Rome on left, which sucks about as bad as ours and Paris on right, which is bright, clean and smart.
Paris Metro, Credit: Miglioraroma/FLICKR
Paris Metro

Who could disagree that these look ten times better designed than what they are currently installing? Would something like this cost so much more than what we're getting? Actually, what we're getting probably manages to cost ten times more than what Paris has, because that's NYC, right? Bullshit. I'd almost rather wait for something better to come along.

zilfondel Sep 25, 2008 10:16 PM

^ one is designed by bean counters (or engineers), the other is by graphic designers.

Guess which is which...

CGII Sep 26, 2008 12:02 AM


Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 3820646)
:yuck: What's the deal with the multi-color display? It really doesn't look very official, professional or clean. It looks more like a quick loan joint or a nail shop LED board.

Who could disagree that these look ten times better designed than what they are currently installing? Would something like this cost so much more than what we're getting? Actually, what we're getting probably manages to cost ten times more than what Paris has, because that's NYC, right? Bullshit. I'd almost rather wait for something better to come along.

I would say the NY one costs more because the entire surface is LED while the Paris boards only have small patches of this.

NYC4Life Sep 26, 2008 3:08 AM


2:29 PM

Judge Delays Requirement For Cabs To Go Green

A court gives city new cabs a month-long reprieve on going green, as a lawsuit to stop the switch is pending.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission says a group of medallion owners with vehicles retiring in October can operate their taxis until November, as a federal court looks at a lawsuit filed by Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade against the mandate that all new cabs get 25 miles per gallon.

The suit claims that hybrid fuel-efficient vehicles were not built to withstand the heavy use that city cabs endure, and are unsafe for use in city streets.

The court will hear arguments next month.

NYC4Life Sep 26, 2008 3:10 AM

New York Times

How a Plan for Bus Fuel Grew Expensive

Published: September 24, 2008

Five years ago, as they were signing a contract for a cleaner-burning bus fuel, some officials with New York City Transit foresaw the day when similar low-sulfur fuels might become more common and less expensive.

That fuel was custom-made, and over the last two years, fuel suppliers warned transit officials that it might become difficult to get and urged them to consider a cheaper alternative.

But the transit agency never switched.

So last month, it found itself caught off guard when there were no bidders for a new fuel contract. As a result, it rushed through a stopgap agreement with its previous supplier at a much higher price.

The tale of how officials signed a contract that increases the fuel costs for their bus fleet by what could be tens of millions of dollars over the next year, at a time of budgetary crisis, helps show how well-intentioned efforts can go awry and end up affecting riders.

The custom-made fuel costs about 20 cents a gallon more than the more common ultra-low sulfur diesel that suppliers recommended. The fuel also requires special handling that in the new contract adds about 45 cents a gallon to delivery charges. On 50 million gallons of fuel to be delivered over the next 12 months, the extra costs represent an additional expense of more than $30 million.

The transit agency was a pioneer in 2000 when, to combat pollution, it switched its bus fleet to a type of diesel fuel known as ultra-low sulfur kerosene. It arranged for the fuel to be produced at a refinery in Pennsylvania and delivered by a company that is now known as Sprague Energy. In 2003, it renewed its contract with Sprague, this time for five years.

Dana Lowell, who was the head of research and development for buses at the transit agency at the time, said officials knew then that the federal government was preparing to require that all diesel engines switch to ultra-low sulfur fuel.

The wider use, they believed, would lower the cost of the fuel.

“The idea was that the five-year contract would take New York City Transit all the way through the transition, and on the other side of the transition they’d be able to buy fuel in a more natural process because it would be the standard,” said Mr. Lowell, who left the agency in 2004 and is now a vice president of M. J. Bradley, an environmental consulting firm.

Instead, in 2006 the federal government chose a slightly different fuel, commonly known as ultra-low sulfur diesel. Today the fuel can be bought at most gas stations.

The kerosene fuel used by the transit agency is produced only at a Pennsylvania refinery owned by Sunoco, and the agency is now the only large purchaser. Because of its unique characteristics, the fuel cannot be shipped by pipeline but has to be moved by barge and stored in separate tanks, adding greatly to costs.

Nonetheless, the agency decided to stick with the kerosene fuel, which is similar to jet fuel. Officials cited problems with diesel fuel in cold weather as one reason.

On Tuesday, when asked whether the transit agency should have moved earlier to switch fuels, Howard H. Roberts Jr., the president of the agency, said, “In hindsight, absolutely.”

Back in 2003, only two companies had bid on the transit agency’s kerosene fuel contract, and at about the time the federal requirement took effect in 2006, the agency began talks with refiners and suppliers to gauge their interest in future contracts, according to a four-page summary of the issue provided to board members of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The summary said that there was little if any interest in providing the kerosene fuel but that many companies indicated a willingness to provide the more common diesel.

One of those companies was Metro Fuel Oil of Brooklyn. Robert J. Leavy, Metro’s manager of supply and distribution, said on Tuesday that the company had warned the transit agency last year that it could have problems obtaining the kerosene fuel in the future.

“We explained to them that we think that U.L.S.D.” — ultra-low sulfur diesel — “would be a better choice,” Mr. Leavy said. “It’s less expensive and readily available.”

But when the agency made its request for bids public in July, it was once again for the kerosene fuel.

Officials at the agency said that after lengthy discussions this summer with Sprague and Metro, they believed both companies might bid. Neither did.

Mr. Leavy said one reason Metro was unable to bid was that the fuel produced by Sunoco did not meet the standard set by the agency for a component known as cetane, which is similar to octane in gasoline. The agency had told the bidders that it was not willing to alter its specifications.

In a letter to the agency dated Aug. 20, Metro said it would not bid and asked the agency to re-evaluate the contract “in light of its excessive cost.” In a second letter, dated Aug. 27, Metro asked the agency to notify it if it was going to change its specifications or seek a new round of bidding.

Mr. Leavy said he got no response.
The materials provided to the authority’s board state that after the bidding process failed, the agency started negotiating with Sprague, reaching a deal on Aug. 29. But Sprague imposed what agency documents described as “onerous conditions,” more than tripling the handling and delivery charges.

The agency estimated that the one-year contract would cost $206 million. The transportation authority’s board approved the contract on Wednesday. The board materials also state that the fuel that Sprague will provide does not meet the cetane rating and will require an additive, which will cause an adjustment, presumably upward, in the price.

Mr. Leavy said his company was never given an opportunity to make a competing offer at these new terms. A representative of Sprague did not return telephone calls.

Stanley Grill, the agency’s head of procurement, said that when the bidding process failed, he tried to get an extension to the old arrangement from Sprague and Sunoco, but was told that the refinery needed an immediate commitment to ensure supply.

At that point, he said, he did not have the option of seeking a new round of bids. “I don’t have the luxury of doing that any more,” he said. “I have to turn to my supplier who can ensure I have continuity of bus fuel.”

Mr. Grill said transit officials had been hesitant to switch to the more commonly available diesel fuel because they worried about how it might affect their engines and pollution levels. There was also concern that it might violate warranties on the engines.

The agency is currently testing the diesel fuel. Officials said the buses need little or no adjustment to use the different fuel.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

NYC4Life Sep 26, 2008 3:11 AM


09/25/2008 03:39 PM
NYC Transit To Post Found Belongings Online

The transit system will soon be putting its lost and found system on the Internet.

Currently, New York City Transit maintains a lost-and-found office at Penn Station, but only about 20 percent of found items are reunited with their owners.

MTA officials say this is just one of the customer service initiatives on the way.

"We have a very robust lost-and-found system at Metro-North that we're duplicating at NYC Transit so people will be able to retrieve lost items immediately," explained Christopher Boylan, deputy executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. "And that is one of the major calls we get. We get a lot of people calling looking for things they've left behind in the system."

In addition to the two-million calls it gets annually at its call center, the MTA says it gets about 40,000 emails every year, and responds to each one individually within two days on average.

NYC4Life Sep 26, 2008 10:15 PM


Updated 10:27 AM

City Bills MTA For Nearly $12 Million In Services

The city charged the Metropolitan Transportation Authority nearly $12 million last year for municipal services, the Daily News reported this morning.

The Department of Citywide Administrative Services confirmed that the charges include about $4.5 million in civil service work.

The News reported that the MTA also owed $3.5 million for police to help nab fare-beaters.

This news comes days after the MTA voted to charge city agencies to cross bridges and tunnels.

Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign told the paper the city is setting a double standard by asking for free rides, while billing the MTA for basic services.

NYC4Life Sep 26, 2008 10:15 PM


09/26/2008 12:21 PM

Airports Delayed By Weekend-Long Rain

A coastal storm that will soak the city through Sunday has already caused delays at the city's airports.

Shortly after noon, John F. Kennedy International Airport was reporting delays averaging one hour and fifty minutes. LaGuardia Airport was reporting delays of two hours and 55 minutes and Newark's delays averaged one hour and 40 minutes.

The total rainfall through Sunday morning will be between one and three inches.

No major flooding has yet been reported.

NYC4Life Sep 26, 2008 10:16 PM


Updated 12:47 PM

Governor Slams Return Of Commuter Tax

Governor David Paterson dismissed talks of bringing back New York City's commuter tax.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said yesterday he is in favor of bringing back the tax on those who work in the city and live outside the five boroughs.

Today, a spokesperson for the governor released a statement opposing the tax, saying in part, "The governor is not considering taxes. He's continuing the process he began when he took office, to bring the state's revenues in line with spending."

Next week, on Paterson's lawmakers will meet to address Wall Street's impact on the state's budget.

The governor said the meeting will allow lawmakers to take additional steps to ensure the state's fiscal stability and to develop a plan of action to address the situation, four weeks before a revised state financial plan is due.

If Democrats take control of the State Senate in November, the tax could be reconsidered.

Some say even talking about bringing back the tax could help Republican candidates in suburban districts.

"So this becomes a way perhaps to actually strengthen the candidacy of republican candidates, create a political hurdle for democratic candidates who are going to be a tough position," said David Birdsell of Baruch College.

Silver helped eliminate the tax back in 1999 and Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been advocating for its return for years.

Paterson also said he would like the legislature to meet in a special session in Albany to make more budget cuts, but has not picked a date for that meeting.

NYC4Life Oct 1, 2008 8:38 AM


Updated 09/30/2008 10:38 PM

MTA Needs $100M More To Keep Subway Clean

Keeping the subways clean will cost a lot more green than expected.

An analysis by New York City Transit released Tuesday found it would cost more than $100 million more than the allotted cleaning budget to reach and maintain what the agency considers an "acceptable level of cleanliness" system-wide.

To clean each of the 468 stations costs roughly $230,000.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is facing a large 2009 budget deficit, but some riders say clean subways would be worth the extra cost.

"They should use that money to clean up the subways system, because the subway system right now is just out of control," said a rider.

"For a clean city, there's never too much money," said another.

Others balked at the $100 million price tag.

"I think it’s too much money to spend there,” said an objecting rider. “Because if people just don't litter and clean up after themselves, the problem would take care of itself."

The numbers are based on a pilot program that increased the number of cleaners assigned to 64 stations, including all stations on the L and 7 lines.

NYC4Life Oct 3, 2008 8:35 AM


Updated 10/02/2008 09:06 PM
MTA Unveils Full-Length Subway Ads

Subway advertising has become larger than life.

The cash-strapped MTA unveiled plans at Grand Central Station to wrap subway cars in paid advertisements.

The first project calls for three Times Square Shuttles to be fully covered with vinyl ads promoting the History Channel's "Cities of the Underworld."

The MTA said the move is necessary to help reduce its $900 million dollar budget deficit.

"We are already anticipating that we will be able to increase our revenue to $125 million, that's our plan," said MTA Executive Director and CEO Elliott Sanders. "And then if this goes well, we think there's a potential to do another 125 percent on top of that."

The MTA said it plans to generate millions of dollars by selling advertising packages that include digital ads and stand-alone displays inside subway stations.

If successful, the agency plans to expand the program to city buses.

Swede Oct 3, 2008 9:46 AM

^That's a fairly common idea nowadays. We've had those for 5+ years now, some are boring, some are clever. The best one so far:

NYC4Life Oct 10, 2008 12:15 AM

Work on the number 7 Subway line extension.

Pics By: scumonkey - Wired New York


NYC4Life Oct 10, 2008 12:17 AM


10/09/2008 12:49 PM

DOT Moves Forward With Flight Auction Plan

The plan to charge airlines to use three area airports is one step closer to taking off, despite legal challenges.

Today, Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters announced the rules to auction-off 10 percent of the "slots" at John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark.

The airports have been blamed for causing two-thirds of flight delays around the nation. The DOT hopes paying to land and take off will force the airlines to put the limited space to better use.

The money raised would go to infrastructure improvements.

"Without slot options, consumers will bare the brunt of higher fares, fewer choices, and deteriorating service," said D.J. Gribbin, general counsel for the DOT. "All told our efforts to expand capacity and cut delays in the New York region will lead to more flights, better service, additional choices, and lower fares for countless thousands of travelers."

Last month, a ruling by congressional investigators sided with the Port Authority, which is against the plan. The lawmakers say the federal government has no right to auction off the space.

Other opponents like the Air Transport Association have already filed a lawsuit against the plan.

Today, the trade association released a statement saying in part: "...the DOT should follow the recommendations made by the New York Aviation Rulemaking Committee and implement fair and practical solutions to address delays and add needed new capacity."

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

NYC4Life Oct 11, 2008 7:11 PM


10/11/2008 11:53 AM
L Subway Line Undergoes Service Changes

Construction along the L line means some service changes for passengers this weekend.

Starting today and for the next two weekends, shuttle buses will replace trains between Rockaway Parkway and Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues.

Other service changes have already been affecting the L.

During late night hours through November 14, free shuttle buses are replacing trains between Broadway Junction and the Myrtle-Wyckoff stop.
Riders can transfer to the A or J trains at Broadway Junction.

And on weekdays through the end of the month, L trains are running every 30 minutes between Broadway Junction and Rockaway Parkway.

For more information, visit

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

NYC4Life Oct 15, 2008 4:24 AM


Updated 11:37 AM

MTA Distributes Rider Report Cards On 4 Subway Line

Riders of the 4 subway line are getting another chance to sound off about their commutes this week.

New York City Transit handed out rider report cards this morning at stations in Brooklyn.

Cards will be handed out tomorrow at 4 train stations in Manhattan, with the rest handed out in the Bronx on Thursday and Friday.

You can also fill out an online report card at

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

NYC4Life Oct 16, 2008 11:22 PM

NY Post


Last updated: 5:14 am
October 16, 2008
Posted: 4:42 am
October 16, 2008
IN THE HEIGHTS: Artist's rendition of the planned rehab for the Broadway bus station in Washington Heights.

The Port Authority yesterday unveiled designs for its planned, $152 million overhaul of the aging George Washington Bridge bus station in Washington Heights, including a two-block section along Broadway.

The project will include a full renovation of the depot, which was built in 1963, and a fourfold increase in the amount of retail space.

Under the agreement with retail developer Acadia Realty Trust, the firm will spend $102 million on the renovations, while the PA will chip in $52 million. A lease is expected to be finalized in 2010, when work would begin.

"We're moving ahead and we don't anticipate any problems," said PA spokesman Steve Coleman of the prospects of raising funds for the project, despite the current financial crisis.

The project will create 119,000 square feet of retail space. Current tenants include an OTB parlor, newsstands and assorted shops. Leases for new stores are expected to be signed within a year.

Storefronts on both sides of Broadway, between 178th and 179th Streets, would be expanded.

Copyright 2008 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

NYC4Life Oct 16, 2008 11:23 PM


Updated 1:11 PM

Regional Plan Assoc. Releases Transportation Investment Blueprint

A transportation blueprint for the city and Northern New Jersey was released today by the Regional Plan Association.

The plan includes nearly 40 recommendations, including upgraded subway, bus, commuter rail, ferry, and light rail projects. The goal is to provide transportation to under-served areas of the city.

The recommendations include adding high-speed ferry service to parts of Brooklyn and the Bronx. The group also wants to see an express bus lane on the Staten Island Expressway and an extension of Nostrand Avenue to Kings Highway. They want to see the conversion of the Long Island Rail Road Atlantic Branch into three new stations

In addition, they're recommending a light rail loop in Manhattan, in addition to other transit upgrades in the borough.

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

NYC4Life Oct 16, 2008 11:25 PM


10/16/2008 10:47 AM

Transit Advocates To Candidates: "Get America Moving Again"
By: Bobby Cuza

Barack Obama and John McCain have not talked a lot about transit issues on their race to the White House, but a group of local officials and advocates is trying to change that. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

"Our message is clear to the presidential candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama: invest in transit and transportation and get America moving again," said Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign.

John McCain has pushed for alternative fuels and cleaner car technology, but not mass transit. Barack Obama has talked about strengthening transportation systems, even starting an infrastructure investment program.

But no matter which candidate you prefer, transit has not been a hot topic on the campaign trail.

However, with the economy crumbling, transit advocates say there's no better time to invest in transportation infrastructure, a move they argue could create jobs and jump start the economy.

"If we do it right, it will help us get out of the very deep recession we're going into more quickly," said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. "It will put hundreds of thousands or millions of people to work. It will make us more competitive. It will help revive our economy."

There are also a number of specific Metropolitan Transportation Authority projects now under construction that are dependent on federal funding – among them, East Side Access, the plan to bring the Long Island Rail Road trains to Grand Central Terminal, and the Second Avenue Subway.

"The Second Avenue subway will relieve crowding on the most overcrowded subway in the country, the Lexington Avenue line," said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. "Believe me, there's a limit to how many people you can stuff into one subway car."

It's not just the expansion projects at risk. MTA officials, currently facing massive budget deficits, say without more government funding, day-to-day service may suffer as well.

"We may not be able to prevent a return to that transit decay: the graffiti, the subway breakdowns that was part and parcel of the 1970s and 1980s, without Washington," warned MTA Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Elliot "Lee" Sander.

And that, officials say, is something New York cannot afford.

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

NYC4Life Oct 16, 2008 11:31 PM

Real Deal New York

Updated On 10/16/08 at 03:48PM

Halstead uses taxi rooftop ads as vehicle for advertising
Halstead unveils rooftop taxi ads

By Candace Taylor

Halstead Property is taking its new advertising campaign to the streets.

Some 200 of the city’s new hybrid taxicabs are now displaying ads for the real estate company on rooftop digital video screens.

The double-sided LCD flat-screens first appeared atop New York City cabs in March. Though real estate firms have long advertised on taxi rooftops and on TVs inside the cabs, Halstead is the first to take advantage of the new LCD technology, according to Halstead President Diane Ramirez.

“They’re incredibly eye-catching,” Ramirez said. “You just can’t miss them. They’re above the sea of car roofs.”

The cabs with ads, which feature slogans from the company’s fall luxury ad campaign, were rolled out yesterday afternoon. The ads will run on a continuous loop 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for more than a month, minus two hours when the cabs are cleaned and refueled. The same ads will also be displayed on kiosks throughout the city starting Saturday.

“Name-dropping doesn’t sell high-end property,” one green-and-white ad reads. “We do.” The campaign was devised by Pool Inc., the same firm that oversaw Halstead’s 2006 brand overhaul.

The taxi campaign is part of Halstead's new “S3” service for sellers of properties for more than $5 million. With S3, brokers meet with Halstead’s marketing department to create a customized plan for each property, then chart its progress through an online “marketing checklist,” which shows advertising initiatives and Web statistics for the listing, such as the daily number of visitors to the listing page.

“They don’t have to go to the agent and say, what’s been happening this week?” explained Robyn Kammerer, Halstead’s vice president of communications. “It allows the seller to have more control.”

Halstead is not the first company to advertise on taxi rooftops.

Christina Lowris, an executive vice president of marketing and advertising at the Corcoran Group, said Corcoran has advertised on taxi rooftops on and off for the past 10 years, though not in a digital format. For now, though, Corcoran is pleased with the success of its interior tax ads, she said, and may look to expand them in the future.

“We’ve had amazing success with the taxicab screen as a medium, so we’re going to stick with that,” she said. “You have a more captive audience in the back of a taxi than on top of a passing cab.”

Now is the ideal time to launch S3, Halstead's Ramirez said, since sellers are looking for a more strategy-based approach in response to the softening real estate market.

“Now that everyone’s a little more anxious, the timing could not be more perfect for our message of service and accountability,” she said.

Though the campaign has been in the works for some time, the taxis will help spread the word, she said.

“We wanted to get the message out that our strategy and market plans, and this great accountability, is really what you need to sell property,” she said. “Sometimes you have to shout.”

NYC4Life Oct 20, 2008 11:50 PM

NY Daily News

Park Slope advocates push for simple fix at Fourth Ave./Ninth St. stop


Sunday, October 19th 2008, 5:20 PM

Park Slope advocates fear the Fourth Ave. stop at Ninth St. won't ever be refurbished because of budget problems - so they want simpler fixes made now.

"Instead of a high-dollar renovation, we can achieve something tangible for less money," said Michael Cairl of the Park Slope Civic Council.

Their proposal includes refurbishing a spot under the F-line viaduct for use as a newsstand or a cafe.

"That would be a way for the MTA to make some money," said Cairl. "In these times, the MTA needs to be more creative about how to maximize its real estate."

But Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said they've already determined what repairs need to be done, and said the project would begin in 2010.

New York City Transit spokesman Charles Seaton said the agency already has worked out "all of the parameters" for the project, which is now slated to be finished by 2012.

The project will include refurbishing station platforms as well as the windows over Fourth Ave.

"It's always more money to go back" and redesign the project, Seaton said.

High on the Park Slope Civic Council's list of needed improvements is the reopening of a long-shuttered entrance on the eastern side of Fourth Ave.
Park Slope residents now have to cross five lanes of traffic to get to the F train.

Transportation Alternatives' Shinpei Tsay said reopening of the entrance would make the dangerous intersection of Ninth St. and Fourth Ave. safer for pedestrians.

A large number of pedestrians are hurt there, she said.

"The street is very wide, so cars speed," she said.

The Civic Council also wants to see improved lighting under the F-line tracks of Fourth Ave., and some art in addition to the newsstand or a cafe.

They also say lighting and security should be improved in the long passageways riders must navigate to transfer between the F and R lines.

The station is "dank and dark," said Cairl.

© Copyright 2008 All rights reserved.

ardecila Oct 20, 2008 11:51 PM

^^ My favorite station on the entire New York subway system. It has a beautiful Art Deco design, and I'm glad to see that a renovation is planned.

NYC4Life Oct 21, 2008 5:44 PM

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Jay St. Station, MTA Bldg. Called Blight on Downtown
by Raanan Geberer (), published online 10-20-2008

Leaders Tell Agency: Rent It, Rehabilitate It or Sell It
By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Councilman David Yassky, with Borough President Marty Markowitz looking on, told the crowd yesterday that the nearly vacant MTA building at 370 Jay St. probably could be sold for $100 million. Eagle photo by Raanan Geberer

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN – If you get off the subway at Jay Street-Borough Hall (A, C and F trains) to come to Downtown Brooklyn, there’s no way you can’t notice the missing tiles, exposed wiring, leaking walls and other signs that the station has seen better days.

And if you happen to get off at one particular entrance – the one that leads up to an open enclosure within the MTA building at 370 Jay St. – there’s no way you can’t notice the empty storefronts, peeling paint, trash, cigarette butts and signs that homeless people frequent the area.

That’s why Downtown Brooklyn business leaders, elected officials and others held a press conference Monday to demand that the MTA clean up both the underground station and the entrance in question, as well as the almost-empty building itself.

The building at 370 Jay St. was once the center of all activities for the city’s subway and bus system. Then, the MTA opened a new building on Boerum Place, and in 1998 it leased office space at 2 Broadway, Lower Manhattan.

The 370 Jay St. building has been “shrouded in a sidewalk shed,” in the words of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Joe Chan, for at least 10 years. Currently, says MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan, it houses only about 100 employees.

As for the station, it received a grade of “F” from the Transit Riders Council in the categories of odor, leaking ceiling, cleanliness of ceilings and leaking walls. It received a grade of “C” for lighting, cleanliness of floors, cleanliness of walls and litter.

Sell the Building, They Say

Borough President Marty Markowitz pointed out that “the MTA has budgeted $150 million toward renovating the building for its back offices, but says it won’t be fully occupied until 2016.” The building, he said, could be leased to attract corporate, retail or nonprofit tenants – or sold for at least $75 million.

“Let the building go,” Markowitz said, addressing the MTA. “Let 370 Jay St. go.”

Michael Nill, head of the Brooklyn Friends School, and Michael Gold of Sid’s Hardware both said that the building was never in very good condition to begin with, and got worse after the MTA started moving employees out of it. “I hear plenty of comments,” said Gold. “They complain about garbage, homeless people, disrepair.”

Chan of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership said that not only is the building vacant and in disrepair, MTA vehicles block the street off, so that bus passengers must walk into the street to catch buses. “The blighted condition of the Jay Street block and the subway station below contradicts and undermines the economic growth happening in the area and serves as a discouragement for additional investment.”

Assemblywoman Joan Millman recalled how three or four years ago, she and Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign took a tour of the facility and the station, “and we were able to peel the paint off the ceiling.”

Sam Ibrahim, general manager of the nearby New York Marriott Hotel of the Brooklyn Bridge, added that many of his clientele are foreign tourists, and that the station and entranceway are the first impression they see of Downtown Brooklyn. Some are scared to go into the subway there, especially at night, because of poor lighting, and the blighted condition may serve as a reason for some to stay in Manhattan instead the next time they come to the city.

In response, Donovan of the MTA said, “The MTA remains committed to renovating 370 Jay St. to house our shared services initiative and many other employees currently housed in leased office space. We expect to fund the renovation in the capital plan that begins in 2010, with initial occupancy in 2011.”

Regarding the station itself, he said, “MTA New York City Transit is investing $106 million to rehabilitate the Jay Street station and to construct a transfer station between the Jay and Lawrence street stations with ADA elevators.”

© Brooklyn Daily Eagle 2008

NYC4Life Oct 22, 2008 8:24 PM

JetBlue's New Terminal at JFK Offers Huge Capacity, No Charm

Review by James S. Russell
Electronic kiosks sit in the departure lobby of JetBlue Airways new terminal 5 at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. Photographer: Susan Stava/Gensler via Bloomberg News

Oct. 22 (Bloomberg) -- A canopy over the departure curb of JetBlue's new terminal at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport is about as welcoming as what you would find at a million-square- foot warehouse along the New Jersey Turnpike. You expect to see tractor-trailers backing into the doorways. The new building, called Terminal 5, opens to passengers today.

JetBlue Airways has invented a loyalty-inspiring bargain brand with smart customer service and meaningful design touches -- like bigger seats -- that actually improve today's degraded flying experience. A few of those touches still can be found within Terminal 5, but that savvy goes missing in the architecture of the building itself by New York-based Gensler, one of the largest architecture firms in the U.S.

As if intended to remind passengers of the genteel flying experience of yore, Terminal 5 wraps around Eero Saarinen's 1962 TWA Flight Center, stranding it on a plane of gravel. Beneath TWA's lusciously curving, white concrete roofs, graceful stairways swept passengers up to preflight martinis and views of the swirling crowds below.

Long obsolete, it's also a reminder of how changes in airline technologies and business models have ground to dust engineers' ideal layouts and architects' grandest aspirations.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which put up $663 million of the terminal's $743 million cost (JetBlue is covering the rest), reluctantly agreed to retain the Flight Center and is completing an asbestos cleanup. You'll be able to check in there someday, but other possible uses remain in play.

Bill Hooper, Gensler's project director, chose not to compete with the Flight Center's self-conscious acrobatics in his design of the expanded terminal. Yet he seems to have ceded any attempt whatever at expressiveness.

Massive Concrete Walls

The terminal hunkers behind massive retaining walls of precast concrete.

The departure canopy tips up at one end in what is described as a gesture reminiscent of Saarinen's soaring shape. It is, instead, one of many architectural afterthoughts: an awkward transition between a high pedestrian bridge and the lower terminal building.

Passengers will scurry through Terminal 5's ticketing hall as quickly as possible, so JetBlue has traded the old architectural grandeur for a ceiling that slopes up to high windows diffusing welcome daylight through thick metal trusses. The central half of the hall is devoted to waiting lines for the 20-lane security area.

Shoeless Feet

JetBlue claims it's the largest checkpoint in the country, and some nice details reduce the usual stockyard anxiety. Frequent travelers can select lines that bypass those with children or otherwise need to move more slowly. Rubber flooring feels more comfortable under shoeless feet. A long bench beyond the X-ray scanners allows disheveled passengers to regroup after a pat-down.

The security area opens to a 55,000-square-foot ``marketplace.'' Tightly packed masses of tables serving 47 stores, restaurants and fast-food outlets herd 40,000 or more daily passengers through this awkwardly laid-out triangle to three concourses, two of which are tucked obscurely in far corners.

The airline brought in David Rockwell, the well-known designer of restaurants and Broadway shows, to liven up the clumsy trusses supporting a tipped-up ceiling of corrugated metal. He suspended a 40-foot-diameter ring hosting video graphics using spindly metal wires that JetBlue, in a moment of PR desperation, has compared to Brooklyn Bridge cables.

Clever Stores

The airline redeems itself somewhat with clever stores -- among them a Ron Jon Surf Shop and Muji to Go, the low-priced Japanese retailer of minimalist clothing and pencil holders.

Gensler has inelegantly though effectively provided high windows to light the concourses, a spirit-lifter, especially for delayed passengers.

The architect devoted well-deserved attention to the waiting areas by providing a higher-than-average seating count. (The chairs are good-looking and comfortable but nap-resistant.) A high-stooled bar offers outlets to charge electronics and touch screens to order food.

JetBlue says it can deliver luggage to the claim area nine minutes after arrival. Since a one-hour wait for bags at JFK is not unusual, this counts as some kind of miracle.

Most of what's best about the terminal is service-driven. If JetBlue can keep that up, few will worry that this monument to human throughput (20 million passengers annually) resigns itself to the increasingly grueling experience of flying rather than enlivening it.

NYC4Life Oct 23, 2008 11:32 PM

NY Times

Maybe There Is Another Train Right Behind

Published: October 22, 2008

It’s one of the great eye-rolling moments of life in New York: as subway riders try to jam onto a crowded train at rush hour, the conductor makes an announcement telling them to stay on the platform because “there’s another train right behind this one.”
Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times
Greg Lombardi, the L line’s general manager, seated at right, and Frank J. Picone, standing, with a TV monitor to be used at the Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues station to show trains’ locations.

To which most straphangers respond: Yeah, right.

Now, New York City Transit aims to counter that skepticism with a novel experiment at the Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues station on the L line in Brooklyn. Beginning in December, officials will install a computer screen at each end of the platform showing a graphic representation of the entire L line and the location of every train on it. Waiting passengers can watch the trains move along the tracks as the data is updated every 15 seconds. That way, passengers can see for themselves if there really is another train “right behind this one.”

If the system works, and riders like it, it could be installed in other stations on the L line, said Greg Lombardi, the line’s general manager, who helped create the system. Ultimately it could be used on other lines as well.

“There’s no end to the possibilities,” said Wilson M. Milian, a director of technology projects at the transit agency. He said that the same information could some day be displayed on the Internet, so that riders could quickly check the location of trains before heading to the subway.

Mr. Lombardi said the system might also be able to point straphangers to the least crowded cars on a train, using information from onboard sensors that monitor the weight of each car.

The screens at the Myrtle-Wyckoff station will complement a system that has been in place on the L line for more than a year, using electronic signs and announcements to tell passengers approximately how many minutes they will have to wait for the next train to arrive.

But because that system uses a computer program to estimate train movements based on a set schedule, it can sometimes be wrong — when, for instance, a train is held in a station because of a mechanical problem or an ill passenger.

Mr. Lombardi said that he has frequently heard complaints from riders who felt that the existing system was often misleading.

So he met in January with Mr. Milian and other technology experts and asked if there was a way to give passengers similar information in a visual way. The experts said they could capture real-time train locations from the L line’s computerized operating system — the most technologically advanced in the subway system — and display them on video terminals for riders.

They moved quickly and cheaply, for the transit agency. Technicians began adapting software. Mr. Lombardi went to Circuit City and bought three 42-inch flat-screen television sets on sale for $999 each.

The work has gone so quickly in part because it is the fruit of a new effort to change how individual subway lines are managed and make the transit agency less bureaucratic. As part of that effort, the L line was one of the first to get a general manager — Mr. Lombardi was given the job last December — empowered to make decisions over certain issues that directly affect riders.

The video system is still being perfected. But it was up and running on Wednesday in a room at the transit agency’s headquarters. It seemed a world away from the garbled, and not always accurate, announcements that have long plagued the subway.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

ardecila Oct 24, 2008 8:28 AM

^^ Looks awesome. Our new railcars in Chicago are supposed to have a similar graphic on an LCD screen within the cars themselves, showing where along the line your train is. I assume the same technology would easily adapt to the LED screens in the stations. (CTA also promised us some of those, but so far, we've seen nothing).

Anyway, MTA management seems to be competent and efficient - which sounds great from my vantage point.

NYC4Life Oct 24, 2008 9:31 PM

NY Daily News

New Metro-North station by Yankee Stadium right on track

Thursday, October 23rd 2008, 12:45 AM

The Steinbrenner boys aren't the only ones busy during this off-season in the Bronx.

Metro-North Railroad is making progress on constructing a train station near the new Yankee Stadium, and the railroad has scheduled a public hearing for November to determine fares to and from the station.

The hearing is required before the railroad can begin service to the Hudson Line station, which is expected to open in the spring.

The railroad also is refining schedules and operation plans for the station, which will see regular weekday and weekend service all year - not just when the Yankees are in town.

The emerging station has two 10-car platforms, a 10,000-square-foot covered mezzanine and a 450-foot overpass with elevators and stairs.

The overpass is just north of 153rd St.

"We're making good progress building this new station, especially considering the work goes on while trains go by, highway traffic continues above, and with buildings and columns all around," said Metro-North President Howard Permut.

"We look forward to serving this section of the Bronx, not just on game days but all year-round."

On game days, fans riding the Hudson Line to the stadium get a one-seat ride. Riders on the New Haven and Harlem lines will need to make a simple transfer at certain times.

On the way to the weekday and night games, New Haven and Harlem line riders heading south will be directed to get off at the 125th St. station and walk across the platform to a waiting shuttle train to the stadium.

Heading home during the work week, those fans will be able to simply board a train at the new station for direct service to their destinations.

On weekends, fans from Manhattan will have to take shuttle trains.

The different travel patterns are necessary because of the large number of trains - 700 - running to and from Grand Central Terminal on weekdays.

The new service will take advantage of a U-shaped stretch of track in the Mott Haven Yard called a wye. It connects the New Haven and Harlem lines, which run through the center of the Bronx, to the Hudson Line, which runs along the Hudson River.

Metro-North expects as many as 10,000 riders from New York, Connecticut and New Jersey will use the new station when the Yankees are in town.

The stop will be in the same fare zone as nearby stations such as Morris Heights and University Heights. A one-way peak ticket from those stops to Grand Central costs $6.50 while an off-peak ticket is $5. A monthly unlimited-ride pass costs $149.

The Yankees didn't contribute toward the construction of the station. The MTA is paying $52 million, while the city is kicking in $39 million, according to Metro-North

© Copyright 2008

NYC4Life Nov 4, 2008 2:27 AM

NY Times

Judge Kills Mayor’s Try at Greening Taxi Fleets

Published: October 31, 2008

A federal judge dealt a blow on Friday to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s efforts to improve air quality in the city, blocking a rule that all new taxis must meet stringent fuel efficiency standards.

The rule, which was scheduled to take effect on Saturday, would have made it mandatory for most cabs to be hybrid gas-and-electric vehicles by 2012. In response to the judge’s order, the city signaled that it would seek to achieve similar results by other means, perhaps by creating a system of incentives that would effectively push most cab owners to buy hybrid vehicles instead of the less fuel-efficient Ford Crown Victoria model that is the workhorse of today’s taxi fleet.

Fleet owners and other industry members had filed a lawsuit against the rule, which is a major component of the mayor’s effort to make city policies more environmentally responsible.

The judge, Paul A. Crotty, of Federal District Court in Manhattan, issued an injunction to stop the city from enforcing the rule because, he said in a written order, the plaintiffs were likely to succeed in a key legal argument —that only the federal government has the right, under existing laws, to set fuel efficiency standards.

In a written statement, Mr. Bloomberg said, “We are very disappointed in the decision.”

The statement said that the city was considering an appeal of the judge’s order. “The decision is not a ruling against hybrid cabs,” the statement continued, “rather a ruling that archaic Washington regulations are applicable and therefore New York City, and all other cities, are prevented from choosing to create cleaner air and a healthier place to live.”

In response to the judge’s order, the statement said, the mayor instructed the Taxi and Limousine Commission to come up with a new program, “with strong incentives for the use of fuel-efficient vehicles and heavy disincentives for use of the inefficient vehicles of a past generation.”

The commission is considering a rule that would reduce the number of years that less fuel-efficient cabs could remain on the road, a city official briefed on the commission’s plans said. Currently, cabs must be replaced after three to five years, depending in part on how frequently they are driven.

Ron Sherman, president of the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, the principal group behind the lawsuit, applauded the judge’s decision.

“This has never been about whether or not the taxi industry should be embracing a greener, more fuel-efficient fleet,” Mr. Sherman said in a written statement. “This has been about safety and common sense.”

The rule that was to take effect on Saturday required that most new taxicabs achieve a fuel-efficiency rating of at least 25 miles per gallon, a standard that can be met almost exclusively by hybrids. The Crown Victoria gets 12 to 14 miles per gallon.

Some taxi owners switched voluntarily to hybrid vehicles in advance of the requirement. A commission spokesman, Alan Fromberg, said there were 13,237 taxis on the road. Almost 1,500 of those are hybrids.

Many in the taxi industry have resisted the change, however, claiming that the available hybrids were not designed for the rough-and-tumble duty of New York cabs and were more prone to costly breakdowns. They have also argued that the lighter and smaller hybrids are less safe, with occupants more likely to be injured in accidents. Judge Crotty said that questions of safety were not factors in his decision.

The decision said that the federal government set fuel efficiency standards under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, which bars state and local governments from setting their own, competing standards.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

NYC4Life Nov 4, 2008 2:35 AM

Updated 9:11 AM

Straphangers Grade The D Line

D train riders are getting a chance to sound-off about their line this week.

Starting today, New York City Transit is handing out rider report cards along the D line.

The cards are being distributed between 7:30 and 9:30 in the morning starting today and running through Thursday.

Cards are being handed out today at the following stations: Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue, Bay 50th Street, 25th Avenue, Grand Street, Broadway-Lafayette Street, West 4th Street-Washington Square, and 34th Street-Herald Square.

Riders can get cards at more stations in Manhattan and the Bronx later this week.

Straphangers can also fill out the report card online at

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

NYC4Life Nov 4, 2008 11:07 PM

11/04/2008 10:56 AM

GPS System For City Buses May Lose Support

A plan to outfit city buses with satellite tracking devices could reportedly soon be grounded.

The Daily News says transit officials are considering killing the program which tracks buses and provides arrival time information to riders using information screens at bus stops.

The paper says transit officials have stopped work while they decide whether to go forward with the program.

The contractor for the project is two years behind schedule and has been delayed by software problems.

The signs that have been installed have been shut off because the data is inaccurate.

In 2005, New York City Transit signed a $13 million contract to outfit 185 buses in Manhattan with the technology.

The city has the option of expanding the program to the entire system for $99 million.

NYC4Life Nov 9, 2008 8:50 PM

NY Times

November 6, 2008, 5:28 pm

To Rename Triborough for R.F.K., $4 Million

By William Neuman
Kerry Kennedy, founder of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, at a media briefing on the renaming of the Triborough Bridge at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s headquarters. (Photo: John Marshall Mantel for The New York Times)

New York State will have to spend $4 million to replace road signs changing the name of the Triborough Bridge to the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, a spokesman for the State Department of Transportation said on Thursday.

The spokesman, Adam Levine, acknowledged that the state is in a financial crisis and he said the money would not be spent right away.

He said that it will take time to survey the existing signs and design new ones, and that a contract for the news signs is not expected to be put out for bids until 2011.

“If the fiscal climate does not improve by 2011 the law does give us some flexibility so we will be able to perhaps make some adjustments to the schedule,” Mr. Levine said.

The are 139 signs that must be replaced, he said, on roadways in Manhattan, The Bronx and Queens leading up to the bridge.
In addition, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Transportation said it will spend $100,000 over the next six months to replace 12 large overhead road signs and 40 smaller signs. The reason the cost to the state is so much greater appeared to be because it must replace a larger number of the more costly overhead signs.
The Triborough Bridge has been renamed for Senator Robert F. Kennedy. (Photo: John F. Kennedy Library)

In January, with support from the Kennedy family, Gov. Eliot Spitzer proposed renaming the bridge in honor of Mr. Kennedy. A bill ordering the change was passed by the Legislature in June and it was signed into law by Gov. David A. Paterson.

Mr. Paterson and other elected officials are expected to attend a rededication ceremony for the bridge in Queens on Nov. 19.

Mr. Levine said that the state has already put up five signs around the bridge announcing the change in name. Those signs will remain covered until the ceremony. They cost $14,000, he said.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the bridge, said that it had to change only nine large signs. The cost for materials, it said, would be $3,500. An authority spokesman did not give an estimate of the labor cost of making the change.

Mr. Levine said the transportation department is considering ways to make the new signs less costly. A shorter name makes for a smaller, lighter and less expensive sign, he said. That could mean that most signs will be as abbreviated as possible, with a likely version reading: “RFK Bridge.”

Already, ads have begun to appear in subway stations, on trains and on buses announcing the name change. The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights arranged for the financing for the ads, which, the authority said, cost $16,000.

The bridge, which opened in 1936, connects the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan. Mr. Kennedy was the United States attorney general when his brother John F. Kennedy was president. He was elected senator from New York in 1964. He was shot to death in Los Angeles, in June 1968, during his campaign for president.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

NYC4Life Nov 9, 2008 8:52 PM

New York Observer

Port Authority Boss Wants Federal Dollars For Jersey Transit Tunnel

by Eliot Brown | November 7, 2008

From the Holland Tunnel to the Golden Gate Bridge, many a tunnel and bridge were built during times of economic distress, with the federal government throwing taxpayer dollars at public works to stimulate the economy.

So why not add a new $7.6 billion New Jersey Transit tunnel to the list?
That’s what the Port Authority thinks, anyhow, as its chairman Anthony Coscia today called on Congress to include money for the tunnel as part of a stimulus package that is expected to be negotiated in coming weeks.

Mr. Coscia's remarks came during a business symposium in Jersey City.

The project, a set of two tunnels and new platforms by Penn Station known as Access to the Region’s Core, is awaiting federal funding to the tune of $3 billion in order to move forward. The project, which already has $4.5 billion in funding from the Port Authority and New Jersey Transit, has wide support, including the backing of James Simpson, administrator for the Federal Transit Administration, which would fund the project.

One small problem: The FTA’s well of cash for such projects has run dry.

It won’t likely be replenished for some time to come, leaving the near-term fate of the project uncertain.

Thus, Mr. Coscia seems to see opportunity knocking in the form of a stimulus package. Transit advocates and some in Congress have called for much of that stimulus to come in the form of dollars for infrastructure projects, as big public works create thousands of jobs.

“A federal economic stimulus package that includes ARC funding would allow us to get shovels in the ground in the first half of 2009 and get people to work as quickly as possible,” Mr. Coscia said in a prepared statement.

© 2008 Observer Media Group, All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

NYC4Life Nov 9, 2008 8:55 PM

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Transportation Alternatives Street Redesign Contest Announces Winners

by Raanan Geberer (), published online 11-05-2008

Designs Turn Brooklyn Traffic Nightmare Into Safe Public Space
`Streets for Everyone’ by Rogers Marvel Architects is one of three winners of a competition sponsored by Transportation Alternatives to redo the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Ninth Street in Gowanus, Brooklyn.
Photo courtesy of Rogers Marvel Architects

GOWANUS -- Transportation Alternatives announced three winners recently for "Designing the 21st Century Street," an open design competition that challenged New Yorkers to safely accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, transit, trucks and cars on the same "complete street."

In this case, the street was the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Ninth Street. The contest attracted more than 100 submissions from 13 countries.

“This is a particularly dangerous intersection,” said Wiley Norvell, spokesman for Transportation Alternatives, “because it has a lot of pedestrians coming out of the subway station and a lot of bus routes. Unlike wide intersections in Manhattan, where congestion makes the speeds slow, cars can race down Fourth Avenue most times of the day.”

The winning entries, "Shared Space" by Steven Nutter, "Streets for Everyone" by Rogers Marvel Architects, and "Streets Come Alive" by LEVON, prioritized pedestrians and bicyclists first, while maintaining the street as a transit hub and truck route.

Norvell pointed out that between 1995 and 2005, 55 pedestrians were struck and injured by cars there, 15 bicyclists were struck, and one pedestrian was killed. “Fourth Avenue is a very deadly corridor,” he commented.

One of the ideas of the redesign, Norvell commented, is to not only make the intersection safe, but to make the area a “destination” for walkers.

“Nowadays, if you’re just walking [around Park Slope], you’d walk down to Fourth Avenue, get to the intersection and head back to the Slope. We want to turn it more into a place where you’d want to find out what’s on the other side,” he said.

Jonathan Marvel of Rogers Marvel Architects commented, “We do a lot of projects with streets and with public space. This competition, this important intersection, could be a great template for some of our new ideas.”

One of the objectives, he said, is to create “multi-level” street use. The street would be shared between pedestrians, cyclists and cars – it would not just be for shopping, it would be for gathering and transportation.”

One unusual component of the Rogers Marvel plan is that the bike path would be in the center of the street, not off to the side. “We studied how cyclists use the turning lanes,” said Marvel. “Bikers like to go in straight lines – they don’t like turning. Being in the center allows them to be seen by other vehicles and gives them better protection.”

© Brooklyn Daily Eagle 2008

orulz Nov 10, 2008 2:35 AM

I'm curious, what's the latest on the Staten Island North Shore and West Shore light rail plans? I understand there is some sort of alternatives study in progress. I think it would make the most sense to build the North Shore as an extension of the existing Staten Island Railroad, and the West Shore as an extension of NJT's Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line.

CGII Nov 10, 2008 8:51 PM


Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3872991)
Anyway, MTA management seems to be competent and efficient - which sounds great from my vantage point.



ardecila Nov 11, 2008 4:55 AM

Again, it's all relative... the CTA makes the MTA look like an ISO-9000 company by comparison.

NYC4Life Nov 11, 2008 6:37 PM


Updated 2:14 PM

MTA Threatens More Fare Hikes, Service Cuts

At a board meeting this morning, the Metropolitan Transporation Authority threatened more fare hikes and service cuts if the city and state cannot provide additional funding.

As a result of the economic slowdown, the agency said today that its deficit for next year has grown $575 million over the last four months to a total of $1.2 billion.

The MTA blames a decrease in state tax revenue and aid from the city.

"If the governor and the Legislature do not act within a certain period of time, in the spring, then the fare and toll increase and the service reductions will take place," said MTA Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Elliot "Lee" Sander.

In response, the MTA says that fares will have to increase. The question still remains of how much the hike will be.

The MTA had proposed an average increase of 8 percent across the board on fares on subways and buses, as well as tolls on MTA bridges and tunnels. However, it now appears the agency will have to propose an even larger increase.

The agency hopes that the state will be able to provide it with some new revenue stream to avoid these further hikes and service cuts.

Governor David Paterson released a statement, saying in part, "Addressing the fiscal challenges facing the MTA and the state over the next several years will require shared sacrifice, difficult choices, and cooperation from all funding partners. We should be open and transparent in facing these challenges and in discussing options."

Among the options being proposed is a toll on East River bridges.

Sources tell NY1 that a special state panel is still considering tolls on the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg, and Queensboro bridges.

The commission, appointed by Governor David Paterson, is expected to hand over its recommendations on new funding sources next month.

Most drivers who spoke with said they were dead-set against adding any new tolls.

"I hate the idea. I hate it," said one driver. "I definitely don't think it's right, especially now the with economy; people are suffering and we don't have money to put food on our table."

"We're paying enough right now," said another. "It's just going to the city. It's like $100 before I even get into work, so I'm not for it, that's for sure."

"That's crazy," said a third. "In this economy now I think we're already hurting but, I guess they got to get the money from somewhere."

With the MTA warning that higher transit fares are on the way, taking the train – or the bus – will also take a bigger bite out of your budget.

"It's better to take the subway if there's going to be toll," said one New Yorker. "The problem is, the subway is already so packed. With another toll, it's going to be more packed."

The irony is that if the mayor's congestion pricing plan had passed in the spring, the city would have been eligible for $354 million in federal funding. That money has already been given to other cities.

Both City Hall and Albany would have to sign off on adding tolls to the East River bridges.

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

NYC4Life Nov 11, 2008 6:37 PM

NY Times

November 10, 2008, 11:32 am

M.T.A. Faces $1.2 Billion Deficit

By Sewell Chan AND William Neuman

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority faces a $1.2 billion budget deficit in 2009 — $300 million more than it had projected in July — that will very likely require new fare and toll increases or service reductions unless it gets new state and city aid or finds new sources of revenue, officials warned on Monday morning.

At a meeting of the finance committee of the authority’s board, the authority’s chief executive, Elliot G. Sander, said the authority faces a dire fiscal situation that could influence riders across the subway, bus and commuter-rail networks. The deficit was caused, he said, by the collapse of revenues from real estate and corporate taxes, which until just a few years ago had given the authority a string of healthy surpluses.

“The word draconian is not inappropriate,” Mr. Sander said at a news conference after the meeting. He was flanked by the authority’s chairman, H. Dale Hemmerdinger, and its chief financial officer, Gary J. Dellaverson, in describing the potential service reductions.

“They will be very, very significant,” Mr. Sander said. “Whatever that mix that we come up with, in terms of fare and toll increases and service reductions, there’s no question that they would have an impact, significantly, on our customer and on the functioning of that region.”

The magnitude of the fiscal challenges confronting the authority was evident in a PowerPoint presentation presented at the meeting and posted to the authority’s Web site.

Real estate transaction taxes, which represent an important share of M.T.A. revenue, provided the authority with more than $1.4 billion in 2006 and nearly $1.6 billion in 2007. This year, the authority is on track to collect only $995 million in such taxes — about $50 million less than had been projected in July.

And the situation is expected to get even worse. The authority now expects to collect $895 million in real estate taxes next year, and $877 million in 2010.

The authority is required to pass a balanced budget in December for the fiscal year that starts on Jan. 1. A final decision on the fare and toll increases, and service cuts, will most likely not be reached until after a state commission on M.T.A. finances, appointed by Gov. David A. Paterson and led by a former authority chairman, Richard Ravitch, delivers its report on Dec. 5 and after Mr. Paterson releases the state executive budget on Dec. 16.

The Ravitch commission is contemplating imposing tolls on the four East River bridges — the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queensboro and Williamsburg Bridges — that are run by the city, unlike the authority’s bridges, like the Triborough, which already charge tolls.

Asked about the toll proposal, Mr. Sander, who was a city transportation commissioner in the Giuliani administration, replied: “I’ve previously said that from a broader transportation-policy standpoint, I’m comfortable with that, but that should not be interpreted as my support for it in this context. We are looking at that suggestion, along with many, as we’ve said publicly.”

Mr. Sander attributed the authority’s financial condition to the heavy borrowing for capital projects that occurred in the early part of this decade, when the authority was under the control of Gov. George E. Pataki and the previous chairman, Peter S. Kalikow.

“The 2000-2004 capital program was essentially put on a credit card,” Mr. Sander said, and is “the largest contributor” to the current operating deficit. Already, the heavy borrowing now costs the hundreds of millions of dollars in interest payments each year — and the figure is projected to rise to $2 billion by 2012.

Mr. Paterson said in a statement on Monday:
The financial information provided this morning to the M.T.A. Finance Committee is another reminder of the dire fiscal situation facing all New Yorkers.

In April, I appointed Richard Ravitch to head a commission charged with recommending strategies to fund M.T.A. capital projects and operating needs over the next 10 years, a period when the Authority will be under unprecedented financial pressure as it expands and rebuilds its core infrastructure to provide the additional capacity needed to allow the region to grow. The Commission will report its recommendations in early December.

Addressing the fiscal challenges facing the M.T.A. and the state over the next several years will require shared sacrifice, difficult choices and cooperation from all funding partners. We should be open and transparent in facing these challenges and in discussing options. The M.T.A.’s subway system, buses and extensive regional commuter rail network are the lifelines of the greatest city in the world, and I will continue to work with Richard Ravitch, M.T.A. Chairman Dale Hemmerdinger, M.T.A. C.E.O. and Executive Director Lee Sander, Mayor Bloomberg and the legislative leaders to ensure our transit system continues to serve the 8.5 million people who depend on it each day.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

NYC4Life Nov 13, 2008 8:50 PM


Updated 11/12/2008 10:19 PM

M96 Bus Named City's Slowest Service On Wheels

The Straphangers Campaign and Transportation Alternatives released their annual "Pokey" and "Schleppie" Awards Wednesday to point out the city’s slowest and least-reliable bus routes.

The Straphangers Campaign and Transportation Alternatives, two riders' advocacy groups, awarded the Pokey Award, which is shaped like a golden snail, to the crosstown M96 bus for being the slowest line.

The M96 bus was clocked in at just 3.7 mph.

"An excruciating speed. That's just barely faster than a human being walking, which is 3 mph," said Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign.

The slowest buses in every other borough also garnered an honorable mention.

The B63 bus between Bay Ridge and Cobble Hill in Brooklyn travels at 4.9 mph.

The Bx19 line between the New York Botanic Garden in the Bronx and Upper Manhattan goes at 5.3 mph.

The Q56 bus between Jamaica, Queens and East New York runs at 6.1 mph.

Lastly, the S42 line between New Brighton and the St. George Ferry Terminal goes at 11.4 mph.

The group also handed out the Schleppie Award, for least-reliable bus service, to the M101, 102 and 103 buses, which run on Lexington, Amsterdam and Lenox Avenues.

According to MTA statistics, more than a quarter of buses on those routes were either bunched together or had big gaps in service.

But Paul Steely White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, said recent adjustments to bus routes are proving useful and there is hope for improvement.

"Luckily, the MTA and the New York City [Department Of Transportation] are moving on Bus Rapid Transit in New York City. They need to do much more but the early returns are very positive," said White.

The Bx12 line along Fordham Road has riders pay before getting on the bus at curbside machines, which speeds up the boarding process.

"Bus speeds have improved by about 14 to 24 percent on Fordham Road, as ridership has increased, so that's a very positive sign that even as ridership is increasing, buses can go faster," said White.

Transit officials hope to expand the program, called Select Bus Service, to Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn, First and Second Avenues in Manhattan and Hylan Boulevard on Staten Island.

However, the changes will take years, meaning that the next few Pokey Awards will still have a lot of competition.

MTA-New York City Transit issued a statement regarding the awards, saying the buses must compete with other city users, parked and double-parked vehicles, moving vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles.

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

All times are GMT. The time now is 11:35 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.