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NYC4Life Nov 13, 2008 9:26 PM


11/13/2008 11:43 AM

Advocates Want UWS Roads Reshaped For Cyclists

After Broadway was reshaped in Midtown Manhattan, a local advocacy group is pushing on a pedestrian and cyclist-friendly plan to reshape the Upper West Side.

A report from Transportation Alternatives proposes ideas for improving the area for people getting around without their cars.

The plan would cut Broadway from six lanes to four, and also calls for expanding sidewalks and placing bike lanes on the inside track of Broadway with barriers to separate cyclists from traffic.

Crosstown streets would get angled parking and sidewalk extensions in the middle of the block, creating a zig-zag pattern designed to slow drivers down.

The group suggests that Amsterdam Avenue also get extended sidewalks and a protected bike lane.

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

NYC4Life Nov 18, 2008 8:03 PM


Updated 12:31 PM

MTA To Propose Service Cuts, Fare Hikes

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has prepared a tough cost-cutting proposal for consideration at Thursday's meeting which includes entire subway lines and bus routes disappearing and more than a thousand workers laid off.

Sources close to the budget process also say that the agency will propose a fare hike even greater than the eight-percent increase previously discussed.

NY1 has learned that officials are proposing dropping the W and Z lines completely, as well as cutting more than 1,500 station agent and administrative jobs.

The plan also calls for the G and M lines to be essentially cut in half and express service on the J train would be eliminated.

Overnight trains would be scheduled to run every 30 minutes instead of every 20. Midday service would also be cut back.

Dozens of bus routes with low ridership would be eliminated during late nights and weekends.

City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. released a statement denoucing the MTA's proposal to eliminate the W line.

"Astoria is one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in the city, and its trains are already overflowing with passengers," said Vallone. "To cut the only service to this neighborhood in half would be like choking the breath out of this community."

Straphangers say they are already dealing with slow service and the increased cuts will hurt both their commutes and their wallets.

"It's absurd, the service as it is is horrible; it's deplorable," said one straphanger. "You thinking of raising the fares, it's disgusting. I'm going to walk. I'm going to walk the bridge everyday instead."

"It's going to affect me budget-wise because I'm going to be spending more money to come to school and go to work," said another.

"The trains, I'd say, have been improving on their time," said a third. "I'm not sure what their plans are, but honestly, the economy is down and they have to do what they have to do."

Agency officials say the drastic measures may be necessary if the state does not step in with a bailout plan to help close a projected 2009 budget shortfall of $1.2 billion.

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

NYC4Life Nov 18, 2008 8:04 PM


11/17/2008 10:11 PM

Subway Report Cards Show Some Improvement — For Now

By: Bobby Cuza

Transit officials have begun releasing the results of the latest round of rider report cards – and while the grades show improvement on some lines, that trend isn't likely to last. Transit Reporter Bobby Cuza filed the following story.

It was just over a year ago that the L train began getting special attention from transit officials. Along with the No. 7 line, the L was given a general manager with broad authority to make improvements that included more trains and more cleaners.

And it seems riders have taken notice, bumping the L train from a C to a C+ in the latest rider report cards.

"I was extremely encouraged that we were able to organize and actually move that customer satisfaction needle," NYC Transit President Howard Roberts said Monday.

Riders gave the L higher marks this time in six of the 21 categories they were asked to grade. But the improvements could be short-lived, because later this week transit officials are expected to propose a number of service cuts to take effect next summer in order to help bridge a massive budget deficit.

The news isn't sitting well with riders NY1 spoke with.

"I think cutting service is a terrible idea," one said.

"I think people would be really, really angry," said another. "And New Yorkers don't need any reason to be angrier than they already are."

As for the No. 7 line, despite recent improvements, riders gave that line mixed reviews. It rated higher than last year in some categories but lower on others, and its overall grade of a C was unchanged.

There were also far fewer responses to this year's survey – just over 4,000 compared to nearly 16,000 last year. On the other hand, one rider advocate warned the results may be skewed by the fact unhappy riders are more likely to respond.

"You just have to take it with a grain of salt," said Andrew Albert of the NYC Transit Riders Council. "New Yorkers are skeptical and they want things perfect, and if they're not perfect you're not going to get a really great grade."

The second round of rider report cards is ongoing. So far surveys have been handed out at about half the lines throughout the system, and will be distributed this week at stations along the B and E trains.

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

NYCLuver Nov 19, 2008 4:20 AM

I live in Astoria and take the N & W lines when taking the subway and I can tell you during rush hour the trains are ridiculously packed. Sometimes when coming home from college in Manhattan I have to wait at the Lexington Ave and 59th street station and let 3-4 trains pass me by before I can even get inside without being a complete sardine.(I don't do well squished in small spaces with tons of people for a long period of time.:( ) So if they eliminate the W line, it will be like there will only be half the service into Astoria and I can just imagine how crowded and horrible its going to be. It makes no sense to get rid of the W line as the article said, Astoria is one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in terms of population. It'll be a nightmare if it is cut. :hell:

NYC4Life Nov 19, 2008 7:17 PM


Updated 12:44 PM

Triborough Bridge Becomes Robert F. Kennedy Bridge

The Triborough Bridge, which connects, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx, was officially renamed the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge today.

A ceremony was held in Queens's Astoria Park, a day before what would have been the assassinated New York senator's 83rd birthday.

Former President Bill Clinton, Governor David Paterson, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and members of the Kennedy family attended the ceremony.

“In his book, ‘The Power Broker,’ Robert Caro noted that the Triboro is not really a bridge at all but four bridges, which link together three boroughs and two islands,” said Bloomberg. “And building it, Caro said, was a feat equal to tying together two or three cities. So I think it’s only fitting that the name on such an incredible bridge reflect both the grandeur of its scale and the significance of its purpose.”

Earl Graves, founder of Black Enterprise Magazine and a former aide to Bobby Kennedy, also attended and said the renaming is happening at an appropriate time in history, when the late senator's vision is coming true.

"I would go with him around the city or around the state and he was always reaching out to young people and he was reaching out for new ideas," said Graves. "He was reaching out for those who were less fortunate to see how he could make things better for them."

"I think if he had lived, he would have been president," continued Graves.

"I think we were well on the way to that happening. He would think it's very appropriate because he said 40 years ago that he did see an African-American one day would be president. And today that has come to fruition."

After the ceremony, dignitaries toured the bridge span in vintage cars.

The bridge was officially opened in 1936, and 10-year-old
Anthony Dominick Benedetto, who later became singer Tony Bennett, sang at the dedication.

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

NYC4Life Nov 19, 2008 7:18 PM


Updated 11:23 AM

Minor LIRR Accident Delays Trains

There are systemwide delays on the Long Island Rail Road after two trains bumped into each other leaving Jamaica Station this morning.

The railroad says it was a minor accident, but it caused big delays.

The two trains were evacuated and two people were hospitalized.

Local trains are experiencing 45-minute delays in both directions between Penn Station, Jamaica, Kew Gardens and Forest Hills.

NYC Transit is honoring LIRR tickets at Jamaica, Forest Hills and Kew Gardens, and cross-honoring LIRR tickets at the E, F, J and Z trains at Jamaica and Penn Stations.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

NYC4Life Nov 19, 2008 7:19 PM


Updated 12:10 PM

Sources: MTA To Hike Fares Still Higher

Newly-revealed details about the MTA's so-called “Doomsday Budget” show that mass transit will overall become even more expensive for New Yorkers.

According to sources close to the MTA's budget process, the agency is considering raising fare and toll revenue by 23 percent, nearly three times as high as the eight percent that had originally been talked about.

The MTA has some flexibility as to how an increase is allocated. It can apply to pay-per-ride customers or discounted MetroCards or both.

To help raise that revenue, sources say the MTA is looking at raising the fare for Access-a-Ride service to twice the base MetroCard fare, which is now $2 but is expected to rise.

The agency is also looking to raise the fare for express bus rides from $5 to $7.50.

The combined ridership of both services is more than 100,000 a day.

Express bus riders were dismayed at the proposed hikes.

"I don't know what's going on. I don't know if I can afford it or not. I don't know how I'm going to get back and forth from work," said a rider.

"It's a lot, because I don't have any other choice, but to take the express bus. I don't have a train near where I am. So that's a lot for people who don't have any other option," said another.

"I wish they wouldn't have to do that. But what can you do? They have a deficit. But they should find other ways to close the deficit, maybe get more money from the government," said a third.

Elected officials say Albany lawmakers need to shift the burden away from those who can least afford to pay more.

"I quite frankly don't know what's going on in Albany. I'm not there any more," said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. " But clearly they've got to wake up and think bigger and bolder. And I believe very strongly that it's time to reinstate the commuter tax, earmark it to mass transit, because this kind of transit increase is going to be a tipping point for people to flee this city."

The MTA will unveil its complete slate of cost-cutting proposals at a board meeting tomorrow.

It's also been reported that officials will call for the elimination of the W and Z subway lines, slashing the G and M lines in half and eliminating express service on the Z train.

Dozens of bus routes would be eliminated and hundreds of jobs could be cut.

MTA officials blame plummeting tax revenues for their deficit and say the agency is in serious need of state aid.

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

Antares41 Nov 19, 2008 8:02 PM


Originally Posted by NYCLuver (Post 3921082)
I live in Astoria and take the N & W lines when taking the subway and I can tell you during rush hour the trains are ridiculously packed. Sometimes when coming home from college in Manhattan I have to wait at the Lexington Ave and 59th street station and let 3-4 trains pass me by before I can even get inside without being a complete sardine.(I don't do well squished in small spaces with tons of people for a long period of time.:( ) So if they eliminate the W line, it will be like there will only be half the service into Astoria and I can just imagine how crowded and horrible its going to be. It makes no sense to get rid of the W line as the article said, Astoria is one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in terms of population. It'll be a nightmare if it is cut. :hell:

I think its political hogwash. Can't see them cutting subway lines when ridership is near or at an all-time high. This is just saber-rattling to squeeze out and justify more money from the city/state government and ultimately the citizens.

NYC4Life Nov 21, 2008 8:44 PM


Updated 3:14 PM

MTA Budget Plan Includes "Drastic" Fare Hikes, Service Cuts

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority unveiled its 2009 budget at a board meeting today in Midtown, following a period of public comment.

The so-called "Doomsday Budget" will sock riders with a steep fare hike and major service cuts.

MTA Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Elliot "Lee Sander" said the agency is considering increasing fare and toll revenue by 23 percent to help close a $1.2 billion budget gap projected for next year. The gap is predicted to swell to $3 billion by 2012.

The agency could completely scrap bus and subway routes, including the M8 crosstown bus and the W and Z trains and several express bus routes.

Twenty-one local bus routes could also be eliminated during weekday hours. In Manhattan, the routes that would be eliminated would be the M6, M8, M10, M18, M27, and M30.

"The service cuts I'm proposing today are guided by two principles that we believe are essential: first, that we continue to insure safety, security, and reliability," said Sander. "And second, that we maintain our fundemental mission – getting people where they need to go."

According to the MTA, the routes proposed for elimination have "practical bus and or subway alternatives for customers along the entire length of the route."

Pay-per-ride and unlimited-ride MetroCards, along with fares for express buses and Access-a-Ride service could all be increased.

Also proposed were New York City Transit and MetroNorth job cuts.

The MTA proposed eliminating 2,500 positions in the subway and bus system alone – saving $300 million a year.

Following Sander's presentation of the budget cuts necessary, board members spoke about what other taxes could be implemented.

Board member Norman Seabrook proposed a sin tax that would raise the taxes on cigarettes.

During a press conference after the meeting, Sander says many of the proposals could be scaled back if the state Legislature acts by February or March to forestall the fare increases and service cuts. The state could act if the Ravitch Commission, which is investigating new ways of funding the MTA, comes up with viable alternative funding solutions that could alleviate some of the pain.

Among the dozen who testified ahead of the budget announcement were Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign, an MTA station agent, and several transit union representatives.

All implored the agency to find other methods of gaining funding beside a fare increase and service cuts.

"This is not just about putting the burden of the MTA on the backs of hard-working New Yorkers," said Stringer. "We cannot simply announce proposals today that say to people barely making it that 'we're going to sink you.'"

Dozens gathered outside the meeting early this morning to protest the proposed cuts. Later, many testified before the MTA board.

"The riders are not happy about being asked to pay a lot more for a lot less," said Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign. "Our hope is that the MTA and the legislative leaders will hear the cry of the riding public and come up with a fare solution to evenly spread the cost of transit."

"We're basically here today to say that the banks, and not the riders, should be the ones to bail out the MTA," said Tony Murphy of advocacy group Bail Out the People.

A series of public hearing on the proposed fare hike are scheduled for January.
Any changes would take effect in June.

Complete List Of Bus Routes To Be Affected
Local Routes That Face Elimination: B23, B25, B37, B39, B51, B75; Bx4, Bx14, Bx20, Bx34; M6, M8, M10, M18, M27, M30; Q26, Q56, Q74, Q75, Q84
Express Routes That Face Elimination: X25, X32, QM22, QM23 and BxM7B
Local Routes That Will Lose Both Weekend And Overnight Service:
B7, B48, B57, B65, M22 and M50

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

NYC4Life Nov 21, 2008 8:45 PM


Updated 9:22 AM

Transportation Department Issues Gridlock Alert Day

Today is the first Gridlock Alert Day of the holiday season.

The city says the combination of regular traffic plus visitors and pedestrians will make it particularly hard to move around town.

The New York City Department of Transportation is advising people to use mass transit.

There are eight more designated gridlock alert days this year.

The next one comes on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

NYC4Life Nov 21, 2008 8:46 PM

Crain's New York

November 20, 2008 4:43 pm

Port Authority moves to replace LGA terminal

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey authorized a $40 million study to create a new design for the central terminal at LaGuardia Airport.

(AP) - Even as many government agencies cut back, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey is pressing ahead with plans to replace the central terminal at LaGuardia Airport.

The authority on Thursday authorized a $40 million study that should result in a new design for the 45-year-old terminal, which handles about 12 million passengers a year.

The study is scheduled to be completed in 2010.

Construction would begin in 2011 or later. It could take as long as eight years, due in part to the difficulty of building a replacement in the ultra-cramped airport while the old building is still functioning.

©Copyright 2008 Associated Press.

orulz Nov 23, 2008 6:09 PM

Hope they include a subway station or a shell of a subway station or at least space for a subway station in the new terminal design.

OhioGuy Nov 23, 2008 7:06 PM


Originally Posted by orulz (Post 3929872)
Hope they include a subway station or a shell of a subway station or at least space for a subway station in the new terminal design.

I was just thinking maybe they should focus on bringing a rail line to LaGuardia. Maybe a spur of the LIRR there? Or do AirTrain like they do at JFK and Newark? Although I just Googled for some information and came upon this blog entry:


LGA to get AirTrain?
MTA: Plans May Include Train to LaGuardia

Freight rail lines could be converted into subway lines and a train could take passengers directly to LaGuardia Airport under a plan proposed by the head of the region's transit agency.

In a "State of the MTA" speech Monday, Metropolitan Transportation Authority executive director Elliot Sander proposed several long-range projects for the agency that runs New York City's subways, buses and suburban train lines.

Sander also said the MTA would explore creating a second AirTrain service to connect LaGuardia Airport to Long Island Rail Road service in Woodside, Queens. He said the MTA will add $30 million worth of promised new service [New York Times] this year, increasing service on 11 subway lines and extending several bus routes.

NYC4Life Nov 27, 2008 7:46 PM


Updated 12:53 PM

MTA Launches Real-Time Message System For Riders

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority today is introducing a real-time messaging system that – if it works as intended – will let riders know if there's transit trouble ahead of time so they can plan around it.

Beginning today, riders can sign up on the MTA's website for text messages and email alerts about unplanned service disruptions.

They will be able to customize the alerts to the subway lines and stations they use.

The system, which is based on the MTA's current email alert system for scheduled disruptions, will cost the agency $600,000 over five years.

Text-savvy New Yorkers say they could use the heads up from transit officials.

"I already get too many messages so I'm not sure how much attention I would pay to them, but it's probably a good idea," said one subway rider.

"I think it's very good because it gives people a sense of what's going on and just keep people aware," said another.

"If I got an alert every day that my subway was down or anything like that, it would help me plan out my day better," said a third.

The MTA drew criticism last August after a storm dumped three inches of rain on the city in an hour, crippling virtually the entire subway system. A task force looking into the agency's response concluded that riders may have stayed home or found another way to travel if they had known the extent of the problems.

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

NYC4Life Nov 27, 2008 7:47 PM


Updated 11:33 AM

Local Airports Receive Poor Marks In Zagat Survey

Local airports are receiving little praise in a new national sky travel survey.

The latest Zagat poll released today leaves LaGuardia International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark International Airport far behind other national airports.

LaGuardia in particular receives low grades. It finished dead last, receiving 6.8 out of 30, among the nation's 27 largest airports in every catagory – except security.

Surveyors complained of LaGuardia's delays and lack of shops and restaurants.

Newark and JFK fared marginally better – placing 19th and 23rd overall.
Tampa International was ranked first in overall quality.

There was some good news for our area. New York-based Jet Blue received high marks for in flight entertainment and economy travel.

Researchers questioned almost 10,000 frequent flyers.

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

NYC4Life Nov 27, 2008 7:48 PM


11/27/2008 10:33 AM

Report: Commission To Recommend Tolls On East River Bridges

The New York Times says a state commission will recommend a new tax on corporate payrolls and tolls on the East River and Harlem River bridges, in an effort to raise $1.6 billion a year.

The commission, headed by former Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Richard Ravitch is also expected to call for fare hikes, though they are said to be less than the steep hikes being proposed by the MTA.

The Times says the commission will only recommend minimal service cuts if any.

The MTA recently proposed raising revenues from fares and tolls by 23 percent, as well as eliminating some subway and bus lines and reducing service on others.

The MTA is facing a $1.2 billion shortfall next year because of the economic downturn.

The commission is expected to release its recommendations for Governor David Paterson on December 5th. Any proposals would need to be approved by the state Legislature.

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

NYC4Life Nov 27, 2008 7:50 PM


Updated 12:29 PM

NYPD Steps Up Security Following News Of Unsubstantiated Subway Terror Plot

The New York City Police Department has confirmed it is stepping up security around the city this holiday "out of an abundance of caution," following an unsubstantiated report of a terrorist plot against the subway system.

While there are no specifics, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says its not uncommon especially at this time of year.

"There are no specific threats," said Kelly. "We always have to be concerned anytime we have large gatherings; that's precisely what we'll do Thanksgiving Day. We'll have sufficient deployment of officers in my judgment to ensure safety."

The NYPD and Metropolitan Transportation Authority say they are constantly re-adjusting to meet the city's security needs.

"The MTA is aware of an unsubstantiated report of terrorist threats against transit properties during the holiday season. We are already on high alert and are always on a heightened state of readiness during this season," MTA Press Secretary Jeremy Soffin in a statement. "We have been working closely with local, state and federal law enforcement to increase police presence throughout our transportation system. As always, we ask that our customers remain alert and report any suspicious activity or packages, but there is no reason to be alarmed."

The news comes as New Yorkers hit the roads, rails, and airports, heading to their holiday destinations.

The Port Authority says it's prepared for a busy travel weekend in the tri-state area.

Officials expect nearly five-million people to go through area airports, bridges, and tunnels.

But for the first time in years, the number of Americans traveling this weekend is expected to decrease as a result of worries about the economy.

AAA expects 41 million Americans to travel more than 50 miles this weekend – a decrease of about 1.5 percent, or 600,000 people. It would be the first drop in Thanksgiving travel since 2002.

Air travel is expected to be down more than seven percent.

The drop in travel comes in spite of rapidly falling gas prices, which are now on average less than $2 a gallon nationwide.

New Yorkers who spoke with NY1 this morning said despite the bleak economic situation, they are willing to go the extra mile for the holiday.

"Families are supposed to get together and share the thanksgiving dinner together and it's not all the time we get to share a meal together as a family," said one Staten Island resident.

"I have curtailed my driving in the last several months and basically travel overall," said another. "But this is a family tradition, drive up to Cape Cod and enjoy the holiday."

In an effort to keep the city moving, law enforcement officials will be cracking down on drivers who block intersections.

Under a law that took effect in September, blocking the box is now considered both a parking and a moving violation, so traffic agents or police officers can issue tickets to violators. It comes as the city is putting 200 additional traffic agents to work.

"It's estimated that these 200 new traffic enforcement agents will generate about $61 million in revenue and about $66 million here on out each fiscal year, based on, I think it's an average of $83 per summons that the city collects," explained Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

There are seven more Gridlock Alert Days this year after today. The next one comes a week from today.

Meanwhile, in observance of Thanksgiving, many closing and schedule changes are in effect around the city.

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

NYC4Life Nov 27, 2008 7:51 PM


11/27/2008 09:59 AM

More Details Emerge About Subway Terror Plot

As terrorists struck in India yesterday, security was beefed up at major transportation points in New York City on the news that al-Qaida may have discussed a possible terror attack on our transit system.

The warning was contained in a bulletin sent by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to local and state authorities.

It cited "uncorroborated but plausible information that al-Qaida may have discussed in late September the targeting of transit systems in and around New York City."

Even though word of the terror alert came on the busiest travel day of the year, reaction among travelers was mixed.

"This is very scary. I feel like moving out of New York," said one New Yorker. "That's all I can tell you."

"You've heard enough alerts. It's crying wolf," said another. "So I'm not going to worry about it. I've heard enough. When it happens I'll duck; what are you going to do?"

Of course is going to be frightening, but like everything else, being a New Yorker you got to take everything in stride and go about your daily business," said a third.

DHS officials say they are not raising the terror alert level.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the NYPD are encouraging New Yorkers to remain alert and tell police or an MTA employee about any suspicious people or packages.

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

NYC4Life Dec 2, 2008 11:36 PM


Updated 12/01/2008 10:39 PM

Bus Driver Stabbed To Death In Brooklyn

Authorities are offering a $12,000 reward after a city bus driver was stabbed to death while on the job in Brooklyn Monday afternoon.

Police say 46-year-old Edwin Thomas died after receiving stab wounds to the neck and chest.

Thomas was operating a bus on the B46 line along Gates Avenue and Malcolm X Boulevard in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Witnesses say a man got on the bus and asked for a transfer.

When the Thomas told him he was not eligible, police say the suspect stabbed him twice: once in the stomach and once in the chest.

Thomas was taken to Woodhull Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Police are looking for the suspect, and are offering a $12,000 reward for any information leading to his arrest and conviction.

Anyone with information is being asked to call the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS or send a text to CRIMES and enter TIP577.

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

NYC4Life Dec 2, 2008 11:37 PM

NY Times

Security Issues Shut Down Downtown Copter Shuttle

Published: November 30, 2008

U.S. Helicopter, the only company shuttling travelers from heliports in Manhattan to local airports, was already in dire financial straits, but a decision by city officials has left the air-shuttle operator unable to fly to or from its base of operations near Wall Street.
Librado Romero/The New York Times
Charter and tourist helicopter flights still use the Downtown Manhattan Heliport, but airport shuttles use an East Side port.

The problem involves FirstFlight, a small aviation company that city officials selected to manage the Downtown Manhattan Heliport. That company, which had no experience operating an urban heliport or airport, took over operations at the downtown heliport on Nov. 1. But it still has not obtained the federal Transportation Security Administration’s approval of its plan for maintaining security there.

Without an approved security plan, FirstFlight cannot serve U.S. Helicopter’s passengers, who had been clearing security at the heliport and bypassing the screening lines at Kennedy International and Newark Liberty International airports. U.S. Helicopter has been telling passengers that the disruption was only temporary, but it has stretched into its fourth week and may last a few more, according to Lara Uselding, a
spokeswoman for the security administration.

The absence of a security plan has left the security administration’s crew at the heliport with no luggage or passengers to screen. The federal agency assigned a screening team to the heliport before U.S. Helicopter began operating there in early 2006, just as the agency reduced staffing at the region’s three major airports.

(On Wednesday, the screeners were temporarily reassigned to La Guardia Airport to help handle the holiday rush, Ms. Uselding said.)

That setup allowed U.S. Helicopter’s customers, who paid as much as $159 for an eight-minute ride, to clear security in Manhattan and fly directly to secure areas of the airports.

Until Nov. 1, the company was running flights from two heliports — one near Wall Street and another at the east end of 34th Street — to Kennedy and Newark. For the past few weeks, travelers who live or work in Lower Manhattan have had to travel more than three miles uptown to the East 34th Street Heliport to board a U.S. Helicopter flight.

U.S. Helicopter had ambitious plans to expand the service to La Guardia and a third heliport on the West Side of Manhattan, then to other cities, including Chicago and Los Angeles. But demand for the service has been weak, and the company has had trouble financing its growth.

As its losses have piled up, the company has been borrowing to stay in business at interest rates as high as 15 percent, according to its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Earlier this year, the company’s auditors expressed doubt about its ability to continue operating.

It was unclear how much U.S. Helicopter had suffered from being barred from using its downtown heliport or how long the company could survive without it. Donal McSullivan, the company’s chief marketing officer, did not respond to messages left on his cellphone and at the company’s offices.

U.S. Helicopter’s troubles were compounded when the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey stopped managing the downtown heliport on Oct. 31. City officials had expected FirstFlight, which won the contract to operate the heliport over several other bidders, to take over without disruption, said David Lombino, a spokesman for the New York City Economic Development Corporation, which oversaw the bidding.

But the company did not draw up a security plan of its own and seek the Transportation Security Administration’s approval until the Port Authority’s managers were leaving the heliport and taking their security plan with them, aviation officials said.

Paul Dudley, owner of Linden Airport Management Corporation in New Jersey, an unsuccessful bidder, sued the Economic Development Corporation in state and federal courts and appealed to city officials, arguing, among other things, that FirstFlight was unqualified to operate the heliport. The failure to obtain the required federal approval was proof that he was right, Mr. Dudley said in an interview.

“The city should have canceled them immediately because they failed to meet a principal and fundamental requirement of the contract,” Mr. Dudley said.

Ronald J. Ricciardi, vice chairman of FirstFlight, did not respond to a request for comment.

“Any new entity that would be a new operator would hopefully understand the importance of security in the New York City area and should expect to comply with Congressional mandates for upholding the highest levels of security,” Ms. Uselding said.

She added that the security administration was working with FirstFlight officials and hoped to have an acceptable security plan drawn up “in the coming weeks.”

In the meantime, the downtown heliport has remained open for the sightseeing and charter flights by other companies that account for most of the traffic there, Mr. Lombino said. “The transition to FirstFlight has been otherwise seamless, and the heliport has been operating in a safe and efficient manner.”

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

NYC4Life Dec 3, 2008 12:28 AM


Updated 12/01/2008 02:25 PM

Nostalgia Subway Cars, Buses Return

Nostalgia subway cars have hit the tracks for the holidays.

V-line trains are now being swapped out on Sundays through the end of the year. In their place, there are cars that date back as far as the 1930s.

Many of the trains feature ceiling fans, padded seats, and incandescent light bulbs.

The V line runs between Queens and Lower Manhattan.

New York City Transit has also brought some vintage buses out of storage for use during the holiday season.

They will be used during rush hour on several routes in Manhattan and Queens.

The fleet consists of 19 buses that go back as far as 1917. However, riders will still have to pay the modern-day fare.

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

NYC4Life Dec 3, 2008 12:28 AM


12/02/2008 09:44 AM

MTA To Roll Out More High-Tech Trains

Despite repeated warnings of financial doom, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority says it is going ahead with a billion-dollar plan to add hundreds of new subway cars to the system.

The New York Post says the agency is promising to keep rolling out new high-tech trains like the ones seen on the L, N and Q lines.

MTA officials said yesterday they are still planning on spending nearly a billion dollars on 382 new cars. This is part of an overall $3.2 billion contract for more than 1,600 cars.

Eighty percent of the money is coming from the federal government.

The MTA has forecasted a $1.2 billion budget deficit for next year.

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

NYC4Life Dec 3, 2008 12:30 AM


Updated 3:14 PM

Police Question "Person Of Interest" In Bus Driver Stabbing

Police this afternoon continue to question a "person of interest" in the stabbing death of a city bus driver.

The incident happened around noon yesterday on the B46 bus on Gates Avenue and Malcolm X Boulevard in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Investigators say a man boarded the bus and tried to swipe an invalid MetroCard. The driver, Edwin Thomas, allowed the man to board, but the two soon began arguing when the passenger asked for a free transfer.

Thomas, 46, refused to give him one, since the man had not paid. The man then punched and stabbed Thomas in the head and stomach before running off.

Thomas was taken to Woodhull Medical Center where he died. He had worked as a bus driver for seven years.

"Mr. Thomas was a faithful employee," said fellow Metropolitan Transportation Authority worker Louretha Carter. "He was never out sick.

He was quiet. He came to work. He picked up his work. You didn't hear anything out of him."

"Bus operator Thomas was killed in the line of duty serving the people of New York City," said MTA Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Elliot "Lee" Sander. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Thomas family and this is an extraordinary tragedy for the city and for the MTA."

Thomas is the first bus driver to be killed on the job since 1981.

In September, the MTA revealed the B46 route had the most fare evaders of any route in the city – with an average of 4,000 people a week boarding without paying.

His death is leading for calls for more protections for drivers – including more surveillance cameras and an increased police presence on city buses.

"We're calling on the New York City Transit Authority, we're calling on the mayor of New York City, and we're calling on the governor to institute policies that will offer up opportunities for our bus drivers and conductors on trains to be safe," said Anthony Herbert of the Urban Community Council at a news conference today. "We're asking for you to activate initiatives that will allow police officers to ride the bus a couple of stops so there is a presence given."

The NYPD, the MTA, and the Transport Workers Union are offering rewards totaling $36,000 for any information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-577-TIPS, by texting TIP577 to CRIMES, or by going to

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

KVNBKLYN Dec 9, 2008 4:26 AM

I had no idea the 7 train extension was so far along until I found some construction photos on the MTA's website.

Maybe this thing will get built after all.

This is the cavern for the 34th Street Station:

ardecila Dec 9, 2008 6:29 AM

Yep, they really jumped on this thing... I'm sure it helps that there are no NIMBYs in the immediate area to slow the project down to a crawl, like what's happening over on the East Side....

Also, these tunnel machines and things are being launched from a pit dug in a parking lot to the side of 11th Avenue, so traffic impacts are minimal and the streets don't need to be shut down.

emathias Dec 10, 2008 8:43 PM


Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 3962429)
Yep, they really jumped on this thing... I'm sure it helps that there are no NIMBYs in the immediate area to slow the project down to a crawl, like what's happening over on the East Side....

Also, these tunnel machines and things are being launched from a pit dug in a parking lot to the side of 11th Avenue, so traffic impacts are minimal and the streets don't need to be shut down.

It wasn't obvious from the sites I checked - is there a completion date schedules for this yet?

orulz Dec 10, 2008 9:43 PM

The plans still don't include the new station at 10th Ave and 42nd St do they? What a missed opportunity.

ardecila Dec 10, 2008 10:09 PM


Originally Posted by emathias (Post 3965925)
It wasn't obvious from the sites I checked - is there a completion date schedules for this yet?

I have no idea. I do know, however, that the Second Ave Subway started about 2 years ago and they're still building the walls for the TBM's launch box, while the 7 Extension started 1 year ago and they're already fairly well-along in excavating the tunnels.

NYC4Life Dec 21, 2008 4:03 PM


Updated 12/15/2008 04:11 PM

Mayor, DOT Secretary Announce Expanding Rail Service

The Bush administration announced a new effort to develop new rail service along the Northeast Corridor and in other parts of the country.

Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters made the announcement today at Penn Station, along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and representatives from Florida and Delaware.

Peters and Bloomberg asked for proposals from the private sector about developing rail service on the Northeast Corridor and 10 other areas around the nation.

Peters recently announced the federal government will provide $30 million for 15 passenger rail projects aimed at boosting capacity and on-time performance.

Peters says the proposal for new rail service comes as Americans are making a fundamental change in their travel habits by driving less and using mass transit and rail systems more.

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

NYC4Life Dec 21, 2008 4:04 PM

NY Times

M.T.A. Approves Austerity Budget

Published: December 17, 2008

The board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Wednesday approved an austerity budget for 2009 that calls for painful cuts in bus, subway and commuter rail service and a steep increase in fares and tolls, all aimed at plugging a $1.2 billion deficit.

In virtually the same breath, officials at the authority appealed to lawmakers in Albany to pass a financial rescue plan that would soften the fare and toll increase and avoid most of the service cuts by creating a dedicated payroll tax and charging tolls on bridges over the East and Harlem Rivers.

If the authority does not receive new sources of revenue, it seems likely that the base subway fare could rise to at least $2.50, from $2, starting in June. A monthly unlimited-ride MetroCard could rise to more than $100, from $81.

The success of efforts to help the authority are far from assured, as the state grapples with its own budget crisis. On Tuesday, Gov. David A. Paterson unveiled a budget proposal for the state that included dozens of increased taxes and fees. That means a bailout of the authority would compete with other powerful interests, including advocates for schools and hospitals, for scarce government dollars.

The authority’s $11 billion budget calls for a 23 percent increase in revenues from fares and tolls.

Next week, the authority will issue a public notice for hearings on the fare and toll plan that will set the maximum possible increases. About a week or so after that, the authority will detail the expected increases to the base subway and bus fare, unlimited-ride MetroCards, commuter rail fares and bridge and tunnel tolls.

The authority and its supporters must now focus their efforts on building support among elected officials in the state and city.

That effort will be spearheaded by Richard Ravitch, a former authority chairman who led a state commission, appointed by Governor Paterson, that proposed the rescue package for the authority. That package calls for a payroll tax of a third of a percent, to be paid by businesses in the region served by the authority.

The tax would generate an estimated $1.5 billion a year to plug the immediate budget gap and, in the long term, help pay for capital expenses to modernize and maintain the transportation system.

The package also calls for tolls on the bridges over the East and Harlem Rivers, with the money, about $600 million a year, going to expand bus service in the region. It would raise revenues from fares and existing tolls by 8 percent and eliminate the need for most service cuts.

The authority’s executive director, Elliot G. Sander; its chairman, H. Dale Hemmerdinger; and several board members said they would work to persuade lawmakers to pass Mr. Ravitch’s plan.

Officials at the authority have said privately for months that they hoped that the State Legislature would pass a rescue plan before it became bogged down in broader budget issues. And they feared that if that did not happen, they would wind up in a bruising brawl with other interests over state support.

“The Legislature has understood for some time that the M.T.A.’s situation would be resolved in the context of a very difficult budget,” Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, a Democrat from Westchester, said on Tuesday, after the governor released his budget proposal. “This is not going to be easy.”

Meanwhile, there were indications that the doom and gloom may not end with the passage of the budget, and that the authority’s finances could become much worse quickly.

The authority said that an important source of revenue — taxes on real estate transactions — was running well below the latest forecast for the month, a figure that had already been revised downward several times.
Those real estate and mortgage taxes brought in $37 million this month, compared with $103 million in the same period last year, Gary J. Dellaverson, the authority’s chief financial officer, told at a meeting of the board’s finance committee on Monday.

“This is a really sobering number,” Mr. Dellaverson said. “This does show how frightening this economy can be in terms of our sensitive taxes.”
He said the authority had tried to be very conservative in predicting real estate transaction tax receipts as the economy worsened, basing its forecasts on projections made by the city.

He said that projections of December’s tax receipts had repeatedly been reduced as the year progressed, falling to $88 million from $99 million before finally being revised down again only a month ago, to $64 million. The authority receives those revenues in a lump sum in the middle of each month.

But the reality turned out to be even worse, missing the mark by $27 million. Mr. Dellaverson also warned that the authority’s budget relied on similar forecasts for other taxes, like a portion of the sales tax and a surcharge on corporate income taxes, that could decline sharply along with the economy.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

NYC4Life Dec 21, 2008 4:05 PM


12/20/2008 11:05 AM

2008 In Review: Financial Problems Cause MTA To Hike Fares, Reduce Service

By: Bobby Cuza

With the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in financial meltdown, the agency was forced this year to scale back projects and raise fares. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report on the year in transit.

The year in transit got off to a bad start in January, when the MTA says it can no longer afford to build the Fulton Street Transit Center as designed.

"I am sad to say that we cannot build the transit center, as currently envisioned, in this market, with the budget that we have," said MTA Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Elliot "Lee" Sander.

In March, the MTA raised the price of unlimited MetroCards and reduced the pay-per-ride discount. To soften the blow, Sander promised a number of service improvements, only to cancel them later, due to the MTA's growing financial crisis.

In another plan gone awry, the MTA selects Tishman Speyer to develop its West Side Rail Yards, only to see the billion-dollar deal fall apart, though developer Stephen Ross later agrees to the same plan.

In April, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's congestion pricing plan failed, as the state Legislature refused to put it to a vote. In response, the governor formed a commission headed by former MTA Chairman Richard Ravitch to come up with alternative funding ideas.

A month later, MTA board members came under fire for their free use of the system, including free E-ZPass tags. The perk was discontinued after the state attorney general called the practice illegal.

"If the board votes to continue the usage, my position is, they'll leave me no recourse but to commence litigation," said State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

The summer kicked off with the agency saying it would have to raise fares again in 2009. The MTA asked the city for more funding -- to no avail.

"There certainly is not going to be more money coming from the city," said the mayor. "We don't have it."

As a result, in November the MTA proposed an even bigger hike of 23 percent plus massive service cuts, including eliminating the W and Z subway lines. The board approved the plan, but said it can be averted, if Albany acts on the recommendations of the Ravitch Commission, like East River tolls and a new payroll tax.

"Please, Albany, Washington, come to our help," said MTA Chairman Dale Hemmerdinger.

Meanwhile, 2008 was also the year the Port Authority scaled back the planned World Trade Center transit hub.

On the buses, transit officials said they will try installing driver partitions following the stabbing death of Edwin Thomas.

Transit also brought back an old concept: the double-decker bus -- and tried out a new experimental service on the BX12 that requires riders to pay at the curb, speeding up the boarding process.

Other transit innovations in 2008 include: elevated sidewalk grates to prevent subway flooding; a partnership with Google Transit to provide door-to-door subway directions; screens that show riders the location of every train on their line; new advertising concepts, including fully-wrapped subway cars and turnstile ads; a new email and text message alert system; and a plan to try seatless subway cars in 2009 to increase capacity.

If that's not something to look forward to in the New Year, how about this: the new South Ferry station is set to open in a few weeks.

Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

dchan Dec 23, 2008 8:53 AM

December 23, 2008
M.T.A. Details Proposed Increases, and Invites Public Comment

Proposals being considered by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority could raise the base subway and bus fare as high as $3, the 30-day MetroCard to $105 and bridge and tunnel tolls to $7 next year.

The authority is thinking of charging the new top fare of up to $3 only to people who buy one ride at a time on subways or buses; those who put multiple rides on their MetroCards would pay up to $2.50.

The proposed maximum fares and tolls were released on Monday in a notice providing the schedule for eight public hearings, beginning Jan. 14 in Manhattan, for discussion on the authority’s planned increases as well as an array of service cuts intended to close a projected $1.2 billion shortfall next year.

The plan calls for increasing overall fare and toll revenues by 23 percent. The notice gave the maximum level to which different fares and tolls could rise to reach that goal, including $105 for a 30-day unlimited ride MetroCard, up from $81. A weekly MetroCard could rise to as much as $32, up from $25.

The hearing notice said the base subway and bus fare could rise as high as $3, from $2. It also said the authority might set a separate fare of up to $2.50 for pay-per-ride MetroCards.

Some fares on Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road could rise by as much as a third, the notice said.

One-way tolls on major bridges and tunnels — including the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel and the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (formerly the Triborough Bridge) — could rise as high as $7, although the notice did not explain how rates would differ for drivers using E-ZPass. Drivers who use cash currently pay $5, and those with E-ZPass pay $4.15.

In the coming days, when the authority gets around to making a more detailed proposal public, in at least some cases the increases are likely to be smaller than those in the notice. The authority expects to make the detailed proposal public next week.

Jeremy Soffin, an authority spokesman, said the authority released the hearing notice now to give the public time to prepare.

Gene Russianoff, the staff lawyer for the Straphangers Campaign, a transit rider advocacy group, said the maximum changes could result in uneven increases for different kinds of fares or services.

Charging $105 for a 30-day MetroCard would be an increase of 30 percent. In contrast, New York City Transit express bus fares would rise to a maximum of $6.25, from $5, a 25 percent increase. The authority had previously contemplated a larger express bus increase but kept it lower at the request of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

Mr. Russianoff also criticized a provision that would allow the minimum purchase needed to receive a bonus on the pay-per-ride MetroCard to rise as high as $12.50, which he said could put it out of reach of many riders.

The notice said that the pay-per-ride bonus could be set as high as 35 percent or could be eliminated altogether. Currently, riders who put at least $7 on a pay per ride MetroCard receive a 15 percent bonus.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

GraniteStoneNY Dec 23, 2008 11:23 PM

it's crazy that they are proposing these fare hikes. It feels like yesterday that they raised the price on 7-day and monthlies.

I think MTA board members should work for much less, get less perks and there should be a real tightening on expenses and benefits.

Not only that, but would congestion pricing and Hikes to Bridge and Tunnel tolls help out?

passdoubt Dec 31, 2008 3:53 AM


Originally Posted by GraniteStoneNY (Post 3990747)
I think MTA board members should work for much less, get less perks and there should be a real tightening on expenses and benefits.

The MTA board members are unpaid. The recent scandal where it was "revealed" by Cuomo that they were getting free metrocards and EZ-Passes was a scandal because it was compensation, which isn't allowed.

But yeah, MTA management could take a paycut... union workers won't though. It'd be politically impossible.

aaron38 Jan 5, 2009 6:08 PM

I just thought I'd post here how amazingly easy the subway system was to use for visitors. We just got back from a week in NYC, staying with friends in Bed-Stuy. The Myrtle-Willoughby station on the G was our home base. Sure G trains could run a little more often, but we were never late getting anywhere.
As we were mostly seeing Broadway shows, we started off taking the G - L - (N,Q,R,W) to Times Sq. But then they started doing work on the L train so we took the G - E to 50th and 8th, and that was actually a faster ride with less transfers.

The subway system is amazing. I made up a map of all the stations I used in one week. It's incredible how from one station in Brooklyn I could get anywhere in the city I wanted with at most 2 transfers. Or how we went to Chinatown by the G-F, and came home by the 6-L-G so we didn't have to walk all the way back the way we'd came.

I bought 1 week passes on Monday and after that we were using the subway 4-6 times a day to go to Times Sq., Herald Sq. visit friends on 159th, go to Battery Park, Chinatown, The Village, Park Slope, Williamsburg. Super easy, I loved it.

My one nitpick complaint (other than the L being worked on on New Year's Eve) was that I planned ahead and had a $50 to buy two $25 one week passes. The machine wouldn't let me buy 2 passes at once and couldn't make change, so I had to buy the passes from the ticket agent who was on the other side of the street. Other than that, no problems.

KVNBKLYN Mar 2, 2009 6:24 PM

Good news about Penn/Moynihan/Farley station.

From the NY Times:

Schumer Seeks Federal Stimulus Funds to Jump-Start Moynihan Transit Project
Published: March 1, 2009
State officials selected two developers nearly four years ago for a grand project to transform the James A. Farley Post Office into a transit hub that would serve as an annex to Pennsylvania Station, the country’s busiest train station. Despite widespread support, the project has languished because of a lack of financing, political inertia, squabbles with transportation agencies and the developers’ ambitions.

Now, Senator Charles E. Schumer is calling for the injection of $100 million in federal stimulus funds to convert the post office building, expand the city’s transportation infrastructure and employ thousands of workers. Mr. Schumer also renewed his call for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to take charge of the project and asked them to invest $1 billion.

Mr. Schumer said Amtrak should move to the Farley building from Penn Station; the latest proposal had called for relocating New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road there.

Either move would help relieve congestion at Penn Station, where 550,000 passengers a day make their way through cramped and confusing corridors. Amtrak, which operates the high-speed Acela trains in the Northeast, accounts for 62 percent of the combined air and rail market between New York and Washington.

“This is just what was envisioned by the stimulus: shovel-ready projects that generate a lot of jobs,” Mr. Schumer said in an interview on Sunday. “We want Amtrak to play the major role in the station. There is new funding that could help them do that. The focus is now on the station, letting private development follow rather than the other way around.”

Mr. Schumer’s proposal recognizes the inability of private developers in the current economic environment to advance the six office towers they had wanted to build as part of the train station project. At the same time, Mr. Schumer is trying to navigate roiling fiscal waters in which city, state and Port Authority officials are facing declining revenues and widening budget gaps.

“I think it’s a terrific idea,” said Robert Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association, a nonprofit planning group. “There are a whole set of transportation investments that need to be made at the station. Obviously the real estate market will be flat for a while. But is $100 million enough to get the ball rolling? I don’t know.”

The project is named after Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who first suggested in the 1990s using the Farley building to create a grand transit entrance to New York, something he said had been missing since the demolition of the above-ground Penn Station in 1968.

The Bloomberg administration and Gov. David A. Paterson seemed to endorse Mr. Schumer’s proposal.

“A redeveloped Penn Station would have enormous benefits for the entire region and would absolutely be a terrific use of federal transportation funds,” said Andrew Brent, a spokesman for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

To avoid conflicts with the state and the city, Mr. Schumer did not call for the $100 million to come out of New York’s $21 billion portion of the federal stimulus package. Instead, he took aim at the $8 billion set aside for high-speed rail service and $1.3 billion set aside for Amtrak.

Mr. Schumer said that the state’s Congressional delegation, as well as Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Paterson, should pursue that money.

But he also called on the Port Authority to contribute at least $1 billion. The authority, which had been eager to gain control of the Moynihan project, has seen a sharp drop in revenues from tolls on its bridge and tunnel crossings and a rise in the cost of rebuilding the World Trade Center.

“The senator’s effort to get Moynihan started is consistent with the port’s goal of developing a financially viable project,” said Christopher O. Ward, executive director of the authority. “The key is to work with Amtrak on an important transportation project for the entire region. Finding the necessary funding is our No. 1 priority.”

The state has spent $230 million buying the blocklong Farley building, which sits across Eighth Avenue from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden.

Amtrak, which has endured budget cuts for years, is also eager to shore up its network, but it has been concerned about absorbing the estimated $15 million annual cost to operate at the Farley building. To offset those concerns, Mr. Schumer suggested that rent from new retailers at a new transit hub in the Farley building could go to Amtrak.

The developers involved in the Moynihan project — Stephen M. Ross, chief executive of Related Companies, and Steven Roth, chairman of Vornado Realty Trust — also seemed to back the Schumer proposal.

“I agree with this 100 percent,” Mr. Ross said. “This kind of transit project is a much greater stimulus than anything else that could be done in the city.”

In 2005, the developers won a bidding contest to create a train annex at the Farley and to develop a nearby office tower. But the project quickly swelled, with the developers proposing a $14 billion development, which involved demolishing Madison Square Garden to make way for a new train station and a half-dozen office towers, while erecting a new Garden inside the Farley building.

That project foundered because of its size and complexity, and Governor Paterson’s plan to unveil a new proposal focusing on transportation improvements fell by the wayside amid negotiations over the state budget.

KVNBKLYN Mar 17, 2009 4:11 AM

The new South Ferry subway station finally opened. This is one of the first post-9/11 projects to be finished. The new station replaces an old loop station that only allowed boarding from the first five cars of a ten car train.

All photos from the MTA's website.

itszjay Mar 17, 2009 9:54 PM

Dam, I wish every station could be some what like South Ferry Station.

orulz Mar 20, 2009 4:15 PM

So a week or two ago there was something in the news about the SIEDC doing a presentation on a possible route for the Staten Island west shore light rail.
Here is an article and here is another.

I don't live anywhere near Staten island, but my question is, why are they so fixated on using the West Shore expressway median? That seems like the worst possible place for light rail. All you would wind up with are a bunch of park and rides. A line along Richmond Avenue seems like it would be much better. (Elevated would be nice but at-grade would probably work too.) It could then go down Richmond Parkway and end with a transfer to SIR at Huguenot. Still plenty of opportunity for park and ride, but also plenty of opportunity for neighborhood stations and TOD.

ThisSideofSteinway Mar 25, 2009 3:55 PM

M.T.A. Increases Fares and Cuts Services

The board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted Wednesday morning to enact a series of fare hikes and service cutbacks needed to keep the transit system from going broke.

The vote was broken largely into three parts: fare hikes, toll increases and service cutbacks. After hearing from the public and the board members, the board approved each by a vote of 12 to 1.

“This is your last chance or forever hold your peace,” said H. Dale Hemmerdinger, the chairman of the board, right before the final vote.

The lone dissenting member in each vote was Norman I. Seabrook, president of the 9500-member New York City Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association.

Board members called the combination of fare increases and slashing bus, subway and commuter rail cuts a disaster but said they could no longer wait for lawmakers in Albany to rescue them.

The fare hikes on the subway and buses, including an increase in the base subway and bus fare to $2.50, from $2, will take effect May 31.

Commuter rail fares will increase June 1. Tolls on the authority’s bridges and tunnels will also go up, with the increase taking effect in mid-July.

The service cuts are far reaching. They include the elimination of 35 bus routes and two subway lines, the W and Z. Off-peak and weekend subway, bus and commuter rail service will also be cut back.

The authority’s board had hoped for a different outcome.

Gov. David A. Paterson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver have championed a financial rescue plan for the authority that would have prevented the service cuts and allowed a much smaller fare increase.

That plan [pdf], put forth by Richard Ravitch, a former authority chairman, would have funneled new revenues to the authority by creating a new tax on payrolls and tolls on the East River and Harlem River bridges. But several Democrats in the state Senate opposed the bridge tolls and blocked the rescue package.

“It’s truly sad that a few individuals can hold all these brave individuals hostage,” Mr. Hemmerdinger said when the meeting started.

Officials in Albany have said they still hold out hope that a compromise can be reached in the coming weeks. But the authority said it had to go through with the Wednesday vote to give itself time to plan and implement the fare and service changes.

If lawmakers do eventually pass a rescue package, authority officials say they may be able to stop the changes before they take effect.

Thanks a bunch, State Senate! :tup:

aaron38 Mar 29, 2009 2:50 AM

So what does it mean that the W and Z are cut? The N and the J still serve all the same stations, so is it just a reduction in the number of trains, increased wait time? Or are they actually closing some stations?

KVNBKLYN Jun 24, 2009 3:55 AM

The 7 train extension seems to still be moving along:



Quick Progress Digging Number 7 Extension Line
by Matthew Schuerman

NEW YORK, NY June 22, 2009 —Some of the toughest parts in big public works projects come when government agencies, each with their own turf, have to work together. To celebrate one collaboration that's worked out well, the MTA took WNYC's Matthew Schuerman on a tour yesterday of an unfinished subway tunnel underneath the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Here's his report.

REPORTER: In January, contractors began digging a giant trench in the basement of the Port Authority bus terminal. It's 80 feet wide, and 80 feet deep and 150 feet long. It lies right underneath the entrance ramp Greyhound buses take to get to the terminal's lower level. Joe Trainor, MTA's chief engineer:

TRAINOR: This was all of the work we've done in the last six months, which is absolutely mind-boggling.

REPORTER: Now, they have to clean up, and wait. This elaborate operation is just a small piece of the $2.2 billion extension of the Number 7 subway line. When finished, the line will take riders west along 41st street to 11th avenue and then south to 34th street. Just last week, the first tunnel boring machine started snaking its way in the opposite direction, north from its starting point in Chelsea. It's digging the tunnel where the Queens-bound trains will eventually go. The machine for the other tunnel is expected to start any day now.

TRAINOR: If you look over here on this wall, those two lines indicate where those two tunnel boring machines will come through into this pit. The first will come in here on the left, the second machine will come in shortly after that on that side.

The tunnel boring machines are giant 50-ton drill bits that grind through dirt and bedrock. They're expected to arrive at this cavern next spring. The MTA got started digging the cavern early just in case.

TRAINOR: And there were people saying, well, we've got time, and my feeling was, you never have time. You have to do as much as you whenever you can do it.

In fact, the MTA expected the cavern would take two to three years to dig, instead of just six months. But fortunately the Port Authority allowed the MTA to work under the bus terminal 24-hours a day. But Trainor isn't breathing easy yet. He says the entire project is so ambitious, it'll be tough to get finished by the 2013 deadline the MTA has set for itself.

TRAINOR: This is only the first phase. The object is not to build a tunnel, it's to build a subway with the tracks the signals the pump stations, all of the electrical and mechanical gear.

While all of the blasting and excavating was going on underground, customers were waiting for buses just 20 feet away. For a while, buses were diverted to allow easy access for the excavation. But now, 6,000 cubic yards of rock later, workers have covered the pit back up with concrete slabs. And traffic in the bus terminal has gotten back to normal.

CGII Jun 24, 2009 6:52 PM


Originally Posted by aaron38 (Post 4165572)
So what does it mean that the W and Z are cut? The N and the J still serve all the same stations, so is it just a reduction in the number of trains, increased wait time? Or are they actually closing some stations?

The W and Z trains were express, so even though the J and N trains served the same stations, they also serve additional stations. Which kinda sort seriously sucks, because getting from Manhattan to Jamaica on the J train through Queens takes FOREVER.

dchan Jun 24, 2009 7:15 PM


Originally Posted by CGII (Post 4323788)
The W and Z trains were express, so even though the J and N trains served the same stations, they also serve additional stations. Which kinda sort seriously sucks, because getting from Manhattan to Jamaica on the J train through Queens takes FOREVER.

No kidding.

I remember sometime after 9/11, I was taking the E or F from Kew Gardens/Union Tpke to go to school. There was some sort of accident ahead, or somebody was sick, or whatever. The point is that we weren't going to move for a long time. So I took an E back to Jamaica Center and transferred to a J or Z (don't remember which).

Normally, the E or F takes only about 30-40 minutes to get to West 4th Street. But the J and Z, because they were local trains, took more than an hour to reach Lower Manhattan. It was a shitty experience that I thankfully have not had to repeat.

KVNBKLYN Aug 17, 2009 6:33 PM

Still no good news on the rebuilding of Penn Station.

I heard from a friend that there are behind the scenes discussions about taking over the WaMu theater space for more passenger space and to get natural light into the station. Not sure how that would help considering most NJT riders are huddled near the 7th Avenue entrance and most LIRR riders only use their gloomy/tacky concourse beneath 33rd street. I believe the WaMu theater is midblock somewhere above the Amtrak waiting room.

Further ideas from bloomberg's architecture critic:


Sordid Penn Station Needs Overhaul for $9 Billion Tunnel Link
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Commentary by James S. Russell

Aug. 17 (Bloomberg) -- On a rain-swept day in July, the gloomy corridors of New York’s Pennsylvania Station seemed even danker than usual, foreshadowing the bleak prospects for its transformation into a great rail gateway.

The first shovel has been turned on the adjacent, $8.7 billion Mass Transit Tunnel from New Jersey that will double the number of passengers arriving from across the Hudson River. The 9-mile rail link for New Jersey Transit was supposed to feed a spruced-up Penn, but the station’s long-awaited makeover has gone on the back burner.

The tunnel makes realizing the promise of Penn imperative. Passenger growth already crams 46 million annual passengers into two blocks of sordid subterranean hallways. The station handles more people than most airports.

The epic Roman pomp of its 1910 predecessor, demolished more than four decades ago, stirs the hearts of backers of Moynihan Station, the Penn expansion project named after the late U.S. Senator Daniel Moynihan, who dreamed it up.

The old Penn, in so grandly choreographing the passenger throngs, was a great urban experience itself, thrillingly speaking to why millions of people crowd together in New York.

It was ripped down to accommodate today’s dingy melange of offices, shops and Madison Square Garden.

Unfortunately, the Moynihan Station project is in disarray. Over a decade, plans have come and gone for a new Amtrak station in the Farley Post office to the west of Penn. The last hare- brained idea was to skim hundreds of millions of dollars for the expansion by building millions of square feet of boom-era real- estate development.

Bloated Cost

The complexity of the deal making bloated the $1 billion station project to a $14 billion development. The proposal imploded and officials have no new plan. Penn’s overhaul is doomed if it doesn’t become a part of the massive, five-year surface-transportation bill, scheduled to move through Congress by Sept. 30. A likely 18-month delay offers possible salvation.

Flying under the public radar for years, the New Jersey Transit tunnel is moving ahead because it was “shovel ready,” and so qualified for $3 billion in federal funding, jump-started with $130 million in economic-stimulus dollars.

It won’t even terminate at Penn, an option that officials deemed too expensive. Instead, passengers will be deposited three blocks further north, 14 stories below 34th Street. At such a remove, the railroad must duplicate ticketing and services on a 1,000-foot-long concourse, accessed from the street by massive ranks of escalators carved out of bedrock.

Dead Ends

Instead of adding convenience, clarity and amenity to Penn, the design will add more twisting, confusing pathways and menacing dead ends, littered with directional signs.

Even if the tunnel can’t terminate at Penn, as it should have, a great united terminal can still be built.

With a little architectural vision, the tunnel could link with a spruced-up Penn and spur as much as 40 million square feet of commercial and residential development to the north and west of the station. It could transform the far West Side the way Grand Central replaced a smoke-belching ditch with tree- lined Park Avenue.

The tunnel shifts Penn’s center of gravity to the north and east, so the focus of Penn improvements must be on the two blocks the station now occupies, south of 33rd Street and west of Seventh Avenue. The grand Farley Post Office to the west is too peripheral.

Madison Square Garden

Planners have not wanted to tamper with the current station because bulldozing the dingy 1968 silo of Madison Square Garden and the mind-numbing 2 Penn Plaza office building aren’t now options. Instead architects must get surgical.

The abandoned taxi drop-off and the cracked-concrete plazas could host generously sized, daylight-filled entrances. Rationalize the three-level mess of passageways below, and unite the cramped, balkanized facilities to orchestrate easily navigated access to all 21 tracks.

Razing rinky-dink, one-story stores along Seventh and Eighth avenues can make room for expansive, seamless, light- filled links between Penn, the new tunnel station and three subway stations serving 15 lines -- a far better solution than the nasty, twisting passages currently planned.

Farley can be gorgeously built out for future commuters entering from the west and for Amtrak, which serves the smallest number of passengers.

The tough economy will tempt officials to strip these projects of architectural grace and urban significance. That’s what seems to be happening in the tunnel’s low-ceilinged concourse and convoluted vertical access (by engineering giants Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc., STV Group and AECOM).

Jubilee Line

There’s plenty of time to ditch the drugstore-chain look and the skimpy street-level storefront entrances. London’s Jubilee Line does tunnel stations right.

This thing has to work for a century or more. Short-term reasoning stuck us with today’s passenger-demeaning, investment- repelling Penn. Architecture of civic-minded ambition is an almost incidental cost in these engineering projects but is often key to their success. Think of Grand Central.

Skimping on inspiring architecture is millions wise, billions foolish.

(James S. Russell is Bloomberg’s U.S. architecture critic. The opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer of this column: James S. Russell in New York at

Qubert Aug 19, 2009 12:29 PM

:previous: The amount of drama and beaurocracy required to get anything done in NY is staggering. It's disgusting how this and the WTC site have done nothing for almost a decade, and it will be that city's downfall.

KVNBKLYN Aug 20, 2009 2:14 AM


Originally Posted by Qubert (Post 4413496)
:previous: The amount of drama and beaurocracy required to get anything done in NY is staggering. It's disgusting how this and the WTC site have done nothing for almost a decade, and it will be that city's downfall.

It's not bureaucracy per se, it's competing interests from different public agencies and private owners/developers. The redevelopment of Penn Station would require the cooperation of the city, the Port Authority, the MTA, NJ Transit, Amtrak, the owners of Madison Square Garden and whatever developer would be hired to build the new stuff on top and around the site. It's a classic case of too many chefs spoiling the pot.

And for the record, people have been predicting New York City's downfall for centuries and it hasn't happened yet.

CGII Aug 20, 2009 3:00 AM


Originally Posted by Qubert (Post 4413496)
:previous: The amount of drama and beaurocracy required to get anything done in NY is staggering. It's disgusting how this and the WTC site have done nothing for almost a decade, and it will be that city's downfall.

No, it's basic economics. It doesn't make sense/isn't possible to invest billions and billions of dollars into spurious corporate mega developments right now.

NYC4Life Sep 19, 2009 2:11 AM

NY Daily News

Cut in subway station booth agents has some worried about safety
BY Jeff Wilkins

Friday, September 18th 2009, 1:20 PM
Lunie Menard of Flatbush is worried crime will rise at her Newkirk Ave. subway stop without the presence of a station agent.

IF YOU SEE something, good luck trying to say something.

Starting Sunday, 17 subway stations across Brooklyn will lose agents because of budget cuts - which didn't make riders happy.

"I'm concerned for my safety," said Flatbush commuter Lunie Menard, 43, when she learned there would no longer be an agent in the booth at her usual entrance to the Newkirk Ave. station in Flatbush.

"If I'm down there by myself and someone's working, at least I know there's two of us," Menard said. "There's safety in numbers. We need more people down there, not less."

The 17 Brooklyn stations that will lose the maroon-vested agents include the Prospect Park and Sheepshead Bay stations along the B and Q lines; the Nevins St. and Brooklyn College stops on the 2 and 5 lines; and three stops along the L line, including Lorimer St. and Graham Ave.

Despite recent fair hikes and a $2.3 billion bailout from the state Legislature in May, the MTA maintained that cutting agents at 86 stations citywide was necessary due to budget constraints.

"The elimination of the station customer assistance program ... is an unfortunate result of tough economic times," said MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan in a statement.

"As MTA revenues continue to decline, this year's budget assumed that additional nonservice reductions were necessary."

MTA officials said all affected stations will still have one full-time customer assistance booth. Intercoms will be placed at entrances without agents to patch anyone in need of assistance to the 24-hour booth.

"So I'll have to phone someone at the other end of the station to let them know I'm being mugged," asked Bryan Walker, 33, at the Utica Ave. station in Bedford-Stuyvesant, which is also losing an agent. "That makes no sense."

NYC Transit was adamant commuters would be just as safe despite the decrease in agents.

"Safety isn't even a consideration," said Transit spokesman Charles Seaton. "Crime is down at stations across the city. The NYPD is doing a good job of patrolling them."

An agent along the A line speaking on condition of anonymity scoffed at the notion his station will remain as safe when he's forced from his booth.

"We're the eyes and ears of the subway," he said. "We're not police officers but we're trained to help people."

© Copyright 2009 All rights reserved

miketoronto Sep 19, 2009 1:25 PM

You could fool me, because when I needed some help when in NYC this summer with a Metrocard issue, the agent was not helpful at all.
Most just seem to sit there and not really do anything. And she only agreed to do something when I was going to buy another card, and she would have had to swipe my credit card. :)

I know not all are like that. But at the same time, maybe they need some more training.

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