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NYC4Life Jul 18, 2008 1:11 AM

NEW YORK CITY: Transit Developments

Transit Officials Cut $61 Million From Next Year's Budget

July 16, 2008

City transit officials announced late Wednesday that they will cut jobs and projects to save money in 2009.

Transit officials say when the preliminary budget is unveiled next week, more than 500 jobs and $61 million will be cut.

The cost-cutting plan involves leaving positions unfilled, instead of laying off employees.

NYC Transit had been directed by MTA brass to cut costs by six percent over four years.

A spokesperson says maintenance upgrades will be reduced to prevent any decreases to service and customer safety.

In the wake of a financial crisis, the MTA has warned of another fare hike if state aid is not increased because of a $700 million budget gap.

NYC4Life Jul 18, 2008 1:12 AM

WTC Transit Hub

WTC Transit Hub Starts To Take Shape

July 17, 2008

A series of recently-installed arches in the World Trade Center site is the first major sign of the planned transit hub’s construction. NY1’s Transit reporter Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

At the World Trade Center site, a series of arches has sprouted in recent days. It is the first part of the outline of an underground pedestrian passageway that will one day connect the planned World Trade Center PATH hub to points west.

"This will be a corridor which will connect the PATH hall under West Street to the World Financial Center," said Port Authority Program Manager Saverio Leone.

To get there, workers will have to blast through the western slurry wall and tunnel under West Street. But for now, workers are busy setting the 47 arches in place.

Contoured in design, set atop rounded columns, the curved arches reflect architect Santiago Calatrava's vision for the entire transit hub, with its curved forms and a bird-like structure above ground.

The idea is to create an airy space, and when they are completed, shops will line the north side of the corridor, and the curves will be prominent.

"That is one of the signature components of the Calatrava design. You'll see them, they'll be exposed,” said Leone. “The concrete slab will be above the arch, or the rib. There'll be lighting in between the ribs."

Calatrava's original design for the hub was scaled back once because of security concerns, and again earlier this month, when the Port Authority announced the hub's winged roof will no longer open and close.

But officials say the corridor taking shape here is a sign of progress.

"It's a very positive step here on the project, because you're actually starting to see what this thing -- the vision, where we're going," said Leone.

As for the transit hub itself, the Port Authority is still reevaluating the design in order to bring the project in on budget. Originally scheduled to be complete late next year, the completion date has been pushed back to 2011.

Officials warn it could be pushed back even further.

- Bobby Cuza

NYC4Life Jul 18, 2008 1:15 AM

LIRR East Side Access

First LIRR Tunnel To Grand Central Complete

July 17, 2008

The MTA’s East Side Access project, which will extend the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Station, reached a major milestone recently with the completion of a new Midtown tunnel. NY1’s Transit reporter Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

A brand-new tunnel has been completed 16 stories below Midtown Manhattan at Second Avenue and 63rd Street -- the first of two eventual Long Island Rail Road tunnels to Grand Central Station.

The tunnel, which goes west to Park Avenue and then curves south, was dug by hundreds of workers and an enormous mechanical device known as a tunnel-boring machine.

It will eventually form part of MTA’s expansion project, the East Side Access, which will build a new Long Island Rail Road terminal at Grand Central.

"It's basically completed the boring that it has to do to get to Grand Central, so it gives us now the opening space to start creating the cavern for the Grand Central part of the station,” said Joseph Trainor of MTA Capital Construction.

A second boring machine is also at work, carving out a parallel tunnel, though it has reached only as far as 48th Street.

Both machines cut right through Manhattan bedrock, about 120 feet below ground. The debris is then carted away using an elaborate series of conveyor belts all the way to Sunnyside, Queens.

The construction site can be wet and muddy, but to those above ground, the work of the boring machine has been imperceptible.

"It's 120 feet underground, and I don't think that anybody in the area has any idea that it's even made this progress," said Trainor.

"Most people don't have any perception it's there,” said tunnel engineer Edward Kennedy. “We passed within 12 feet underneath 53rd Street subway tunnels. And basically, nobody noticed."

Altogether, the East Side Access project is expected to cost $7.2 billion, including a large portion of federal funds. It's expected to be complete in 2015.

- Bobby Cuza

NYC4Life Jul 18, 2008 1:17 AM

Port Authority Bus Terminal

Color-Coded Art Installation Unveiled At Port Authority

July 17, 2008

As part of the transformation of the area around the Port Authority terminal, a colorful new work of art was unveiled Thursday.

The work is one of the largest public art projects in the terminal's history.

The exhibit labels fruits and vegetables with colors, so people can see how much color should be in a healthy daily diet.

"Create my own nature-matching system, where normal people can actually match color of their fruits and vegetable, and eat them," said the artist, Tattfoo Tan, of his creation. "So if they're eating something unhealthy there will be less color, so they can put more color into their meal."

Passersby were treated to free fruit as part of promotion for the exhibit.

The art project will span the street-level windows on Eighth Avenue between 41st and 42nd Streets and along 42nd Street.

hkskyline Jul 18, 2008 1:43 AM

Wow ... $7.2 billion for just a tunnel into Midtown? That amount can probably build half to a third of a new airport!

Jer8m8 Jul 18, 2008 1:47 AM

Just look how much it costs to build 30 blocks of new subway...and how long...

the urban politician Jul 18, 2008 1:58 AM

^ I know, ridiculous.

I wonder how much it must have cost to build tunnels in 1900, when much of the subway system was built.

Justin10000 Jul 18, 2008 1:10 PM


Originally Posted by hkskyline (Post 3679913)
Wow ... $7.2 billion for just a tunnel into Midtown? That amount can probably build half to a third of a new airport!

Manhattan is very built up. There is a LOT underground. Not to mention, they are tunneling through some very hard rock. I am not surprised, if it costing that that much.

miketoronto Jul 18, 2008 1:14 PM


Originally Posted by hkskyline (Post 3679913)
Wow ... $7.2 billion for just a tunnel into Midtown? That amount can probably build half to a third of a new airport!

Well worth the cost. Think of all the tax revenue NYC will be making over the next century by having jobs in Manhattan instead of out in the suburbs.

NJ and NYC are working on a number of projects that will cost billions, but will double capacity into Manhattan.

hkskyline Jul 18, 2008 3:13 PM


Originally Posted by Justin10000 (Post 3680624)
Manhattan is very built up. There is a LOT underground. Not to mention, they are tunneling through some very hard rock. I am not surprised, if it costing that that much.

Drilling in bedrock is typical for subway construction in large cities. Obviously they can't drill so shallow or else they'll hit the foundations and utilities along the way. Don't think such typical construction methods would warrant the large cost. I wonder what are the components of that 7.2 billion?

To put things into perspective, the Jubilee Line extension in London costed £3.5 billion, which at the time, was about USD $5.6 billion for about 10 miles of extra service and stations. That amount was actually double what was originally estimated. They had to re-engineer and pretty much rebuild Westminster interchange station. It looks so different today!

Matty Jul 18, 2008 9:43 PM

Part of it could be utility relocation? Probably mostly just waste.

philvia Jul 18, 2008 10:13 PM


Originally Posted by hkskyline (Post 3680842)
Drilling in bedrock is typical for subway construction in large cities.

the rock under manhattan is the hardest in the world

ardecila Jul 19, 2008 2:56 AM


Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 3679947)
^ I know, ridiculous.

I wonder how much it must have cost to build tunnels in 1900, when much of the subway system was built.

Construction costs were lower in 1900-1930, because of
a) cheap, non-union and non-mechanized, immigrant labor
b) shallow cut-and-cover construction (remove street, dig, lay tracks, rebuild street over the top)
c) less utilities under the streets
c) domestic building materials

NYC4Life Jul 22, 2008 10:21 AM


Going Up?
MTA To Seek Fare Hike For Second Straight Year

July 21, 2008

Only once in the history of the New York City subway has the fare gone up in back-to-back years – but now it looks like it's happening again.

NY1 has learned that Wednesday the MTA plans to propose a fare increase to take effect next July 2009, just over a year after MetroCard increases took effect.

It’s unclear how much the fare will increase. The MTA will only say it needs to increase firebox revenue by eight percent – about $400 million a year.

That could mean hiking the base fare from $2 to $2.25 and raising the price of unlimited MetroCards. But for now, the MTA is only speaking in general terms.

The last time subway fares were increased in two consecutive years was in 1980 and 1981, as the city grappled with rising inflation while the economy drifted into recession.

In addition to the increased revenue from straphangers, the MTA is also seeking $300 million in increased city and state aid. The agency also plans to eliminate the use of free EZ Passes by government agencies, including the NYPD – a measure that could save an estimated $10 million a year.

The agency plans to do about $45 million worth of belt tightening in addition to budget cuts already planned. The intent will be to close a $700 million budget gap that has appeared in recent months.

The MTA has been hit hard both by rising fuel prices and the struggling real estate market, which generates tax revenue for the agency.

The agency’s $29 billion capital plan for 2009 through 2014, which earmarks billions of dollars for expansion projects like East Side Access and the Second Avenue Subway, is $20 billion short by some estimates.

Last week, city transit officials announced plans to cut more than 500 jobs and $61 million from the budget after MTA brass ordered NYC Transit to cut costs by six percent over four years.

None of the proposals are set in stone, including the fare increase. They are part of the MTA's preliminary budget forecast for next year.

By law, the MTA must hold public hearings before raising fares, which wouldn't happen until early next year.

Justin10000 Jul 22, 2008 12:29 PM


Originally Posted by philvia (Post 3681693)
the rock under manhattan is the hardest in the world

It's actually one the reasons why New York can build such an amazing skyline. The rock is great support for all the buildings.

That being said, this project is very complex, and I can see where people think it is expensive for a "short" line. They have to drill under the LIRR yards, they have to connect to the 63rd St tunnels, AND still have to bore 140 feet under the Grand Terminal! It's not going to be a simple 2 track terminal. It's going to be 8 tracks, 4 stacked on top of each other. All at 140 feet below the surface.

ThisSideofSteinway Jul 22, 2008 12:54 PM


Originally Posted by NYC4Life (Post 3687471)
Going Up?
MTA To Seek Fare Hike For Second Straight Year

Ugh. Thank God for Transportation Benefits. :yuck:

NYC4Life Jul 24, 2008 12:20 AM


Taxi Drivers, Councilmen Demand $1 Fuel Surcharge

July 23, 2008

Several City Council members joined taxi drivers in their fight for some financial relief from rising fuel costs Wednesday.

Lawmakers are urging the Taxi and Limousine Commission to reconsider a $1 fuel surcharge, which was shot down earlier this year.

They say it will help offset high gas prices, which prevent some drivers from paying their monthly lease fees.

"Nobody wants to ask drivers and the general public to pay more,” said Democratic Queens Councilman John Liu. “But the reality is that these gas prices are through the roof. The TLC will say the current rates already reflect some kind of inflation factor for fuel prices. But yet nobody expected inflation to be 100 percent."

"This gas price is just killing us -- all the drivers and all the 5 percent we're paying to all the brokers, and the companies,” said taxi driver Parvinder Singh. “And this fuel surcharge we definitely need now. We have it in 30 cities in the U.S. Why not us?"

Drivers are also asking to TLC to prohibit increases in their lease payments.

In response to calls for the surcharge, TLC Commissioner Matthew W. Daus said, "We looked at the issue carefully, balancing all of the variables – including the industry's overall health, driver earnings and a surcharge's potential negative impact on passengers and ridership – and believe that a surcharge is not warranted."

Daus said he's discussed the matter with the TLC's Board of Commissioners, and that the agency will "continue to monitor the situation closely."

NYC4Life Jul 28, 2008 7:34 PM


MTA Adds Extra Service During Peak Hours

July 28, 2008

In an effort to reduce some overcrowding on the subway, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has added some extra service.

The changes, which went into effect today, include a greater frequency of trains, especially during peak travel hours.

NYC Transit says during the morning rush on the Number 4 train, trains will arrive at the station every 10 to 12 minutes, instead of every 15. During the evening rush on the 4, anywhere from one to three minutes has been shaved off the gap between trains.

The changes also affect evening service on the Number 1, the Number 6 and service on the 42nd Street S shuttle.

The total price tag for the increased service is about $8.9 million annually.

NYC transit says the expanded service is being funded by several internal savings initiatives.

manchester united Jul 29, 2008 11:55 AM

And now also the 3 line has a 24/7 service from 148th Harlem to Times Square !!!!

NYC4Life Jul 29, 2008 1:58 PM


MetroCard Machines Restored Systemwide

July 29, 2008

Problems that plagued MetroCard vending machines should be all cleared up this morning.

New York City Transit is still looking into what caused vending machines systemwide to stop accepting credit and debit cards for several hours during the morning rush, and again during the evening rush yesterday.

The agency says the problem was fixed late last night.

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