Transportation

Policy, Transportation

port authority of new york and new jersey, port authority agency, midtown manhattan

After multiple feuds, budget concerns and delays, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey may have finally reached an agreement on a timeline to replace or renovate the bus terminal. As the Associated Press reports, the plan to replace the Port Authority Bus Terminal has shifted attention back to the existing midtown Manhattan, instead of relocating it one block west. Board members of the bi-state agency said a study of the original site will be finished by the end of July to determine the cost and schedule of renovation. Following that study, an environmental review is expected later this year, which could take about two years. Construction cannot begin until the review is completed.

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Transportation

MTA electric bus, green buses, andrew cuomo

In recognition of Earth Week, Governor Cuomo announced a new pilot program to bring electric buses to New York City this year. The MTA board has approved to lease the first five electric buses, and the lease for the next five will be presented later this year. The program will cost $4 million for three-year leases, which includes six depot charging stations. A charging station will be located at the Grand Avenue Depot in Maspeth, where buses will charge overnight. The first leg of the pilot will also include one “en-route” charging station at the Williamsburg Bridge Plaza in Brooklyn, which will serve as the hub for nine routes.

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City Living, Top Stories, Transportation, Urban Design

east river greenway

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that the city would develop the gap in the Manhattan waterfront greenway that runs between 41st and 61st Streets along the East River. The city has pledged to spend $100 million on closing the largest unfinished space in the 32-mile loop, including a new esplanade, with an additional $5 million to be spent on filling smaller gaps in East Harlem and Inwood. “The Hudson River Greenway has vastly improved quality of life on the West Side, and we want families in every corner in the borough to have that same access to bike, walk and play along the water,” said the mayor in a statement. “This is the first of many big investments we’ll make as we bring the full Greenway to reality.”

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navy yard, Policy, Top Stories, Transportation

BQX, Brooklyn Queens Connector, mayor de blasio streetcar

Although Mayor de Blasio’s proposed BQX project, which would connect the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts via streetcar, received praise from many, finding money to fund it may be tougher than expected. Earlier this month, a leaked memo obtained by the Daily News laid out a tough assessment of the construction logistics and financial problems facing the project. And while the mayor admitted last week that his plan for the BQX to be self-funded through tax revenue from higher real estate values may not pan out, an article in Crain’s laid out an idea for the city to sell air rights in the Brooklyn Navy Yard neighborhood to raise money for the project.

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Top Stories, Transportation

nyc subway, bombardier, r179

The long-anticipated–and long-delayed–batch of about 70 shiny new subway cars will roll into stations before the end of the year according to the MTA as reported by AM New York. The new cars will replace the system’s oldest–and most breakdown-prone–cars on the J, Z and C lines. Another 230 more are scheduled to hit the MTA rails over the course of 2018. Steve Plochochi, the MTA’s vice president of procurement and material, called the cars’ arrival “long-awaited good news,” and outlined MTA plans for a “major design change” in subway cars for future models.

What about those future models

Transportation

With the launch of the much-anticipated NYC Ferry quickly approaching, crews responsible for manning the boats continue to train in preparation. As amNY shares in a new video, before captains can operate the ferries, they must first master a digital simulation at SUNY Maritime in the Bronx. In a small room shaped like a ferry wheelhouse with wraparound screens that provide a 360-degree view of the New York Harbor, captains in training must steer past digital boat traffic and landmarks like the Statue of Liberty. Overseen by staff members from Hornblower Cruises, the simulator tests an applicant’s decision-making skills, navigational abilities, and understanding of Coast Guard Regulations.

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Major Developments, Midtown West, Transportation

Moynihan Train Hall, Empire State Development Corporation, Amtrak, MTA, ANDREW CUOMO, EMPIRE STATION COMPLEX, JAMES A. FARLEY POST OFFICE, MOYNIHAN STATION, PENN STATION, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, SOM, McKim, Mead & White, Madison Square Garden

This spring, the 650,000 commuters who travel through Penn Station daily may finally start to witness Governor Cuomo’s $1.6 billion plan to revamp what he called the “overcrowded, decrepit and claustrophobic” station into a more spacious and high-tech transit hub. As the Daily News reports, the first phase of the overall Moynihan Station Development Project will begin soon, extending Penn Station’s West End Concourse to reduce congestion. The second phase will transform the James A. Farley Post Office into the new Moynihan Train Hall, which will hold more than 112,000 square feet of retail and 588,000 square feet of office space, in addition to new ticketing and waiting areas for Amtrak and Long Island Railroad passengers.

More details right this way

New Jersey, Staten Island, Transportation, Urban Design

Staten Island, Aerial Gondola, Staten Island Economic Development Corporation

While the city continues to develop ways to quicken commutes between Manhattan and the outer boroughs (like the soon-to-be-launched NYC Ferry), the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC) has taken matters into their own hands and created an idea for an aerial gondola. Similar to the East River Skyway proposal, which would transport passengers across the East River to ease the inconvenience of the impending L train shutdown, the gondola would take commuters in the sky from the borough to Bayonne, NJ where they’d connect to the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and ultimately the PATH. As WYNC learned, starting this week and for seven days only, the gondola will be touring Staten Island on the back of a flatbed truck to boost support from officials to fund the project.

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History, Transportation

Peter Samson, standing in the center, and his teammates during the failed 1966 run. From the New York Herald-Tribune, via the Queens Borough Public Library

In May of 1940, electric railroad enthusiast Herman Rinke became the first person to tour the entire New York City subway system on a single token, putting in 25 some hours underground all for fun. After reading about Rinke’s journey, Peter Samson, a computer software engineer who later invented the world’s first video game Spacewar, decided to take a stab at making his own record. As the Times recounts, he formed the Amateur New York Subway Riding Committee (ANYSRC) to develop rules for the challenge. After one failed attempt in 1966, Samson, with the help of 15 volunteers and a computer program that tracked the fastest route, completed the trip in 25 hours, 50 minutes and 30 seconds on April 21, 1967. Since then, the subway challenge has taken off for puzzle and transit lovers worldwide.

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City Living, Top Stories, Transportation

New York's first citywide ferry, citywide ferry, nyc ferry, hornblower nyc ferry

To celebrate the ahead-of-schedule launch of the Citywide Ferry service, Mayor de Blasio rode the first ferry (named “Lunchbox” by second graders from Bay Ridge) this morning into Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 as part of an official dedication ceremony. Beginning May 1st, all New Yorkers can join in the revelry when the new Rockaway Route and the existing East River Route kick off. Service to South Brooklyn starts in June, and the Astoria route will be launched sometime in August. In all, there will be 21 stops added throughout the city as part of the expanded service. On top of today’s festivities, the city also released the official new ferry schedules.

See the NYC Ferry routes

Transportation

Following the recent Penn Station train derailment and subsequent delays during the busy weekday commute, NY Waterway launched an extra ferry route running from Hoboken to Midtown Manhattan. Now, NJ.com reports, that ferry service will become permanent starting in September of this year. The new ferry will run between between West 39th Street and Hoboken terminal according to NY Waterway president and founder Arthur Imperatore Sr.

Find out more about the new commuting option

Policy, Transportation

Hudson River Tunnel, NYC Infrastructure, Grant Program

As 6sqft reported recently, President Trump may include two major New York transportation projects in his proposed budget cuts, including the Gateway Program that would build a new train tunnel under the Hudson River and a program which extends the Second Avenue subway in Manhattan to East Harlem. The Gateway Program, which would add a much-needed second rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River and upgrade aging rail infrastructure in New York and New Jersey, has been relying on the federal government for half of its estimated $24 billion cost. WNYC reports that even if the funding is pulled, the agency may look to funding from a public-private partnership.

Find out what the options are

City Living, Transportation, Union Square, Urban Design

Advocacy group Transportation Alternatives has been trying to stay focused on grounded solutions–literally, as opposed to the tunnel and skyway ideas that are also being discussed–to mitigate the anticipated possible chaos when the dreaded 15-month L train shutdown hits. The organization is aiming for the ear of the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the MTA which control street design and bus expansion, respectively. The group recently held an “L-ternative” contest seeking pedestrian-centered proposals for main transit corridors along the L line, such as 14th street, Gothamist reports. The winning proposal, called 14TH ST.OPS, imagines a (car) traffic-free 14th Street with a six-stop shuttle bus using dedicated lanes, plus protected bike lanes.

Check out the winning post-L-Train vision

Roosevelt Island, Transportation, Urban Design

Roosevelt Island, the mile-long neighborhood that lies in the East River between Manhattan and Queens, will be a stop on the NYC Ferry route that connects Astoria to Wall Street beginning in August. While this will ease access to other parts of the city for residents of the island, French architect Victor Ostojic has another idea. As Curbed reported, Ostojic published a conceptual proposal of a cantilevered glass-covered ferry terminal on the western side of the island. Located parallel to Manhattan’s East 63rd Street, the terminal would include ground-floor retail, a food court, office space and a luxury hotel on top.

See renderings of the transit hub

Technology, Top Stories, Transportation

HyperLoop One, High-speed tube, magentically levitating pods

Future New Yorkers may travel between cities faster than ever before. Hyperloop One–the California-based tech company whose transportation concept was first proposed by Elon Musk– revealed its plan for a high-speed tube that could take passengers from NYC to D.C. in just 20 minutes, reports NBC New York (by comparison, Amtrak’s Acela Express currently takes a little more than three hours). Travelers would board magnetically levitating pods that move by electric propulsion and travel at more than 700 miles per hour. This would connect 80 percent of the country, making a cross-country trip just about five hours long. According to the company, nearly 83 million people would benefit from this hyperloop between our nation’s capital and the Big Apple.

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Featured Story

Features, History, photography, The urban lens, Top Stories, Transportation

Sid Kaplan, New York Transit Museum, NYC train history, Deconstruction of the Third Avenue El, elevated trains NYC

6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. This week’s installment comes courtesy of a new exhibit at the Transit Museum, “Deconstruction of the Third Avenue El: Photographs by Sid Kaplan.” Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

After the city consolidated its underground subway lines in 1942 (they were previously owned by private companies), fewer New Yorkers were riding the elevated lines. This decreased ridership, along with the fact that the Els ate up valuable street-level real estate and created dangerous dark spaces, led to the city taking down the Second Avenue Elevated line in 1942. In 1955, the Third Avenue Elevated came down as well, catching the eye of a then 17-year-old Sid Kaplan, whose photos of the dismantling are currently on display at the Transit Museum’s Grand Central Gallery Annex. The museum tells us, “From his perch on the roof of an apartment building, or leaning out the window of an office, his images capture a unique perspective of the removal of a hulking steel structure, the hard-working people who dismantled it, and the ever-changing landscape of New York City.”

More on the El history, Sid’s work, and all the amazing photos

City Living, Far Rockaway, Transportation

Citywide Ferry, CFS, Mayor De Blasio, Hornblower, NYCEDC, Metal Shark, Horizon, Cameron Clark

Mayor de Blasio announced today that the Citywide Ferry Service, now officially named “NYC Ferry,” will be launching two routes on the first day of May: the new Rockaway Route and the existing East River Route. As DNA Info learned, the Rockaway route takes passengers from the new dock on Beach 108th Street to the Brooklyn Terminal, and then Wall Street’s Pier 11. Expect service on the South Brooklyn Route with stops in Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Red Hook and Brooklyn Bridge Park to begin on June 1. The Astoria Route will be launched sometime in August and the Lower East Side and Soundview Routes have a launch date set in 2018. Find out more here

Policy, Top Stories, Transportation

Earlier this year, President Trump, a lifelong New Yorker, hired two NY-based developers to head an infrastructure commission, which oversees spending on his proposed $1 trillion plan to improve the country’s bridges and roads. Despite this clear connection to the Big Apple, the president refuses to say whether he will include two major transportation projects for the city, both of which his proposed budget defunds, as the New York Times reported. As of now, Trump has proposed eliminating a program that would build a new train tunnel under the Hudson River and a program which extends the Second Avenue subway in Manhattan to East Harlem.

Find out more

Policy, Transportation

MetroCard, NYC subway, MTA

Although the recent subway and bus fare hike affects all New Yorkers, low-income residents are being especially hard hit by the jump in cost. As a way to ease this financial burden, the City Council has proposed a $50 million pilot program as part of the “Fair Fares” initiative which will provide half-fare MetroCards to New Yorkers living at or below the federal poverty line. As the Daily News learned, transit advocates say nearly 800,000 residents would be eligible for the discount under the full plan.

Find out more here

adaptive reuse, Top Stories, Transportation

On Friday 6sqft reported Mayor Bill De Blasio’s announcement that the Rikers Island jail complex will be closed, following a report by the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform. “New York City has always been better than Rikers Island,” said the mayor when he announced the decision. The report also included ideas for the future of a post-jail Rikers. One such idea suggests that the island be used for the expansion of nearby LaGuardia Airport, raising the possibility of a new runway and additional terminal space, according to USA Today. “The Island is uniquely positioned to accommodate an expanded LaGuardia Airport that would reduce delays and could serve as many as 12 million more passengers annually,” the report states.

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Design, infographic, Transportation

Like New York, Boston’s subway system is organized with a different color for each route. Unlike NYC, however, there’s no corresponding numbers, so the lines along the T are actually referred to by their respective hues. Which is why Boston resident Ari Ofsevit, a transportation engineering and urban planning graduate student at MIT, found it odd that the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority didn’t use the same colors on their Twitter alerts as were found on their maps and signs. As Next City reported, this inspired him to create a graphic comparing the various colors of 13 major transit lines across the U.S. and Canada.

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City Living, Transportation

L train, L train shutdown, MTA

It’s official. The Metropolitan Transit Authority board voted to approve a 15-month shutdown of the L train on Monday, instead of the originally proposed 18 months. The Board also awarded a $477 million contract to Judlau Contracting and TC Electric, who will responsible for repairing the train’s Canarsie Tunnel, which suffered severe flooding damage after Hurricane Sandy (h/t WSJ). The planned shutdown is set to begin in April 2019 and cuts all L train service between Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg and Eighth Avenue in Manhattan.

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Transportation

Queensboro Bridge, 59th street bridge, new york bridges

In what will be the largest capital investment in the East River bridges since 2010, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 2017 Capital Commitment Plan has allocated $392 million for the project, reports DNAInfo. The Queensboro Bridge–the busiest of the East River crossings–will get $110 million, the biggest chunk of the project’s funding according to a report from the city’s Independent Budget Office (IBO). The bridge received only a “fair” grade in a recent DOT rating system (the Brooklyn Bridge got the lowest rating). The repairs will happen over the next three years.

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Brooklyn, Transportation

Last January, Governor Cuomo announced a massive undertaking to “modernize and fundamentally transform” the MTA and the subway by adding more countdown clocks, contactless payment by next year, Wi-Fi at all stations (mission accomplished, here), and other high-tech features. It also included news that 30 stations would be revamped, requiring them to shut down entirely for six to 12 months, instead of just on nights and weekends. As of Monday, as amNY tells us, the first three on this list– the R train stations at 53rd Street in Sunset Park, Bay Ridge Avenue, and Prospect Avenue–will close for half a year for a combined $72 million renovation.

Get the full scoop

City Living, infographic, Transportation

In light of NYC’s recent subway fare hike that bumped the price of a monthly pass to $121, the data jocks at ValuePenguin took a look at public transportation systems throughout the U.S. and ranked them according to affordability, based on the cost of a pass as a percentage of income and the median income of the city’s commuters. Among the findings: New York City’s transit system isn’t the most unaffordable; that honor goes to Los Angeles. Washington D.C. topped the most affordable list among large cities, followed by San Francisco and Boston.
Read on for more insight on the cost of a commute

City Living, Transportation

nyc subway, metrocard, nyc subway station

Swiping a fellow New Yorker through the subway turnstile with your MetroCard is practically a New York pastime. But is it actually legal? As DNAinfo reports, the NYPD and MTA say it’s completely lawful to help another rider gain access to the subway, as long as you’re not charging them for the swipe. And for those looking for a free ride? Last year, the city changed their policy on “fare-begging,” which lowered the consequence for riders asking for a swipe from an arrest to a ticket or summons.

Find out more here

City Living, Transportation

14th Street, NYC subway commute

Finally, there’s some good news for the nearly 225,000 daily L train riders commuting to Manhattan. This weekend the Metropolitan Transit Authority announced that the Canarsie tube, which carries the L train between Manhattan and Brooklyn, will be closed for 15 months instead of 18, three months ahead of schedule. As reported by the Daily News, the MTA plans to begin rehabilitating the tunnel in April of 2019.

Find out more here

City Living, Transportation

nyc taxicabs

It’s difficult to imagine the hustle and bustle of New York City without its culturally-iconic yellow taxicabs. And while it’s obvious companies chose the color yellow to be more visible to ride-hailers, a study conducted in Singapore found that not only are yellow cars harder to miss, they get in fewer accidents (h/t Mental Floss).

What are the origins of the famous yellow cab

Transportation

Citywide Ferry, CFS, Mayor De Blasio, Hornblower, NYCEDC, Metal Shark, Horizon, Cameron Clark

For the first time in 100 years, ferry service will be available to all five boroughs as part of a two-year $325 million initiative by Mayor de Blasio.  As the Wall Street Journal reported, the plan will add at least 200 jobs to the city’s economy. Half of these available jobs will pay at least $50,000 per year or more, according to the mayor. The plan for the citywide ferry service, launching this summer, will be managed by the Economic Development Corporation and Hornblower Cruises, who will hire deckhands, captains and other crew members.

Find out more here

City Living, Transportation

How Citi Bike stacks up against other U.S. bike shares

By Michelle Cohen, Fri, March 3, 2017

After initial skepticism and half-hearted arguments from bike-haters and snide remarks from bike snob cities like Seattle and San Francisco, New York City’s first official bike sharing system has turned out to be a success–that much we know. The numbers compiled by Priceonomics Data Studio for their client Spin reveal some surprising numbers when it comes to how we’re using those bikes. D.C., for example, beat the other cities handily on most metrics, with San Francisco and Seattle consistently at the bottom of the list. Ok, so the research was done for a bike sharing startup hoping to expand its station-less system (more on that, too), but it’s interesting to compare statistics of share programs in the nation’s biggest adopters of this new public transportation option–and get a chance to see how Citi Bike fares.

Find out more fascinating bike share facts

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