Photo via Dan Phiffer on Flickr
Within 10 years, the subway system will feature a state-of-the-art signal system, become more accessible, have a new fare payment system and boast thousands of new subway cars and buses. These ambitious improvements are all part of a plan released Wednesday by New York City Transit Chief Andy Byford and the MTA, called “Fast Forward: The Plan to Modernize New York City Transit.” And the plan does intend to move very quickly. Byford expects work previously estimated to take nearly 50 years to be completed within the next decade. The top-to-bottom modernization of the system will no doubt inconvenience commuters, with possible changes to bus stop locations, as well as station closures and service disruptions. “Fast Forward” breaks down into two five-year plans, with the first half estimated to cost $19 billion and the next five years to cost $18 billion according to the New York Times. However, a cost estimate of the plan has not yet been officially released by the MTA. Find out more
The latest fear to raise its ugly head in what will admittedly be a major inconvenience–that is, the 15-month shutdown of the L line starting in April of 2019–is the very limited number of trains that will be able to pick up the slack heading across the Williamsburg bridge. The topic surfaced at last night’s Town Hall meeting, when, according to the Village Voice, a concerned citizen by the name of Sunny Ng voiced his concerns about how many more trains could fit on the bridge.
Can of worms: Open!
Photo via Richard Yeh / WNYC
Queens native and Metropolitan Transportation Authority Rail Control Center announcer Velina Mitchell is the new official voice of the transit authority. The 25-year MTA “insider” was chosen when Sarah Meyer, the NYC Transit chief customer officer, first heard Mitchell read a public service announcement. Little did Mitchell know she was auditioning for a much bigger role. Meyer told the Daily News: “She sounded like a New Yorker, but she was also warm and she enunciated very well.” The MTA is making an effort to improve communications with their riders by playing Mitchell’s announcements in stations as well as in four new train cars.
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Uber has lofty goals- literally. 6sqft previously reported on the ride-sharing company’s partnership with NASA to develop software to operate their “flying Ubers” for uberAIR by 2023. Clearly, flying Ubers need somewhere to takeoff and land, so yesterday, at their second annual elevate conference in Los Angeles, the company revealed the top six Skyport conceptual designs that are just as futuristic as the flying taxi concept itself.
Could these land in NYC?
Via NYC Ferry
“We’re gonna need a bigger boat” commented Mayor Bill di Blasio at a press conference in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, this morning touting the surge in popularity of ferries. NYC’s ferry service is expected to carry as many as 9 million passengers by 2023, twice the original projections. And to accommodate this, Mayor de Blasio said he was increasing spending on ferries, including a $300 million investment for three new, larger 350-passenger capacity boats, news docks and piers and an additional port for maintenance. The current NYC Ferry fleet contains 20 150-passenger capacity vessels.
There’s more coming
Photo via Tim Adams on Flickr
Another day, another missed deadline for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The plan to modernize the 7-line’s ancient signals has been delayed yet again, according to the Wall Street Journal. The MTA said the new system would be implemented by June 30, but the contractor installing the signals, Thales Transport and Security, told officials they won’t be able to finish until November. Andy Byford, the new chief of NYC Transit, said he refuses to accept the rescheduled deadline and has hinted at more outages on the 7, as a way to accelerate installation of the system. “I think customers would prefer to rip the band aid off and get on with it rather than have this slow creeping limp to the finish line,” Byford said on Wednesday.
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Photo via NYC DOT/Flickr
May is National Bike Month and Transportation Alternatives (TransAlt) is hosting its Bike Commuter Challenge. TransAlt and the city are challenging New Yorkers to swap their normal commuting routine and cycle to work. With Citi Bikes on almost every block, over 250 miles of new bicycle lanes, and the hellacious winter behind us, there is no excuse not to “man up.” Especially since, according to NYC DOT, more than 800,000 New Yorkers ride a bike regularly, which is 140,000 more than rode five years ago and means that NYC commuters already bike to work more than any other U.S. city.
There’s more bike-related fun to be had in May
Photo of the L-train via Wiki Commons
If you’ve got some choice words to say about the impending L train shutdown, you’ll soon get a chance to make them public. The MTA and the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) have announced two town hall meetings that will be held this month to discuss the Canarsie Tunnel Reconstruction project–aka the L train shutdown–with members of the community who will be affected by the April 2019 service interruption that will knock the line out of commission for 15 months. The meetings, which will be held in Manhattan and Brooklyn, are the latest in a series of public meetings and workshops intended to quell public trepidation about the impending shutdown.
When, where, what to expect
Workers at East Side Access project in 2016 via MTA’s Flickr
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority approved on Wednesday an amendment to its capital plan that allows for more than $400 million to be invested in the East Side Access, a project that began more than a decade ago. In addition to exceptional construction delays, the project’s price tag has jumped dramatically, from early estimates of roughly $2.2 billion to now over $11 billion (h/t NY Times). As a way to reduce crowds at Penn Station, East Side Access will connect the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal.
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Photo via Wikimedia
Mayor Bill de Blasio agreed earlier this month to fund half of the MTA’s $836 million emergency rescue plan for the subway, leading many to believe the feud between the mayor and Gov. Andrew Cuomo about the funding had simmered. But on Wednesday, de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson penned a joint letter to MTA chair, Joe Lhota, laying out terms of the funding agreement, with plenty of subtle insults to the MTA included. While the city’s commitment of $418 million came with a “lock box” arrangement, to ensure the money goes to repairs and nothing else, the mayor and speaker are calling on Lhota and the MTA for even further transparency, better measurements of progress and frequent briefings about the plan.
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