Every day, stoic straphangers face the crowds, dirt and other nasty stuff in the city’s subway system (when it’s running), and we don’t often consider how the various moving parts of the commuting experience are designed. The old subway cars had straps to hang onto (hence the term) in addition to poles and horizontal rails; newer generations have nixed the strap altogether, including the new high-tech designs recently unveiled by Governor Cuomo.
The MTA plans to announce today that the long-dreaded L train shutdown for repairs needed on the Canarsie tunnel that runs beneath the East River will commence in 2019 and take the line out of service from Manhattan to the Bedford Avenue station in Brooklyn for 18 months, as reported by the New York Times. The 18-month option was the expected choice, the alternative being a partial three-year shutdown that would give about one in five passengers service to Manhattan (20 percent of current service). The agency needs to do major repairs on damage done by the 2012 superstorm Sandy, and while the tunnel is “not in grave danger of collapse,” according to the MTA, it can’t go untreated. As 6sqft previously reported, night and weekend service is off the table because of the amount of work that needs to be done, and building a third tube would be time- and cost-prohibitive.
On the heels of Governor Cuomo’s major announcement that the MTA will build 1,025 new subway cars and modernize 31 of the city’s more than 400 stations, some New Yorkers are hoping to turn the attention to buses instead of trains. The NYC Bus Turnaround Coalition, which the Wall Street Journal notes is a newly formed partnership of transit advocacy groups, hopes to fix “a broken system plagued by outdated routes and slow, unreliable service.”
Since 2002, subway usage has increased by nearly 25 percent, while bus ridership has decreased by 16 percent. And between 2010 and 2015 alone the system lost 46 million riders. In response, the group released a report titled “Turnaround: Fixing New York City’s Buses” that calls for more bus lanes and bus-boarding islands, queue-jump lanes (additional bus lanes at intersections that would allow buses to bypass lines of vehicles at red lights), reconfigured bus routes, and implementing “tap-and-go” far collection at all bus doors.
On Monday, as 6sqft reported, Governor Cuomo unveiled the MTA’s “plans to build 1,025 new subway cars, and to modernize 31 of the city’s more than 400 stations.” Most of the new fleet will be of the open-gangway format, and they’ll boast wider doors, Wi-fi, USB ports, better lighting, cell service, security cameras, full color digital information displays, and a new blue and gold color palette that represents New York’s state colors.
Since the upgrades are part of the $27 billion capital plan that was approved in May, some critics are questioning whether the changes are more cosmetic and brag-worthy, rather than functional. But the city explains that the design of the new cars will help alleviate overcrowding, thereby reducing delays. What do you think–can the MTA do better?
While New York City is patting itself on the back for pushing through a subway design that offers eight more inches of door space and an open-gangway format, over in the Netherlands, folks are celebrating the Future Bus, a self-driving bus created by Mercedes-Benz. Per The Verge, the Future Bus has just completed a 20 kilometer (roughly 12.5 miles) drive that took it from Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport to the town of Haarlem (fun side note: Harlem the nabe takes its name from this municipality) along a route that included a number of tight bends, tunnels, and traffic lights.
The Post is calling him the “Canadian Anthony Weiner,” and it’s just been announced that he’s the new Director of the Brooklyn-Queens Streetcar. Adam Giambrone ran for mayor of Toronto in 2010, but had to drop out after leaked text messages ousted him in an affair with a 19-year-old college student.
Sex scandal aside, the 39-year-old is a former Toronto city councilor, a position that allowed him to chair the Toronto Transit Commission from 2006 to 2010. During that time, he advocated for a network of suburban streetcars called Transit City. It was shot down by Mayor Rob Ford, but construction has since begun on portions of it. According to NY Mag, Giambrone then went on to serve as a traveling light-rail expert in Montreal and Milwaukee.
Straphangers rejoice! As unveiled by Governor Cuomo at the NYC Transit Museum in Brooklyn today, the MTA has announced plans to build 1,025 new subway cars, and to modernize 31 of the city’s more than 400 stations. In addition to the majority of these cars taking on the globally-favored “open car end” format, they will also boast wider doors, Wi-fi, USB ports, improved lighting, cell service, full color digital information displays, security cameras for passenger safety, and interestingly, a new color palette—yes, Cuomo has also taken to branding the cars in New York’s state colors, blue and gold.
Work at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, via Scott Ettin for DNAinfo
Sunset Park was recently named one of the 15 coolest neighborhoods in the country, due in large part to the burgeoning success of Industry City and the Bush Terminal Park. And in addition to its booming creative sector, the ‘hood can now include a revival of its shipping industry on its growing list of assets. As DNAinfo reports, on June 28th a cargo ship from Denmark carrying large crane parts for construction of Staten Island’s New York Wheel arrived at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT), where it was docked for five days with around 30 union longshoreman moving the cargo. This was the first shipment to the site in more than 10 years, revitalizing it as “a working maritime port facility” that will hopefully create hundreds of jobs.
We know that thing where they were dumping old subway cars into the ocean for fish to live in was pretty cool, but there are only so many the briny deep can handle, and as cars get upgraded, items from the various good old days of NYC transit increasingly become collectibles.
To that end, the MTA holds monthly online sales featuring retired and vintage subway cars (yes, you can apparently buy one of those), buses and their various parts and other ephemera, with items regularly added to the trove. All items are sold with a certificate of authenticity (don’t laugh, there’s actually a company that makes “vintage” subway signs). The current haul includes vintage subway and bus seats, roll signs and metal hanging straps (so you can feel like a commuter without leaving your living room).
Last summer, 6sqft shared an interactive map from transit data junkie Chris Whong that laid out all NYC land ares more than 500 meters from one of the city’s 470 subway stations. He’s now revised his Subway Deserts Map to better take into account walkability, using a 10-minute walk from a station as the buffer zone (h/t Gothamist). The “walkshed” is styled in the same hue as water, leaving only the map portions that are subway deserts. Not surprisingly, Manhattan is pretty well set, save for Alphabet City and the far east and west sides, and the majority of the Bronx is underserved, as is much of Queens, southeast Brooklyn, and the Williamsburg waterfront.