Yesterday we looked at a new proposal from MoveNY to toll four East River bridges (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Williamsburg, and Queensboro) and 60th Street in Manhattan in order to “raise funds for the MTA’s five-year capital plan (which is about $15.2 billion short of its target), and to make the cost of the city’s transit more equitable.” Drivers with E-ZPass would pay $5.54 to cross the bridges each way and at all 60th Street avenue crossings, while those without the technology would pay $8, all with the goal of improving mass transit.
Image via Wikimedia Commons
Car-happy city folk are sure to grumble over this latest proposal from MoveNY to toll four East River bridges (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Williamsburg and Queensboro) and 60th Street in Manhattan. The group’s plan, backed by former traffic commissioner Sam Schwartz, is looking to raise funds for the MTA’s five-year capital plan (which is about $15.2 billion short of its target), and to make the cost of the city’s transit more equitable. The new program would apply a $5.54 toll each way for bridge-crossers traveling with an E-ZPass, while drivers without an E-Zpass will have to shell out $8 to cross each time. The same tolls would also be applied to all avenue crossings at 60th Street.
Image via nycsubway.org
The MTA’s $15 billion 2015-2019 Capital Plan funding gap may sound like a staggering amount, but the current debt that the agency carries ($34.1 billion to be exact) is apparently bigger than that of Cuba, Syria and Jamaica’s total debt. In fact, according to a new Straphangers campaign, more than 30 nations have less debt than the MTA.
If you’ve ever endured the long ride to any of the area’s airports, all the while lugging your suitcase and anxiously wondering if you’d miss your flight, then this statistic probably comes as no surprise. According to a study by the Global Gateway Alliance, “John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports rank last and third-to-last, respectively, in mass-transit accessibility compared with 30 of the world’s busiest airports,” reports Crain’s. The analysis looked at total travel time for public transit users, mode of transportation and number of transfers and cost, scoring them from 0 to 100. And if Anthony Weiner is correct, the new LaGuardia AirTrain will only increase travel times–not good news those for us who prefer not to sit in insane taxi traffic or fork over $99 for a private helicopter ride.
If you’re a hand sanitizer-wielding New Yorker who often finds yourself ridiculed by friends for your hypochondriac germaphobe ways, good news, because you’ve got the last laugh—sort of. A team of researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College spent the past 17 months mapping the DNA found in the New York City subway system, and what they uncovered will certainly make your skin crawl. Not only were some bacteria samples associated with bubonic plague and anthrax, but they also found that nearly half of the DNA found on subway infrastructure—we’re talking turnstiles and ticket kiosks amongst other things—did not match any known organism.
While we love a good infographic or interactive map, this “musical data-viz project” really sparked our interest as a new way of looking at geographic trends. Artist and programmer Brian Foo translated a 1.5-hour subway ride on the 2 train into a 4.5 minute song that rises and falls based on the income of the neighborhood the train is passing through. What results is an audibly beautiful rendition of the often not-so-pretty diversity in the city’s income levels.
While there were plenty of highlights in Mayor de Blasio’s State of the City address yesterday–from affordable housing to raising the minimum wage–it was undoubtedly the announcement of a city-wide ferry system that really got New Yorkers talking.
De Blasio said that the ferry service will open in 2017, with pricing on par with the Metrocard, as a way to accommodate the growing population of New York. It will serve neighborhoods including the Lower East Side, Astoria, the Rockaways, Sunset Park, Brooklyn Army Terminal, Bay Ridge, Red Hook, and Soundview, among others. A new map released today shows the entirety of the system, breaking down existing ferry lines, those planned for 2017 and 2018, and those proposed.
The MTA’s fare hike will take effect in March, raising the price of a single subway ride from $2.50 to $2.75, and it’s made most New York train riders pretty unhappy. But what if service was better? If those flashing “delay” projections were few and far between; massive platform pileups were a thing of the past; and you didn’t get stuck under the East River for 30 minutes with no explanation? Would you be willing to pay more for service that operated accordingly? We explored this idea on Monday in a piece titled “What Would Happen if New York Let Everyone Ride the Subway for Free?” and now we want to know your thoughts.
Though winter storm Juno isn’t going down in history as the biggest snowstorm to ever hit NYC, it was the first time the city completely shut down the subway system due to a snowstorm. Governor Cuomo and the MTA said the shutdown was necessary because a portion of almost every train line runs outdoors. Not happy with that reasoning? Then you’ll really enjoy this map from WNYC called the Snowpiercer; it proposes how the subway system could operate during a 40-inch snowstorm.
With the MTA fare hike just over the horizon, the question of whether or not all of New York has fair access to affordable public transportation comes into play. The hike, effective March 22nd, will push the cost to $2.75 per ride and $116.50 for a 30-day MetroCard, an increase of a quarter and $4.50, respectively. Like New York, cities across the globe are struggling with the same issue, but there are more than a handful of rogue riders in each taking matters into their own hands. About 500 riders in Stockholm have banded together to create Planka.nu (translation: “Dodge the fare now”), a scheme that has members pay $12 in monthly dues (an unlimited ride pass for 30 days costs about $120) which results in a cash reserve that can more than cover any fines that a member may occur. While illegal, the actions of these few scamps shed light on one important policy that’s already being taken on by cities across the U.S.: subsidies.
As noted in a recent article by The Atlantic, in the U.S., where government subsidies cover between 57 and 89 percent of operating costs for buses and 29 to 89 percent of those for rail, many public transit systems are quite affordable, costing in most cases less than $2, on average. So they ask, why not make the whole system free?