Laguardia Airport expansion could replace jail at Rikers Island, report suggests

April 5, 2017

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.

An expansion of LaGuardia that incorporated Rikers could grow flight capacity by 40 percent, according to calculations in the report. “For decades, LaGuardia Airport has led the nation in delays, with traffic jams in the sky and on the ground,” said Global Gateway Alliance Chairman Joe Sitt in a statement. adding that the proposal to extend LaGuardia’s runways to the island, “would be a big piece of the puzzle to change all that. By replacing 1960s radar with ‘NextGen’ GPS technology, and making more room on the ground for incoming and outgoing flights, passengers will finally be able to have on-time flights in New York. That is a vision worth working for.”

Other suggestions from the report included using Rikers Island to house an energy-from-waste facility which could process as much as 2,000 tons per day of otherwise undisposable waste, making use of emerging clean technologies that reduce the environmental impacts traditionally associated with waste-to-energy uses and providing a critical resource for the city’s Zero Waste goals, and using the land as a large-scale solar energy installation and a strategic site for an energy storage system.

[Via USA Today]


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  1. D

    A brilliant idea.
    Rikers Island is a stain on New York City with brutality and madness.
    More scattered facilities near court houses would be more humane.
    And New York City needs the space to expand LaGuardia Airport.