Bill de Blasio

Policy

Image of Rikers Island via Wikimedia

Four new borough-based jails have been proposed for New York City as part of a plan to close Rikers Island, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday. The proposed facilities, which include building sites in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, will contain about 1,500 beds each and offer on-site support services. The new jails would include space for educational programming, recreation, therapeutic services and staff parking. There will also be community facilities and street-level retail space, providing amenities to the surrounding neighborhood.

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Bronx, Transportation

Via NYC Ferry

A new ferry route connecting the South Bronx and Wall Street launched on Wednesday, the first-ever ferry service between the two boroughs in the 21st century. The new route starts at Clason Point Park in Soundview and makes stops at East 90th Street, East 34th Street and ends at Wall Street’s Pier 11. The entire trip takes about 45 minutes. “The new Soundview ferry will cut commute times in half for thousands of Bronxites,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “Our all-of-the-above approach to transit gives New Yorkers reliable options to get where they need to go.”

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affordable housing, Policy

Via HPD

Mayor Bill de Blasio in June announced the city would help landlords create and renovate legal basement and cellar apartments in Brooklyn. This includes making the apartments up to code by ensuring proper safety requirements and windows, among other modifications. As a part of the pilot program, homeowners can apply for the basement pilot program through a city-approved, community-based organization. “This program will increase the stock of affordable housing in East New York, provide additional income to homeowners, and ensure tenant safety,” de Blasio said. The deadline for the basement conversion program is August 15 (h/t City Limits).

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City Living, Policy, Transportation

Photo via rhythmicdiaspora on Flickr

Despite spending over $300 million on system repairs over the last year, the New York City subway is showing little improvement, with its on-time rate just around 65 percent during the weekday, the New York Times reported. Last summer, after a train derailed at 125th street and left 30 people injured, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. And while the MTA and its chair, Joseph Lhota, unveiled an $800 million action plan to fix the subway, and new NYC Transit Chief Andy Byford later laid out an aggressive plan to modernize the system, the subway’s “summer of hell” seems far from over.

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affordable housing, Policy

NYC, nyc skyline, new york

Via Pixabay

New York City financed more than 32,000 affordable homes in the last fiscal year, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday. This breaks the record set by former Mayor Ed Koch in 1989 and sets a record for most new construction with 9,140 affordable homes. But with the additional units come additional costs: The city’s investment in the housing plan grew from $1 billion in fiscal year 2017 to $1.6 billion this year.

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Midtown West, Policy

Image © 6sqft

A group of New Yorkers who live near Billionaires’ Row, an area with some of the most expensive residences in the world, filed a lawsuit on Monday to block a homeless shelter from opening in the Midtown West neighborhood. The West 58th Street Coalition sued New York City to stop the conversion of the old Park Savoy Hotel at 158 West 58th Street into a homeless shelter for men, a plan announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio in February.

The coalition claims the shelter, which would house 140 single men, would have “an enormous impact on our densely populated, narrow, high-pedestrian-traffic street.” While describing themselves as a group of “compassionate New Yorkers,” the Change.org petition says instead of the city paying $50,000 per person to stay at the Park Savoy, “a homeless man could have his own apartment, living in the neighborhood where he came from.” The new shelter sits behind One57, a known for the city’s most expensive residential sale ever: a penthouse that sold for $100 million in 2015.

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Policy, Transportation

MetroCard, NYC subway, MTA

Image by Ged Carroll on Flickr

Mayor Bill de Blasio reached an agreement with City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on a new city budget, the New York Times reports. The $89.2 billion budget includes funding for discounted MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers. 6sqft reported last week on the deal struck between the mayor and the city council to provide about $100 million to fund the program. Johnson has been a tenacious and vocal supporter of the Fair Fares program, in which the city will subsidize the cost of providing half-price MetroCards to New Yorkers who fall below the federal poverty line, or a household income of $25,000 for a family of four. Nearly 800,000 New Yorkers could benefit from the discounted fares. The initial allocation in the budget will pay for six months of the program beginning in January, with further financing will be forthcoming in future budgets.

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Policy, Transportation

MetroCard, NYC subway, MTA

Image by Ged Carroll on Flickr

Reduced-fare MetroCards may soon become a reality for low-income straphangers, as Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council have reached a deal Wednesday to provide roughly $100 million in funding to the program. The mayor’s agreement with Speaker Corey Johnson, who has been one of the most vocal supporters of a Fair Fares program, means the city would fully subsidize the cost of providing half-price MetroCards to New Yorkers who fall below the federal poverty line, or a household income of $25,000 for a family of four.

Nearly 800,000 New Yorkers could benefit from the discounted fares. Under the tentative deal, the city would allocate $106 million in its upcoming budget, which would pay for six months of the program beginning in January, according to the New York Times.

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Policy, Transportation

bqx, brooklyn queens connector, friends of the bqx

Photo via Friends of the BQX

The plan to bring a 16-mile light-rail trolley between Brooklyn and Queens has already cost taxpayers millions of dollars, even before the feasibility of the project has been determined. The study has cost the city $7 million in taxpayer money so far, according to the New York Post. And while the city’s Economic Development Corporation promised to have the study completed last fall, this week the agency said they would not put a timeline on its release.

Mayor Bill de Blasio first backed the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX) project in February 2016, but a series of delays and funding concerns have put the trolley on hold. The proposed streetcar was left out of the city’s budget proposal last month, further delaying studies into the project’s plausibility.

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Policy, Transportation

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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