Bill de Blasio

Policy, Transportation

Image © 6sqft

The crumbling of New York City’s subway system didn’t happen overnight. According to an investigation by the New York Times, the system’s current problems stem from nearly three decades of underinvestment by transit officials and elected politicians, who, despite its aging signals and equipment, have actually directed funding away from much-needed repairs. Now, New York’s subway has the worst on-time performance of any major rapid transit system in the world when looking at the data of the 20 biggest systems. Only 65 percent of weekday trains reach their destinations on time, the lowest rate since the transit crisis of the 1970s.

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Policy, Transportation

nyc, subway, mta, 7 train, public transportation, straphangers campaign, state of the subway, mta subway

The 7-train will be getting the biggest boost in service this spring, photo via Wikimedia

In an attempt to increase subway ridership, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority next spring will add trains to six lines: the 2, 3, 7, N, W, and Q trains. The boost in service comes after data released by the MTA revealed that riders are opting for alternative transportation, like Uber, Lyft or Citibike, instead of dealing with the often delayed and disrupted subways and buses. According to amNY, the additional trains, which will cost the MTA $5 million annually, will run on nights and weekends, times when the authority believes demand is not being effectively met.

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Policy, Transportation

bqx, brooklyn queens connector, friends of the bqx

Photo courtesy of Friends of the BQX

A group of public officials and advocates joined the Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX) today to unveil the inaugural prototype of the streetcar proposed to run between Astoria and Sunset Park. First backed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in February 2016, the BQX project, expected to cost $2.5 billion, would connect Brooklyn and Queens along the East River. Despite significant setbacks, including a bleak assessment about the finances and logistics of the project from Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen in April, BQX supporters are urging the de Blasio administration to make the project a priority during his second term.

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Photo via Public Domain

The commission created by Mayor Bill de Blasio to review possible “symbols of hate” on city property will hold a series of public hearings this month to get feedback from New Yorkers about controversial monuments. In August, the mayor created the Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments and Markers, a group tasked with a 90-day review of all potentially offensive symbols, following the white supremacist-led violence in Charlottesville, V.A. Two months later, the city launched an online survey as a way for the public to weigh in on the issue. To get further input on this controversial issue, the commission will hold public hearings in every borough throughout this month, allowing residents to testify at them (h/t NY Daily News).

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City Living, Green Design, Manhattan, Midtown

wHY, east river greenway, east river esplanade

In April, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city will spend $100 million on closing the gap that stretches from 53rd to 61st Street along the East River Greenway in Manhattan. Beginning in 2019, the city plans on connecting all 32-miles of the greenway’s coastline with waterfront amenities for the public. As ArchDaily learned, an interdisciplinary design practice, wHY, has submitted a request for proposal to the New York City Development Corporation for the greenway’s 1.1 mile-long, undeveloped gap. The firm’s $70 million proposal calls for two lanes: a slow one for plants and pedestrians and a fast-lane for bikers and runners.

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affordable housing, Policy

NYC Skyline, NYC skyscrapers

When Mayor de Blasio took office in 2014, one of his main initiatives was his ambitious goal to build and protect 200,000 units of affordable housing over 10 years. But in an announcement today, he revealed that his administration will reach this goal two years early, by 2022, and therefore has set a new goal of 300,000 units by 2026, which will mean securing 25,000 affordable apartments annually by 2021. According to a press release, “the Mayor will unveil a battery of new programs designed to realize this new goal,” one of which is the “Neighborhood Pillars” program that “deploy a $275 million public-private fund to target fast-changing neighborhoods where aggressive speculators threaten traditional rent-regulated apartment buildings.”

All the details ahead

Policy, Transportation

nyc, traffic, congestion pricing

Photo via Lucas Klappas on Flickr

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday a five-point plan designed to ease congestion in the city’s busiest neighborhoods. The program, called “Clear Lanes,” includes a series of initiatives like creating new moving lanes in Midtown, clearing curbs during rush hour and expanding NYPD enforcement of block-the-box violations. Beginning in January, in addition to the heavily congested Midtown, rush-hour deliveries will be banned during a six-month test run on Roosevelt Avenue in Queens and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn (h/t New York Times).

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Brooklyn, Financial District, hudson yards, Long Island City, Policy

Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Economic Development Corporation released their official pitch for Amazon’s second headquarters on Wednesday, one day before the deadline. Boasting the city’s talented tech workforce, the de Blasio administration has pitched Midtown West, Long Island City, the Brooklyn Tech Triangle (DUMBO, Downtown Brooklyn and the Navy Yard), and Lower Manhattan as the four best spots for Amazon to call home. The tech giant’s nationwide competition, announced in September, set out to find their next headquarters, called HQ2. The company promises the headquarters will bring 50,000 new jobs and $5 billion in initial city investment.

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Design, Policy

governors island

Photo of Governors Island via simplethrill on Flickr

Since Governors Island first opened in 2005, transforming the 172-acre piece of land in the New York Harbor into a public space has been slow. However, after a 40-acre park with a playground opened last year the ball has officially started rolling. According to Crain’s, the Trust for Governors Island recently released two requests for proposals aimed at making the waterfront location a destination for entertainment and cultural activities. The trust is offering licenses for up to three years during the island’s season, which runs from May 1 through October 31.

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New Jersey, Policy, real estate trends

Photo courtesy of Robert Scoble on Flickr

Amazon’s nationwide competition to find a home for its second headquarters draws to a close this week, with pitches from stakeholders due Thursday. While New York City meets most of the requirements the tech giant listed for its HQ2– a population of at least 1 million people, proximity to an international airport, mass transit access and talented workforce–business costs in the city would be sky-high. However, as Crain’s reported, even if Amazon does not set up shop in NYC, politicians and developers have been preparing for a comparably-sized company to move in for over a decade. The failure of the city to win the 2012 Olympics bid back in 2005 actually turned into a success, allowing apartments to rise in Brooklyn where sports stadiums never did.

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