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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Photo via Jeffrey Zeldman/Flickr
Last night Mayor de Blasio teased us by tweeting, “We’re making a BIG announcement tomorrow on the future of Central Park. Stay tuned.” This morning he announced, “Central Park goes car-free in June. 24/7, 365 days a year — because parks are for people, not cars.” That is BIG news. After banning cars north of 72nd Street three years ago, the city will now prohibit them south of 72nd.
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When the Duch settled New York City as New Amsterdam in the 17th century, it was the area’s waterways that drew them in. Four hundred years later, the city is once again reclaiming its waterfront locale, with countless new developments rising on the Hudson and East Rivers, increasing the need for more transit options. The booming NYC ferry, which, in 2017, served nearly three million riders across its four routes currently in operation, has exceeded the projected number by approximately 34 percent or 800,000 riders.
As the subway system quickly and publicly goes down in flames, along with the congestion pricing plan for alleviating traffic, New York City’s ferries are showing the transit world how it’s done, with politicians, commuters, and communities all on board. In honor of NYC Ferry’s #ferryearthweek, an effort to promote the green and sustainable features of the ferry from April 16-22, 6sqft decided to take a deeper look at the success of NYC’s ferry system, how it’s changed the transit landscape of the city, and what’s to come in the near future.
Photo courtesy of Friends of the BQX
With the unveiling of its inaugural prototype last fall, things were looking up for the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX) streetcar, a proposed light-rail trolley that would run 16-miles along the East River between the two boroughs. The Friends of the BQX even held an event to show off the ultra-sleek, 46-foot long prototype car. However, studies into the project’s construction feasibility, as well as its ability to pay for itself, are still underway, according to the Daily News. At an event at NYU, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen said the administration is still determining the project’s ability to be self-funding.
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Photo of Queensbridge Houses via Wikimedia
Citing hazardous conditions like lead paint and mold, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday declared a state of emergency for the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). He also ordered an independent monitor be appointed within 60 days to expedite repairs and upgrades. An investigation by the state’s Health Department revealed this week that in the last month alone, at least one severe condition that poses a health risk has been found inside 83 percent of 255 apartments checked, including peeling paint, mold, evidence of rodent and insect infestation and missing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. The monitor will also oversee how NYCHA spends the $250 million the state allocated in its budget signed this weekend, according to the New York Times.
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After months of refusal, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Saturday the city will pay for half of the emergency rescue plan for the subway, which was announced by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in July. The mayor’s decision to fork over $418 million for subway repairs came after the state lawmakers passed on Friday Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $168.3 billion budget. The approved budget includes giving the state power to take funding from the city if it did not pay for its share, as the Daily News reported. The state has already paid its half of the $836 emergency plan, aimed at repairing, upgrading and stabilizing the beleaguered transit system.
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Photo via Public Domain
Officials on Tuesday said the city will spend $384 million annually over the next three years to house homeless New Yorkers in commercial hotels, despite promises to phase out the once emergency-only measure. The costs, which will total more than $1 billion, will also include creating supportive services for families, as well as amenities hotel rooms lack, like refrigerators and microwaves, according to the New York Post. Department of Homeless Services told City Council members at a hearing Tuesday that the three-year contract is temporary, but needed as the city continues to open new shelters that will eventually replace cluster sites and other underperforming shelters.
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Rendering of the Peninsula by BLA + WXY
The New York City Council on Thursday unanimously approved the rezoning of 92-blocks along Jerome Avenue in the Bronx, bounded by East 165th Street to the south and 184th Street to the north. As the fourth neighborhood rezoning of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, the city plans to construct about 4,600 new apartments, adding to the mayor’s goal of bringing 300,000 units of housing to the city by 2026. The council has set aside $189 million in capital investment for workforce development, open space, parks and two new schools (h/t City Limits). A plan to bring even more affordable housing to the Bronx got the green light on Thursday after the Council approved The Peninsula, a $300 million plan to redevelop the former Spofford Juvenile Detention Center as a mixed-use development.
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Earlier this year, Mayor de Blasio was criticized for failing to open 10 of the 20 homeless shelters his administration pledged for 2017, with “delays in the permit process, time-consuming negotiations with nonprofits that run the shelters, and backlash from the community and public officials” to blame. The push came from the fact that NYC has the largest homeless population in the U.S., climbing near 78,000. All of this coupled together, the situation is now looking even more dire, as the Coalition for the Homeless‘ annual State of the Homeless Report finds that a record high number of New Yorkers make up the city’s nightly homeless shelter population. This number, 63,495 (which includes 23,600 children), would make that group the 10th largest city in the state, notes the Daily News.
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Two neighborhoods underserved by transit will get a bit more accessible this summer. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that construction has officially kicked off for new NYC Ferry landings on the Lower East Side and in the Soundview neighborhood of the Bronx. Skanska USA will construct four docks at Corlears Hook, East 90th Street and Stuyvesant Cove on the East River as well as at Clason Point Park in Soundview. According to the city, the new LES and Bronx routes will serve more than 1.4 million riders each year.