Photo via Flickr cc
Shake Shack, Irving Farm coffee, La Chula taqueria–these sound like your typical food hall staples, but this time they’re not in a Brooklyn warehouse or a trendy new building, but in LaGuardia Airport. Governor Cuomo announced today the lineup of in-state food purveyors for Terminal B, which will open in phases starting later this year as part of his massive $8 billion overhaul of LaGuardia. When complete, the entire new airport will have a total of 50 new restaurants, shops, and services, many of which will be local small businesses.
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Via Governor Cuomo’s office
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday signed legislation that jumpstarts the construction of the AirTrain to LaGuardia Airport by letting the state use eminent domain to secure land for the project. Passed by the state legislature last week, the bill permits the state to acquire parcels of land already owned by the City or MTA between Willets Point and the airport, allowing the train to run along Grand Central Parkway. LGA is the only major airport on the East Coast without a rail connection, with 86 percent of travelers using cars to access it.
“How can you not have a rail train to the city from a New York airport? I mean, it’s just incomprehensible, right?” Cuomo said at the bill signing event. According to the governor’s office, the train could bring passengers via the 7-train or LIRR trains between Midtown and the airport within 30 minutes.
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Interior rendering of LaGuardia Airport, via Governor Andrew Cuomo on Flickr
With the approval of its $8 billion 2018 budget on Thursday, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey plans to spend more than $1 billion on major redevelopment projects at LaGuardia, Newark Liberty International and JFK Airports next year. The agency’s board of commissioners approved a budget that allocates $3.2 billion for operating expenses and $3.4 billion for capital expenses. According to the Wall Street Journal, $578 million will be put toward the $8 billion redevelopment of LaGuardia and $167 million toward a $2.3 billion redevelopment plan of Newark’s Terminal A.
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Rendering of LaGuardia Airport via Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office
The Port Authority on Thursday approved $55 million in funding for the second phase of planning for an AirTrain to LaGuardia airport, a project first announced nearly three years ago. The authority previously allocated $20 million for the AirTrain which would run between Mets-Willets Point and the airport, one part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to revamp LaGuardia. According to the Daily News, the total $75 million will go towards technical planning, design work and developing an environmental impact report. Despite this new investment, the AirTrain still has no final cost estimate or a completed study, but previous estimates price the project at $1 billion. More this way
Interior rendering of Delta’s eastern half, via Governor Andrew Cuomo
Governor Cuomo first unveiled his plans for a revamped LaGuardia Airport two years ago. Since then, the cost has ballooned from $4 to $8 billion, with $4 billion alone going towards Delta’s rebuilt 37-gate facilities. As of today, construction has officially begun on this part of the project, with the Port Authority signing a new, long-term lease with Delta Air Lines, which “marks the beginning of construction on the final component of the entirely new, unified airport at LaGuardia, which will provide all LaGuardia travelers with state-of-the-art amenities and expanded public transportation, including the planned AirTrain,” according to a press release from the Governor. And along with the terminal’s physical groundbreaking, he shared new details and renderings.
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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.
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Image by Grant Wickens via flick CC
As far back as 2015, 6sqft reported that the Port Authority was considering fees for vehicles pulling up curbside to drop off or pick up passengers at New York City’s airports as a way to reduce the congestion that has worsened since services like Uber and Lyft have arrived. The city’s airports are among the only ones in the U.S. that don’t charge curbside access fees. Now the Daily News has obtained a Port Authority draft proposal outlining the proposed fees. Taxi and hired car passengers could be hit with a $4 charge for each trip in and out of Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports as early as next year. The fee would be charged to the car operators and would presumably be passed to passengers
The idea is not getting a warm reception
The Port Authority Board of Commissioners yesterday approved a $32.2 billion, 10-year capital plan–the agency’s largest ever. The major allocations include: $3.5 billion to begin the planning and construction of a new Port Authority Bus Terminal; $10 billion towards improving trans-Hudson commuting, including a $1.5 billion Goethals Bridge replacement, completion of the $1.6 billion Bayonne Bridge rebuilding, and a $2 billion rehab of the George Washington Bridge; $11.6 billion in major airport upgrades, which factors in $4 billion for the new LaGuardia Terminal B, a plan to extend the PATH train from Newark Penn Station to the Newark Airport, and the beginning of Cuomo’s JFK overhaul; and $2.7 billion towards the Gateway rail tunnel project.
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J.D. Power has just released their 2016 North American Airport Satisfaction Study ranking the nation’s airports by customer satisfaction, and New York’s LaGuardia Airport has been bestowed the title of the country’s worst. According to the study—and just about anyone who’s visited LGA in the last few months—construction woes related to Governor Cuomo’s $8 billion plan to transform the hub into a world-class airport by 2020 has led to serious headaches for travelers, and a 6-point drop in overall satisfaction from 2015. Last year, LGA ranked as the second worst airport in the U.S., just after Newark International.
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Though work on Governor Cuomo’s LaGuardia Airport overhaul commenced in June, the first part of the project, the replacement of Terminal B (which will alone carry a $4 billion price tag) is expected to be completed in phases between 2018 and 2022.
But travelers will now get some more immediate relief, as the Wall Street Journal reports that $5 million in improvements are coming to the terminal by the end of the year in order to keep it up and running until the new buildings opens its doors to passengers in 2020. This includes repairing the current leaky ceilings, adding well-lit signage, improving ventilation and air conditioning, putting new seating and tables into the two food courts, painting walls, sprucing up restrooms, and bettering the acoustics at security checkpoints.
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