When the Second Avenue Subway opened this past New Year’s Day, it was nothing short of a miracle. Not only had the $4 billion infrastructure project been 100 years in the making but in the months leading up to its deadline, there was much talk about delays related to the system’s “rigorous testing schedule” not being met. As it turns out, the testing wasn’t met; the Times tells us that when the train opened on January 1st, “the fire alarm system was still being tested and more than 17,000 defects found during inspections had not been fixed.” And eight months later, the train is still operating under a temporary safety certificate.
Photo via Office of the Governor
A week from today, those who litter in the subway system will face a $100 penalty, double the current $50. The increased fine is part of Governor Cuomo’s newly announced “Keep It Clean” initiative, which will discourage subway littering through a new public awareness campaign. Each year, 700 fire-related track incidents are caused by littering. And in just the past six months, incidents related to standing water conditions (litter hinders the MTA’s ability to pump out millions of gallons of water daily) increased by 56 percent.
Photo courtesy of Roman Kruglov’s Flickr
New Yorkers employed by the city have missed 17,143 hours of work because of transit delays and malfunctions, according to the Daily News. A new analysis by the Independent Budget Office (IBO), shows that city workers are on track to miss nearly 26,000 hours of work for the entire year, an increase of almost 30 percent from previous years. The report found the incident that caused the most city workers to be late happened in January when city workers lost a total of 1,075 hours after water spilled onto the tracks at West 4th Street-Washington Square station.
Graphic via Citymapper
With subway disruptions and delays becoming a part of daily life in New York City, even lifelong New Yorkers sometimes have trouble finding alternative routes when their F train switches to a different line. Thankfully, there’s now an app that aims to make commuting in NYC a little less confusing. Citymapper, a transportation software start-up based in the UK, uses artificial intelligence to recommend new routes in response to MTA alert statuses. As CityLab reported, the app’s “bot” reads the complicated message from the authority and uses the relevant information to offer a clearer route change to avoid the problem.
Photo via Kev Harb via Flickr
The emergency Penn Station repairs that began in July will be completed on time with regular operating service resuming on Sept. 5, Amtrak announced Thursday. After delays and a few train derailments, Amtrak closed 21 tracks at Penn earlier this summer. Nearly seven weeks of the eight scheduled weeks of repair work for this “summer of hell” have been completed thus far.
Photo © Governor Andrew Cuomo/Flickr
As the dilemmas of New York City’s subway system continue, so does the public feud between Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio. Cuomo on Tuesday called de Blasio’s plan for the wealthiest New Yorkers to fund the MTA’s emergency action plan “dead on arrival” because of Republican opposition in Albany. As the Daily News reported, Cuomo’s remarks come just a day after de Blasio said he does not “believe in” congestion pricing, an idea the governor said he will be pushing for in January.
Image via Wiki Commons
The day after Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo announced plans to review and remove controversial public Confederate structures and markers throughout the city, the MTA says it will do the same. Well, sort of. Over 90 years ago, station architect Squire J. Vickers installed mosaics resembling the Confederate flag at the 40th Street entrance for the 1, 2, 3 trains to honor early New York Times owner and publisher Adolph S. Ochs, who had “strong ties to the Confederacy” and was buried with a Confederate flag when he died in 1935. But yesterday, MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz told Gothamist, “These are not confederate flags, it is a design based on geometric forms that represent the ‘Crossroads of the World’ and to avoid absolutely any confusion we will modify them to make that absolutely crystal clear.”
Photo via Lucas Klappas on Flickr
With New York City’s subway system currently in a state of emergency, public officials and advocates have been developing ways to pay for its urgent repairs. According to the New York Times, Governor Cuomo is planning to release a congestion pricing plan as a way to provide a dedicated source of funding for the transit system, as well as a way to reduce traffic on some of the country’s busiest streets. Ten years ago, Mayor Bloomberg pushed for a similar plan, charging drivers $8 to enter the most congested parts of Manhattan during peak commuting hours, but the legislation faced resistance and was never brought to a vote.
Photo © Governor Andrew Cuomo/Flickr
Just in the past month, power problems caused 32,000 subway delays, prompting Governor Cuomo to direct “Con Edison to take significant and immediate actions to improve the subway’s power reliability and prevent future service failure,” according to a press release. Less than two months after declaring a “state of emergency” for the subway system, Cuomo’s given Con Ed and the MTA one year to identify and repair the problems, the most comprehensive power review ever done, leaving them on the hook to inspect 470 manholes, 1,100 boxes, and 221 power substations at street level and 1,100 energy distribution rooms, 300 signal relay rooms, 15,000 track circuits, 11,000 signals, 13,750 insulated joints, 11,000 trip stops, 220 interlockings, and 1,800 switch machines below ground. The cost? It’s not yet been officially calculated, but Con Ed chairman John McAvoy says it’s likely to be tens of millions of dollars.
Image Public Domain
Continuing this summer’s subway saga, Mayor de Blasio announced a plan on Sunday that would tax the wealthiest 1 percent of New Yorkers to fund the system’s much-need repairs and renovations. The proposal, which requires Albany’s approval, would also provide half-price MetroCards for low-income straphangers. As the New York Times reported, the “millionaires tax” would increase the tax rate of the city’s wealthiest residents to 4.4 percent from roughly 3.9 percent for married couples with incomes over $1 million and for individuals who make more than $500,000 annually.