Photo via Colin Mutchler/Flickr
For the second straight year, subway ridership has fallen, reports Time Out New York. Data presented in an MTA Transit Committee meeting this week shows a drop of nearly 30 million trips between 2016 and 2017, or a decrease to 1.727 billion trips last year from 1.756 billion the previous year (though it should be noted this is less than two percent of the total trips taken). Newly appointed transit president Andy Byford attributes the dip to low gas prices and the rise of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. He also told NY1 that poor service may be turning riders away, certainly possible considering that weekdays delays more than tripled between 2012 and 2017.
Two stations at 34th Street will be renovated; photo via dog97209 on Flickr
The board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority approved on Thursday a $213 million plan to rehabilitate eight subway stations, despite objections from the authority’s city representatives. Under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $1 billion Enhanced Station Initiative, the stations–six in Manhattan and two in the Bronx– will get outfitted with USB ports, LED lighting, digital countdown clocks and artwork (h/t New York Times). The board first delayed the vote on the construction contracts in January after board members, appointed by Mayor de Blasio, questioned the necessity of these cosmetic improvements when the system’s infrastructure remains in desperate need of repair.
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N train at 30th Ave Station via Wikimedia
Thousands of straphangers on the Upper West Side and Astoria will have to rethink their daily commutes come spring, as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans on closing some stations for up to six months for repairs and upgrades. The station makeovers fall under the MTA’s Enhanced Station Initiative, a plan to improve the reliability and customer experience inside the subway system. Planned enhancements include installing digital countdown clocks at subway entrances, glass barriers, LED lighting and adorning station walls with artwork.
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Photo via Jeffrey Zeldman’s Flickr
While amenities like on-site laundry and air conditioning are big selling points in New York City rentals, the building’s proximity to the subway remains one of the most important factors when looking for new digs. And like other amenities, there is an added cost to live near the subway. New data from RentHop breaks down how much renters can save by living further from the subway in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. According to their report, as Curbed NY reported, apartments closest to the subway cost 6 to 8 percent more than the borough median, with the furthest costing 8 to 10 percent less.
Workers pumping seawater out of the L-train tunnel after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, photo courtesy of the MTA on Flickr
The subway’s crippling, century-old infrastructure is not the only reason behind the system’s constant delays and disruptions. The other problem involves about 13 million gallons of water, or more depending on the rainfall, that gets pumped out from underground on a nearly daily basis. A perpetual hazard, water can drip onto electrified equipment, cause a short and create chaos, as the New York Times reported. After ineffectively using only sandbags and plywood to fight flooding in the past, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has turned to more high-tech solutions, like flood-proof doors and inflatable gaskets, which will be a part of its $800 million emergency action plan to fix the subway.
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Map via AllTransit
Nearly 29 percent of New York City households are underserved by transit, according to data from the Center for Neighborhood Technology and TransitCenter. In a joint project, called AllTransit, the team put together a collection of transit data that includes 15,000 routes and 800 agencies in the United States. A tool called Gap Finder identifies gaps in U.S. cities where underserved communities would benefit from improved service.
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Subway Kiss #1 by Matt Weber
6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Matt Weber shares his “Urban Romance” series. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].
A born-and-bred Upper West Sider, photographer Matt Weber has been watching New York all his life, taking pictures of everything he can. Over the years, he accumulated many photos of love, or at least, public displays of affection. Though people are constantly kissing all over the world, there’s something especially gutsy, memorable, and nonchalantly confident in a subway kiss. For many, a quick peck or a full-on makeout session is among the least desirable things when you’re being crushed like a sardine, underground, in a moving metal tube. Yet, New Yorkers do it constantly – a documented fact.
Just in time for the most romantic day of the year, we had a chance to talk with Matt Weber about his photography, his “Urban Romance” series, and how New York has changed since he started capturing it.
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Construction workers giving a tour of the Second Avenue subway; photo via the MTA on Flickr
The exorbitant construction costs of building transit projects, coupled with project delays, could make the New York region lose jobs and businesses to other global cities that are completing transit projects in a more timely, and economical, fashion. A report released on Tuesday from the Regional Plan Association (RPA) says high-costs and delays are ingrained in every part of the public-project delivery, including too-long environmental reviews, inaccurate project budgets and timelines and a lack of communication with labor unions. In their report, the RPA analyzed three projects and their costs and delivery issues: the Second Avenue Subway, East Side Access and the extension of the 7-train.
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Second Avenue Subway station, courtesy of Governor Cuomo’s Flickr
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed FY 2019 budget, released earlier this month, calls on New York City to increase its funding to the cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority, forcing the city to pay half of the authority’s $836 million emergency action plan. Another provision in the governor’s proposal allows the MTA to create special “transit improvement” districts and impose higher taxes on property owners in these areas in order to raise money for subway repairs and projects. According to the New York Times, the governor’s plan, known as “value capture,” would apply to future projects that would cost over $100 million. Like most issues involving both state and city cooperation, this proposal has continued the rift over MTA funding between the governor and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has already expressed disapproval of the plan. Find out more
Photo by Giuseppe Milo / Flickr
This weekend, 1, G, Q, and L riders are in luck: trains will operate as usual (so, expect issues, but no scheduled ones). All other straphangers, especially those on the D and 4 trains: brace for service changes. Prepare both mind and schedules by debriefing with the below:
Subway foresight makes for a better weekend