Posts tagged with "Metropolitan Transportation Authority":

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The MTA proposes its largest capital plan ever

Signal modernization, line extensions, and upgraded subway cars may not sound like riveting headline news, but the recently released blockbuster $51.5 billion Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) budget proposal is targeting the woeful state of New York City's public transportation network. If approved, the MTA’s 2020-2024 capital plan projects a 70 percent jump in funding from the previous budget cycle.  The capital plan was proposed on the heels of major criticisms of the city’s subway system. In 2017, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the subway system after an A train derailed in upper Manhattan. Other common complaints included delayed service, overcrowded cars, and sweltering platform temperatures. Accordingly, well over half of the funds have been allocated for the subway system alone.  The program made major promises to MTA riders, including faster service, 70 new ADA accessible stations, and the completion of the next phase of the Second Avenue Subway. More specifically, the capital plan committed to modernizing signaling for 50 percent of passengers by reaching 11 train lines, and a total of 80 miles in track replacement. The transit system could also see sweeping upgrades like 1,900 new subway cars, 2,400 new buses, and over $4 billion spent for station renewals.  The capital plan would require billions of dollars worth of concerted federal, state, and local funding. The plan asked for $3 billion in federal funds for the Second Avenue Subway alone, which President Trump has already tweeted his support for, seemingly unprompted (Governor Cuomo was puzzled and denied reaching an agreement with the federal government). Another $3 billion is expected each from state and city authorities. While Cuomo has already committed to sending the state funding, the Governor and Mayor Bill de Blasio have notoriously disagreed over who is responsible for paying for the subway’s state of disrepair. The capital plan faces a lengthy approval process, including an upcoming MTA Board review and a review by the Capital Program Review Board. A major portion of the funding, $15 billion, is expected to be generated from the newly approved, but yet to be implemented, congestion pricing in parts of Manhattan. 
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Two Cheap and Efficient Ways to Improve Public Transit

Ah, the joy of New York City's rush-hour subway commute. If you live in a major metropolitan area, you know the thrill in stepping off one crowded, dirty subway car into a wall of people to push your way onto the next crowded subway car. You turn up your music, or that riveting Podcast with that guy from that thing, and you power through it. While you might be accustomed to it, the daily commute has plenty of room for improvement. Two new approaches to ease crowding on public transit systems show how some easy adjustments could make big-city commutes considerably less hellish. A group called the Efficient Passenger Project recently posted signs on New York City subway platforms telling straphangers which section of a train to board to efficiently make their future transfer. But only days after the signs went up, the city’s Metropolitan Transit Authority tore them down. “These signs have the potential to cause crowding conditions in certain platform areas and will create uneven loading in that some train cars will be overcrowded while others will be under-utilized,” said an MTA spokesperson. Despite the swift removal of the signs, the guerrilla campaign, part of a trend known as Tactical Urbanism, isn't dead just yet. The anonymous individual behind EPP told New York Magazine, “I'm really going for it. I'm ready for them. My plan is to eventually convince the MTA that this is a plan worth allowing. I want to beat them with the numbers—just keep putting them up." But, as of early March, even the group's website had been taken down. Over in Santiago, Chile, a more official plan to place a small gate on a crowded platform has already seen remarkable success in easing congestion. The gate, which separates exiting passengers from transferring passengers, has reduced crowding, boosted passenger capacity and increased train frequency. The plan, though, does take some adjusting to—passengers must learn where to board a train to make sure they end up on their preferred side of the gate. A project like this shows that dramatic improvements to public transit don’t always require big investments; they require ingenuity and a willingness to try. We don’t know if the Efficient Passenger Project would have seen similar success because it wasn’t given that chance to succeed—or fail—on its own accord.
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MTA Gears Up to Consider Bike Lanes Across Verazzano Bridge

With the launch of the Citi Bike share program around the corner, New York City's bike advocates are focusing their efforts on the next cycling obstacle: the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Harbor Ring, an advocacy project of the Regional Plan Association, is calling for a 50-mile cycling and pedestrian route encircling New York harbor. The group has published a new petition with over 1,000 signatures at press time pushing for the construction of a bike and pedestrian lane across the double-decked suspension bridge, which turns 50 next year. The Brooklyn Daily reported that bike advocates are hoping Governor Cuomo will support the proposal for the new bike path, which would not only connect Brooklyn and Staten Island, but also provide a critical connection for the Harbor Ring. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has said it will “consider conducting a feasibility study,” but not until 2014 or later. MTA spokesperson Judie Glave told the Daily, "MTA Bridges and Tunnels is considering this issue as part of a future Belt Parkway ramp reconstruction project." This proposal to add a bike path isn't new: A  feasibility study conducted in 1997 by the Department of City Planning revealed that it would be possible to build a bicycle lane without removing any vehicle lanes, but could cost around $26.5 million.