Posts tagged with "New York State":

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NY state budget declares Penn Station area an "unreasonable" public risk, and other shakeups

After a tumultuous series of negotiations over New York State’s 2018-19 budget that came down to the wire, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed off on a finalized $168 billion bill late last Friday. While a congestion pricing plan and the removal of density caps for NYC residential developments failed to pass, sweeping changes that could preclude a state seizure of the Penn Station area have made it through. The finalized budget provides a bevy of changes and funding initiatives that will affect New York-based architects and planners. In a move to stabilize city’s deteriorating subway system, $836 million was authorized for the MTA’s Subway Action Plan–with the requirement that the city government would have to foot half of the bill. As AN has previously reported, the money would go towards stabilizing the subway system by beefing up track work, replacing 1,300 troublesome signals, tracking leaks, and initiating a public awareness campaign to reduce littering. At the time of writing, the de Blasio administration which has repeatedly claimed that the city already pays more than its fair share, has agreed to contribute their $418 million portion. Congestion pricing, proposed by Governor Cuomo’s own transportation panel, failed to make it into the final legislation. The plan would both reduce traffic on Manhattan’s streets and could potentially raise up to $1.5 billion for subway repairs, but couldn’t muster enough support to pass. Instead, a surcharge on for-hire cars will be enacted below 96th Street in Manhattan; $2.75 for for-hire cars, $2.50 for yellow cabs, and $0.75 for every pooled trip. The terminally underfunded New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) will also be getting a boost, as Cuomo has pledged $250 million for repairs across the agency’s housing stock. However, the boost is somewhat undercut by the federal government’s recent decision to restrict NYCHA’s access to federal funds as a result of the lead paint scandal rattling the agency. To save time and money, the budget has implemented design-build practices–where the designer and contractor operate as one streamlined team–for future NYCHA projects, the forthcoming Rikers Island transformation, and the delayed Brooklyn-Queens Expressway restoration. While one controversial plan to remove Floor Area Ratio caps in future New York City residential developments didn’t make it into the final draft, another even more contentious proposal did. According to language in the final budget, the area around Penn Station has been deemed an “unreasonable risk to the public". This formal declaration could be used in future negotiations between the state and Madison Square Garden as leverage, or even as a pretext for eventually seizing the area via eminent domain. The budget, which the New York Times described as a broadside against Mayor de Blasio, ultimately exerts greater state intervention across a swath of local issues, from education to urban planning. More information on the final 2018-19 budget can be found here.
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nArchitects to complete Equal Rights Heritage Center in Auburn, NY

  nARCHITECTS have designed a new Equal Rights Heritage Center to be built in Auburn, NY. The town is one of the most important places in 19th century American history, as two of the most prominent equal rights crusaders of the era—Harriet Tubman and William Seward—called Auburn home. The museum will house a permanent exhibit and will comprise a 7,500-square-foot building that includes both exhibition and community spaces. It will showcase “the role the State and New Yorkers have played in the struggle for women's rights, abolition, civil rights and the more recent efforts for LGBTQ rights,” according to a statement from the governor's office. The center is located in the South Street National Register Historic District, directly across from city hall and next to the William H. Seward House Museum. Auburn is also home to Harriet Tubman National Historical Park. The design treats the unique location as a part of the exhibition by introducing visitors to their immediate surroundings through large glazed openings and by engaging views of the nearby Seward House Museum, Memorial City Hall, the historic YMCA and Westminster Church, and a new plaza and landscape. These vistas are highlighted through openings along a board-formed concrete perimeter which connects the interior exhibition spaces. The exterior relates to the scale of nearby houses with four one-story volumes of different heights and alternating roof pitches which are punctuated by triangular courtyards. "Sitting at the crossroads of Central New York and the Finger Lakes, Auburn has a played a unique role in New York State history as people and ideas traveled across the state," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said. "The city was home to great New Yorkers like Harriet Tubman and William Seward who fought for equal rights, and whose homes are now landmarks. The new Equal Rights Heritage Center will pay tribute to their efforts, and the sacrifices of the many who sought equality, while encouraging travelers to visit all that this region has to offer." The center is funded primarily by a $10 million dollar grant as part of the Central NY Rising initiative, a state initiative to spark economic and community growth in the region. Another $889,000 will be allocated from the Department of State grant through the Local Water Revitalization Program, and $500,000 will be allocated from the Department of Transportation for road construction around the site. "The Equal Rights Heritage Center is another example of the importance that New York State places on educating and recognizing its history and honoring those who served as pioneers before us so that we can become trailblazers for future generations. When we know where we come from we can understand where we need to go," said New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Rose Harvey. The expected completion time is fall 2018.