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Jim O'Grady

Jim O'Grady appears in the following:

The Single Switch Routing 1/3 of All LIRR Trains, Down for a Month

Monday, July 09, 2012

Long Island Railroad train barrels through a crossing. (photo by ynkefan1 / flickr)

(New York, NY - WNYC) About 5,000 riders on Long Island Railroad will see their evening rush hour train either cut or delayed for as long as a month starting Monday.

The NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the LIRR,  is taking a single switch in Queens out of service so it can dig the next length of the East Side Access Tunnel — a project designed to bring LIRR trains to Grand Central Terminal by August 2019.

Switch 813 regulates 1/3 of all eastbound train traffic as it passes through a massive switching yard called The Harold Interlocking.

The switch can't be operated while a giant boring machine is tunneling beneath it. With only two tracks remaining to handle the evening rush, train traffic must be juggled.

The NY MTA said riders can expect the following changes:

  • The 4:52 PM train from Penn Station to Babylon will be canceled.
  • The 5:20 PM train from Penn Station to Long Beach will be canceled.
  • The 5:40 PM train from Penn Station to Seaford will be canceled.

The four PM Peak trains with adjusted schedules include:

  • The 5:36 PM train from Penn Station to Babylon, which will depart Penn Station one minute later (at 5:37 PM) and arrive Babylon two minutes later at 6:42 PM.
  • The 5:55 PM train from Penn Station to Long Beach will arrive at Long Beach one minute later at 6:52 PM.
  • The 5:59 PM train from Penn Station to Babylon will arrive at Babylon five minutes later at 7:04 PM.
  • The 6:44 PM train from Babylon to Patchogue will operate two minutes later, departing Babylon at 6:46 PM and arriving Patchogue at 7:16 PM as a result of its connecting train from Penn Station (the 5:37 PM) arriving two minutes later at Babylon.

The NY MTA has been alerting riders to the changes through an alert on its website, fliers posted at stations and dropped on trains seats, and email alerts to the 30,000 customers who subscribe to them.

Those efforts weren't enough for the Long Island Railroad Commuters Council, which urged the LIRR to post workers in stations and on platforms during the first days of the schedule changes.

LIRR spokesman Sal Arena said that will now happen. "Railroad president Joe Calderone said to The Riders Council, 'You're right. Let's do it.'" Arena said riders confused by the changes can expect to see LIRR workers in reflective vests at Penn Station in Manhattan, Jamaica Station in Queens and Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn.

For more on East Side Access, go here.

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LIRR Rush-Hour Cuts, Delays to Begin Monday

Sunday, July 08, 2012

WNYC

About 5,000 riders on Long Island Railroad will see their evening rush hour train either cut or delayed for as long as a month starting Monday.

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US DOT To Spend $29 Million On Improving Transportation Options For Vets

Monday, July 02, 2012

Wounded veterans ride bicycles and hand bikes on the South lawn of the White House during the kicking off the 2010 Wounded Warrior Soldier Ride. (Flckr / William D. Moss)

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced 64 grants to help vets get around once they're back in the United States. Most of the money will go toward making it easier for veterans and their families to get transportation information by using smartphones and computers.

A typical grant was the $50,000 going to the Jacksonville Transportation Authority to help vets "connect to transit services through a single call or a single visit to a web page. Services include support organizations, social service agencies, car and van pools, volunteer driver programs, bicycles, walking, and taxis."

In all, 33 states and the Northern Mariana Islands will receive the awards. One of the largest went to the San Diego Association of Governments, which will receive $2 million to create a free mobile transportation app and 20 interactive transportation kiosks at military facilities and other veterans sites.

LaHood said vets need the assistance because of injuries suffered during service and because "the unemployment rate for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is more than 12 percent, more than four percentage points above the national average."

He gave the example of The Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority in Dayton, Ohio, which is home to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and more than 80,000 veterans. "The $450,000 grant announced today will make it easier for returning and retired veterans and those who have disabilities to arrange for rides by phone, smart phone or on the web," LaHood said.

Peter Rogoff, Administrator of the Federal Transportation Authority, which will administer the grants, said, “America’s war heroes deserve a chance to support their families, participate in their communities, receive job training and get to work. It’s vitally important that we remove barriers to success by making transportation available wherever our veterans choose to live, work and receive care.”

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Diamond Engagement Ring Is Lost And Then, Against Long Odds, Found On Long Island Railroad

Friday, June 29, 2012

Long Island Railroad passenger Brooke Bene shows off her recovered engagement ring.

(New York, NY - WNYC) Here's an uplifting story on a hot summer day. It begins with a young woman placing her hand on a metal pole in a New York City subway and sickeningly realizing that the sapphire and diamond engagement ring on her finger didn't make a sound...because the ring was gone. We'll let this understandably breathless press release from Long Island Railroad describe what happened next:

The owner of the dazzling ring, Brooke Bene – who was recently engaged in April – inadvertently left the ring on the train as she disembarked at Atlantic Terminal [in Brooklyn] for her daily subway trip to her Wall Street job.

"I removed the ring and placed it on my lap to apply hand lotion while on the LIRR train,” said Ms. Bene. “When I stood up to leave the train, it must have fallen without me realizing. It wasn’t until I grasped the hand bar on the No. 2 train out of Atlantic Terminal and didn’t hear the metal of the ring touching the bar that I noticed it was missing – and that’s when the panic set in."

After a frantic search through her belongings, Ms. Bene realized the ring was gone. She immediately contacted the LIRR upon arriving at her office.

That’s when the LIRR’s Deana Teemer jumped into action and called the LIRR’s operation center to find out where Ms. Bene’s LIRR train was next headed – which turned out to be the Hempstead Branch. She requested the operations center to contact the crew of the train via radio and also called the Hempstead Station ticket office for the train to be searched.

Following a regular routine, Ms. Bene sat in the same seat in the same car each day – this aided in the hunt for the ring.

LIRR conductor Tim Parrett found the ring in the space between the seat cushion and the seat back, after pulling the seat cushion away. He radioed word to the operations center that the ring was found and brought the ring to the Penn Station Customer Service office.

Upon hearing the good news from Deana Teemer later that morning, Ms. Bene gave a sigh of relief and immediately headed to Penn Station to re-claim her cherished ring. Then, she told her fiancé about the ordeal and the happy ending.

“I just love them,” Ms. Bene said about Teemer and Parrett. “They were incredible – how amazingly fast everything was done and the ring was found!”

Deana Teemer has worked for the LIRR for 13 years, starting as a ticket clerk and for the last two years in the Customer Service office. Tim Parrett has 15 years on the job.

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After Long Fight, Congress Passes 2-Yr Surface Transportation Bill

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Tappan Zee Bridge (photo by Joseph A. via Flickr)

Congress approved a two-year, $100 billion transportation and infrastructure bill just days before the federal highway trust fund was set to expire.

The legislation comes after more than 1,000 days of wrangling by Republicans and Democrats over issues like Keystone oil pipeline approval allowing transit agencies to use federal capital funds for operating expenses during periods of high unemployment. (Neither provision made it into the final bill.)

Senator Barbara Boxer praised the legislation, after leading the Democratic side of negotiations in the Senate. She said it would save about 1.8 million jobs by keeping aid for highway and transit construction flowing to states and create another 1 million jobs by using federal loan guarantees to leverage private sector investment in infrastructure projects.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called it “a good, bipartisan bill that will create jobs, strengthen our transportation system and grow our economy."

But Advocacy group Transportation for America said the bill "disappointing." In a statement, the group said: "We are pleased Congress has averted a shutdown, and the associated loss of jobs -- but this is literally no way to run a railroad...Despite never passing their own bill, House leaders were able to eliminate dedicated funding for repair of bridges and highways; cut vital transportation dollars for cities and local governments; slash funding available to prevent pedestrian deaths; and erode public input and local control in the planning of major transportation projects.

 

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Red Hook, Brooklyn, A Transit Cul De Sac, Gets Real Time Bus Info

Friday, June 29, 2012

The B61 bus now has Bus Time, a technology that lets riders know the location of their ride.

(New York, NY - WNYC) Service on the sole bus route serving Red Hook, Brooklyn, may be erratic and over-crowded during peak hours,  but riders can now use a smartphone to figure out where their bus is dawdling on the neighborhood's waterfront grid.

Or maybe it's approaching. To find out, riders can fire up the NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Bus Time technology.

Red Hook is subway-less, surrounded by New York harbor on three sides and cut off from the rest of Brooklyn by the Gowanus Expressway as it approaches the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.

The program fits out buses with GPS units. That allows riders to check the Web or send a text to find the location of the nearest bus.

It's already in place borough-wide in Staten Island, on the M34 Select Bus Service in Manhattan, and was originally piloted on the B63 in Brooklyn in early 2011.The MTA says every line in the city will have it by the end of next year.

Red Hook residents have long complained of living in a transit semi-desert. It got worse last year, when the  MTA cut costs by eliminating three bus lines serving Red Hook and nearby neighborhoods. Some residents adapted by making the long walk to the subway stop at Smith and 9th Streets in Carroll Gardens. But with that stop now undergoing a year-long renovation, many Red Hook commuters have had no choice but to use the problem-plagued B61.

City Councilman Brad Lander and Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez, both vocal about beefing up Red Hook's bus service, say they're pleased by Bus Time's arrival. “Bus Time will help Red Hook residents with their commute by providing real time information on buses’ locations,” Velázquez said.

Lander similarly praised it, then reminded the authority that further improvements are needed on the line.  "I look forward to taking further steps to making the line a great bus for the neighborhoods it serves.”

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Court Rules NYC Taxis Need Not Be Wheelchair Accessible

Thursday, June 28, 2012

(New York, NY - WNYC) A federal appeals court has struck down a ruling that would have required New York City to give taxi licenses only to wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act doesn't require the city to demand that cabbies serve the disabled, only that the city not discriminate against disabled people seeking a license to drive a cab. That's despite the fact that only 2 percent of the city's yellow taxis are wheelchair-accessible.

See the court's decision here.

The city can keep moving toward a contract with Nissan to provide New York with a "Taxi of Tomorrow": a mini-van with transparent roofs, USB chargers and extra legroom--but no easy access to people in wheelchairs.

Mayor Bloomberg praised the decision to let the new cab project move forward. “This ruling is consistent with common sense and the practical needs of both the taxi industry and the disabled, and we will continue our efforts to assist disabled riders,” he said.

Assuming Nissan signs a contract with the city, it will become the sole provider of New York's yellow taxis. The new models would be rolled out beginning next year, as older cabs are retired.

But the Taxis for All Campaign decried the ruling in a statement: "New York City has more taxis than any city in America. Yet only 232 (1.8%) out of 13,237 taxis are accessible to people who use wheelchairs. Because subway stations are also inaccessible, the lack of accessible taxis has left wheelchair users with no viable way to travel in New York City."

The lower court ruling had called access to wheelchair-friendly cabs "a basic civil right." Disability Rights Advocates’ attorney Sid Wolinsky, who represented some plaintiffs in the case, blasted the city for not delivering on that right. “The Bloomberg administration has been astonishingly hostile to people with disabilities," he said. “The notion that New York City would now have a taxi fleet that is mostly not accessible when cities like London have had a 100 percent accessible fleet for over a decade is pretty shameful.”

Wolinsky believes his group could still win the case through other arguments that weren't addressed by the appeals court.

Edith Prentiss of the Taxis For All Campaign agreed. “This ruling will not stop us," she said. "We have been fighting for the rights of persons with disabilities to use this public transportation system for a decade, and the fight will continue."

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Mermaids, Mermen Ride the NYC Subway

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Many of the thousands of half-human / half-mythical / one-quarter-clad creatures marching in Saturday’s 30th Annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade will arrive not by dolphin or clamshell but by subway.

Send in your photos of the Mermaid Parade to pics@wnyc.org and we will include them in our slideshow.

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Mermaids, Mermen Ride The NYC Subway

Friday, June 22, 2012

(Courtesy of the NY MTA)

(New York, NY - WNYC) Many of the thousands of half-human / half-mythical / one-quarter-clad creatures marching in Saturday's 30th Annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade will arrive not by dolphin or clamshell but by subway.

(Courtesy of NY MTA)

Coney Island-Stilwell Avenue is the last stop of the D, F and N lines, and one of several beachside stops on the Q.

(Courtesy of NY MTA)

A pleasure of the festivities is to watch summertime's version of a Halloween-themed perp-walk pour off the trains and make its flesh-flaunting way to the boardwalk. And before that, as the trains ply the rails toward la playa, straphangers see some of the year's most arresting scenes in public transport.

(Courtesy of NY MTA)

The New York Transportation Authority knows it and has decided to show it off with a fabulous Flickr page. It's here. Enjoy.

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US DOT Doles Out $500 Million to Transportation Projects Around U.S.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is on a conference call right now talking to reporters about the latest round of TIGER grants. Here's a press release describing some of them. Click here to see a map of their distribution around the country.

U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces Funding for 47 TIGER 2012 Projects as Overwhelming Demand for TIGER Dollars Continues


WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced that 47 transportation projects in 34 states and the District of Columbia will receive a total of almost $500 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) 2012 program.

“President Obama’s support for an America built to last is putting people back to work across the country building roads, bridges and other projects that will mean better, safer transportation for generations to come,” said Secretary LaHood.  “TIGER projects mean good transportation jobs today and a stronger economic future for the nation.”

The TIGER program is a highly competitive program that is able to fund innovative projects difficult or impossible to fund through other federal programs.  In many cases, these grants will serve as the final piece of funding for infrastructure investments totaling $1.7 billion in overall project costs.  These federal funds are being leveraged with money from private sector partners, states, local governments, metropolitan planning organizations and transit agencies. 

TIGER has enjoyed overwhelming demand since its creation, a trend continued by TIGER 2012.  Applications for this most recent round of grants totaled $10.2 billion, far exceeding the $500 million set aside for the program.  In all, the Department received 703 applications from all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

The grants will fund a wide range of innovative transportation projects in urban and rural areas across the country:

• Of the $500 million in TIGER 2012 funds available for grants, more than $120 million will go to critical projects in rural areas.

• Roughly 35 percent of the funding will go to road and bridge projects, including more than $30 million for the replacement of rural roads and bridges that need improvements to address safety and state of good repair deficiencies.

• 16 percent of the funding will support transit projects like the Wave Streetcar Project in Fort Lauderdale.

• 13 percent of the funding will support high-speed and intercity passenger rail projects like the Raleigh Union Station Project in North Carolina.

• 12 percent will go to freight rail projects, including elements of the CREATE (Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency) program to reduce freight rail congestion in Chicago.

• 12 percent will go to multimodal, bicycle and pedestrian projects like the Main Street to Main Street Multimodal Corridor project connecting Memphis and West Memphis.

• 12 percent will help build port projects like the Outer Harbor Intermodal Terminal at the Port of Oakland.

• Three grants were also directed to tribal governments to create jobs and address critical transportation needs in Indian country.

TIGER projects will also improve accessibility for people with disabilities to health care, education and employment opportunities. 

Over the next six months, 27 projects are expected to break ground from the previous three rounds of TIGER.  In addition, work is under way on 64 capital projects across the country.

On November 18, 2011, the President signed the FY 2012 Appropriations Act, which provided $500 million for Department of Transportation national infrastructure investments.  Like the first three rounds, TIGER 2012 grants are for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure and are awarded on a competitive basis.  This is the fourth round of TIGER funding.

Under all four rounds combined, the TIGER program has provided $3.1 billion to 218 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.  Demand for the program has been overwhelming, and during all four rounds, the Department of Transportation received more than 4,050 applications requesting more than $105.2 billion for transportation projects across the country.

The fiscal year 2013 appropriations bill currently under consideration in the U.S. Senate provides $500 million for a future round of TIGER grants. 

Click here for additional information on individual TIGER grants http://www.dot.gov/tiger/fy2012tiger.pdf

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In a Heat Wave, Don't Expect the MTA to Cool Subway Platforms

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

WNYC

Every summer, as the heat builds and the atmosphere in the subway acquires the texture of a hound dog's mouth, straphangers wonder why stations aren't air conditioned. If train cars are reliably cooled, the thinking goes, why can't something be done to cool customers while they wait for them?

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Don't Expect Cooling On NYC Subway Platforms -- Especially During a Heatwave

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Safety bumps on a platform's edge look like proverbial fried eggs on a hot day in the subway. (Photo by Susan NYC / flickr)

(New York, NY - WNYC) Every summer, as the heat builds and the atmosphere in the subway acquires the texture of a hound dog's mouth, straphangers wonder why stations aren't air conditioned. If train cars are reliably cooled, the thinking goes, why can't something be done to cool customers while they wait for them?

The NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority's answer: "Unfortunately, air conditioning of subway stations is not feasible due to the open nature of their construction and the impossibility of cooling an infinite space." Spokeswoman Marjorie Anders explained that the system is open, in part, to cool it: the movement of trains pushes hot air from the tunnels out through vents in city sidewalks.

The exception is Grand Central Terminal, which has air conditioning in The Main Concourse, an enormous central space through which 75,000 to 100,000 passengers pass daily. Anders said seven huge cooling towers on the terminal's roof work in tandem with dozens of temperature sensors to cool the hall. She said that's easier to accomplish at the start of summer because "the building isn’t heat-soaked yet. The concrete, limestone and marble are still cool to the touch."

Ms. Anders spoke by phone from an office at the NY MTA's Midtown headquarters that had been darkened, she claimed, to save energy. She said that though The Main Concourse is air-conditioned, the gigantic underground train shed at Grand Central Terminal, which holds 123 tracks and 46 platforms, is not.

Ushers keep doors between the terminal and the platforms closed when trains aren’t actively boarding or unloading. And conductors on the trains only open one door per car when a train is in Grand Central.

The NY MTA is also coping with the heat wave by reducing the speed of subway trains and reducing electrical usage by shutting down several substations that supply power to the system's third rails. That means subways are moving a little bit slower.

The authority says it cuts back on power during heat waves between noon and 6 pm at the request of the New York State Power Authority.

On subway lines, passengers may notice reduced elevator and escalator service, to conserve energy. Some contracts with energy providers require the NY MTA to reduce power consumption during heat waves.

The authority will also be running trains at reduced speed on Metro-North's New Haven Line, which is powered by overhead catenary wires that droop in extreme heat. "Trains are slowed so that pantographs – arm-like apparatus on the roof of the trains that draw the power from the catenary - do not get ensnared in catenary wires," a spokesman said.

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NYC Mayor Bloomberg: Cities Are Ahead Of Nations In Reducing Greenhouse Gases

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (photo by NYC Mayor's Office)

(New York, NY - WNYC) By the end of the decade, climate-related actions taken by cities around the world will reduce greenhouse gases by 250 million tons per year. That's what New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told delegates at the Rio Earth Summit. He added that by 2030, the annual reduction of greenhouse gases by major cities could be a billion tons per year--the combined output of Mexico and Canada.

Bloomberg was addressing the Rio+C40 Summit, which he said includes 59 cities "from Bogota to Berlin, from Jakarta to Johannesburg, and from my New York."  One of every 12 people on the planet live in those cities, he said, and account for about 14 percent of the world’s total carbon footprint.

“The world is rapidly urbanizing," Bloomberg said. "Cities are becoming bigger and bigger. Our problems are sometimes harder and harder to tackle. Yet we continue to make major progress, even in times of tough budget cuts."

He said New York City has shrunk its carbon footprint by 13 percent in the past five years, and praised other cities for taking similar steps.

“Let me point out that nearly two-thirds of the climate change actions the C40 cities have taken have been paid for solely from our budgets – without support from our national governments," he said. "That’s because cities recognize our responsibilities to act; we haven’t waited for our national governments to go first."

Bloomberg also announced initiatives to improve the management of city solid waste, including reducing the release of methane and other greenhouse gases, and a web site "to provide a broad, deep, and constantly updated library on what the world’s cities are doing about climate change – and about the tools and resources cities can use to further their work."

Go here to read the mayor's full remarks.

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NY MTA Chief Says Railroads Need To Work Together To Overcome Maxed-Out Hudson River Crossings

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Amtrak concourse at Penn Station in New York. (Scott Beale / flickr)

(New York, NY -- WNYC) New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joe Lhota told a conference of transportation professionals that the only hope for moving more people under the Hudson River between Manhattan and New Jersey is for the area’s commuter railroads to set aside their traditional enmity and work better together.

His remarks came after a presentation showing rapid growth in New Jersey’s commuter population has maxed out rush hour crossings — both transit and vehicular — and that relief in the form of a proposed Gateway Rail Tunnel won’t arrive until 2025. If it arrives.

Which raised the question: what to do in the meantime?

Lhota tossed out three ideas, each aimed at boosting capacity at Penn Station in Manhattan, the hemisphere’s busiest railroad station and a terminal for New Jersey Transit trains.

He said the station’s 21 platforms should all be made to accommodate 10-car trains, which would mean lengthening some of them. He also said that the railroads using the station—Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and Long Island Rail Road—should do a better job of sharing platform and tunnel space.

Each railroad currently controls a third of the platforms, which sometimes leads to one railroad having too many trains and not enough platforms at the same time another railroad has empty platforms. The railroads also vie with each other for access to tunnels during peak periods. Lhota said capacity would be boosted if dispatchers in the station’s control room could send any train to any platform, and through any tunnel, as they saw fit.

Lhota’s third suggestion was the most ambitious. He said the three railroads—plus the MTA’s Metro-North line, which connects Manhattan to Connecticut and several downstate New York counties—should use each other’s tracks. In other words, trains should flow throughout the region in a way that sends them beyond their historic territory. For example, a train from Long Island could arrive in Penn Station and, instead of sitting idly until its scheduled return trip, move on to New Jersey. That way, trains would spend less time tying up platforms, boosting the station’s capacity.

The practice is called “through-running.” It happens already when NJ Transit trains carry football fans on game day from New Haven, Connecticut, through Penn Station to Secaucus, where passengers transfer to a shuttle that takes them to MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands.

Lhota says more trains crossing borders would make for a truly regional and efficient system. But first the railroads must cooperate. "Right now, we're as Balkanized as you can possibly imagine,” he said. “We need to find a way to coordinate that."

MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg said running the football train is complicated but shows that cooperation is possible. “Doing just this experiment required agreements among four railroads to coordinate schedules, crews, track, ticketing, revenue and some minor hardware issues,” he said. “So expanding it to full-fledged through-running will take much more.”

Lisberg said the four railroads are conducting a $1.5 million study to look at improving Penn Station’s capacity. “The study is trying to quantify the benefits and the costs of through-running,” he said. One of those costs would be overcoming the railroads’ disparate technologies: Amtrak, Metro-North and NJ Transit use overhead catenary power, while Long Island Rail Road is powered by a third rail.

In an email, Lisberg further weighted the costs and benefits of through-putting. He said a big advantage would be that trains wouldn’t have to stop and turn around in Penn Station, “or use precious tunnel slots to move empty trains into storage yards.”

And he said the existing tracks and platforms under the station “could be reorganized into simple eastbound and westbound tracks and platforms, regardless of which railroad uses them.” Then he added a caveat: “However, it would require lots of capital investment and changes to existing procedures – and we want to know it can be done without affecting on-time performance.”

The Regional Plan Association, which held the conference at which Lhota spoke, and other advocacy groups have expressed support for through-running—at least until Gateway Tunnel gets built. If it gets built.

 

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'Lost Subways' Goes Live At New York Public Library

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What might've been. (WNYC Map)

(New York, NY - WNYC) New York's Lost Subways loom large in the mind for things that aren't there.

Our January post, map and radio feature about the city's "ghost system" of never-built or abandoned lines sparked a robust public reaction. More than 5,700 TN readers talked them up on social media. And that fearsome cultural arbiter, New York Magazine's Approval Matrix, placed us not in the page's Lowbrow / Despicable quadrant -- where we always thought we'd end up -- but the Highbrow / Brilliant quadrant.

Best of all, New York Public Library took notice and invited us to cross the threshold of the esteemed Mid-Manhattan branch and give an illustrated talk about our lost subways research -- where they would've gone and why they weren't built -- and how tricky it was to come up with the post's cool interactive map.

The presentation happens this Thursday at 6:30 p.m. with Jim O'Grady, WNYC reporter and TN contributor, and John Keefe, Senior Editor for Data News & Journalism Technology at WNYC.

Come by to say hello! And comment below to let us know where you'd build a new subway.

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NY MTA Upping Service On L Train To Reduce "Sardine Crush" Of Riders

Monday, June 11, 2012

It's not uncommon for riders during the morning rush to let an overcrowded L train go on without them. (Runs With Scirssors/flickr)

(New York, NY - WNYC) Several New York City subway lines are at or above capacity. Relief is coming for some riders because of technology.

The chronically overcrowded L train, which connects Manhattan to Brooklyn's fastest growing neighborhoods, is now running 98 more times a week. The NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority just finished installing a new radio-based signal system that allows trains on the line to travel closer together and, as a result, more frequently.

Brooklyn Democratic District Leader Lincoln Restler, who joined elected officials at a press conference outside the Bedford Avenue stop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, said it's about time. "The complaint I receive most frequently about quality of life for Williamsburg residents is L train service," he said. "It is terrible. We've been unable to fit onto trains for too long."

Ridership on the L train has grown 141 percent since 1998 because of a population boom in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, the chosen enclaves of NYC's hipster set and more recently, a hub of new condo construction. It's not unusual for riders during the morning rush to let a packed train pass because there's no room to board it.

The NY MTA announced a plan to increase service on the line eight months ago, which led to a squabble with its largest union over why the new schedule would take so long to implement.

Riders will now see 16 more trains on weekdays and 18 more trains over the course of a weekend.

The MTA says, during the morning rush, customers can shave 30 seconds off their wait with trains now arriving every 3 minutes. Non-rush hour weekday riders, as well as Saturday night revelers, can expect a train every six minutes, down from 7 ½ minutes. And Sunday evening straphangers can expect a train every 6 minutes, down from 8 ½ minutes.

State Senator Daniel Squadron said those improvements should lessen claustrophobia on the line. "That means that you're going to spread out that sardine can crush. It'll still be standing room only but it'll at least get us below over-capacity."

The NY MTA said the added service will cost $1.7 million annually.

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MTA Upping Service on L Train to Reduce ‘Sardine Crush’ of Riders

Monday, June 11, 2012

WNYC

The chronically overcrowded L train is now running 98 more times a week. The MTA just finished installing a new radio-based signal system that allows trains on the line to travel close together and, as a result, more frequently.

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London’s Mayor: Bike Share Will Civilize New York

Monday, June 11, 2012

WNYC

The New World can still learn a thing or two from the Old World – especially when it comes to transportation. Just as London had the tube before New York City got the subway, London has had a bike share in operation before New York City.

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London's Mayor: Bike Share Will Civilize New York

Monday, June 11, 2012

London Mayor Boris Johnson. (photo by hammersmithandfulham / Flickr)

(New York, NY - WNYC) When we heard that Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, would be sitting for an interview with show host Leonard Lopate in a studio at WNYC, we made sure to plant a transportation question.

Lopate: Our news department wanted us to ask if you have any advice for New York as it launches its bikeshare program next month.

Johnson: My advice is, 'Enjoy it.' I think it's high time that New York had it. It's a great scheme; it will go well.

Johnson then described how London's bikeshare program has transformed street life in Great Britain's capital city, and what New Yorkers should brace for.

Johnson: I think drivers have got to learn to recognize they are going to find bikes on the streets. It's just a fact of life, and it will civilize the place. It will improve the atmosphere. There's nothing more immediately redolent of a village than loads of people wobbling around on bicycles.

Understandably, Lopate was suspicious of the idea that New Yorkers could be civilized, especially compared to Londoners.

Lopate: London's always had a bicycle culture. And bicyclists, at least when I rode around London, actually observed the traffic rules. We would signal left turn, right turn, and not go through red lights. That doesn't happen in this city. Has there been the kind of war between drivers and bicyclists that we've seen in New York?

Johnson: I wish everybody was as punctilious as you are, Leonard. I'm going to have to confess to you that we've got some bad habits now in London. There's loads of people who jump red lights, ride on the pavement, intimidate pedestrians and disobey the rules of the road. If any of them are listening, they know who they are.

Despite such problems, bikeshares have come a long way since the 1960s, when a Dutch anarchist group collected several hundred bicycles, painted them white and left them lying around Amsterdam to be used for free--a bold stroke that inspired this super-groovy song. Today's bikeshares, like Barclay Cycle Hire in London, tend to be organized, branded and growing.

Johnson: We've seen a massive expansion of cycling in London. Last year alone, it's gone up 15 percent. The cycle scheme we've got in is expanding very fast. We're at something like 40,000 rides a day. We will go further.

Still, the Mayor of London ended with a cautionary note about the need for police to crack down on bad actors.

Johnson: But there's got to be a reciprocal understanding by cyclists that they've got to obey the rules of the road.

Are you listening, New York City?

Here is a video about how London's bikeshare works:

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Manhattan On Track To Get Its First Slow Zone

Monday, June 11, 2012

Proposed Slow Zone for the Inwood section of Manhattan (NYC DOT)

(New York, NY - WNYC) - Manhattan, where the standard rate of movement is an all-out manic sprint, is about to be told by the NY Department of Transportation to slow down. At least in part: a couple of dozen blocks at the island's northern tip in the neighborhood of Inwood are on track to become the borough's first traffic Slow Zone.

NYC DOT unveiled Slow Zones last year. The program calms traffic by lowering a neighborhood's speed limit to 20 miles per hour--the lowest in the city--and fitting it out with safety measures such as speed bumps, signs and street markings that either force or urge drivers to slow down. The city would also remove more than 20 parking spots in the neighborhood to open up sight lines at intersections.

Inwood's community board passed a resolution in February that unanimously supported the Slow Zone, which would cover the blocks west of Broadway from West 218th down to Riverside Drive near Dyckman Street. A vote by the full board will be held on June 26. Should the Slow Zone be approved, as expected, the NYC DOT is set to install it this summer.

Inwood is frequently used as a short-cut by northbound drivers who cut through it, especially during the evening rush hour, to avoid paying the toll on the Henry Hudson Bridge, which spans Manhattan and the Bronx. Drivers have also learned to avoid the traffic lights on Broadway by traveling on Seaman Avenue, a parallel street that is heavily residential.

In general, Inwood's streets are hilly, narrow and almost wholly disconnected from the street grid. For those reasons, the NYC DOT not only approved the neighborhood's Slow Zone application but doubled the size of the proposed area.

Resident Dave Thom, for one, is pleased. "Our neighborhood is packed with schools, churches and young children," he said. "I have a two year-old and three year-old myself and it can be nerve-wracking to see a car racing down our streets."

The city's first and only Slow Zone was installed in the Claremont section of the Bronx last year. NYC DOT is considering adding another 13 Slow Zones, including the one in Inwood, by the end of 2013.

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