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Transportation Nation

BREAKING: NYC Transit Says G Train Expansion Permanent, Adds New Bus Routes

Thursday, July 19, 2012

(New York, NY -- WNYC) UPDATED New York's MTA will  add five new bus routes, restore one route, extend 13 existing bus routes and add midday, night or weekend service on 11 bus routes in all five boroughs. The temporary extension of the G subway line to Church Avenue during reconstruction of the Smith/9th Street station will be made permanent.

Full list here.

In all, the service enhancements add new routes to rapidly growing neighborhoods like Williamsburg, Dumbo, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard (home to Steiner movie studios)  where new housing and warehouses have been added to the city at a rapid clip. Manhattan's Far West Side, the South Bronx, and Brooklyn's East New York will also get brand new routes.

As unusual as the service additions are in a national environment where transit service is being routinely cut, they don't fully restore service to the level it was two years ago, before the NY MTA cut two train routes and dozens of bus lines, the biggest cuts in a generation.

In addition, Metro-North Railroad will enhance service on the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven l with increased half-hourly frequency. West of the Hudson, a new round-trip peak train will be added on the Pascack Line.

The Long Island Rail Road will provide increased service from Ronkonkoma every 30 minutes on weekdays after the morning rush and during some weekend periods. Extra trains will accommodate increased rider demand on the Long Beach, Port Jefferson and Montauk branches. Trains from Atlantic Terminal will also be extended until 2 a.m.

Brooklyn is getting two new bus routes -- including one along the fast-growing Williamsburg waterfront and another connecting Dumbo, Downtown Brooklyn, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, home to Steiner movie studio

Services will be also restored on the following routes:

Bx13, Bx34, B2, B4, B24, B39, B48, B57, B64, B69, X27, X17, M1, M9, M21, Q24, Q27, Q30, Q36, Q42, Q76, S76, S93, X1, X17

 

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Transportation Nation

News to Us: New York's MTA #7 Extension to Open Six Months Later Than Originally Planned

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The #7 extension construction site as of 5/12 (photo courtesy of MTAPhotos via flickr)

TN read with interest today's New York Post story stating that the the #7 subway extension to Manhattan's far west side won't be open until June 2014 -- six months later than originally planned.

"It's on schedule to begin revenue service in June 2014 and on budget at $2.4 billion," MTA chair Joe Lhota told the New York State Senate Transportation Committee today.

Um. TN, like the Post, was under the impression that service to 11th Avenue and 34th Street was scheduled to open in December 2013 -- but the MTA says the new date is old news.

MTA spokesperson Adam Lisberg noted that the MTA had already publicly released the new opening date at a board meeting in February. Which it did; turn to page 242 of the transit committee meeting report book to see the June '14 date reflected in the official documents.

Lisberg attributed the late opening to "general construction delays and easement issues."

But the MTA's website has conflicting information on the project. While one page has the most recent opening date, it doesn't have the latest project cost -- now $2.4 billion, not $2.1 billion -- although that number can be found on yet another section of the site.

(Note: still other undated information says "customers will be able to take advantage of the new service in December 2013 as scheduled.")

The project's cost increase falls under the "systems and finishes" category. According to Lisberg, the MTA hired one company to dig the tunnel and another company to do the switches, and he says "we were overly optimistic in coordinating how well those companies would work together."

The original opening target for the #7 extension was actually right about now -- it was conceived as the train to the proposed Olympic stadium when New York was bidding for the summer 2012 Olympics.

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Transportation Nation

Negotiators Kick Off Highway Bill Conference; Boxer Warns "Failure Is Not An Option"

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

(Photo (cc) by Flickr user Crazy George)

Republicans and Democrats from the House and Senate began their formal conference over surface transportation funding Tuesday, in a negotiation that could take up to a month and where tens of billions of dollars are at stake.

Lawmakers from both sides of the Capitol gathered in one of the Hill's largest hearings rooms to begin hashing out an agreement between the chambers. On the table: A two-year Senate bill worth $109 billion backed by a broad bipartisan vote, versus House demands to cut spending, reform federal projects, cut regulations and force approval of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.

The extension governing highway funding expires June 30. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) the champion of the Senate bill and the conference committee chair, told lawmakers they'll need to reach agreement by early June in order to get an agreement written and passed in time.

It won't be easy. Several tries left House Republicans unable to agree amongst themselves on a multi-year transportation policy. Meanwhile, many House conservatives consider the Senate bill a non-starter, largely because of its funding levels.

Now House Republicans begin the the conference at a distinct disadvantage. House and Senate Democrats are strongly behind the Senate bill, as are many Senate Republicans. The White House has also strongly backed the Senate's bid. SenatorJames Inhofe (R-Okla) leaned on House conservatives to accept the Senate's bill, which he helped craft with Boxer.

"I have every expectation we are going to be able to do that which the majority of Americans want done," he said.

House Republicans hold a few cards and are making some demands of their own. They want the Senate's $109 billion price tag reduced and are pushing hard to force the White House to accept final construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. They have also laid down markers repealing pending EPA coal ash pollution regulations.

"Let's not just spend more money. Let's have some serious reforms," urged Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) the conference committee's vice-chair.

Boxer began the proceedings with a long list of lobbying and interest organizations that support the Senate bill, ranging from AAA and trucking groups to the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

"If the AFL-CIO and the Chamber of Commerce can work together, then surely we can work together," she said, adding that "failure is not an option for us."

But the reality is that in the 112th Congress, failure is, in fact, an option. Leadership aides in the House and Senate predicted that the election-year talks would likely lead to an agreement rejected by House Republican rank-and-file members. That could force Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to pass any final agreement with the help of large numbers of Democrats. Failing that, Congress can do what it's done nine times since 2005 and simply pass another extension of current law to avoid a shutdown.

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