New York City Transit

The Brian Lehrer Show

MTA Chairman Prendergast

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tom Prendergast, chairman and CEO of the MTA, talks about transit improvements and interruptions as the MTA prepares its next budget

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Transportation Nation

Subway Mosaic, Best Public Art in America?

Monday, July 02, 2012

"Brooklyn Seeds" by Jason Middlebrook Depicts Floral Themed Mosaic

Deep into Brooklyn, NY just before Neck Road, an artistic treasure sits hidden from the New Yorkers zipping past on the Q train to Coney Island. The 2011 addition to the Avenue U Station, a giant glass and ceramic tile mosaic climbing up the station wall called "Brooklyn Seeds," has been crowned one of the best public art projects in America, according to this announcement from the NY MTA.

Each year the Americans for the Arts Conference conveys the recognition outstanding works in a variety of media. Subway tiles are getting their due this year with Jason Middlebrook's "Seeds" represent the resilient flora of the concrete jungle.

NY MTA: "The plants are based on wildflowers that grow in unlikely places in urban neighborhoods, through cracks in the sidewalks, and in alleys and along walls. The artwork expresses the beauty where nature and city intersect."

Here are a few more pics. Send us pics of your favorite transit art, especially if you think you're city has something worthy of "best" status.




All photos courtesy of the MTA. More here.

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Transportation Nation

Buy Your Own Authentic Wooden Subway Benches

Friday, March 02, 2012

When is it worth paying $650 for a 30-year-old uncomfortable bench designed to prevent laying down? When it's subway history!

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority is making "a select number" of the iconic platform furniture pieces available for sale as they switch to metal benches, which are cheaper to maintain.

The MTA posted on this sales pitch on it's website:

"Every wooden bench comes directly from the New York City Subway system and will come with its own certificate of authenticity. The benches are 10'7" wide, 1'8" deep, 2'7" tall and are designed to seat six people."

Place your order here. Just don't ask what has spilled on it since 1980 ... or bed bugs.


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Transportation Nation

New NY MTA Chief Sends Warm Signals to Union on First Day, in Contrast to Predecessor

Monday, November 14, 2011

(Photo: Stephen Nessen)

On his first day as Executive Director of  the NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Joe Lhota made a symbolic gesture of solidarity with transit workers, according to the union that represents them.

Lhota co-authored a letter along with Transport Worker's Union Local 100 President John Samuelson to be sent to the District Attorneys of the five boroughs of New York City. It calls for a tougher crackdown on crimes against transit workers.

"We are writing today to urge you to prosecute these cases to the fullest extent of the law,” Lhota and Samuelsen wrote in their letter, which was first reported by Pete Donohue of The Daily News.

The letter comes as negotiations  are set to begin Tuesday afternoon over a new TWU contract agreement.  The current contract expires January 15, and the TWU has said it does not intend to accept three years of no pay raises, the deal that Governor Andrew Cuomo has wrested from other major state unions.  When one union, the Public Employees Federation, rejected that deal, Cuomo threatened 3500 layoffs.  The union revoted,  and accepted the "triple zeros" with a few modifications.

But the TWU is known as one of the more militant unions, and as protesters occupy both Wall Street and Albany, pressure is mounting on Cuomo not to let a so-called millionaires tax expire.  Samuelson has already said his union won't take a pay freeze unless "millionaires pay their fare share."  In 2005, TWU workers struck just days before Christmas, bring the city to a standstill for three days as temperature dipped well below freezing.

Lhota 's predecessor, Jay Walder, had a a toxic relationship with the union.  Among other actions that were seen as as anti-union, Walder cut hundreds of station agent jobs, which were seen as an entry into the middle class by the mostly minority workers that held the job.  The union retaliated by mocking Walder for owning a country home in the south of France. When the otherwise admired Walder quit for a job in Hong Kong, the union issued a statement essentially saying "good riddance."

“For the workers to see that Lhota actually seems to care about them, that will go a long way,” TWU spokesman Jim Gannon told TN.

Lhota has already met several times with Samuelson Gannon tells Transportation Nation, adding that the joint letter was Lhota's idea. “It was interesting that he would reach out in such a fashion, because that’s such a statement.”

A draft of the letter obtained by Transportation Nation bears the logos of the MTA and TWU Local 100 side by side as the letterhead.

Lhota took the Lexington Line in from his home Brooklyn Heights and spent most of his first day in meetings.  He observed the MTA board's finance committee meeting where he heard his first official update on his new agency's balance sheet — one of many hard truths he'll have to reconcile if he is to succeed. The former Cablevision executive and deputy mayor under Rudolph Giuliani takes over as executive director with pressure from all sides for fiscal reform.

In addition to the looming TWU bargaining, riders are demanding more service, speedier construction and fewer disruptions just as several upstate Republican State Senators want to repeal a payroll mobility tax on suburban commuters that raises 1/8 of the MTA's operating budget each year.

Add to that, a $10 billion budget gap in the authority's capital plan, which pays for everything from new trains to the Second Avenue Subway.

Lhota still needs to be approved by the Republican-led state Senate before he can officially take the top spots of CEO and Chairman of the MTA.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Subway Inspection Reports Faked, CT Wants More HSR Money, and Stay Out of the Bus Lane...Or Else

Monday, November 22, 2010

The MTA's Inspector General found that New York City Transit workers falsified track signal inspection reports.  Subway riders are understandably jittery.

Surveillance cameras will begin monitoring motorists on Manhattan's east side bus lanes (Wall Street Journal); violators get mailed a $115 fine. Which bike lane billboardists will make clear.

The Wall Street Journal digs into New York's bike lanes. "The city has discovered...that remodeling its streets and increasing ridership is the easy part of building a bike town. It's a far greater challenge to change the habits of drivers, bikers and pedestrians in a dense urban environment with congested streets."

WAMU reports on the transportation challenges facing DC residents who moved to the suburbs for lower rent.

CT governor Jodi Rell has requested $100 million in additional high-speed rail funds. (Boston Herald)

Crain's profiles NYC DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. "Admirers hail the 50-year-old as the most innovative leader the Department of Transportation has ever had. She has transformed an agency long associated with humdrum tasks like filling potholes into an organization that is executing, on a sweeping scale, some of the globe's hottest urban-planning concepts."

Brookings has produced a State of Metropolitan America interactive map--which allows you to visualize commuting data. For instance: which city has the highest number of people driving alone to work? (Answer: Akron, OH)

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Transportation Nation

NYC Subway's 6-Foot Futuristic Intercoms

Monday, September 27, 2010

They won’t be able to sell you a MetroCard, but New York's  next generation of subway intercom will be able to replace some of the functions of the 450-odd station agents that were recently laid off due to budget restraints--and add some new ones.

The new intercoms—a prototype was rolled out during an MTA board committee  meeting Monday—will be hard to miss, located in sleek, 6-foot-high columns that are tinged with blue.

Over the next two years, the MTA expects to install thousands of them in each of the city’s 468 subway stations.

Tom Prendergast, the president of New York City Transit, an MTA subsidiary, says the new intercoms weren't planned as replacement for the station agents laid off earlier this year. For one, he said the intercoms will be much more ubiquitous than agents ever were, spread out along train platforms every 200 feet or less, as well as in passageways and outside turnstiles.  

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MTA Unveils Plans For New Intercom System

Monday, September 27, 2010

The MTA is planning to install thousands of columns throughout its subway stations that riders can use to report emergencies or ask for travel information.


Transportation Nation

WNYC: Shortfall in MTA Revenues

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

NEW YORK, NY December 08, 2009 —The MTA is warning about new financial problems. The transportation authority says a new payroll tax on metropolitan-area businesses has generated less revenue than expected.

Read the full story.

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Transportation Nation

WNYC: MTA Chair Suggest His Old Employer: Transport for London as Consultants

Friday, October 23, 2009

NEW YORK, NY October 23, 2009 —The MTA's new chairman is proposing to spend up to a half-million dollars for technological advice from his old employer - Transport for London. WNYC's Matthew Schuerman has more.

Listen to the full story.

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