On Tuesday March 28th, the New York City Council held a tumultuous hearing on the fate of the new Yankee Stadium proposal.
The Straphangers Campaign joined with a number of leading planning, environmental, park and civic groups to call for more transit improvements, less reliance on parking and more community consultation. Our group statement is below.
What do you think?
Community, Environmental, Planning and Fiscal Policy Groups Issue Statement Regarding Problems with Proposed Yankee Stadium Plan
Today, as the City Council holds its public hearing on the controversial proposal to build a new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, several community, environmental, fiscal policy and other groups issued a joint statement detailing problems with the current plan and suggesting ways to improve it.
The statement below is signed by Good Jobs New York, Municipal Arts Society, New York City Audubon, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, New Yorkers for Parks, NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, Regional Plan Association, Riverkeeper, Sierra Club, Sustainable South Bronx, and Tri-State Transportation Campaign:
"As representatives from the city and region's environmental, planning and fiscal policy organizations - as well as the South Bronx community - we would like to highlight several serious problems with the new Yankee Stadium proposal.
"While we support the Yankees remaining in the Bronx, we feel the current plan is neither equitable nor environmentally sustainable. We have come to this conclusion because of the following reasons:
- There has been no community involvement: Since this development was announced, the community's concerns have been neither heard nor addressed, despite residents attending every public hearing. We understand the community is advocating for a renovation of the existing stadium. We support them in their efforts to have their opinions heard and encourage the Council to hear their ideas. If you want full support for this project, the community must be incorporated into the process in a meaningful manner.
- Save Parkland by Eliminating Parking Garages: The project includes construction of four new parking garages to be built on top of public parkland. The capacity of the new garages represents a nearly 75% increase in parking capacity. Instead of encouraging fans to drive and increasing congestion and pollution, these parking garages can be eliminated in order to preserve much-needed parkland. City and State officials have proposed nearly half a billion dollars in direct and indirect tax breaks the project, including $210 million for replacing community parkland and the demolition of the current Yankee Stadium.
- This plan contains no improvements to the mass transit system: Plans for a stadium Metro-North Station have been languishing for years and have not been incorporated into the current plan. It is estimated that between 4,000 and 10,000 Yankees fans would utilize a stadium Metro-North station on any single game day. The Yankees have said that they "support" a Metro-North station, but they have not made a concrete offer of financial assistance, nor has the Mayor sought to amend the MTA capital program to include the project. Instead, the state is paying $70 million for unnecessary parking garages.
"We call attention to the fact that the South Bronx is a low-income minority community. It has one the lowest rates of car ownership in the City, but one of the highest asthma rates in the country. The last thing its residents need is more congestion-generated pollution, nor should the poorest congressional district in the country be losing its parkland for the construction of parking garages.
"We urge the Council to reconsider this plan and work to:
1) prevent the construction of new parking garages while preserving parks; and
2) build a Yankee Stadium Station for Metro-North.
"As groups that work to protect valuable parkland and open space, improve mass transit infrastructure, and improve the region's air quality and overall environment, we would strongly support any efforts to improve this project."
Posted Mar 29 2006 by Gene Russianoff
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The Real Transit Talks
The transit contract continues to be a hot topic. Below is our view, in a statement we released last week. What do you think?
STATEMENT OF THE NYPIRG STRAPHANGERS CAMPAIGN
IN FAVOR OF A TWU CONTRACT RE-VOTE
Thursday, March 16, 2006
The Straphangers Campaign supports a re-vote by the Transport Workers Union rank and file of the proposed contract their leadership negotiated with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority last December.
We also urge MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow to make it clear that if the TWU members ratify the contract, the MTA would agree to the deal. That understanding would help encourage the TWU executive board to put the contract to a re-vote and the members to vote "yes," as TWU President Roger Toussaint has advocated.
The Campaign is concerned that the MTA has recently been giving out the wrong signals. The deal was negotiated by MTA staff and ratified by the members of the allied Amalgamated Transport Union, which represents thousands of MTA employees.
What does the riding public want here? We believe it's in all our interests to have labor peace. A reasonable settlement would help achieve that goal. Arbitration - in which the rank and file will have no vote - is a recipe for potential unrest for years to come. This can't possibly be the legacy that Chairman Kalikow wants to leave.
The Campaign also thinks that the "side deal" on pension refunds should be honored. As we understand, Governor Pataki had earlier called for the issue to be resolved through the collective bargaining process. That is exactly what happened here; the TWU bargained in good faith to help its members get back overpayments to their pension funds.
Posted Mar 22 2006 by Gene Russianoff
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What Did They Say?
We recently released a study on subway announcements .
The good news is that basic announcements - telling you where you are - are getting better.
The bad news is that delay announcements are poor and most often not made at all - or are garbled, inaudible or incorrect.
And this in an age of both the possibility of terrorism and the reality of repairs around the system!
Although subway announcements often infuriate us, New York City Transit does have some positive stuff in the works. Starting next year, most of the 1 through 6 lines will have a system that allows for signs and announcements at station platforms that will tell you how many minutes you have to wait for the nearest train.
And, NYC Transit does perform periodic checks of whether announcements are made on trains. They've started a pilot project that will allow them to move from slow paper and pen entries to hand-held computers allowing for more real time information.
Posted Mar 15 2006 by Gene Russianoff
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Straps Blog Launches!
Today, we start a new feature on www.straphangers.org.
I will be writing a weekly blog. I hope to cover a bunch of issues about transit, ranging from comments on daily transit coverage to discussing items that you always wanted to know about but were afraid to ask! From time to time, there'll be guest commentators.
I'll shoot for being concise and we'll plan to update each Wednesday. My hope is to keep it simple and spur ideas and comments. Anyone wishing to weigh in just has to go our Rider Diaries and start a "thread" or participate in a discussion.
If you have questions, opinions or topics on your mind, contact us and we'll try to respond. Please keep it constructive; "you stink" is a real downer! We may not always be right, but we will do our best to be thoughtful.
Posted Mar 6 2006 by Gene Russianoff
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