Fulton Street Transit Center
Recently, the MTA announced use of additional federal funds and other resources to meet about an $100 million increase in costs at the proposed new Fulton Street Transit Center hub downtown.
Normally this type of spending would raise our eyebrows, but we have been a strong supporter of building the transit hub and think the extra funds should be dedicated.
A well-designed station will help revitalize downtown Manhattan by restoring service, eliminating glaring deficiencies in the current complex of downtown stations and meeting future needs.
Our offices are downtown and our staff frequently uses the current Fulton St-Broadway Nassau station regularly. It is a misery for transit riders, with clogged entrances, confusing passageways, congested platforms and a crazy quilt of connections more suitable to a funhouse than the subway.
The proposed Fulton Street Transit Center would turn a major liability for lower Manhattan into a major asset. The project deserves to be a top priority for scarce federal 9/11 rebuilding funds, which makes the project possible without seriously undermining the MTA?s need to continue its vital capital program to bring the entire subway, bus and commuter rail systems to a state of good repair and a normal replacement cycle.
Among the important elements of the Full Build Alternative we support are:
? an open and attractive new entry facility at Broadway and John Street;
? enhancing connectivity between the A/C and 4/5 lines, both horizontally and vertically;
? connecting the subway stations to the World Trade Center PATH station through an underground passageway below Dey Street;
? rehabilitating the 4/5 and 2/3 stations in the Fulton St-Broadway Nassau complex;
? better and simpler access to the A/C and J/M/Z lines at the Fulton Street station;
? connecting the R/W and E lines between the Cortlandt Street and Chambers Street stations;
? better pedestrian flow through wider stairs, new entrances and ADA access;
? preservation of the adjacent Corbin building; and
? incorporating retail facilities in the design to generate long-term revenues.
Posted Jun 28 2006 by Gene Russianoff
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Another Six For Kalikow?
Yesterday, the New York State Senate Finance Committee confirmed MTA Chairman Peter S. Kalikow to a new six-year term ending in 2012. He is likely to be confirmed by the full State Senate.
The Straphangers Campaign expects that in 2007 Chairman Kalikow will extend the same courtesy to the new governor that his predecessors have given: If the new governor asks him to step down, he should do so.
An MTA chair must enjoy the full faith and confidence of the state's new chief executive.
When Mario Cuomo became Governor in 1983, he appointed Robert Kiley to be the new MTA chair, replacing Richard Ravitch, who had served four years between 1979 and 1983. When George Pataki became Governor in 1995, he appointed E. Virgil Conway to serve as head of the MTA, replacing Peter Stangl who had served four years between 1991 and 1995.
It is true that Governor Carey did not immediately replace David Yunech when Carey became Governor in 1975. But Chairman Yunech had only been appointed in mid-1974, half a year before Carey was elected. Peter Kalikow has been MTA Chairman since 2001 and a Board member since 1999.
Posted Jun 21 2006 by Gene Russianoff
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A Fair Fare?
I've been musing over how unfairly riders are burdened financially for using the New York transit system. Here are some numbers to ponder:
1) Percentage that fare box covers of transit system's operating costs:
New York City Transit: 54%
Long Island Rail Road: 44%
Metro North Rail Road: 57%
Chicago : 42%
Los Angeles: 30%
Washington, D.C.: 43%
2) Fair fare?
New York City Transit moves 86% of the state's transit riders. But it only receives 63% of state transit aid. That's a loss of $350 million annually.
*Source, Federal Transit Administration, 2001 Data Base
Posted Jun 14 2006 by Gene Russianoff
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Last Friday, service went out on a number of subway lines in the wake of severe flooding caused by serious afternoon rain.
Back in 1999, the Straphangers Campaign had urged the independent MTA Inspector General to review how New York City Transit responded to an August 1999 downpour that shut down most of the system. Unfortunately, it did not conduct a study.
The MTA IG did investigate a September 8th, 2004 deluge and said that a range of changes were needed - including new equipment; education about the impact of littering; and "better communication and information availability to NYCT workers tasked with flood response.'
The MTA IG concluded that: NYCT's " response was insufficient and ineffective ... there was room for improvement in NYCT's response that day such that some of that flooding could haven avoided and other flooding could have been abated sooner. Thus, it would be wrong to dismiss the service impact of September 8, 2004 as an 'an act of God' or bad timing and fail to take steps to address avoidable problems."
In the wake of that report, the MTA to its credit set up a special MTA Board task force to review and investigate the 2004 downpour, as well as agreed to abide by many of the MTA IG's recommendations. These are intended to build on the MTA's spending $350 million since 1982 to bring the 289 pump rooms to a state of good repair.
We have urged the MTA task force to add NYCT's response to last Friday's rain problems to their review. We live in an era of more intense weather. The storms of 1999 and 2004 will likely reoccur in more frequent cycles.
If you were caught up in last Friday's storm, we would appreciate your telling us about your experiences.
Posted Jun 7 2006 by Gene Russianoff
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Better Bus Service
Here's a real opportunity for you to play a part in improving bus service.
Transit and traffic officials have been working on a project so that, as they say, "a faster, more reliable bus may be coming your way in the future."
The project is called "Bus Rapid Transit." It is a series of
strategies to provide quicker service. These can range from better enforcement of bus lanes; new and wider bus lanes; redesign of bus stops; better signs and graphics; and paying your fare in advance of boarding.
Transit and traffic officials will be holding 10 public sessions - two in each borough - to explain their plans in more detail and to get your ideas. They will run from June 5th to June 14th.
The Straphangers Campaign will be there and urges you to go. We are very excited about the prospect that BRT here will mean better service, as it has in other U.S. and world cities.
Posted Jun 1 2006 by Gene Russianoff
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