Commuting In NYC
Two reports out recently reveal commuting in NYC is taking longer (34.2 minutes according to Census data), and congestion on our roadways is getting worse.
The authors of the congestion report recommend expanding roadways in the region, but the Straphangers Campaign couldn't disagree more. If more roadways are built, more vehicles will come and more pollution will ensue. What should we do instead?
Reducing traffic is key. The Straphangers Campaign is a founding member of the Citywide Coalition for Traffic Relief which was founded to show broad support for traffic reform measures in NYC. The Traffic Relief Charter urges more dedicated bus lanes, fewer free parking permits, expanded pedestrian walkways and an increased number of biking lanes.
Making public transportation faster and better by reducing traffic congestion and expanding other options like biking and walking just might encourage some people to leave their cars at home.
Posted Aug 31 2006 by Neysa Pranger
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Kudos to the MTA!
Today the agency released figures showing ridership on commuter rails, subways and buses far outpacing growth in population in the metropolitan region over the last 10 years.
Why are more and more people riding with the MTA?
Because the agency has invested billions for a cleaner, more modern system, introduced discounted passes and benefited from a strong local economy.
The MTA has the responsibility to keep up with more riders. Providing more service and a safer and cleaner system should be priorities. Further, the New York City Transit should abandon plans to reduce off peak service on 10 of 22 lines starting in June 2007 if it hopes to accommodate further increases in ridership.
Posted Aug 23 2006 by Neysa Pranger
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Atlantic Yards Rush
On July 18th, the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) released the General Project Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn. The combined documents are lengthy and are amongst the most complex ever released by the ESDC - hundreds upon hundreds of pages detailing the project and its impacts.
The public comment period given to review the documents was set at just 66 days - an unusually short period of time for such a large document review. And, a pathetically small amount of time given the peak summer vacation period and limited resources small community groups have to conduct these reviews in the first place. To add further insult, the public hearing is taking place on Tuesday, September 12th - Primary Day in New York City!
In response, a broad coalition of groups (including the Straphangers Campaign), elected officials and community leaders gathered yesterday to call on the ESDC to extend the comment period in order to allow the public ample time to adequately examine the impacts the plan will have. Similar projects have been given upwards of 120 days. The project will impact many generations. Do you think it would be fair to extend the review period?
Posted Aug 17 2006 by Neysa Pranger
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MTA 2007 Budget
The MTA recently issued its preliminary $8.3 billion budget for 2007.
It calls for postponing a fare increase which was originally planned to take effect in January 2007 - to September 2007.
It's good news for riders that a planned fare hike is being postponed for at least nine months. The MTA is headed in the right direction and its decision reflects realities.
The bad news: there are several service reductions planned for 2007, including reducing off-peak subway service and the number of hours station customer service agents are available.
As background, the agency originally predicted a $32 million deficit for 2007. The current budget acknowledges that the MTA will have a $290 million surplus by the end of 2006. This surplus is largely due to bigger-than-predicted revenues from the real estate market. It is also very possible that the MTA's financial picture will be significantly better by next September than now predicted.
Second, there will be a new Governor in office in 2007. We hope he will address long-standing inequities that have plagued funding of city transit. For example, while New York City subways and buses move 84% of the state's transit riders, it only gets 63% of the state's aid to transit systems. That represents a yearly loss of $350 million to MTA New York City Transit.
MTA Executive Director Katherine Lapp noted: The delayed fare increase "will give the MTA Board the opportunity over the next year to monitor our revenue and expenses as well as consider actions taken by the new Governor and State Legislature in the adoption of a State Budget on or about April 1, 2007 that would affect the MTA budget."
Ms. Lapp also said that she thought riders should not be saddled with some specific costs unrelated to the direct operations of the transit system. She mentioned the agency's "debt service" on the many billions of dollars it has had to borrow as the state and city cut their contributions to the MTA capital program. This cost will rise to $1 billion a year by the end of this decade.
The MTA hopes to generate an annual $240 million from its proposed fare increase. That's the result of its seeking a 5% yield from the fare box. The final budget will be approved in December.
Posted Aug 11 2006 by Gene Russianoff
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State Of The Subways
This week the Straphangers Campaign released our 9th annual "State of the Subways" Report Card . If you've ever wondered how your subway line stacks up against the rest, this is a must-read! It's our hope this report provides a picture of where the subways are headed and that community members take the information – data rating service, regularity, cleanliness, announcements, breakdowns and on-time performance – and press for better service on their lines.
As far as results, this year we found the 6 train ranked best and the N and W tied for worst. Overall, cars broke down less often in the past year, but announcements and cleanliness declined. Quality of subway announcements remained unchanged.
If you’d like to see your subway line’s individual profile, you can visit it here: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , A , B , C , D , E , F , G , J , L , M , N , Q , R , V , W .
Posted Aug 2 2006 by Neysa Pranger
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