transportation Tag All blog entries tagged as transportation http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/latest Wed, 19 Mar 2014 12:04:06 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb What Is The State of Ferry Service In NYC? [Updated] http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/05/28/what-is-the-state-of-ferry-service-in-nyc-updated http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/05/28/what-is-the-state-of-ferry-service-in-nyc-updated City lawmakers are holding a hearing today to discuss the state of ferry service in the five boroughs, with advocates and transportation experts expected to testify in support of expanding use of the waterways for transit.

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The disruption to subways and buses by Superstorm Sandy brought renewed attention to the potential of the city's "blue highways." For instance, when the subway to the isolated Rockaway Peninsula was knocked out, emergency ferry service provided a critical connection for commuters needing to get to Manhattan.

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Advocates say expanded ferry service would create redundancy to the transit network, connect far-flung communities that have no other reliable transit and be available during emergencies.

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The joint hearing of the Council's transportation, waterfront and economic development committees begins at 1 p.m. today.

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UPDATE: Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced that the Rockaway ferry service will be extended for an additional six weeks, with weekend service added beginning July 4. City Councilman Donovan Richards, whose district includes part of the peninsula, praised the mayor. “This ferry has provided some much needed relief for our residents during an extremely trying time," he said in a statement. "For many people on the peninsula, the Rockaway ferry will remain the preferred method of transportation to Manhattan."

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Tue, 28 May 2013 15:58:45 +0000
Today's Lead: Bike Share Program Launched http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/headlines/2013/05/28/todays-lead-bike-share-program-launched http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/headlines/2013/05/28/todays-lead-bike-share-program-launched

The Citi Bike bicycle-sharing program launched yesterday with about 6,000 trips taken by late afternoon. The privately funded program offers 6,000 bikes from stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Only those signed up for the $95 annual fee can ride them this week, which so far is around 15,000 people. It's already the largest system in the country, and will expand to 10,000 bikes with stations farther uptown, deeper into Brooklyn, and in Queens. One of the bikes was stolen as workers were delivering it to a station. A Daily News reporter took one for a ride and called the bike heavy and sturdy, and smooth but not quite fast. There were glitches with the racks, with bikes easily taken out without a key or unable to be returned. And the smartphone app didn't work yet. A protest was also held at a station in SoHo which is reserved for art.

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mmuller@gothamgazette.com (Mike Muller) The Eye-Opener Tue, 28 May 2013 12:28:55 +0000
The MTA's $4.7B Capital Budget Request For Sandy Repairs http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/12/17/the-mtas-47b-capital-budget-request-for-sandy-repairs http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/12/17/the-mtas-47b-capital-budget-request-for-sandy-repairs Staff at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority say the agency has no choice but to spend billions to repair the city's transit system after it was damaged during Superstorm Sandy.

"There are no viable alternatives to the proposed action," they write in a $4.7 billion capital budget request that has been made available online as a PDF. "Delaying repair work could result in further service delays, increased safety risks, and lower reliability. Further, it is not tenable to substitute existing funds supporting ongoing capital projects for these restoration projects."

The MTA board is expected to discuss this and other matters at its December meeting today.

Second Ave. Saga blogger Benjamin Kabak has taken a look at the budget proposal and writes the following:

This document is notable for what it doesn’t have as well. It doesn’t have any details about preventative measures. The MTA wants nearly $5 billion to repair and restore its transit network, but it doesn’t yet know how much it needs to protect the system or what those protections will look like.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Mon, 17 Dec 2012 20:07:53 +0000
Searchlight: Council Passes Pedicab Legislation http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/11/28/searchlight-council-passes-pedicab-legislation http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/11/28/searchlight-council-passes-pedicab-legislation

In an effort to regulate how pedicabs set fares, the City Council passed legislation today that would require pedicab drivers to set their rates based on the duration of rides.

If the bill becomes law, drivers of pedicabs, popular in tourists spots like Central Park and Times Square, would be required to use a timer during all rides.

The timer would have to be fastened within clear view of the passengers, along with rates charged.

“Our legislation will bring increased legitimacy to the pedicab industry and will ensure customers know what they’re paying to go on a ride – without being taken for a ride," Council Speaker Christine Quinn said in a statement.

Intro. 0597 - 2011 was championed by Councilman Dan Garodnick, the chair of the committee on consumer affairs.

The city's Department of Consumer Affairs, which would be required to create information cards for pedicab riders, and the The New York City Pedicab Owners' Association have also said they support the bill.

The Council passed the bill at today's stated meeting. For more on the bill, see our policy brief.

A full report on the meeting will appear tomorrow.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Wed, 28 Nov 2012 03:21:48 +0000
Headlines: Sandy's Impact on Voting Today http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/11/06/headlines-sandys-impact-on-voting-today- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/11/06/headlines-sandys-impact-on-voting-today- moved 66 polling sites, many to supersites that consolidate multiple poll sites into one location. Shuttle buses running every 15 minutes will ferry voters to and from polling places in three areas hit particularly hard by the storm. The MTA is also providing voter shuttles. for people in the Rockaways, Staten Island and Coney Island whose polling places were damaged in the storm. Voters in the city can cast affidavit ballots at any polling site, but if they vote in a different district than where they're registered, the can't vote for legislative races other than the U.S. Senate. The GOP has accused the board of playing politics with relocating polling places in Queens, saying it will make it harder for Republican Eric Ulrich to get his supporters to the polls.

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mmuller@gothamgazette.com (Mike Muller) City Tue, 06 Nov 2012 15:26:19 +0000
Headlines: Damage and Recovery From Sandy http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/10/31/headlines-damage-and-recovery-from-sandy http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/10/31/headlines-damage-and-recovery-from-sandy

Superstorm Sandy left at least 2 million homes and businesses across the state and about 800,000 customers in the city and Westchester remained without power yesterday. More than half of Staten Island is without power, and over a quarter of Manhattan is in the dark. In Manhattan there are no streetlights South of 25th St. on the Westside. The substation in the East Village that exploded was designed to withstand a 12.5 foot surge but was hit with a surge of 14 feet. Customers served by underground lines in Brooklyn and Manhattan are likely to have their power restored within four days. Bloomberg promised "a very heavy police presence" in the darkened neighborhoods. Thirteen people have been arrested for crimes that included looting.

The death toll for the city is now 22. Untreated sewage is flowing into waterways from more than a dozen locations around the city. A crane still dangles from a skyscraper in Midtown and could be there for weeks. The World Trade Center is flooded. Sand is piled up to 2 feet high on the Coney Island boardwalk. At least 111 homes were destroyed by fires in Breezy Point, Queens in a blaze among the worst residential fires in New York since the Fire Department was established in 1865.

Much of the Tristate region has been declared a major disaster area, and FEMA will distribute billions of dollars in aid, which will be a test for the troubled agency. Many homeowners who thought their insurance policies covered floods are likely to have been mistaken - a common error - while others' policies have lapsed or won't cover all the damage.

The MTA is unaware of any permanent damage to the system but is still offering no estimate for when service will be restored. Buses have started running on some routes and could return to full service by sometime today.

Many are hoping the storm will finally push New York to prepare for climate change. “Three of the top 10 highest floods at the Battery since 1900 happened in the last two and a half years," Ben Strauss, director of the sea level rise program at the research group Climate Central in Princeton, N.J. "If that’s not a wake-up call to take this seriously, I don’t know what is." Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said the state should consider a levee system or storm surge barriers, although Mayor Bloomberg says he is focusing on recovery for the city. Some individual parts of Sandy and its wrath seem to be influenced by climate change, several climate scientists said, but its not clear that can be said for the storm itself. Sandy broke coastal flood records for New York City by more than three feet above the previous record and more than double the range between the previous top ten.

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View from below of the Brooklyn Bridge in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Image by Barry Yanowitz, used under Creative Commons license.

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mmuller@gothamgazette.com (Mike Muller) City Wed, 31 Oct 2012 12:38:52 +0000
Headlines: Sandy Hits Hard http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/10/30/headlines-sandy-hits-hard http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/10/30/headlines-sandy-hits-hard

The superstorm named Sandy brought flooding and power outages to the city with surges higher than the estimated 10 to 12 feet, but few deaths were reported.

The MTA is calling this the worst disaster in its history and an extended shutdown looms. Officials said it could take between 14 hours to four days to clear water from the tunnels.

At least 660,000 customers in New York had lost power as of late Monday night, and Con Ed says it could be a week before everyone gets power back. A customer is an individual meter, so the actual number of people affected is higher. Some 5.2 million people were left without electricity across the region. At least 10 deaths were blamed on the storm.

The city's storm shelters didn't reach 4 percent of their total capacity, even though Mayor Bloomberg urged 375,000 people in evacuation zones to leave, including 45,000 public housing residents. Cops with bullhorns drove building to building in the projects and Housing Authority workers knocked on doors.

Flooding overwhelmed Red Hook and Lower Manhattan. One of the units at Indian Point nuclear power plant was shut down. The boom of a construction crane for one of Manhattan's tallest residential towers was broken in the storm and dangles high above the city. 911 received 10 times more calls than usual.

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mmuller@gothamgazette.com (Mike Muller) City Tue, 30 Oct 2012 12:38:08 +0000
A Better Way to Fund the MTA http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/10/16/a-better-way-to-fund-the-mta- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/10/16/a-better-way-to-fund-the-mta- This report by the Citizens Budget Commission proposes a new way to fund the M.T.A. called "25-50-25". It recommends that auto user fees cover all drivers' facilities, plus 25 percent of mass transit services. Then mass transit user fees would cover another 50 percent of the operating costs of those services. And state and local tax subsidies would cover the final 25 percent of transit operating costs plus “catch-up” capital investments needed to bring the system to a state of good repair.

The 25-50-25 policy would mean that mass transit riders would pay higher – but still reasonable – fares. The cost of a single ride ticket would increase to at least $2.75 by 2016 but in constant dollars a subway ride would cost at most three cents more than it did in 1996. Motorists would face increased costs for the use of their vehicles, in the range of $167 to $293 more annually, but the charges would be consistent with those in other global metropolises and related to the benefits drivers derive from a well-functioning transportation system.

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mmuller@gothamgazette.com (Mike Muller) City Tue, 16 Oct 2012 12:55:22 +0000
Searchlight: Council Passes Commercial Bike Legislation http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/10/11/searchlight-council-passes-commercial-bike-legislation http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/10/11/searchlight-council-passes-commercial-bike-legislation

The City Council wants to force businesses to mind the safety of employees who use bikes for their jobs.

Speaker Christine Quinn announced earlier today that the Council would pass a package of legislation aimed at the commercial bicycling sector.

Transportation committe chairman James Vacca, who championed the bills, told Gotham Gazette last month following a hearing on the legislation that commercial bicyclists — pizza deliverers, messengers — sometimes endanger pedestrians and themselves in their effort to make a buck.

"I think that even the most enthusiastic of workers has to understand that life and limb is the priority," he said. "We can't have any pedestrians endangered. Many of them are elderly, many of them are children."

Streetsblog, which has avidly covered the subject, describes the legislation and what's being done so far:

Together, the legislative package would create civil penalties for what had until now been criminal offenses, extend enforcement authority to DOT in an effort to ensure compliance by employers, tighten requirements for reflective vests, and mandate bike safety courses for commercial cyclists. The bills do not address moving violations, such as riding on the sidewalk or riding the wrong way.

DOT has created a six-person commercial cycling unit to ensure that employers are properly educating and outfitting their employees. The agency says it has visited 2,640 businesses and hosted events for 900 delivery cyclists in Manhattan. Currently, the unit is visiting restaurants and providing education materials, focusing first on the West Side and expanding to the East Side, Lower Manhattan and Sunset Park by the end of the year. Starting in January, the unit will issue citations to employers who are violating the laws.

In his comments to Gotham Gazette in September, Vacca called the size of the DOT's six-person commercial cycling unit "inadequate."

"We want to get serious about this issue," he said after a hearing on the legislation. "I do not think that it will have the impact I'm looking for."

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Thu, 11 Oct 2012 21:07:15 +0000
Riders, Motorists Should Pay More to Finance City's Transit System, Group Says http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/10/10/riders-motorists-should-pay-more-to-finance-citys-transit-system-group-says http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/10/10/riders-motorists-should-pay-more-to-finance-citys-transit-system-group-says

A nonpartisan civic organization envisions a future where transit riders, and motorists who use tunnels and bridges, pay more to help finance the city's public transportation system.

The Citizens Budget Commission recommends that the financing of mass transit be divided using a 25-50-25 formula among the major sources of revenue that include fares, tolls, tax subsidies and other fees.

If each category of funder – driver, transit rider and general taxpayer – contributes to the cost of the region’s mass transit system in accordance with these principles, it will get the MTA off the wrong track and chart a better route for the region’s economic future. By 2016 the 25-50-25 policy would provide nearly $2.6 billion in additional annual revenue without new taxes.

The 25-50-25 policy would mean that mass transit riders would pay higher – but still reasonable – fares. The cost of a single ride ticket would increase to at least $2.75 by 2016 but in constant dollars a subway ride would cost at most three cents more than it did in 1996. Motorists would face increased costs for the use of their vehicles, in the range of $167 to $293 more annually, but the charges would be consistent with those in other global metropolises and related to the benefits drivers derive from a well-functioning transportation system.

The complete report, "A Better Way to Pay for the MTA," can be downloaded here.

Image of trains courtesy canihazit, used under Creative Commons license.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) City Wed, 10 Oct 2012 19:14:36 +0000
Headlines: MTA finances improved; Council redistricting called unfair http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/10/03/headlines-mta-finances-improved-council-redistricting-called-unfair http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/10/03/headlines-mta-finances-improved-council-redistricting-called-unfair

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says the M.T.A.'s finances have improved after years of crises thanks to increased ridership, higher tax collection, and cost-cutting measures. But he noted that fare hikes outpace inflation and financing sources for future projects remain unclear. The legal challenge to the payroll tax was also raised as a significant hurdle. Meanwhile, the state budget has generally stabilized from the recent past, when it lurched from multi-billion dollar crisis to crisis, he said.

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mmuller@gothamgazette.com (Mike Muller) City Wed, 03 Oct 2012 12:32:31 +0000
Today's Report: Alternative fuel vehicles for state agencies http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/09/20/todays-report-alternative-fuel-vehicles-for-state-agencies- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/09/20/todays-report-alternative-fuel-vehicles-for-state-agencies- State agencies are in compliance with an executive order that vehicle purchases be alternative fuel vehicles, but guidelines about when to use which type of fuel are lax, according to this audit by the state comptroller.

Starting in 2005, 50 percent of all new light-duty vehicle purchases were required to be alternative fuel, increasing to 100 percent in 2010. Between January 1, 2006 and June 6, 2011, the authority purchased 731 light-duty vehicles, including 594 alternative fuel vehicles. The authority was not in compliance with the Order in 2006, but was compliant from 2007 through 2011. The authority has not developed any policy or given guidance to its employees on when to use alternative fuel E-85 in its vehicles. As a result, fuel selection is driven by employee choice rather than authority direction. For the three divisions tested, authority employees at locations with E-85 pumps used E-85 between 30 percent and 60 percent of the time.

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mmuller@gothamgazette.com (Mike Muller) City Thu, 20 Sep 2012 12:35:14 +0000