Today’s Headlines

  • More on Cuomo’s State of the State: NYT 1, 2, GoGa, Crain’s, WNYC
  • Experts Respond to “Transit”-Free Infrastructure Plan (Transpo Nation)
  • Aqueduct Mega-Convention Center to Have a Transit Component (News)
  • Safely Ensconced in Hong Kong, Jay Walder Points to the Sorry State of MTA Financing (NYT)
  • TWU Contract Talks Delayed, Expected to Proceed Without Strike Threat (WNYC, NY1)
  • City Council Passes Bill Requiring New Features for DOT Street Condition Map (NY1)
  • DOT Says UES Section of East River Esplanade Will Reopen Soon (DNA)
  • Scott Stringer Holds Recruitment Event to Lure Younger Community Board Applicants (NY1)
  • NYPD Chases Down Driver Who Hit Bronx Pedestrian (NY1)
  • Family of Motorcyclist Killed in Manhattan Hit-and-Run Dumbfounded by 60-Day Sentence (Post)
  • The BQE Brings Misery to Drivers and Non-Drivers Alike (NYT)
  • A Tradition in the Making: Excellent Fantasy New Year’s Resolutions From Tri-State

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Glenn

    Tristate’s resolutions are neither ambitious nor likely to happen. What a sad state of affairs as oil/gas prices continue to drag on consumer budgets and therefore the whole economy.

  • m to the i

    I’m sorry but I really don’t understand the siting of the mega convention center at Aqueduct. Why? Not that I’m supportive of the process of the Willets Point redevelopment scheme undertaken by the city, but why not include a mega convention center there. Its near multiple tourist attractions, 2 existing transit links (the 7 to Grand Central/Times Square and the LIRR to Penn Station), lots of highways, and really close to LaGuardia. If an airTrain was built linking Jamaica to LaGuardia, that would provide amazing connections to JFK and Long Island. I understand the idea, but Aqueduct, seriously?

  • Kaja

    Someone connected is going to benefit from the State’s concentration of capital at Aqueduct. Just guessing.

  • As I wrote on SAS today, this convention center plan is one bad idea. It’s in the middle of nowhere, near nothing but the airport and not accessible to the parts of New York City that people want to see and visit. It would require a massive investment in transportation along a little-used part of a subway line with infrequent service that’s a good 50-minute ride from 42nd St. It’s great if you’re flying in and out of JFK for a convention and have no desire to do anything else in NYC. It’s terrible for everything else.

    And adding more space for development near Hudson Yards where Related can’t even commit to building a single tower yet seems like the height of folly to me.

  • fj

    Former MTA Head Recalls Agency’s “Terrible Condition”  http://bit.ly/xXL7AU   @nationaljournal

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Aqueduct development is an excellent excuse to rebuild the most valuable dormant right of way in America, the Rockaway Branch.  In addition to Aqueduct service the Rockaway Branch could bring direct commuter rail service back to the Rockaways and Western Nassau so that Far Rockaway would be a half hour from Midtown in place of 45 minutes from East New York.  The real estate values in those area would multiply even with the higher LIRR fare.  The A train has not been as valuable for those areas as commuter rail was.  I think you’d like the project, I’m not sure if you have covered the Rockaway Branch in your blog.

  • @e90deb40130d32597a49c8b72e9c7116:disqus I’ve covered the Rockaway Branch line in the context of the folks in the area who want to turn into a rails-to-trails park called QueensWay. I am absolutely opposed to that idea because I do believe it should be turned back into an active rail line. If the convention center can help accomplishment that, I’d be more open to the project, but I’m still pretty skeptical overall that it would do that or be a boost to the city.

  • carma

    the rockaway branch would not connect users to the center of the city.  while it is great that it may connect to other lines that can connect to the city.  it never would.  locating the “new convention center” to willets point actually can make better sense geographically as mentioned, it is already located to the 7, has highways, and has commuter rail, and its in close proximity to a developed flushing.

    while the aquaduct area may have great potential also, it would take a LOT more in terms of finances to build up.  rail service would definitely need to be better established.  but with a lot more open space in the area, you can build a new mini epicenter for recreation.  it also is in close proximity to JFK, so outside travelers can easily access the area, (although it is far from manhattan CBD)

  • Mark Walker

    If Cuomo wants to build the country’s biggest convention center, he’s competing directly with Vegas, currently the biggest. Some things to consider: Transportation in Vegas is a nightmare, with long cab rides now often a must, and the place is so spread out you can’t walk anywhere. JHK once joked that you can’t see another building across the street because of the curvature of the earth. So 50 minutes on a train may not be as bad as it seems though 30 minutes would be way better. Another factor is unions. Major trade shows have pulled out of unionized frostbelt locations because of union-induced costs and rules that won’t let an exhibitor (to use the oft given example) screw in a lightbulb. However, Vegas has gotten more expensive in general, and exhibitors are complaining, so NY may have an opportunity to compete on cost. As someone who loathes Vegas but has to travel there for shows, I’d love to see a strong competitor in NY. But Cuomo will have to make both the transit, union, and cost components work.

  • Steely

    today’s op-ed by bill mckibben in the Daily News reminded me of something i heard first from j. kaehny: driving a bus is a green collar job.  

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Here I find myself bogged down in a blog picking away at some details, well here goes.
    Mark had a truly great line about the curvature of the earth polluted by the gratuitous sneer at trade unionism, yes many people book non-union locations but many other people book union locations on purpose, it’s a push. Happens that the other site he dwells on, Vegas, is also the highest union density location, and even DisneyWorld is organized in the right to work dinosaur belt.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    And Carma apparently doesn’t think midtown counts as the center of the city.

    Regardless the Rockaway Branch is a great chunk of dormant Right of Way, if you don’t use it you will likely lose it.

  • carma

    @e90deb40130d32597a49c8b72e9c7116:disqus 

    In which context did i say anything about midtown and the center of the city?

    manhattan will always drive more visitors than the outer boroughs, but who is to say manhattan is the ONLY part of the city?

    queens deserves recognition too, if its built up with enough attractions, food, entertainment, etc…

    im not against the use of the rockaway branch, but to make it anywhere useful than its decrepit state is going to require lots of money.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Its not even money, compared to East Side Access its a mere bag of shells.  Its slicing through the thick plutonium based NIMBYism that has kept it out of service all these years that is the real cost.  I’m no fan of 3C development (Coliseums, Casinos and Conventions) even if they are 3Ps (the holy Public Private Partnership), even especially so.  The only value to me is the chance to drive the redevelopment of this underused asset so that the Rockaways and Howard Beach and Ozone Park can benefit with Commuter Rail service to the city.  And, as an answer to all the drooling Queens politician that oppose MTA funding because their borough is “underserved”.  It also would bring some Long Island connections to Queens and smooth out the political divide along the Cross Island Parkway.

    And, carma I guess what threw me off was the “the rockaway branch would not connect users to the center of the city”.  My apologies, as I reread it you seem perfectly clear on where commuter rail terminates in Manhattan.  The MTA is spending maybe 7 Billion $s to connect maybe 30,000 new riders with Grand Central.  Rockaway and Five Towns commuter service could probably do better than those numbers.

  • carma

    @e90deb40130d32597a49c8b72e9c7116:disqus 

    i think the east side access project is not a bad project.  i just think that it doesnt give you the best bang your buck.  while it will save long islanders who commute some time by giving the additional option of penn/GC.  that money would have been better spent on other projects like completing the 2nd ave subway from 125st down to hanover sq like promised instead of a stubway like 2nd ave phase 1.

    you can also building new subway lines in queens.  but then again, you would have the NIMBY’ists and would cost a lot too. and for a real fantasy spend budget.  connect the defunct rockaway branch to the 63rd dr bellmouths on queens blvd and extend the subway down queens blvd through the rockaway line.  now only if the MTA had money..  hmmmm..

  • carma

    @e90deb40130d32597a49c8b72e9c7116:disqus 

    i think the east side access project is not a bad project.  i just think that it doesnt give you the best bang your buck.  while it will save long islanders who commute some time by giving the additional option of penn/GC.  that money would have been better spent on other projects like completing the 2nd ave subway from 125st down to hanover sq like promised instead of a stubway like 2nd ave phase 1.

    you can also building new subway lines in queens.  but then again, you would have the NIMBY’ists and would cost a lot too. and for a real fantasy spend budget.  connect the defunct rockaway branch to the 63rd dr bellmouths on queens blvd and extend the subway down queens blvd through the rockaway line.  now only if the MTA had money..  hmmmm..

  • Danny G

    If we don’t have the ability to turn the old Rockaway Branch right-of-way into a proper train, would the MTA be able to sell it to the MTR for 1 Hong Kong dollar and have them do it?

  • carma

    Danny G, I like that idea!!! 

  • IsaacB


    Streetsblog readers have pointed out one potential upside: Redeveloping the Aqueduct site in Ozone Park could spur reactivation of the LIRR’s defunct Rockaway Branch.

    Streetsblog readers should have fresh memories of transit potential being used as well-orchestrated “bait” to neutralize opposition to a project (cough, Tappan Zee, cough).