Today’s Headlines

  • City Commits to Overhauling Trash Collection; Major Traffic Safety, Pollution Gains Expected (Politico)
  • NYPD Says William Wine, 29, “Darted Into Traffic” Before Driver Killed Him in St. Albans (News, WCBS)
  • Livery Driver Exiting S.I. Expressway Seriously Injures Pedestrian Near Clove Road (Advance, News)
  • Injured Cyclist Sees Hit-and-Run Silver Lining: Driver Arrested for Imam Murder (DNA, PIX, Post, News)
  • Mark-Viverito Stands by Gibson After Alleged Ticket-Fixing, Says COIB Should Investigate (News)
  • Alan Maisel Thrilled After DOT Un-Protects Marine Park Protected Bike Lane (Bklyn Daily)
  • Cyclist Slashed on Flatbush Avenue Extension in Road-Rage Confrontation (Bklyn Paper)
  • Mid-Block Crossing, Wider Median Installed on Gold Street in DUMBO (Patch)
  • Commuter Parking Now Cheaper at S.I. Ferris Wheel After Intervention by Debi Rose (Advance)
  • WSJ Contributor Wants to Snap His Fingers and Rebuild the Old Penn Station
  • We Spent $4 Billion on a Train Station and All We Got Was a Luxury Mall (DNA, Curbed, NY Mag, Post)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Guest

    Price may always be questionable and a sore point… but at WTC there are very useful pedestrian connections and transit transfers. There aren’t dead, soul-sucking corridors, but rather spaces that are actually enjoyable. The rent from those high-end shops will continue to reimburse some of the cost year after year. Not quite sure why everybody is so down on the stores – don’t we always say that private businesses that benefit from transit should help contribute?

  • rogue

    RE Marine Park: “a few drivers had already nicked some idle vehicles and knocked off their mirrors, locals said.”

    So drivers are too incompetent to not hit parked cars, let them hit bicyclists instead. That’s what I’m reading.

  • c2check

    That, and: instead of having drivers just pull over to the curb, let them continue to just plop their cars wherever they want in the street.

    I mean it’s a 40-foot wide street, people! You can still have a 12-foot travel lane with the PBL. Learn to drive! Learn to park!

  • Simon Phearson

    Right. The DOT is apparently happy to redesign the streets to accommodate predictable driving errors so that cars don’t suffer minor damage. They’ll drag their feet, though, when it comes to predictable pedestrian or cycling errors. Vision Zero! What’s next? Separated parking infrastructure?

  • Ollie Oliver

    My issue, as someone that uses it every day, is that there are not convenient train to street exits from the PATH. To get a bike or suitcase in/out you have to use a minimum of 4 elevators/escalators and walk down some long tunnels/across a huge plaza as well.

    To call it a transit hub that is primarily designed as a mall with a tunnel connecting it to other trains is disingenuous at best. Any ‘transit hub’ that serves shoppers better than commuters is a poor design.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Removing this bike lane without consulting the Community Board is a violation of Local Law 61 (2011). This law is ignored very frequently when it comes to removing bike infrastructure but never when it comes to installing it.

  • J

    Yeah, DOT doesn’t give a shit about following this law. They blatantly disregard it in pretty much every case where they’ve removed a lane.

    In this case, though, it seems that the lane is not technically being removed but rather reconfigured as a double parking lane. Perhaps there is a way to sue over this, since the lane now fails to function as a bike lane.

  • c2check

    Very happy to hear about the overhauling of trash collection. Those folks drive like devils trying to hop around to to businesses on disparate parts of the city.

    Now if only we could get dumpsters rather than sidewalks piled high with trash bags.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    I wonder if this lane is going to be two-way unprotected? I don’t see anything in the article making it clear.

  • Elizabeth F

    Anyone who bikes frequently in NYC knows that NYPD reports of pedestrians “darting into traffic” are entirely plausible.

  • “We spent $4 billion of taxpayer money on a mall and tried to hoodwink the public into believing it was a train station.”

  • It is definitely not a “transit hub.” The PATH elements of it are simply a subway stop, and the main purpose of the building is to serve as a mall (and a gateway in between other malls at the Fulton Center and whatever the Winter Garden is called these days).

  • Smile!

    Can only hope that someday, NYC’s so-called transit advocates can stop thinking that anything beyond bare concrete and overcrowded stairs & platforms isn’t real transit!

  • This is a completely false dichotomy. A pleasant transit environment for a real hub shouldn’t cost $4 billion. This is a subway stop, and again, it’s a mall first.

  • Vision Zero damaged mirrors.

  • vgXhc

    Protected parking lanes!

  • HamTech87

    Was the problem from drivers trying to parallel park, or from drivers trying to back out of their driveways? And I’m wondering whether the bike lanes couldn’t have been made slightly narrower to accommodate the objections. The odd photo of the anti-bike lane woman shows a lot of street space taken for the PBL.

  • Geck

    This is really disturbing if true. This is part of a good plan to connect the Jamaica Bay Greenway with Marine Park

  • AnoNYC

    In regards to trash collection, this would also make a significant difference. If we got the trash bags off the curb and into dumpsters on every street, there would be less trash strewn around due to ripped bags.

  • AnoNYC

    Same thing happened to the short parking protected bike lane in Highbridge, on W 170th St.

  • Smile!

    This IS a completely false dichotomy. Putting land uses where we have transit makes it a transit hub… You’d rather we park our retail out in the suburbs where everybody drives to it?

    Why do so many so-called transit advocates in NYC insist that transit is nothing more than steel wheels and has to be cheap, cheap, cheap?

    I’d LOVE to see us build great places based on transit. Seems like they actually did that for a change. In decades to come, nobody is going to remember or care how much it cost. It’s a nice place. Take a walk and see how much people are actually – gasp – ENJOYING it! Jeez.

  • ohnonononono

    “Gibson has said she doesn’t remember the run-in.”

    Because she so disregards public safety that she can’t even remember which time she was pulled over and had to call a friend to get her ticket fixed? Disgusting. Why does she not feel she has to play by the same rules as all the little people? Only VIPs such as herself can talk on their phones while driving?

  • What part of the so-called transit hub is about transit though? It was a $4 billion expense sold as a transit project with no transit upgrades. That transit is underneath is completely incidental to its purpose — as an inward-facing mall connecting other inward-facing malls in a pedestrian-heavy area with vibrant streetscapes. It doesn’t serve a transit purpose, and it doesn’t fit.

    And again, you’re anonymously putting words in people’s mouths. Who is claiming that transit nothing more than steel wheels and must be cheap besides your straw man?

    I’ve been in the building plenty and have seen people enjoying it and the new stories. It’s not a hub for transit. There’s nothing wrong with admitting the purpose sold to the public was a red herring and its cost out of line with its function.

  • confused

    “The PATH elements of it are simply a subway stop…” Ok.

    And the 1 train elements are just a subway stop?
    And the R train elements are just a subway stop?
    And the E train elements are just a subway stop?
    And the connection to the Fulton subway complex elements are just a tunnel to a subway stop?
    And the pedestrian distribution elements are just tunnels to a bunch of subway stops?

    And, in the middle of all these elements is… a… um.. .hub of um… connections to transit? But, surely this cannot be a “transit hub,” whatever else that might be…

  • ohnonononono

    Nobody wants WTC to be “cheap, cheap, cheap.” I can name many improvements that I’d have spent that money on. The actual transit station components of WTC are unchanged from the old station, which is, pretty crappy. The platforms and stairs are way too narrow, I get no cell reception down there at the moment (a feature to come? unclear), it is really hot at platform level last I was there, the floors are slippery when wet, and the PATH not easy to use for the handicapped due to the requirement that you use 4 separate elevators to reach the street.

    Most of the NYC transit system is no better than this, but for 4 BILLION dollars, one would think they would have at least improved the platform-level transit experience. They did not. I don’t even think there are PATH system status displays anywhere until you get to track level, are there? C’mon. They did nothing to improve transit at the station.

  • Out-of-system transfers with no capacity increases and no plans to improve transit by, say, connecting PATH to the IRT or providing provisioning for a one seat ride from Lower Manhattan directly to JFK (and not the airtrain) as was once proposed. It’s a bunch of hallways. European transit hubs — actual transit hubs — are laughing at this.

  • Kevin Love

    Notice how she does not deny it happened. Just so that when the evidence comes out, it is “oops, I forgot.”

  • c2check

    Perhaps DOT could extend the 2-way PBL and make Ave T a traffic-calmed bicycle boulevard instead.

  • Joe R.

    I don’t understand why we don’t have trash collection bins like that. Especially on residential streets they would cut down on the number of times a sanitation truck needs to stop. I guess people are too lazy to walk 1/2 a block to dump their trash into a common collection bin.

  • AlexWithAK

    No one is opposing building “great places” based on transit. They’re opposing using limited transit dollars on opulent stations at the expense of capacity expansion. It’s like spending your entire paycheck on booze when you don’t have food for your kids.

    Plus, the PATH terminal cost double what it was budgeted for. The overages alone could have extended the PATH deeper into Manhattan. Costs need to be brought under control and things must be prioritized. Once all that happens, then we can talk about spending lavishly on “great places” using public dollars.

  • Joe R.

    Let’s hypothetically assume we could have build a bare bones station for $250 million. That would have left $3.75 billion for other things, like maybe adding more subway miles in the outer boroughs. If transit funding wasn’t severely curtailed at the federal, state, and local levels then building gold-plated stations might not be an issue. Unfortunately, the reality here is excessive money spent on a station means less money spent where it might do more good.

    And so long as transit dollars are limited I want the stations to be spartan but functional. I’d rather we spend money on system expansion, more trains, or signal upgrades. A fancy station doesn’t get you to your destination any faster. Lest we forget, the primary purpose of transit is to get from point A to point B. If private industry wants to fund a mall near a transit station, then recoup the investment in rent, that’s fine but we shouldn’t be using public dollars for that.

  • AnoNYC

    The loss of one or two parking spaces would probably set off a riot.

    Like most things in NYC, we’ve been doing it one way so long, we don’t ever even imagine how it could be done better. Even when it’s already been done better elsewhere.

  • ahwr

    Let’s hypothetically assume we could have build a bare bones station for $250 million

    The added cost from keeping the 1 train operational during construction has been pegged at ~355 million.

  • ahwr

    That would have left $3.75 billion for other things, like maybe adding more subway miles in the outer boroughs.

    Was that ever an option? How much of the funding for the station/mall/whatever you want to call it came from post 9/11 downtown recovery dollars?

    Could the dollars spent on the mall have been used to build a subway by you? Or would the other transit projects the money could have been spent on be stuff like connecting downtown PATH to the 6, part of the cost of extending the LIRR from Atlantic to downtown etc…

  • Joe R.

    I wouldn’t count that as the cost of the station. That’s the cost of an operational decision, one which I don’t necessarily agree with. Construction projects in this city are often stretched out by years, even decades, by this insistence that we have to keep every street and every station in service 24/7 during construction. I even saw it when they were replacing the water mains by me. At the end of each workday they put in temporary patches, some of which were removed the following day as the work continued. Maybe a week or two after work was done, they replaced the temporary patches with better quality permanent patches. On top of that, they were only working 8 hours a day. I would have closed off streets until work was completed and had the work going 24/7. There would be no need of temporary patches at all given that the street would remain closed until work was done. Right after work was completed the permanent patch would go in ,then the street would be open. Yes, this would have entailed probably a day or two when some streets would be closed 24/7 instead of being closed 8 hours a day 4 or 5 times. However, the work would have progressed much faster. Also, most people only would have had to deal with maybe one 24 hour interruption of water service instead of 4 or 5 8-hour interruptions.

  • Once NYC forgot to build alleys (or didn’t have them due to other historical reasons) for trash collection like every other city in America has, we just sort of gave up on making it even semi-pleasant to have garbage all over the place.

  • AMH

    Not just a train station–a Transportation Hub!

  • AMH

    Mandatory commercial recycling please!

  • Joe R.

    Maybe it could have been reappropriated elsewhere. Hypothetically, suppose we got a grant and the station came in well under budget. Would the feds want the money back, or would we be free to spend it elsewhere?

    Also, why wasn’t NYC given money for system expansion and upgrades after 9/11? You could even make a good terrorism case for it. Better transit means fewer vehicles entering Manhattan, which in turn means less likelihood of a truck or car bomb. And better transit decreases reliance on Middle Eastern oil. US interference in Middle Eastern affairs to protect oil supplies is partly responsible for 9/11. So yes, you can make a great case for system expansion as a means to reduce terrorism.

  • AMH

    It doesn’t even connect to the 1 or the E trains. I don’t think PATH at one end and the R at the other end make it a hub.

  • ahwr

    Would the feds want the money back

    Absolutely they would. It’s what happens everywhere else in the country when a project is under budget. If a project is a hundred million under budget, and the feds pay for 90% of it, they’ll want 90 million back. The ten million local match can be redirected elsewhere.

  • ahwr

    I wouldn’t count that as the cost of the station.

    It’s part of the $4 billion.

  • Andrew

    I’m inclined to generally agree with your broad point. However, I take issue with your specific examples here.

    Temporarily ignoring the very real technical issues in track layout, car design, and demand mismatch (and it’s always a bad idea to ignore technical constraints, because ignoring technical constraints will ensure that even the best of ideas will never come to fruition), who would benefit from connecting PATH to the IRT? Assuming you’re referring to the 6 train, which is the persistent proposal that I’m familiar with, the 6 train goes uptown, while the overwhelming majority of WTC PATH riders have destinations in Lower Manhattan, which is focused south, not north, of the WTC PATH terminal. I’d be surprised if as many as 5% of rush hour WTC PATH riders would benefit from direct northbound 6 service. Passenger connections to the various subway lines that run both north and south of the WTC are far more important, and while the price tag was undoubtedly too high, there’s no question that many of the passenger connections are better (shorter, faster, more pleasant, higher capacity, and accessible to the disabled) than before.

    Dedicated airport connections only serve trips to and from airports. While most of us occasionally use an airport, few of us use one on a daily or even weekly basis. (Airport workers, of course, make daily trips to the airport, but I doubt many commute from or via Lower Manhattan, so this particular link would be of no use to them.) Any dollar spent on a dedicated airport link is a dollar not spent on improving people’s daily trips – adding capacity on a busy commute corridor, improving station access at critical stations, providing subway service to a residential area currently served only by buses, etc. (please don’t let my list limit your imagination). As high-profile as airport links may be, they don’t provide anywhere near the net benefit of smaller scale improvements for vastly more people.

  • ahwr

    How different are the PA5s from the R142As?

  • bolwerk

    IIRC, there is some difference in the loading gauge. Guessing that is a real issue.

  • bolwerk

    One factor could be the amount of waste we generate. How many bags we throw out in a week compared to most first world countries must be absurd.

  • ahwr

    IRT R142As are 2.67 meters wide, 15.56 meters long. PA5s are 2.813 meters wide, 16 meters long. So you’d have to replace the path fleet with IRT compatible cars, and add a couple inches to platforms. They replaced their entire fleet after 2001.

  • Smile!

    Ding, ding, ding. Here’s a problem! People keep criticizing the project before it’s complete for things that will, in fact, be part of the permanent configuration.

    How about all that moaning about how it was so big and nobody even walked in it?

    Don’t forget, only a portion of the offices on-site are even open yet. The idea this pedestrian network isn’t useful is shortsighted. Wishing everybody were trying to make all these movements ceanped onto the sidewalks is just crazy.

  • Smile!

    This bait-and-switch story simply isn’t true. It was clear from the beginning they were rebuilding the retail they had in the old WTC. Nobody wanted it facing the memorial. It ended up back below ground. This was the basic plan from the very seems well integrated with transit, just like many other advanced countries do.

    Why not recognize this as transit-facing retail? Why not see it as part if a functioning public space? It sounds like you’re trying to make it sound like somebody plopped a suburban mall in the middle of Manhattan. Maybe that’s not what you’re trying to say, but it seems like there’s some cheap shots and easy criticism going on im general, rather than much wait-and-see observation of how something is actually performing.

  • Smile!

    Better concourse connections cut several minutes off the daily commutes each way for thousands of people. There is huge regional economic benefits in that improvemebt in getting people fron point A to point B. It’s not all just steel wheels.