Today’s Headlines

  • Cuomo Expected to Release Statewide Uber/Lyft Bill Today (D&C)
  • Nicole Gelinas: NYC Can Come Up With A Better Way to Get Uber Trip Data (Post)
  • RPA: Despite Enormous Cost, Cuomo Should Build a Midtown-JFK Rail Link (Politico)
  • One Drunk Driving Trip in the Bronx Ruined So Many Lives (News)
  • Icy Sidewalks Can Be Deadly — Elderly Man Slips and Dies on Upper East Side (Post)
  • Private Trash Haulers Prepare to Fight De Blasio Plan to Cut Garbage Truck Traffic (Crain’s)
  • If the 7 Train Is the Best Line in the City, the Subway System Is in Trouble (QChron)
  • David Jones and Carol Kellerman Make the Case for Discount MetroCards in Crain’s
  • Buses on 23rd Street Will Get Faster and More Reliable Starting Today (DNA)
  • The Lights Are Back on at NYC’s First Solar-Powered Bus Shelter (DNA)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • AMH

    I don’t agree about the need to spend money on “direct” service to JFK. The existing LIRR to AirTrain transfer is more convenient than many airports which commonly require some sort of people-mover (or a long walk) from the terminal to reach transit. I think efforts should focus on improving the subway-AirTrain transfer, AirTrain frequency, and of course on Penn Station improvements. LGA is a whole different story.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Remember, the Airtrain wa supposed to go from JFK, past Jamaica, up to LaGuardia and on to Long Island City for a transfer there.

    That’s why LaGuardia passengers have been paying the Airtrain passenger facility charge all these years.

  • bolwerk

    That “best line in the city” article was another where a politician scolds the subway/MTA, as if s/he has nothing to do with the problems.

    And why the hell should connecting the subway or another rail service to JFK be dismissed as an “enormous cost”? It wouldn’t be that whack to extend a branch of the A or E Train to the airport, technically speaking anyway. The E Train could pass through the 11434 zip code, which has a density of over 18k/sq. mi., along Guy R Brewer Blvd. Shouldn’t be hard to get at least one station in that space with 5-figure daily ridership before the line even reaches the airport.

    Here’s the real problem: Cuomo doesn’t want to expand the subway. Nor do most other politicians.

  • Elizabeth F

    I believe the core problem on getting good rail links to the airports is the ridiculous prohibition on mixing airport funds with general transport funds. Normal cities build out their rail lines, with a stop at the airport. But not New York… New York can only have special airport-only rail lines. And you cannot justify a new tunnel just for AirTrain. Therefore, there will never be a one-seat ride from Manhattan until that problem is solved.

  • bolwerk

    And why the hell is the only criticism Politico is counting coming from the QueensWay people?

    [Proposals involving the Rockaway Beanch Branch ROW] would also, to varying extents, impact, and in one case preclude, the possibility of turning the abandoned right-of-way into a park, a proposal known as QueensWay.

    At least one of the proposals could require the alienation and replacement of up to seven acres of parkland, according to QueensWay advocates at the Trust for Public Land.

    “They would lose a number of Forest Hills little league fields,” said Adrian Benepe, the Trust’s director of city park development and a former city parks commissioner. “You’d also have to cut down, I don’t know, about 10,000 trees. It’s kind of a big environmental disaster.”

    Anti-rail people suddenly get really concerned about the environment when rail is on the table. Zero-emission electric rail, with a per-km land consumption footprint not much bigger than a 1-lane driveway, is an environmental disaster? These fuckers are willing to say anything to get what they want, other people be damned.

  • AMH

    And that is exactly what should be done, rather than making LGA completely separate.

  • Vooch

    in the meantime

    could we simply add PBLs feeding to the airports ?

  • bolwerk

    I’m not sure that’s even a real problem, or just an excuse so agencies don’t have to work together. Certainly a competent managerial accountant (which I am not!) should be able to quantify how much of the overall capital project is going to the benefit of the airport and how much is going to other stations along the line. If you imagine extending the Astoria Line to LGA with three new station stops (1, 2, and 3, with station 0 being an already existing station and 3 being the airport’s station) the airport’s contribution breakdown could look something like:

    100% of the cost of station 3
    100% of the cost of track from station 2 to station 3 (only people going to or from the airport use this track)
    50% of the cost of track from station 1 to station 2
    ~33% of the cost of the track leading from station 0 to 1

    Each additional station between should probably be an incremental cost over laying the track in the first place, and should have nothing to do with airport and should be financed separately. That seems fair to me, as these are airport funds that should go to the benefit of airport users who are paying them.

    If I’m wrong, at the very worst, the segment from 2 to 3 should legally be legally possible to have fronted by the airport. Ironically, this has the effect of making airport extensions more expensive for the airport: the airport would have to cover all the costs of extending from 0 to 3 to get an extension.

  • ohnonononono

    Right. The AirTrain headways suck, and they were reduced with no explanation or even acknowledgement from the PA or any other entity. Why not have them run every few minutes, reducing travel time for the thousands who already use them?

  • Larry Littlefield

    That was a disgrace. I used it once, but not again. Add that headway to the headway for the A to Far Rockaway and you are in the serf zone for transportation.

  • bolwerk

    Guessing, but maintenance issues? It’d make sense anyway. The equipment has left the spring chicken phase, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a mix of vendor lock-in and vendor not-giving-a-fuck-about-quality conspires to make it increasingly difficult to maintain.

  • ohnonononono

    Maybe? Why is the public left to guess? Everything the PA does is a black box. The worst of the unaccountable “public” agencies in the region.

    The PA doesn’t even run the thing, it’s always been Bombardier under a “Design-Build-Operate and Maintain (DBOM)” contract.

    It’s a driverless train, so it SHOULD be the train to run more frequently without having to worry about labor costs.

    This random paper from the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association right before it opened mentions “that design for durability be based upon a 50-year life and that all technology employed in the system have a proven track record”

    50 year life? It’s only been 13 years since it opened. If it’s already falling apart that’s quite a problem.

  • bolwerk

    Heh, maybe the DBOM provides legal cover to avoiding disclosure? I assume energy costs are non-negligible, but your point about labor costs was the main reason I suggested labor issues. Besides labor, the major hurdle is usually having enough equipment to run in the first place. (I believe some must be kept on reserve in case of problems.)

    50 years is pretty typical for rail equipment, but there is still normal maintenance. Which agencies love to defer. :-

  • ahwr

    Here’s a bit about how the extension of the portland light rail to the airport was funded. It added stations not at the airport, and was funded in part by a PFC.

    I won’t say what an appropriate cost division would be for a train from JFK to Manhattan with stops along the way, or an airtrain expansion from JFK to LGA that also served as a N/S rapid transit line for people traveling in Queens but not to the airports. But I don’t think there’s any prohibition on using a PFC to help fund a project that benefits more than just flyers/airport employees.

  • AnoNYC

    Uber starts offering ridesharing data to cities