Tuesday’s Headlines: Maybe this IS an L of a Plan Edition

Andy Byford in a file photo.
Andy Byford in a file photo.

New details are starting to slowly emerge about the the Andrew Cuomo-endorsed plan to repair the L train without shutting down its East River tunnel for 15 months. The Daily News reported that MTA engineers had considered — and rejected — a version of the Cuomo plan once before. Meanwhile, the Post played up NYC Transit President Andy Byford admitting that he’s on the hook for the success or failure of the Cuomo plan.

And, of course, the Times went with its latest annoying question headlines, “Is the Fix for the L-Train Apocalypse Too Good to Be True?” — and then never revealed the answer (which is “Yes!”). But the paper did quote an engineer who said, “A repair cannot last as long as a total rebuild.” The MTA engineer gave the Cuomo patch job a life expectancy of 10-20 years, while Byford promised 40.

Vin Barone at amNY added a detail that 90 percent of the tunnel work that was originally planned will still happen, according to Byford — but the key time-saver is the new plan to merely seal water-damaged walls in the tunnel and hang new cables on the walls rather than embed them. And amNY also focused on the benefit to the Williamsburg rental market (oddly, though, with a photo of DUMBO and the Lower East Side).

And Curbed mostly focused on the real-estate impact, but also advanced Streetsblog’s agenda-setting coverage to show that business owners in Williamsburg are already starting to demand their parking back. Emma Whitford and Amy Plitt get a shoutout here for a comprehensive impact story.

And in other news:

  • The Daily News Editorial Board came out strongly for congestion pricing on Monday, calling it “not a tax on drivers but a map to a fairer and more rational transportation system.” (NYDN)
  • Queens Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer is ramping up his anti-Amazon rhetoric. (Via Twitter)
  • In case you missed it (our editor did!), Gov. Cuomo finally appointed a commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles — which is kind of a big deal, given that this is the agency that can help keep bad drivers off the road. (NY Post)
  • A subway panhandler allegedly stabbed a straphanger who declined to give him 10 cents. (NY Post)
  • Corey Johnson will be at the 77th Street station in Bay Ridge at 5 p.m. tonight to listen to subway riders’ concerns. We wonder if he’ll hear any!
  • Larry Littlefield

    “A repair cannot last as long as a total rebuild.” The MTA engineer gave the Cuomo patch job a life expectancy of 10-20 years, while Byford promised 40.”

    You know my point of view on the way Generation Greed has pillaged the future. That’s all I need to hear to suspect that the very same values are at play.

    As that generation and its leadership, who control our organizations, get more and more desperate to have all their need met and avoid paying for things, more and more desperate measures that put things off for shorter and shorter times will be on the menu.

    The argument? How many of US are going to be on the subway in 20 years anyway? By then, the city will be full of THEM. Well guess what, in 20 years I’ll be 77 and I won’t be on the subway either. But I give a damn about those who will be.

  • kevd

    “You know my point of view on the way Generation Greed has pillaged the future.”

    That sums it all up perfectly.
    I think you’ve found your new comment to post below every single story. No need for paragraphs and paragraphs or to repost that tax burden chart we’ve all seen a thousand times. Just copy and paste that one sentence. You’ll save a ton of time.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Plus one more word. Omerta.

    Am I allowed to complain when whatever new revenue source they come up with is bonded against and spent in five years, with no system expansion? Or is that no longer part of the acceptable consensus?

  • kevd

    I think that’s covered by “You know my point of view on the way Generation Greed has pillaged the future.” We’ve read it nearly as many times as we’ve seen the graph.

  • Geck

    Also Errol Lewis takes on placard abuse as a gateway to corruption in the Daily News:
    https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-oped-placard-abuse-a-gateway-drug-20190107-story.html

  • Danny G

    If the emergency brakes on an L train are pulled while in the tunnel and the train operator or passengers need to get out of the train, will those wall-mounted cables get in the way of emergency egress?

  • Larry Littlefield

    Want a different one? The taxes graph shows NY’s state and local tax burden, already high highest, has become higher as a percent of the personal income of all residents, both in the city and the rest of the state.

    So what happened to the total wages and salaries of state and local government workers actually on the job and producing services, as a percent of everyone’s income, which is affected by how many they are and how much they are paid?

    https://larrylittlefield.files.wordpress.com/2018/12/GovwageNE.jpg
    And, noting the national average, true everywhere, which is why (among other things) transit service and maintenance are down relative to ridership. In places without NY’s booming growth, things are down and down period.

  • Joe R.

    If the “permanent” fix will only last 40 years, then it’s not so permanent. There are tunnels around the world still in daily use which are over a century old. A full rebuild should last as long as a brand new tunnel would. That’s a heck of a lot longer than 40 years unless you do something wrong.

  • Joe R.

    The NTTs either don’t have passenger-activated emergency brakes, or they can’t activate except at stations. There’s no real reason for them. What’s the point of stopping a train mid-tunnel in an emergency anyway?

  • Joe R.

    You won’t be working when you’re 77? Nearly everyone our ages and younger is saying they have no clear path to retirement. That includes me and my siblings. We won’t be getting Social Security as the system will run out of money by 2034 at the latest. That leaves investments but if the stock market doesn’t do something special between now and when I’m older I’ll be living in a cardboard box. I just need to figure out where. Maybe we can put our boxes on the same street so we can have chats about why we’re here because Generation Greed pillaged the future.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I’m among the fortunate (and grateful). So if I’m working at age 77, it would be because I’m more fortunate still, with good health and interesting work I don’t want to give up. As it is, my estimate is some sort of retirement at age 70.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    There are reasons the train might stop other than an emergency brake pull though.

  • Joe R.

    Yes, if the T/O stops it for any reason but in general the MTA tries to avoid evacuating trains mid-tunnel like the plague. At best it’s highly dangerous. At worst there can be lots of fatalities.

  • Lincoln

    40 years is probably an absurdly optimistic lifespan of this “fix”