Friday’s Headlines: Still Yelling About Cuomo’s AirTrain Edition

Governor Andrew Cuomo holds daily briefing and opens Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport.
Governor Andrew Cuomo holds daily briefing and opens Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport in June 2020. (Governor's Flickr)

It’s been three whole days since the federal government gave Gov. Cuomo’s $2 billion backwards LaGuardia AirTrain the approval to start construction this summer, which means its time for some reappraisals of the project. Sure, it will cost way more money that it should for a train that doesn’t improve subway access in East Queens, but on the other hand, we’ll all get used to it.

Curbed’s Christopher Bonanos argues that the AirTrain is bad but it’s not that bad. “No sane single planner would have laid out the maze of interconnections that constitutes, say, the Times Square stop. We tolerate it; we have made it work,” he writes.

On the other hand: why are we spending $2 billion on this AirTrain that will “save almost no one any time” to get to the airport, when they haven’t even tried putting in a dedicated bus lane for the Q70 first?

Aaron Gordon at VICE has a well-written, if deeply depressing take on the huge opportunity that was squandered and the parking lot that was built instead of a subway rail link.

“All of the above considerations —that it is a bad transit option, that it is expensive as hell, that we could build any number of better transit lines with this money, that it won’t solve any of the main problems facing LaGuardia access — simply do not seem to matter to Cuomo. All that matters to him is that he builds things that sound and look good and reshapes New York in a way that suits him personally and politically,” Gordon writes.

Will the public allow him to remake Midtown into a $306 billion hilariously unintentional sight gag?

In other news:

  • The NYPD has arrested the dirt-bike rider who struck a 4-year-old in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park on Sunday. Argenis Rivas is charged with assault, reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of a crash, and riding without a license. Rivas allegedly blamed the critically injured boy,  Jonathan Beauchamps, for the crash, and claimed that “he just came out of nowhere.” Beauchamps is expected to recover.
  • Parking startups — yes, companies that help people find parking — are making a killing because traffic nationwide is up 55 percent this past April compared to April of 2020, Bloomberg reports.
  • New Yorkers are getting engaged on the 34th Ave open street! Quick! Call 34th Ave Open Street Compromise and get them to park some cars and stop this madness!

  • A special committee of Queens Community Board 7 has moved to expel one of its own, John Choe, from the board. The vocal proponent for bike and bus infrastructure in Flushing told the Queens Daily Eagle that the board was “stacked against me.” A full board vote will come later. Streetsblog reported on Choe’s plight last month.
  • The Times reports how flooding caused by the climate crisis has drowned and paralyzed the world’s transit systems. All the more reason for more bus and bike lanes above ground.
  • Janette Sadik-Khan pens an op/ed for the Daily News urging New Yorkers to “get past the shouting about the loss of parking space” and aggressively expand outdoor dining, while at the same time increase enforcement for shoddy structures and make the outdoor spaces more equitable.


Cuomo’s LaGuardia Train Would Be Slower Than Existing Transit

The centerpiece of Governor Cuomo’s second-term transportation agenda for New York City isn’t closing the $15 billion gap in the MTA capital program or taking serious steps to relieve the city from suffocating traffic. Instead, Cuomo’s big idea is a new rail link to LaGuardia Airport. The idea captivated the Times and distracted from the meat […]