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New York Subway Station Destroyed In 9/11 Reopens After Nearly 17 Years




After nearly two decades, a New York City subway station that was destroyed in the Sept. 11 attacks has reopened.

The Cortlandt Street station, which was partially buried by the collapse of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, reopened on Saturday, just three days before the 17th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

“WTC Cortlandt is more than a new subway station. It is symbolic of New Yorkers’ resolve in restoring and substantially improving the entire World Trade Center site,” said Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joseph Lhota in a release.
The station, which serves the No. 1 train, has fewer columns along the platforms for increased maneuverability, and also features a wall showcasing text from the 1776 Declaration of Independence and the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The station and its 1,200-feet of tunnel and tracks were rebuilt within the previous station’s footprint. Construction on the new station began in 2015 after the MTA was given control of the site, the transit authority said
“It’s long overdue,” Mitchell L. Moss, the director of the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management at New York University, told The New York Times. “It was a major challenge to rebuild the subway at the same time you’re rebuilding the site above it.”

The station cost $181.8 million, according to the Times.


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Subways experienced signal delays during morning rush every day in August except 1




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There were subway delays on all but one day during August 2018 because of signal problems, a Riders Alliance analysis released Sunday showed.

The Alliance said it reviewed MTA delay alerts for the month of August from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. They reported delays due to signal problems for every day except Aug. 23.

“It’s just painful,” said Joe Hetterly of Bay Ridge, about his commutes.

The Riders Alliance said signal delays caused problems on every subway line except the L, which has already received signal upgrades.

The analysis showed the worst delays were on the D and R lines.

“It’s always a surprise,” said Tessa Vlaanderen, commenting on the delays. “But other times, it’s perfectly on time, it’s fast.”

The group of concerned commuters is now calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state to implement commuter pricing as a means of funding MTA infrastructure improvements.

“Our transit system is trying to run a 21st century global capital on 19th century infrastructure,” said John Raskin, executive director of the Riders Alliance.

Peter Ajemian, Gov. Cuomo’s deputy communications director for transportation, released this statement to PIX 11:

“The governor singlehandedly revived the idea of congestion pricing, has been leading the charge to pass it and succeeded in securing the first phase this year. The Riders Alliance time would be better spent convincing those who need convincing — members of the Legislature and City Hall.”

The MTA also released a statement to PIX 11, reading:

“The methodology of this “report” provides no context whatsoever. This oversimplification ignores the incredible progress we’ve made under the Subway Action Plan that stopped a steep decline in service and resulted in a series of vital improvements. This appears to be more of a stunt than an actual serious look at the system.

“The system has stabilized over the last year thanks to intensive investment and maintenance associated with the Subway Action Plan which is exactly what it was designed to do. We’ve also launched a new initiative to eliminate 10,000 subway delays a month which is already paying dividends. The complete modernization of New York City Transit, in particular the upgrading of our signal system, is essential to providing safe and reliable subway service, which is why a predictable, sustainable source of funding is vital to making the full Fast Forward plan a reality.”


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America’s largest city is facing a monumental subway crisis




subway new york

Subway delays in the nation’s largest city cost up to $389 million in lost productivity each year, according to the Office of the New York City Comptroller in October 2017, and city officials are increasingly sounding the alarm.

The problem has gotten worse since the comptroller data was collected in 2016. Naturally, transit dysfunction has become a central component of Thursday’s gubernatorial primary vote in the city.

“Our subway system is the backbone of our economy,” New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said in a statement to Yahoo Finance. “That means with every delay, there aren’t just lives affected — there’s an economic consequence.”
‘It was in a state of emergency long before’

According to the “State of the Subways Report Card” for 2016 by the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, 16 subway lines worsened in terms of regularity in comparison to only four that improved.

In June 2017, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the subways. He signed an executive order, pledging $1 billion for improvements. However, few improvements have been made since then.

Cynthia Nixon, one of the Democratic nominees for New York governor and Cuomo’s opponent in Thursday’s primary, made fixing the MTA one of her main campaign issues.

“Frankly, it was in a state of emergency long before Gov. Cuomo finally declared it one,” Nixon’s campaign told Yahoo Finance in an email. The statement cited declining subway performance, delays becoming increasingly worse, slow-moving trains and poor on-time performance.

Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that an overhaul of the city’s subway and bus systems would take about 15 years and cost an estimated $43 billion.

Nixon says that she would “tax the rich to fix the subway.” Governor Cuomo’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

‘The transit system is the lifeblood of the city’
Marc Molinaro, the Republican nominee who will face Cuomo or Nixon on Nov. 6, recently released an MTA revitalization plan. He told Yahoo Finance that if elected, he intends to make the subway system “immediately” respond to the people.

“The transit system is the lifeblood of the city and is in a death spiral, both financially and structurally,” Molinaro said. “It’s been in a rate of steady decline for about the last seven years.”

Molinaro attributes the struggles of the MTA to the ineffectiveness of Gov. Cuomo. “The governor hasn’t provided the appropriate level of leadership,” the candidate said. “He allowed the misdirection of funds to projects that either have nothing to do with transit or have more to do with vanity.”

But how does he plan to pay for the overhaul? Some of his suggestions include congestion pricing, an MTA commuter payroll tax and the use of value capture. Molinaro says he would also explore the feasibility of public-private partnerships and finding a way for state, federal and local governments to agree on contributing.

‘We need to get started, now’
New York City’s subway on-time performance stands at 58.1%, according to figures for January of this year, in stark contrast to the Washington Metro system (85.7%), Chicago’s CTA (95%), and Atlanta’s MARTA system (96.7%).


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Brooklyn-Queens Connector set to skip Sunset Park, cost more and be finished later




brooklyn queens connector

After more than a year of speculation that the mayor’s streetcar dreams were dead, the Brooklyn-Queens Connector is plugging forward under a scaled-back vision.

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday released the first detailed report on his streetcar, known as the BQX, unveiling a shorter, more expensive route that will take longer to build and require at least $1 billion in federal funding — despite initial claims from the mayor that the project would pay for itself when he first proposed the concept in 2016.

“There’s a whole lot of people whose lives essentially just take place in Brooklyn or just take place in Queens, or between Queens and Brooklyn, who see [the BQX] as a real advantage to provide more transportation,” said de Blasio at an unrelated news conference Thursday. “We believe it can be done and will be a huge contribution to New York City’s mass transit.”

The adjustments come after nearly two years of street studies and public meetings with residents to hash out the streetcar system, which the city aims to run on city roads along the Brooklyn and Queens waterfront with at least 70 percent of the route reserved for exclusive streetcar right of way.

The route has been reduced from 16 miles to 11 miles and will no longer include a southern terminus at Sunset Park, due to an estimated low ridership and high cost of construction, according to the report, which also found that the nearby R train was a faster option for commuters in the neighborhood.

It will instead terminate at Red Hook and run north to Astoria. The city has also altered the streetcar’s alignment to move an elbow of the route out of DUMBO and into downtown Brooklyn in an attempt to boost ridership in the more bustling area.

De Blasio’s estimated price tag of $2.5 billion has increased to $2.7 billion, with about half of the cost coming from value-capture financing, in which the city collects additional tax revenue from the development’s increasing of nearby property values.

The city also no longer expects to break ground on the project in 2019 and begin running streetcars in 2024. Construction is now expected to begin approximately three years after de Blasio leaves office at the end of 2021, with the streetcar system beginning to run in 2029.
With an estimated ridership of 50,000 per day, the streetcar would be slightly busier than the most popular buses in the city — the B46, M15 and Bx12 — which carry between 41,700 and 46,100 riders on an average weekday.

The BQX will save riders anywhere from two to 10 minutes of commute time, depending on origin and destination, when compared to existing transit options, according to the report. Commuters taking the streetcar from Greenpoint to downtown Brooklyn would see the most time savings, between seven and 10 minutes. But the BQX would make traveling from downtown Brooklyn to Red Hook only two or three minutes faster.

Many transit experts and even residents who agree that the city needs more and better mass transit have questioned every element of the project — from the cost to the route and the feasibility of actually running a functional streetcar amid other traffic.

The streetcars are expected to run at 12 mph on rails built into the roadbed and to be powered by overhead cables. They would make 26 stops, running every five minutes during peak hours and every 10 minutes during other hours of the day. Waits would increase to 20 minutes during late night hours, from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. The city is still debating whether it would run service from 1 to 5 a.m.

Jon Orcutt, a spokesman for TransitCenter, which has heavily criticized the project, said that many American cities have returned to building streetcars without much success. He said the city has more pressing priorities, like reviving ever-slowing and increasingly unreliable subway and bus service.

“I don’t think they vetted this well in 2016 and that’s obvious now that they have to make these concessions,” said Orcutt, who still believes the project is effectively dead.

“I suspect they don’t want to admit the mayor was wrong here and found a way to continue the project without making the decisions. This timeline basically leaves the big decisions for the next mayor,” Orcutt continued. “I think it sort of stays as a zombie project until a set of candidates or the next mayor says, ‘no, we’re not going to do it.’”

But the de Blasio administration will press on and is now working on its environmental impact statement for a project that was first envisioned by the private developer Two Trees Management.

The mayor was hopeful that after the 2018 elections, a potentially more left-leaning Congress would be more willing to fund projects like the streetcar, as well as existing transit, like subways and buses.

“My hope, and I think it’s a realistic one, is under new political leadership there’s going to be a lot more money for subways and buses, too,” de Blasio said. “And we need all of the above.”


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