Category Archives: Airports

Manhattan Gridlock: Plan to Relieve It & Impact On Transit Debt

Bumper-to bumper, horn-honking traffic through Manhattan streets is about as New York as bagels and Broadway. A plan to ease that problem is tapping into another mainstay of city life: high driving tolls.

The idea, called “congestion pricing,” involves using electronic tolling technology to charge fees to vehicles entering the most heavily trafficked parts of town during certain hours.

Some big cities already do it, including Singapore, Stockholm and London, where it can cost more than $15 to drive into the city center during peak periods.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed it for New York a decade ago and got a firm rejection from lawmakers who said drivers headed into Manhattan already get slammed enough by bridge and highway tolls and high parking fees.

But with the city’s subway system deteriorating, and politicians looking for ways to pay for a fix, the concept has gotten new life.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat who said last summer that “congestion pricing” is an idea whose time has come, could unveil a plan to implement a system as early as next week. A spokesman for the governor said a committee, called FixNY, is finalizing recommendations.

Alex Matthiessen, director of the MoveNY campaign — the most vocal advocate for congestion pricing — says New York would become the first city in the United States to charge drivers under such a system, but said others like San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles are paying close attention.

“We have a full-blown crisis,” Matthiessen said. “Our subway system is severely underfunded; it is quite unreliable, there are delays and overcrowding and the situation is potentially dangerous. No other idea has the twin benefit of also tackling a very severe traffic problem.”

There are still plenty of roadblocks.

Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he likes the idea of getting cars off the street but isn’t convinced high tolls is the way to do it.

“I think there are serious fairness issues when it comes to congestion pricing,” he said at a recent news conference, citing the financial burden on drivers who can’t afford tolls as easily as the many millionaires who call Manhattan home. De Blasio has said he prefers dealing with the subway’s financial problems by imposing higher income taxes on the rich.

Key details, like how much it might cost, or where, exactly, drivers might get hit with the tolls have yet to be unveiled. Bloomberg’s plan would have charged $8 to drive south of 60th Street, or roughly the southern end of Central Park.

Adam Glassman, a Lynbrook, Long Island-based attorney, spoke in midtown Manhattan before getting into his car to go home.

“It is impossible to get into the city,” said Glassman, who is familiar with Bloomberg’s proposed plan years ago. He commutes into Manhattan twice a week.

He’s in favor of possible tolls. “I’d be willing to suck it up.”

Although no specific congestion pricing plan has been formally announced, many agree that any system would be likely to create surcharges for ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. That’s OK with Uber, which is behind a public relations campaign backing congestion pricing.

“Users of Manhattan’s congested roads should bear part of the cost of helping to reduce congestion and improve our public transit system,” said Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang. “Everyone should pay their fair share to keep New York City moving forward.”

Brooklyn state Assemblyman William Colton, a Democrat, said any proposals that would create tolls across bridges into Manhattan that are currently free, or a system that would ping drivers in areas like Times Square south through Greenwich Village and into the Wall Street business district, would be seen as an unfair tax by his constituents.

“This is going to have a negative effect on working people, small business people and seniors who have medical appointments in Manhattan,” Colton said. “This is going to be a big problem. I don’t know the details, but I’m very leery.”

Commuter Joe Murphy said he would be “absolutely opposed to it.”

He lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and already pays for the George Washington Bridge, where tolls range from $10.50 to $15 a car, plus a midtown Manhattan parking garage. His half-hour, pre-rush hour commute is the fastest and easiest option for him; using public transportation would triple his commuting time.

“Just to get to work, the cost of parking and tolls and everything is just astronomical,” he said.

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Cuomo Proposes New Name For Stewart

In the last few days, we have heard ALOT about Stewart International Airport. On Thursday, January 4, 2018 World’s biggest passenger jet forced to land at SWF New York airport because of blizzard.

The flight was one of dozens that were diverted as powerful winds and heavy snow closed runways at some of the busiest airports along the East Coast, including several international long-haul flights. The airport’s 11,800 foot runway can easily accommodate the large plane, and the airport even bills itself as an “efficient diversion airport” because the runway is so long.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to expand and rebrand Stewart International Airport.

The governor wants the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey to spend $34 million to build a permanent U.S. Customs and Border Protection federal inspection station to allow the airport to expand its international service. Stewart currently flies to Norway, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. The airport currently uses a temporary federal inspection station.

Now, New York Governor Cuomo also wants to rename the airport “New York International at Stewart Field.”

“By transforming Stewart Airport into a state-of-the-art transportation destination, we are providing an inviting gateway to the region and supercharging an economic engine for the entire Mid-Hudson Valley,” Governor Cuomo said. “This international transportation hub will provide a world-class passenger experience, attract new visitors and businesses and continue to move the Mid-Hudson Valley forward.”

Cuomo said the airport’s name does not tell travelers where the airport is geographically located.

On January 6, 2018 we published “HOW AIRPORTS CAN KEEP UP WITH THE FUTURE OF TRAVEL

Stewart International Airport (SWF) is in the southern Hudson Valley, west of Newburgh, New York, approximately 60 miles (97 km) north of Manhattan. It is operated by the Port Authority Of New York & New Jersey (www.panynj.gov/airports/stewart.html). So it is not just another little airport. It is sometimes billed as New York City’s FOURTH AIRPORT. It has some of the longest runways in the New York area.

The sight of the giant plane, whose 262-foot wingspan is more than double that of a Boeing 737, was unusual for the airport, which is dwarfed by JFK in terms of passenger traffic. In 2016, about 137,000 passengers boarded at Stewart. At JFK, some 29 million passengers boarded, according to the Department of Transportation.

When the first UK tourists disembark at New York’s newest international airport last summer, they were be in for a shock. Stewart International is no bigger than a motorway service station. In fact, it’s probably smaller. And most of the time it’s deserted. Last Saturday afternoon (usually peak time for international travel), it was remarkably empty –and remarkably clean. Indeed, the bathrooms were cleaner than any I’ve seen at any airport.

But the airport’s advantage (being outside the congested airspace around Manhattan) is also its drawback. It is over 60 miles north of midtown Manhattan. And transport options will take a little while to catch up with the airport’s ambitions.

So our conclusion is that some better options than a motor coach (sometimes referred to as “a smelly old bus”) must surface. Yes, rail can be reached from Stewart: (1) shuttle bus across the Hudson River to nearby Beacon then Metro-North to either Penn Station or Grand Central; (2) shuttle to the Port Jervis Line and rail to New Jersey side of Hudson River; (3) Uber or LYFT. They get same killing traffic that busses get.

The obvious solution is to investigate HYPERLOOP. Specifically the “World leader” Virgin Hyperloop One

How Airports Can Keep Up With The Future Of Travel.

Stewart International Airport (SWF) is in the southern Hudson Valley, west of Newburgh, New York, approximately 60 miles (97 km) north of Manhattan. It is operated by the Port Authority Of New York & New Jersey (www.panynj.gov/airports/stewart.html). So it is not just another little airport. It is sometimes billed as New York City’s FOURTH AIRPORT. It has some of the longest runways in the New York area.

Yesterday was a TOUGH WINTER DAY and Stewart served it’s purpose when the other three airports closed for the snow and ice. See a blog: WORLD’S BIGGEST PASSENGER JET FORCED TO LAND AT SWF NEW YORK AIRPORT BECAUSE OF BLIZZARD

A massive winter storm forced an Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger jet, to divert to SWF, a small New York airport around 1 p.m. ET on Thursday after heavy winds and whiteout conditions closed runways at its intended destination: John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The 325 passengers aboard Singapore Airlines Flight 26 from Frankfurt, Germany, found themselves on a snowy runway for more than three hours at humble Stewart International, about 80 miles north of JFK. Passengers were leaving the plane after 5 p.m. ET using outdoor stairs.

The sight of the giant plane, whose 262-foot wingspan is more than double that of a Boeing 737, was unusual for the airport, which is dwarfed by JFK in terms of passenger traffic. In 2016, about 137,000 passengers boarded at Stewart. At JFK, some 29 million passengers boarded, according to the Department of Transportation.

The airport’s 11,800 foot runway can easily accommodate the large plane, and the airport even bills itself as an “efficient diversion airport” because the runway is so long. But the airport’s gates aren’t high enough to reach the plane’s doors. Stairs were brought to the aircraft and passengers exited the plane into the outdoors.

Then the plane, which is used on some of the longest international routes, will fly a very short route: from Stewart to JFK, according The spokesman for Singapore Airlines said it wasn’t clear how long that would take, but business-jet operators estimate the flight time on a small jet at about 30 minutes. The plane is expected to then fly back to Frankfurt.

Stewart’s history stretches back to the 1930s when the U.S. Military Academy at West Point built an airfield there to train cadets. It became Stewart Air Force Base in 1948 and what is now the Stewart Air National Guard Base is next to the commercial airport.

When the first UK tourists disembark at New York’s newest international airport last summer, they were be in for a shock. Stewart International is no bigger than a motorway service station. In fact, it’s probably smaller. And most of the time it’s deserted. Last Saturday afternoon (usually peak time for international travel), it was remarkably empty –and remarkably clean. Indeed, the bathrooms were cleaner than any I’ve seen at any airport.

But the airport’s advantage (being outside the congested airspace around Manhattan) is also its drawback. It is over 60 miles north of midtown Manhattan. And transport options will take a little while to catch up with the airport’s ambitions. Launching on Thursday, to coincide with the first transatlantic flights, is the Stewart Airport Express, a direct coach service to Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. It takes 1 hour 25 minutes. And travellers are recommended to book seats in advance. This is really the only way to reach New York City unless you hire a car. At the moment a taxi ride is not an option, unless you want to pay as much as your airfare. A local firm quoted me $250 + tip for a one-way trip.