Category Archives: Public Transit

MTA unveils new Bay Ridge Avenue R station


The Bay Ridge Avenue train station that was once a dark and dreary stop along the R line has completed its six-month renovations, the MTA announced Friday.

The 102-year-old station was closed in April so the agency could bring it into the modern age with countdown clocks at all three entrances, Wi-Fi, digital displays, USB ports and an enhanced security system.

Additionally, new lighting, handrails and stair treads have been installed, as have wayfinding floor tiles for the visually impaired.

New tile artwork by Katy Fischer has also been added to the station and pays homage to the area’s Native American, Dutch and Colonial roots.

The Bay Ridge station unveiling is the second of 33 stations across the city that will undergo accelerated renovations and comes just weeks after the 53rd Street R train station reopened.

The 77th Street and Bay Ridge-95th Street R stations are next on the list for renovations to make them ADA-accessible via the MTA’s Capital Plan. In total, the plan includes more than $125 million to make the R line accessible between 2015 and 2019.

“This station opening is a huge benefit for Bay Ridge,” MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said. “We are also proud to announce that our newly amended Capital Plan now includes new funding for four fully accessible, ADA-compliant stations in Bay Ridge, which will deliver a level of accessibility to this neighborhood that has never existed before.”

The Bay Ridge Avenue work was done as part of the Enhanced Station Initiative, a design-build contract that enables a single team to take on both the design and construction work to ensure work is completed as quick as possible. All 33 stations will be done under this initiative.

“Greater investment in our mass transit infrastructure is critically needed across our borough to advance the safety and reliability of service, and this design enhancement campaign is a step toward that larger imperative,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.


Mermaid, Drag Queen And Oracle To Compete For Miss Subways Title

WILLIAMSBURG, BROOKLYN — A mermaid, a drag queen tour guide and an F train oracle will compete on Thursday to be named Miss Subways 2017.

The City Reliquary Museum in Williamsburg will resurrect the historic New York City Subways Pageant on Thursday evening when a panel of celebrity judges will decide who best represents the MTA.

“In a night of performances spanning the classy, the trashy, the weird, and the whimsical, contestants will demonstrate their love for their subway line of choice,” organizers wrote on the museum website.

Contestants include Glace Chase, who describes herself as New York City’s only drag queen tour guide, Laura Von Holt, a mermaid with a fondness for the mythological Second Avenue Subway, and Rebecca Leib, the self-proclaimed F Train Oracle who will provide train line compatibility readings.

The event gives “a wink and a nod” to the Miss Subways beauty pageants — held in New York City from 1941 to 1977 — where straphangers competed for the honor of having their bios and photos posted in the subways.

Williamsburg Patch

NYC beefs up transit security after London bombing

Trains, stations, and bridges will be teeming with cops on Friday after both Gov. Cuomo and NTPD Commissioner James O’Neill ordered extra security in the wake of a terrorist attack in the London subway.

Multiple injured after ‘terrorist’ attack in London subway

“Out of an abundance of caution, I am directing state law enforcement to increase security at vital assets across New York, including airports, bridges, tunnels and mass transit systems,” Cuomo said in a statement early Friday.

O’Neill said cops are “closely monitoring” the situation.

The rush hour blast shook the London Underground, injuring nearly two dozen riders.

Photos from the scene show a scorched white bucket with wires coming out of it sitting on the subway floor.

Last Steam Passenger Train In New York State

Saw the following in Mark Tomlonson’s list of important dates in New York Central history.

“September 11, 1952 The last New York Central steam-powered commuter train leaves White Plains for Dover (NY), marking the end of steam on all NYC Divisions feeding New York City. (Some sources say September 13.)”

Actually, Dover Plains, not Dover.

We already covered the last steam in New York State: But that was a milk train (empties) from Harmon to Utica.

Elon Musk’s Hyperloop may have competition from a maglev train with $28 million in government funding

Serial entrepreneur Elon Musk wants to build a Hyperloop between Washington D.C. and New York to revolutionize East Coast transit.
But it could face competition from The Northeast Maglev (TNEM), a private company that aims to build a high-speed rail on the same route.
TNEM has secured a $28 million federal grant to study the maglev’s feasibility.

Elon Musk’s Boring Company has ambitious plans to revolutionize transportation by building a Hyperloop between New York and Washington D.C.

But it may have competition from a private company that has already made some progress with the US government.

The Northeast Maglev (TNEM), a private company, was founded in 2011 with the goal of building a high-speed rail between New York and the country’s capital. TNEM wants to first build the route between Washington D.C. and Baltimore before eventually extending it to New York.

TNEM said its rail would be able to transport passengers between Washington D.C. and Baltimore in just 15 minutes. Traversing D.C. to New York would take an hour.

By comparison, Amtrak’s Acela train, its fastest option, takes just under three hours.

The secret lies in bringing Japan’s maglev technology to the Northeast Corridor, TNEM CEO Wayne Rogers told Business Insider.

Maglev technology allows trains to magnetically levitate (hence the name) above a track, allowing them to achieve higher speeds than traditional rail lines.

A maglev train built by Central Japan Railway set a world speed record of 375 mph in 2015. The maglev will eventually connect Tokyo and Nagoya, but won’t open to the public until 2027.

Central Japan Railway, a private company, has said it will collaborate with TNEM on the US project.

“Our concept is to piggyback on all the work that they’ve already done,” Rogers said of working with Central Japan Railway.

TNEM has acquired a railroad franchise and a $28 million grant from Maryland’s Department of Transportation and Economic Development Corporation. The company has also collected $100 million in private funding.

The federal funding, secured in 2015, is being used to conduct an engineering feasibility analysis and environmental impact study for the Baltimore to Washington D.C. leg. That process could take another two years to complete, Rogers said.

Still, a maglev train won’t come cheap. The Baltimore-Washington D.C. route will alone cost “north of $10 billion,” Rogers said. He said tickets would cost “slightly more” than an Acela train, but declined to give specifics.

Central Japan Railways’ route between Tokyo and Nagoya is estimated at nearly $100 billion, according to the Associated Press. The astronomical price mostly comes from the cost of tunneling.

Maglev trains require a straight rail in order to operate safely. To ensure the alignment is perfectly straight, the majority of the Washington D.C. to Baltimore route will need to be constructed underground, Rogers said.

“Tunneling is the main cost and the main driver of schedule,” he said.

Musk’s Hyperloop would also travel in a vacuum-sealed tunnel. The Boring Company is looking to cut down costs by building a tunneling machine that can dig and place reinforcements in the wall at the same time, Musk said in April.

Not only will TNEM be tasked with raising enough funds for the project, but it will also face political obstacles. A maglev train would surely pose competition for the airline industry and Amtrak.

Rogers said the maglev should be seen as yet another addition to the growing transportation infrastructure in the US. Airlines could channel their resources toward more long-distance flights; Amtrak would still be a viable option for carrying freight and people looking for lower ticket prices.

Rogers also said it’s a more viable option than Musk’s Hyperloop because the technology is proven.

“My personal opinion is we are 15 to 20 years away from being able to build it and safely move people,” Rogers said of the Hyperloop.

Rogers’ has an optimistic outlook for a plan that has been in the works for six years, but still isn’t nearing construction. However, it’s arguably further along than Musk’s Hyperloop proposal, which has so far only secured “verbal approval” for construction.


Where’s all the money for transit?

When it comes to public transportation, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fiscal budget left transit riders empty handed with bad news.

He failed to provide any significant funding toward $2.5 billion promised to meet the shortfall in the $32 billion MTA five-year capital plan.

There was also no money to support the following:

• The commuter rail fare equalization proposal — this would allow residents to pay the same $2.75 fare on the Long Island Railroad or Metro-North, as riding the subway, and provide a free transfer to the subway.

• $200 million, which would have provided half-fare Metrocards for several hundred thousand poor residents earning less than $26,000 per year.

• $4.3 billion of the $6 billion total cost still needed to construct the second phase of the Second Avenue subway.

• $800 million to build the new 7 train station at 10th Avenue and 41st Street.

• $200 million new Metro-North Riverdale and West Bronx service to Penn Station.

• $600 million for Staten Island North Shore bus rapid transit.

• $15 billion for State Island West Shore bus rapid transit, along with new ferry services.

• $231 million for Woodhaven Boulevard select bus service.

• $100 million to construct light rail between Glendale and Long Island City on the old Montauk LIRR branch.

• $1 billion for restoration of LIRR services on the old Rockaway LIRR branch

• $2 billion for the Triboro X subway express, the new subway line connecting the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn.

• $100 million for Main Street Flushing Intermodal Bus Terminal.

• $2.5 billion for the Brooklyn-Queens Waterfront Street car connector at a cost of $2.5 billion, connecting various neighborhoods along the waterfront from Sunset Park, Brooklyn, to Astoria, Queens.

Where does Mayor de Blasio think the MTA and Gov. Cuomo will find the cash for all these projects? The federal transit administration may be possible funding sources for a handful of these projects. City Hall will have to contribute some significant funding if many of these projects will ever see the light of day.


Downtown Brooklyn’s Champion Aims to Take It Up a Notch

When Regina Myer took over last October as president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the neighborhood was already reaching for the sky. Residential skyscrapers had arrived; now comes a wave of office towers. As head of the not-for-profit, membership organization, Myer’s role is to ensure all that development meshes well, from the skyline down to the street level. An urban planner by training, she earlier directed redevelopment of the North Brooklyn waterfront, helped plan Manhattan’s huge Hudson Yards project, shaped the rezoning of Downtown Brooklyn and helmed the creation of Brooklyn Bridge Park. In her new role, Myer, a longtime Park Slope resident, intends to make downtown the most dynamic neighborhood in the city. The Bridge talked with her about her mission:
1. Downtown Brooklyn has really arrived. How did it happen?

You know, Downtown Brooklyn was always the center of the borough. It’s where our county courts are, and our borough president has his seat. But until MetroTech [was built] it didn’t have a real center for offices. What it did have is arguably the best mass transit in the city. The 2004 rezoning [allowing the construction of residential towers] based its vision for the future on a few things. One was that there was room for expansion, especially places like Willoughby Street and Flatbush Avenue. But it also realized that there was so much strength in Brooklyn already to build upon, and that a mixed-use neighborhood with residential [apartments] in a high-rise format would make sense for this area, given the transit system and phenomenal access to culture, parks and shopping.

What we’re seeing now, with all the construction fences coming down, is that we have a true mixed-use neighborhood that’s able to take advantage of all of those aspects. We have new offices coming to locate here. There are finally places to go have lunch and to have a business dinner and a drink after work.

Another thing is the retail. Fulton Street has long been one of New York’s great retail corridors. And it’s seeing a phenomenal resurgence now that we have a Macy’s that’s renovated and with the opening of City Point and its strong package of shopping and dining options that cater to downtown’s diverse population, as well as visitors from across the borough and around the city. There’s a really new, great energy to Fulton Street.
2. Where do you want to take it from here?

I want Downtown Brooklyn to be viewed as New York City’s great, great downtown. And we have so much potential to get there. I think as new buildings open, as new tenants come to Downtown Brooklyn, we also have the ability to focus on the landscape and the streetscape and make sure that the pedestrian environment really ties everything together.

I think we all know that we can be better connected. We can be better connected to the waterfront, for instance. Proposals like the Strand [pedestrian gateway] are very much on our mind because that proposal put forth this idea that the downtown should be connected to the waterfront and to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Our connections to the Navy Yard can be strong and meaningful as it evolves to a place where there’s more and more job growth. It’s a place where we can provide access to people at Farragut Houses and people at Whitman and Ingersoll houses to the resources of Downtown Brooklyn and the jobs in the Navy Yard. From New Lab [in the Navy Yard] to Metro Tech is not a far walk, but it’s not a pleasant walk right now.


NY City Suburban Area Realtors: THIS IS FOR YOU

Buyers LOVE the suburbs, but only when the commute is good to great!

Enter the “MAYBROOK LINE”. Years ago it was THE major freight railroad into New England. It went from Maybrook, New York; across the Great Bridge at Poughkeepsie; from Beacon across New York Syaye to Danbury and on to Cedar Hill in New Haven. We have a great historical document:

Over the years, railroad freight habits changed, mostly through mergers. The bridge at Poughkeepsie burned and the railroad line became dormant and is owned by New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

For a great look at today’s Beacon Line, we will refer you to Emily Moser’s great WebSite “I Ride The Harlem Line”

This is her map of the area we are covering.

Occasional excursions, equipment moves and storage, and maintenance with hi rail vehicles, have all taken place, albeit infrequently. Though the rails itself may not be in use, running along parts of the line is fiber optic cabling that is integral to Metro-North operations.

MTA issued a “Request for Expressions of Interest” regarding “all or part” of the line in 2016. But nothing came of it.

No, it is not practical as a rail line. What it could be practical for is a HYPERLOOP

This is the plan for a HYPERLOOP between Louisville and Chicago. Several options would work with the HYPERLOOP: The simplest would be Beacon on the Hudson Line, to Southeast on the Harlem Line.

Of course, the HYPERLOOP depends on clients! LOT of empty land along the route.

Projjal Dutta – Director, Sustainability Initiatives, NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Projjal Dutta

Director, Sustainability Initiatives

NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority


Twitter: @projjal


Company Twitter: @MTA

Please tell us your job responsibilities and day-to-day activities.

Projjal K. Dutta, is the NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s first-ever director of sustainability. Projjal has pioneered “Transit Avoided Carbon” – a verifiably- measurable reduction in regional greenhouse gas emissions attributable to transit. This commodity, potentially worth billions of dollars in an emissions marketplace, can
completely re-contour the carbon landscape. The value of avoided emissions, from MTA service alone, may be as high as $500 million annually. Currently conversation
is at an advanced stage to transact the first-ever sale of such avoided-emissions, in the voluntary market.

Other than quantifying the environmental benefits of transit and seeking a market for them, Projjal has led several initiatives to reduce transit’s own environmental footprintchiefly through energy-consumption and greenhouse gas emission reduction initiatives. Emissions per passenger-mile have reduced by 16% in the previous five years, although it is not possible to accurately attribute overall reductions to individual initiatives in an organization as vast and complex as the MTA. Projjal has also led climate-resilience efforts at the agency; these have gained added urgency with Hurricane Sandy’s onslaught.

Tell us your biggest environmental/sustainability challenge in 2017 and how you are addressing it.

Making the MTA resilient to climate change is our biggest challenge. For the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), climate change is not only an urgent reality, it is a reality to which all six MTA agencies are already devoting extensive financial, planning, and engineering resources. There is no responsible alternative. The science of climate change is well established. The damages to New York’s transportation assets by Superstorm Sandy in 2012 gave the MTA no feasible option but to rebuild the system in anticipation of rising sea levels and increasingly volatile weather events. A disaster recovery budget of $10.5 billion was approved in 2013. This rebuilding effort is well underway. Some of the most badly damaged parts of the MTA network—such as MTA New York City Transit’s (NYCT’s) Montague Tube under the East River—were repaired, fortified, and returned to full revenue service with speed and efficiency.

Is there a specific recent project or implementation you worked on at your company that you can share? Any tips you can share that would help colleagues at other companies who are contemplating similar projects?

The opening to public the first phase of Second Avenue Subway, a brand new line under Manhattan, the first such line in over 70 years, was a headline project for the MTA. I was a proud member of the team when it first went on the preliminary design board, about 16 years ago, and as a consultant. Since then I have moved on board the MTA itself, and continued to be associated with the project. The first ride on the subway, therefore, was a goosebump providing moment.

Please tell us what you see in the market in the next few years. What will be the biggest challenges the industry will face?

The Federal Government, the withdrawing of the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, and a general return to the days of fossil-fuel friendly policies signify the biggest challenge to sustainability and professionals who work toward making the world more sustainable. Much of the action, consequently, will happen at some, not all, state, regional, and local levels. Hopefully, unhindered by Federal policy.

Tell us about a favorite hobby, passion, or book you’ve read recently that has had an impact on you.

I like reading and traveling. Most recently I was a part of an official New York delegation to Berlin, Germany, to study how since 1992 Germany has moved to embrace green technologies and renewables, such that today almost 40% of all its energy is sourced from renewables, primarily wind and solar power. Although the naysayers had predicted that renewables as a fraction of the overall grid would never pass 5%, they are almost at 40%! On late evenings when there is not a lot of demand, as much as 80% of the grid can be powered by renewables. And Germany is not a small country or economy. This is inspiring.


by Jennifer Hermes