Tag Archives: NY City Subway

MTA opens landmark Fulton Center in Lower Manhattan

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) recently  unveiled the Fulton Center, a fully digital transit and retail hub located at the crossroads of Lower Manhattan on Broadway and John and Fulton streets in New York City.
Fulton Center Map
Fulton Center Map
MTA officials described the facility as the city’s “next great public place,” and one that integrates architectural ingenuity that fuses history, art and sustainable engineering.
The $1.4 billion Fulton Center was funded with $847 million from a special congressional appropriation granted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Known as the Lower Manhattan Recovery Grants, the funds were intended for local transit agencies to repair, replace and enhance transportation infrastructure in Lower Manhattan. The MTA provided $130 million for the project, which also received $423 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the act’s largest single award, MTA officials said in a press release.

“The new Fulton Center facility sends a clear message that the United States is committed to building transportation infrastructure that will move our country’s economy forward,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We’re proud to celebrate this milestone, but we must do more. We are committed to working with Congress to find bipartisan solutions that will help New York continue to revitalize its infrastructure in the years ahead.”

The project include the restoration of the 125-year-old Corbin Building, which will provide additional public access to the Fulton Center. The center will house 66,000 square feet of retail and commercial space and the MTA’s largest digital media program, both of which are being managed and operated by Westfield Corp.

Inside the Fulton Center
Inside the Fulton Center
The MTA uploaded a video onto it’s YouTube channel yesterday detailing the some of the recent happenings at the Fulton Street Transit Center. It talks about the new Dey Street entrance and some of the station’s features inside.

You can view the video here: Fulton Center – 10/26/2012 Update

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New York City Subway Breaks Ridership Records In September

MTA New York City Transit’s (NYCT) ridership reached unprecedented milestones in September, breaking the previous single-day ridership record five times in a single month, agency officials announced yesterday.

Newly available figures show 6,106,694 riders took the subway on Sept. 23, making it the highest daily ridership ever since figures were first recorded in 1985. Four other September days also registered more than 6 million passengers, and the 149 million riders for the month were more than in any other September in more than 60 years, according to NYCT. The previous ridership record of 5,987,595 was set on Oct. 24, 2013.

“This is a phenomenal achievement for a system that carried 3.6 million daily customers just 20 years ago,” said Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Prendergast in a press release. “As ridership increases, the MTA Capital Program is vital to fund new subway cars, higher-capacity signal systems and improved stations to meet our customers’ growing needs and rising expectations.”

Record-breaking ridership was recorded on September weekends, as well. Fueled by ridership generated by the People’s Climate March, 2,953,948 passengers rode the subway on Sept. 21, the highest Sunday ridership since 1985 and likely the highest since the late 1940s, MTA officials said.

“The trend towards increasing ridership is not expected to slow down. Improved transit services, combined with a growing population and an improved economy, have resulted in the strongest subway ridership growth occurring among discretionary riders and during off-peak times,” said NYCT President Carmen Bianco.

Now for the Penney Vanderbilt take on the subway:Last time I rode, the newest cars in the fleet were R68’s. Last weekend I was riding all sorts of new  cars, especially the R143.
 R-143 car. Much different than the R 1-10 cars at topR-143 car. Much different than the R 1-10 cars at top

The MTA is adjusting to life of no huge budgets. Yes the 2nd Avenue Subway is coming someday. But in the meantime, they have “optimized” the 4-5-6  IRT lines into what is probably the most efficient model based on the restraints like tunnel size in the whole World.
But instead of ignoring lower-density  lines, they have improved them. THIS IS WHERE I THINK A LOT OF THE INCREASED RIDERSHIP IS COMING FROM.

Let’s take the BMT Canarsie Line, the ‘L TRAIN’. Used to be dirty, poor track conditions, crummy cars. My hotel last weekend was in Brooklyn on the L Train (New York Loft Hostel ……….HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
Back to the L Train: NEW CARS: Model R-143 (crème de la crème, the best of the best) in the system.  Track and signals working perfectly. Stations fixed up (not replaced at 100 times the cost). Those classic 1928 stations with the white tiles are much nicer than the new plastic stations.
Funny thing is the renovations have spilled over into sections of Brooklyn (like where the New York Loft Hostel is.)

‘Big Ideas’ for transit: subway beacons, data stories, smart helmets

What if subway passengers agreed to let the M.T.A. know where they are in the system using their cell phones?

That was the premise of a futuristic—but not necessarily unrealistic—vision presented Tuesday night at an installment of the N.Y.U. Rudin Center’s “Transportation Innovation: Short Talks, Big Ideas” series.

The same week that the M.T.A. unveiled a $32 billion capital plan, which repeatedly mentions technology investments, many of the night’s presentations imagined an even more ambitious path forward for transit, transportation and technology.

Neysa Pranger, director of consulting at Control Group—the New York-based innovation strategy firm that runs the new information kiosks in subway stations and has also expressed interest in the city’s plan to reinvent payphones as WiFi hotspots—focused on the potential of beacon technology.

Until recently, Pranger noted, the M.T.A. mainly engaged in one-way communication with customers through maps, subway diversion notices, countdown clocks and advertisements and did not “ask riders to provide any information.” With new types of antenna technology that can detect cell phone locations, she described how the ability to “push back contextually relevant” information could improve the passenger experience.

If the M.T.A. could communicate with riders in transit, she said, it could transmit back information to their cell phones to offer subway seat-finder tools, personalized platform directions, travel alerts or wayfinding instructions for non-English speakers. She also suggested that it could allow the M.T.A. to offer more demand-responsive service by deploying an extra bus or train.

“Can this happen? We think people are ready,” she said, pointing to integration opportunities with the subway kiosks, subway station WiFi and frictionless payment systems.

Other presenters focused on how data analysis could help to understand pedestrian and commuter flows in neighborhoods and inform policy decisions.

“Our ability to collect and store data has outpaced our ability to comprehend it,” said Richard Dunks, a master’s student in the Applied Urban Science and Informatics program at N.Y.U.’s year-old Center for Urban Science and Progress, and a former intern with the Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics. He presented a recent project to visualize and analyze information generated by urban data sources on Water Street in Lower Manhattan. The project was a submission to the city’s recent Big Apps software development competition with Jeff Ferzoco, owner of the mapping and design firm linepointpath.


Their visualization drew on data from Big Belly smart trash cans, Citi Bike dock data, wireless access point data and 311 data from  one day in July to illustrate the patterns of docks filling and emptying, trash cans filling up and being emptied, and WiFi usage spiking as workers enter the neighborhood. Those patterns can reveal “data stories,” he said.

“You can see people having lunch,” he said, pointing to the usage of trash cans near public seating areas. “You can see that people working in Lower Manhattan are commuting in on Citi Bikes.” Without such analysis, he said, the data “is wasted.”

Arlene Ducao, an adjunct professor at N.Y.U. Tisch’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, showcased her MindRider application, which maps data collected from a modified bicycle helmet using EEG sensors to track the mind’s state of relaxation and concentration. The project, which she first began at M.I.T. Media Lab, now has several beta testers who are transmitting data as they cycle around the city. Examining the maps of that data indicates riders’ spikes in concentration as they approach bridges, encounter tricky traffic or interact with other riders.


Now, Ducao and other members of her team have begun an effort to overlay and compare concentration spike hotspots from the MindRinder application with a map of traffic accident hotspots from NYPD crash data and explore possible patterns.

Two city agencies were represented at the event. Ryan Russo, assistant commissioner at the Department of Transportation, focused on Vision Zero, the Swedish traffic-safety plan that has been embraced by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Beyond past efforts to reegineer streets and the recent increase in speed cameras, Russo described how the department was using data and mapping to create pedestrian safety plans for all five boroughs. That effort involves heat-mapping priority areas that, for example, indicate the locations of 50 percent of the serious traffic accidents in Brooklyn.

In addition to hosting forums where New Yorkers can raise traffic concerns and show danger areas on maps in person, Russo noted that D.O.T.  had also collected over 12,000 inputs to its online interactive Vision Zero map aimed at crowdsourcing dangerous traffic spots, which highlighted that speeding was one of the top concerns.

Malinda Foy from M.T.A. Bridges and Tunnels spoke about open-road tolling using E-Z Pass.

Paul Salama, senior planner at WXY architecture + urban design, discussed the technological infrastructure necessary to promote green loading zones for zero-emission commercial vehicles in the city.

The final speaker, John Biggs, East Coast editor of Techcrunch, described how he “reduced all the problems from transit and traffic through magic” in his children’s bookMytro. And though his invisible train system is fiction, he suggested that such an idea was reflected in a number of new travel-related inventions, including telepresence robots, Google’s self-driving cars and the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Those innovations, he said, correspond to the transportation priorities of tech enthusiasts he speaks to: “Traveling without moving, constant contact and travel as a last resort.”

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Trust for Public Land to plan conversion of railroad track into Queens Highline


Engineers, architects and planners are about to spend the next year figuring out whether 3 1/2 miles of abandoned railroad track can be transformed into Queens’ version of the High Line. In case you missed it, the old New York Central West Side Freight Line was “transformed” into the High Line.

The experts will perform engineering studies to test the deteriorating track beds, which have been abandoned for more than 50 years; they’ll meet with residents and merchants, and they’ll determine whether the massive project is workable as they develop plans.

Two city-based firms — WXY architecture + urban design and dlandstudio — edged out a field of more than two dozen applicants for the right to envision the park, which would run along the old Long Island Railroad Rockaway Beach railroad tracks from Rego Park to Ozone Park.
It is 3 1/2 miles long and would become a biking and walking trail.
While it would involve the neighborhood and has a lot of local support, a lot of people think the rail line should be re-activated and provide better transportation to New York City.
The Long Island Railroad Rockaway Beach Branch diverged from the LIRR’s Main Line in Rego Park at about 66th Avenue at what was called Whitepot Junction. It ran south through the neighborhoods of Middle Village, Woodhaven, Ozone Park, Howard Beach, across Jamaica Bay and through Broad Channel, and on to the Rockaway Peninsula, where one spur continued east and rejoined the LIRR in Far Rockaway, and the other went west and dead-ended at Beach 116th Street at the Rockaway Park station.
There was a plan to attach the LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch line to the IND subway. However, the Depression forced the IND to shelve that plan…but not before installing signage in some of its stations pointing to a Rockaway connection that was never built!
Frequent fires on the wooden trestle crossing Jamaica Bay impelled the LIRR to close the old line. It was purchased by New York City, which rebuilt the tracks and began subway service to the Rockaways in 1956.
The northern end of the line above Liberty Avenue remained in service until 1962, when declining patronage convinced the LIRR to close it down.