MTA Pays $1.2M To Settle Lawsuit

The MTA is shelling out the dough as it was just discovered that the agency had to pay out $1.2 million to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit from Black & Hispanic transit cops. Reuven Blau of the New York Daily News has more in this exclusive:

The MTA quietly paid $1.2 million to settle a lawsuit brought by a group of black and Hispanic transit cops who accused the agency of condoning and encouraging racial discrimination.

The 10 plaintiffs — current and former officers, detectives and sergeants — argued that they were regularly subjected to racial slurs, skipped over for promotions, and blocked from getting prized overtime assignments.

The suit said 96% of the agency’s captains and other supervisors are white.

MTA officials spent eight years fighting the case in federal court. The plaintiffs had originally sought $8 million in damages.

The settlement — the largest tied to a case against the MTA in at least five years — was issued on Aug. 24, according to data obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request.

The 48-page suit listed a host of racial discrimination allegations.

“The MTA Police Department is permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule and insult whereby supervisors disparage the abilities of African-American and Hispanic officers and cause them to feel as though they are continually at risk of discipline,” the lawsuit alleges.

When officers protested about the unfair treatment, their bosses retaliated by denying them promotions and training, the suit claims. The officers who complained were given menial and demeaning jobs and denied access to overtime, according to the lawsuit.

Click here for the complete report.

Let us face reality here, while the MTA is on record about the case stating “Settling this case without admitting any wrongdoing was in the best interest of the MTA and the public that funds us”, they were in the wrong & would have had no issues dragging this case out longer if the plaintiffs wanted to do so.

When you are innocent, you do not settle especially when you have the deeper pockets to afford to pay for the proof of innocence. Plus I know from my experience knowing people who have or continue to work at the agency in various levels that looking down on minorities is nothing new.

My main goal is that this treatment will eventually stop but the reality is it probably never will unless changes in the culture are made. Until they are, we can expect the MTA to keep dishing out the cash.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Approves 2015-2019 Capital Program

This past Wednesday, the MTA approved its 2015-2019 Capital Program which includes $3 billion in cost reductions. Here is more via official press release:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board today approved its 2015-19 Capital Program, the largest investment ever in the subways, buses, railroads, bridges and tunnels that keep New York moving.

The Capital Program will buy thousands of new subway cars, train cars and buses; invest $2.8 billion in subway station improvements; finish installing Positive Train Control on Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR); bring countdown clocks to the majority of subway stations; begin work on extending the Second Avenue Subway to East Harlem; build a new LIRR station in Elmhurst, Queens; and construct four new Metro-North stations in underserved areas of the Bronx.

“Since our first Capital Program in 1982, we have invested more than $100 billion to rescue our mass transit network from near-collapse and make it an engine of growth for the entire region,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “Thanks to the leadership of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the hard work of our dedicated MTA staff, this revised Capital Program will reduce costs and deliver projects more efficiently without cutting any projects or the benefits they will bring to our customers.”

The revised Program totals $29 billion, almost 10% less than the $32 billion Program first proposed a year ago. It includes $21.6 billion in core investments in the MTA’s subways, buses and railroads; $4.5 billion for the East Side Access, Penn Access and Second Avenue Subway projects; and $2.9 billion for MTA Bridges and Tunnels.

The Program is fully funded with $11.8 billion in MTA funds, an $8.3 billion commitment from Governor Cuomo, $6.4 billion in federal funds and $2.5 billion committed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

To deliver these projects at a lower cost, the MTA will use innovative methods such as design-build, negotiated procurement processes and public-private partnerships to operate more efficiently, spread risk more broadly and take advantage of innovative techniques. The MTA will continue its strategy of replacing deteriorated components, rather than entire systems, which has been successful in addressing subway station conditions and will now be expanded to power supplies, subway structures and other areas. The MTA will also transform how it works with contractors on projects, recognizing that becoming a better business partner can bring down costs.

The 2015-19 Capital Program includes full details on all project spending and efficiencies as well as revenue sources, and is available on the MTA website at Following today’s approval by the MTA Board, the 2015-19 Capital Program will be submitted to the state Capital Program Review Board (CPRB) for approval. The CPRB is composed of one voting representative each from the Governor’s Office, the Senate and the Assembly, as well as from the Mayor of the City of New York for the New York City Transit portion of the program. By statute, if the CPRB does not veto the Capital Program within the next 30 days, the MTA can begin pursuing projects in the Capital Program. The Bridges and Tunnels portion of the Capital Program is entirely funded by tolls and does not require CPRB approval.

Click here to view a .pdf with details on the 2015-2019 Capital Program.

Now while the $3 billion in cost reductions is a nice touch, it should come as no surprise that it sugarcoats one of the main stories which is that $1 billion of those savings comes on the back of Phase 2 of the much needed Second Avenue Subway project.

Needless to say that many across the city are not happy & as expected we have plenty of finger pointing going on. Regardless of who believes what, one thing is certain & that is the fact it is inexcusable that the MTA has been forced to push back a lot of Phase 2 until the 2020-2024 Capital Program.

When will we have elected officials who will fight for the transit starved constituents that make up our region? Until we do, we the riders will continue to suffer the most while our so called leaders play the pass the blame game around. How sad…..

xoxo Transit Blogger

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South Ferry St. Entrance Closes For 9 Months

The effects of Hurricane Sandy are still being felt in our region from the homes of thousands to our transit infrastructure. While the MTA did a fantastic job getting up & running again, the agency continues the need to repair the damage caused.

Next up is the South Ferry-Whitehall Street station which will have one of its entrances closed for 9 months. Here is more via the official press release I received:

The Whitehall St-South Ferry 1R Station is currently undergoing a $193.8 million rehabilitation. Completion of this project necessitates that the main entrance to the station be closed to pedestrian traffic for nine months starting Monday, November 2, 2015 until August 2016.

During this period, customers can access the Whitehall St-South Ferry 1R complex through the Staten Island Ferry terminal building or across the street at the Whitehall Street entrance.
In October 2012, Superstorm Sandy sent 15 million gallons of salt water into the new South Ferry station, destroying all electrical and mechanical systems and components and filling the entire structure from the track level to the mezzanine, a depth of 80 feet. The flood water, a mix of seawater, sewage, and debris, caused extensive damage to the station and critical equipment.

The ongoing 31-month rehabilitation project includes leak mitigation, replacement of track, mechanical, electrical, signal, and communications equipment, as well as ceiling and wall panels and other damaged assets.

The station has already been hardened to protect it from a storm surge with temporary watertight panels that can be installed on the street level. As part of the ongoing work, these panels will be switched out for permanent watertight doors. Below grade, redundant flood mitigation features will be added, including flood barrier walls between stations (South Ferry Loop Station and Whitehall Street Station). Watertight doors will also be installed to protect critical rooms, and louver covers will be installed on interior walls at critical rooms. Other entry points for water such as vents, manholes and hatches, conduits, and ducts will also be hardened.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Metro North Dedicates New Parking Garage

This past Friday, MTA Metro-North Railroad dedicated a new parking garage at the North White Plains Station. Here is more via the official press release I received:

MTA Metro-North Railroad President Joseph Giulietti was joined today by federal, state and local officials at the ribbon-cutting for the newly completed North White Plains Parking Garage located at the southeast corner of Bond Street and Haarlem Avenue, across from the Metro-North North White Plains train station. North White Plains station is one of the busiest stations in Metro-North’s service area, serving almost 2,200 customers during the weekday and almost 1,300 riders on the weekend.

The 186,000 square foot, 500 parking space garage, which provides a net additional 391 parking spaces around the station, opened to the public on October 5. It includes three floors of permit parking (on the first, second and third floors) and two floors of metered parking (on the fourth floor and roof) including spaces on the first and second floors that are accessible to disabled customers through the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Electric vehicle charging stations are available on the second floor and scooter parking is available on all floors except for the roof. Bicycle racks and storage are located inside the building.

“I am so proud to cut the ribbon today on a facility that will serve the needs of our commuters who must drive to their station, and also recognizes the importance of multi-modal access,” said Metro-North Railroad President Joseph Giulietti. “The fact that it was completed in a timely, cost-effective way confirms our continued commitment to our customers.”

Numerous community improvements make the area around the garage more pedestrian-friendly.
These enhancements include planted landscaping, several new crosswalks, and a new traffic and pedestrian signal at the intersection of Bond Street, Broadway and Otis Avenue. New decorative lighting includes the installation of architectural light poles around the perimeter of the garage with nine additional poles installed on Bond Street and Broadway.

The City of White Plains, with the support of Metro-North, converted Haarlem Avenue to a two-way street from Bond Street to the garage entrance making it easier for our customers to use the garage from both directions.

The garage also has a storefront retail space along Haarlem Avenue that is available to provide customer compatible service. And, there’s a new “Kiss-n-Ride” area at the North White Plains Station that accommodates drop-offs, as well as a taxi queue.

Another unique feature of the North White Plains Parking Garage is the site-specific artwork commissioned by MTA Arts & Design. The selection from Situ Studio, titled Percolate, features various forms of vaporizing droplets referencing the role water has played in the history of White Plains, going back to the “heavy mist” that gave the city its name, as well as the Kensico reservoir which provides New York City with water. Percolate consists of approximately 125 stainless steel panels in ever-changing forms of water bubbles that clad the metal mesh, appearing as a natural formation on the facade of the building.

A contract was awarded in 2013, to design and build the garage, following a preliminary design. The work included demolition of an existing 109-space parking garage, an existing maintenance building, a small surface lot and several utility sheds. The Design/Build process allowed for some construction to take place during demolition and without disrupting utility service to the office building at 525 North Broadway.

The preliminary design for the project was performed by Gannett Fleming Engineers and Architects. Prismatic Development was the design builder and the URS Corporation provided construction inspection and supervision. A team of several firms including Clarke Caton Hintz, Langan Engineering, FST Engineering and Kelter & Gilligo Consulting Engineers ensured that the element and assembly designs were consistent with the preliminary vision.

The project, which was funded entirely by a $41.8 million federal Congestion Mitigation / Air Quality grant and completed under budget, accommodates the increased demand for parking at North White Plains Station as Metro-North ridership continues to grow. This investment, as well as those associated with the MTA Capital Plan, demonstrate the increased need to upgrade, expand and keep our transit system reliable for the entire region.

Metro-North Railroad was able to accomplish the work in an efficient and convenient manner with the cooperation of Westchester County, the city of White Plains, the town of North Castle, Consolidated Edison, New York State Department of Transportation and the United States Department of Transportation.

The North White Plains Parking Garage is operated by LAZ Parking. An on-site attendant is in the garage Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The base fee for daily meters is $7.25 for 16 hours. The base fee for a 12 month permit is $1,136. Free weekend and holiday parking is available in all spaces. For more information about the facility, visit:

US Senator Charles E. Schumer said: “I am proud to be a part of this new parking garage dedication, which will serve thousands of commuting residents in White Plains and elsewhere, who rely on Metro-North for their daily commute, weekend trips and transportation into the
NYC metropolitan area. As any commuter knows, finding safe, available parking at the North White Plains Train Station has been a struggle, and this new facility will go a long way in making the daily commute more efficient and practical for all Metro-North customers who come here every day. This shows when working with our local, state and federal stakeholders, we can make meaningful progress to enhance the commuters’ daily life right here in Westchester County.”

US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said: “The new parking garage at the North White Plains train station is part of a critical upgrade of public transit for Westchester. This federal investment in our transportation infrastructure, which created almost 400 additional parking spaces, plus bicycle parking, and electric car charging stations, improves the daily experience for commuters and benefits our environment.”

US Representative Nita Lowey said: “By increasing convenience for Metro North riders, we can take some of the hassle out of the daily commute. I’m pleased that a $41.8 million federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant fully funded the construction of this new North White Plains Station garage. Residents of the Lower Hudson Valley send their hard-earned tax dollars to Washington each day, and this return on that investment is already providing better parking options for commuters. I will continue working as Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee to ensure our region’s transportation needs are met.”

New York State Senator George Latimer said: “Investing in our infrastructure is a wise investment. When the services supporting our commuter rail system are improved, it bolsters the entire system. We will have more commuters using using the trains, which is good for the environment. The station will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which means greater access for all. Today is a good day to be a Metro-North traveler.”

New York State Assemblyman David Buchwald said: “When I was a Common Council Member in White Plains, the plans for this commuter parking garage were presented. Now, as a State Assemblyman representing nine towns in Westchester, it is great to see this new facility open for all who use the North White Plains Metro-North station. It is important that Metro-North has worked to take into account the concerns of area residents in order to get to this occasion.”

Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino said: “Metro-North is part of the lifeblood of commerce for Westchester, New York City and the region. The county was proud to support this project, which will provide an additional 500, much-in-demand parking spaces in North White Plains. Getting people out of their cars and onto mass transit is a boost for the economy and the environment.”

Westchester County Legislator Benjamin Boykin II said: “I am pleased that we have a new parking facility for the North White Plains Metro-North Railroad Station that provides increased parking for customers. The facility incorporates energy efficient technology such as electric vehicle charging stations and provides spaces for scooter parking while enhancing pedestrian safety. This new expanded facility was built due to the importance of this station to the region’s mass transit system. The beautiful water inspired art work which is incorporated into the façade of the building is specific to the history of White Plains, which was named from the Indian word “Quarropas” or white marshes or plains.”

White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach said: “We value our relationship with MTA Metro-North. With two very active stations within the City, I believe it is important that we work together for the benefit of our mutual constituents. I’m pleased to say that this was the case with the new garage, as illustrated by the pedestrian-friendly improvements to the site, which Metro-North took very seriously and worked cooperatively with us to achieve.”

xoxo Transit Blogger

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FASTRACK Returns To The E

Riders of the E Train in Queens should take note that beginning tonight & for 4 consecutive nights, FASTRACK will be returning. Here are more details via the official press release I received:

MTA New York City Transit’s FASTRACK program returns to the E line along a portion of Queens Boulevard. For four consecutive weeknights, beginning Monday, November 2, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., to early Friday morning, November 6, E service will be suspended in both directions between Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer and Briarwood. E trains will operate on its normal route between World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan and Briarwood, at that point, trains will be rerouted via the F line to/from Jamaica-179 St.
As a travel alternative, customers are advised to use free shuttle buses operating between Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer and Kew Gardens-Union Tpke, making station stops at Sutphin Blvd-Archer Av, Jamaica-Van Wyck, and Briarwood. Transfer between E trains and free shuttle buses at Kew Gardens-Union Tpke or Briarwood. For additional connections between Manhattan and Jamaica Center, consider using the A and J via free transfer at Broadway Junction. The A also connects with the JFK AirTrain at Howard Beach.

Joseph Leader, Senior Vice President for the Department of Subways, said, “All subway stakeholders win with FASTRACK. Workers have a better and safer work environment, customers benefit from better train service, improved aesthetics and increased reliability, and more work is performed in a shorter amount of time.”

During our previous FASTRACK in September 2015, train service was suspended for four consecutive nights between Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer and Briarwood, as NYC Transit workers took full advantage of the seven hours of train-free access each night to perform a range of cleaning and maintenance tasks of station and tunnel infrastructure, signal equipment, and track and third rail components. Track workers scraped and cleaned 7,765 feet of track, cleaned 815 feet of track under and around the third rail, installed 306 track plates, and 15 rails. Infrastructure workers repaired 42 leaks, while signal crews performed maintenance work on signal equipment. At stations, workers replaced 612 light bulbs, washed 315 fixtures and replaced 19 platform signs. This represents only a portion of the work completed during this FASTRACK diversion.

FASTRACK has been designed around the careful determination that there is adequate alternate means of transportation, including enhanced services along some bus lines during work periods. Alternative transportation options will be detailed in announcements and posters on trains, in stations and on selected buses; brochures will be available in both English and Spanish. Information on this FASTRACK is available on the web at

FASTRACK was introduced in January 2012, devoting four straight weeknights to perform maintenance work in tunnels, stations and on tracks, completely suspending service within a given line segment for a seven-hour period between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., allowing an army of maintenance workers to perform dozens of tasks.

Our next FASTRACK overnight closure is scheduled to begin Monday night November 9, and ending early Friday morning, November 13, on the A line between 59 St and 168 St, and on the D line between 59 St and 161 St-Yankee Stadium.

The changes have been noted on the service diversions page which can be viewed by clicking here.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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