MTA Capital Constuction President Discusses The Fulton Transit Center

As you know by now, the MTA recently appointed a new Capital Construction President. One of his first promises was in his words an “elegant” Fulton Transit Center. He shared his views with the New York Daily News. Here is the report from Pete Donohue:

The MTA’s new construction chief is committed to building a glass-walled Fulton Transit Center in lower Manhattan that maintains many “elegant” characteristics of earlier plans.

“We are going to make sure the project is delivered,” Capital Construction Co. President Michael Horodniceanu told the Daily News. “It will be aboveground. It will be transparent. The same elegant look will exist.”

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority startled business leaders and elected officials earlier this year by saying it couldn’t afford the glass-domed entrance building that was to rise above the subway complex at Broadway and Fulton St. because of soaring construction costs.

A new completion date hasn’t been set for the hub project that emerged in the post-9/11 revitalization of lower Manhattan.

Horodniceanu, who last week took the post vacated by Mysore Nagaraja, suggested the dome itself may not make the cut. But the final version will feature skylights allowing light to filter down to the main mezzanine, he said. He also wants to increase the amount of retail space, previously set at 24,500 square feet.

“This is, after all, one of the most important things that we’ve done from a transportation point of view, from a hub point of view, in many years,” he said.

That’s encouraging to Elizabeth Berger, head of the Downtown Alliance for New York. “What is really important is we get on with it and the MTA builds what they said they would build – an above-grade, iconic transportation center with retail – and that they build it now,” she said.

The Transit Center’s budget is set at $1.2 billion. The MTA has about $900 million for it, mostly in federal funds. Horodniceanu said he’s looking to make cost-cutting design changes, but that won’t fill the gap, officials concede.

The MTA has indicated there is still much uncertainty.

“We …are working with our funding partners to identify sufficient funding for an aboveground structure that would satisfy the commitments made to the community,” an MTA statement said.

I sincerely hope he is serious about getting this project completed. As I’ve stated in the past, this is a sorely needed project & would do wonders for the millions of riders it would serve each year. At this point I just want it built as the functionality of it is more important than its looks.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Most Subway Cars Are Well Air Conditioned

E Train
Resized photo courtesy of

Picture it, Sicily 1923, a young peasant girl…… oops sorry I was having a Golden Girls moment there (I still love that show & by the way R.I.P. Estelle Getty!). Now that I am back with all you, I do want you to picture something, it is the summer & the temperature outside is a sweltering 95 degrees outside & almost 110 degrees on the platform. You are fanning yourself as if any little air you can muster will help beat the heat. As you stare down into the tunnel, you see the lights of an oncoming train. You keep staring thinking your eyes will bring it to the platform faster. It finally arrives & you feel saved from the world’s worst opponent, the heat! The question is are you really saved? If you go by statistics from the MTA’s NYC Transit, you are!

In today’s edition of the New York Daily News, Pete Donohue w/Kamelia Angelova will have a report about the NYC Transit report that gives high marks for the air conditioning in NYC Subway cars. Here is a brief sample of his report:

Baby, it’s cool down there – except on the E train.

Subway riders on the E line have the highest chance of getting stuck on a sweltering subway car because of faulty air conditioning, NYC Transit statistics reveal.

An impressive 97.3% of all subway cars were adequately chilled by NYC Transit’s standards when checked by transit workers in June and July, according to agency data.

The number of cars without air conditioning was cut virtually in half from 5.2% last summer to 2.7% this year.

But just 83% of E-line cars were 78 degrees or cooler.

Click here to read the entire report.

Here is the entire list with their car passing percentage:

I am going to test my sister later today when I speak to her. I’m going to ask if she could guess which line had the lowest passing grade for air conditioned cars. I strongly believe she will accurately guess the E train. For years she has rode the line when she was not driving her car & during the summer she would complain about the air condition in the line’s cars. Either she would complain about it not working properly or even worse not working at all. I can’t wait to hear that tone of disgust in her voice when we discuss this report. Good times, well not for her.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Imagine Rush Hour Trains With No Seats

Sounds far fetched & fantasy like right? If you answered yes, you answered incorrectly. The big news over the weekend in the world of local transportation was the MTA’s plan to eliminate seats in 4 out of 10 cars on a train as part of a pilot program. Pete Donohue of the New York Daily News has the story:

It will be standing room only – literally – when NYC Transit runs some subway cars without any seats, hoping to squeeze more riders inside.

The agency is planning a pilot program featuring a train with flipup seats in four of 10 cars.

The flipup seats will be locked in the up position during rush hours, meaning everyone inside the car will have to stand, the Daily News has learned.

“Each car will be able to carry more people,” NYC Transit President Howard Roberts said of the no-sitting strategy. “It means more capacity. It gives the ability to pick up more people, and have fewer people left on the platform waiting for the next train.”

After rush hours, workers will unlock the flipup seats for riders to use, Roberts said.

Click here to read the full story.

This is a ridiculous idea which causes more harm than good. On paper it sounds nice to approximately squeeze in up to 18% more riders on a single train. However realistically do you think this number will even be reached. We already know how protective straphangers are with any little space they have. Do you really think they will welcome even more people into an already packed subway car? I don’t think so. A plan like this will only lead to more delays as people try desperately to squeeze into the train.

Just think for a moment how most straphangers already sit on top of one another when seats are available. Take this away & all they will do is stand on top of each other. How is this supposed to be a good idea again? We can also factor in people wanting to bring in more packages or strollers fully open as they think extra space is there for the taking. Once again this does not improve our riding experience, it makes it even worse.

What is comical is how you know there will be riders defending this idea as being great. I ask them what about the elderly or disable who ride. How is this not a safety hazard for them? What about the people who get on at or around the beginning of the line? I guess for those who don’t have that luxury, they could care less as they usually have to stand. I’m sure we’ll have your typical selfish riders who are thrilled at others being inconvenienced. I am not surprised at this as for too long people who are fortunate to board at prime stops for seating are looked down as if they are wrong for having seats. I’m sure somewhere I’ll hear or read how this should benefit more riders & is more important the so called “need for seats” for others. Save it….

The real issue here is once again our transit infrastructure is to blame for such ridiculous ideas as this being implemented. If we did not have to deal with an aging signal system, more trains could be run to help deal with the already crowded subway. Instead of putting all their attention on what they should, we as riders have to put up with idiotic stop-gap measures. Plugging a hole in a pipe with a piece of gum is never a good idea as eventually you will have to do what you needed to do all along, change the pipe.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Editorial On LIRR Third Rail Project

Last month I wrote about the LIRR Third Rail project & how important it was to the overall transit infrastructure of Long Island. In Friday’s edition of Newsday, Jeffrey M. Zupan of the Regional Plan Association discussed the importance of the project in an editorial. Here is a small sample of it:

The recent announcement by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that it is seeking fare increases for next year has grabbed most of the headlines, but there’s another worrisome transit development for Long Islanders. The Long Island Rail Road announced last month that it’s considering deferring the construction of a third track on its main line between Queens Village and Hicksville. Both an underfunded MTA capital program and the opposition of adjacent property owners may derail the project.

But deferment of this project would be a setback for every Long Islander, as it would provide much-needed rail service within Long Island, give Island employers access to a vast new workforce from New York City, and give many additional Long Island residents and workers an alternative to $4.50-a-gallon gas.

The LIRR has long been a sleeping giant, unable to fully serve the Island because of the constraints imposed by the limited two-track, 11 1/2 mile stretch of its main line. This bottleneck is necessarily programmed to serve its major market into Manhattan, so it can’t serve other markets well.

Click here to read the complete editorial.

I agree with just about all the points made by Jeffery in his editorial. The only part I am not completely sold on is the tie in with the East Side Access project. While I understand it is considered a major project, I just do not personally feel it is as important as this third rail project. The third rail project would clearly benefit many more riders than East Side Access would. If one gets done, the other should be done at the same time. If the funding is not there to complete both simultaneously, I say complete the third rail project first.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Service Diversions 08-01

I have just updated the service diversions page with the latest scheduled diversions for this weekend plus next week (and beyond in some cases). Don’t forget to check in for any changes to the page. I also suggest printing out a copy of the page to use while riding the system.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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