Mets Express To Return Next Season

Shea Stadium
Sign at the Willets Point-Shea Stadium station; Resized photo courtesy of Eye On Transit

Yesterday the MTA made an announcement that will have many New York Mets fans smiling from ear to ear. At the City Council Transportation Committee hearing, New York City Transit Senior Director of Operations Analysis Larry Gould had plenty to say about the “Mets Express” that served as an experiment last year after weeknight home games. Here is what he said:

The express, most people would say it has been a success. I mean, we learned some things, as to how exactly when to start it, relative to the end of a game and such. But about 70 or 80 percent of the customers chose the express. And so the odds are that experiment will continue.”

He also went on to say that the MTA will consider adding weekend express service after games. However amidst all of this great news, Flushing Democrat City Councilman John Liu, who happens to be the chairman of the Transportation Committee, chimed in with a request. He requested the MTA look into adding express service for patrons of the U.S. Open. He stated, “I would just encourage you to take a look at the Mets experience. It’s not that difficult to make the leap to the U.S. Open matches.” Mr. Gould said the MTA would look into the option.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Gives The Gift Of The “Nostalgia Train” This Holiday Season

The MTA is obviously in a giving mood this holiday season. Why do you ask? Well simply because they are giving straphangers, especially railfans like myself the gift of the”Nostalgia Train” as a gift this holiday season. The MTA will run the “Nostalgia Train” on the between the hours of 10 am & 5 pm every Sunday from December 2nd to December 30th.

I am excited for this event as I the railfan that I am have never taken a ride on or photographed a vintage train. This is an event I will definitely not miss out on. I do not have the exact Sunday I will attempt to chase this train down. One thing I can tell you is expect to see an entry right here on Transit Blogger about my adventure. Also be on the lookout for a “Chronicle Of Time” & photographs from the day which will be featured on Eye On Transit. I can’t wait!

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Friends Of Moynihan Station Unveil Principles

This past Wednesday the Friends Of Moynihan Station, a coalition which consist of citizens and civic leaders convened by Regional Plan Association unveiled their principles for the highly anticipated Moynihan Station. Here is a brief sample of the principles announced:

* Put the Public Interest First: Give the public a strong voice in the planning process of the station and district. Ensure that the design of the train halls reflects the fact that they are primarily public spaces, not compromised by an excessive presence of either retail or Madison Square Garden. Maintain public ownership of the station.

* Create a Great New Train Station: The new Moynihan Station should be a grand work of civic architecture that is both beautiful and functional as a transportation hub – with large public spaces, natural light and dramatically improved public circulation and safety features.

* Protect the Historic Farley Post Office Building: Rehabilitate the Farley building in a way that qualifies the project for federal historic preservation tax credits.

* Build a Great Moynihan Station District: The district should knit together Midtown with the Far West Side, be a global model for climate-friendly development, and respect the scale of its surroundings.

For the full press release click here. For the entire list of principles click here.

This project has been on my mind the last week or so. In the coming days I hope to have time to write an entry on my full feelings about this project.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Restoration Of Rockaway Stations To Begin Next Summer

Great news for residents of the Rockaway peninsula. Starting next summer the MTA will restore every single station on the peninsula except for Beach 116th Street which is already under renovation. The news was featured in an article in last Friday’s The Wave, the local newspaper for the Rockaways. I would like to thank Subchat poster “NEPONSIT2006″ for sharing the article courtesy of The Wave:

Rockaway Train Stations To Get Overhaul
MTA Allocates $142 Million For Renovations
By Miriam Rosenberg

Platform canopies, like this one on the Beach 105 Street platform, will be replaced as part of the renovations being made along the Rockaway line.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority has confirmed that it will begin a $141.8 million restoration of the Rockaway subway line beginning next summer.

The renovation is part of the agency’s 2008 fiscal budget.

“Every single station on the peninsula – Rockaway Beach and Far Rockaway – will be rehabilitated, with the exception of Beach 116 [which is already undergoing renovation],” said Aaron Donovan, a spokesperson for the MTA.

The following are among the restorations that will be made on the Rockaway line, starting in July 2008.

The Mott Avenue station will be made compliant with the Americans with Disability Act by installing an elevator and putting up Braille directional signage. Modifications to the platforms will be made to reduce the gap at the ADA boarding areas.

From the Beach 25 Street to Beach 105 Street stations, the work will include repairing or replacing corroded stairs and columns and rehabilitating the mezzanine and track drainage systems. At all stations, all spalling [breaking or splitting] concrete and delaminating steel will be repaired. New lighting systems will be installed and additional ADA work will be done along the Rockaway line. New platform canopies will be installed at the Beach 90, 98 and 105 Street stations.

Rusted, corroded stairs all along the line will be replaced or rehabilitated.

In June, State Senator Malcolm Smith was the first to announce the upcoming renovations at a meeting at Arverne By The Sea.

“They are going to fix up every single station along the ‘A’ line,” said Smith, who added that he and Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer were able to push the restoration through.

No timetable has been set for the upcoming work.

“There is no tentative date for completion,” said the MTA’s Donovan. He also could not answer what service interruptions, if any, would be caused by the renovations.

The nine stations along the Rockaway route are at least 51 years old. Four stations – Beach 90, Beach 98, Beach 105 and Beach 116 Streets, connect Rockaway Park with Broad Channel. Mott Avenue, along with Beach 25, Beach 36, Beach 44, Beach 60 and Beach 67 Streets join those areas to the mainland.

Columns along the line are scheduled for repairs.

Elevated train service to Rockaway Park and Wavecrest began on June 28, 1956. On January 16, 1958, the subway line was extended to include the Mott Avenue station in Far Rockaway.

As an October 5 photo essay in The Wave showed, the elevated train line in Rockaway is in desperate need of repair, with rusted, decaying stairs, chunks of concrete missing from the trestles and other deficiencies that make the line a disaster waiting to happen.

Idefinitely think this is great news for residents of The Rockaways who for years were forgotten about by the MTA if you ask me. The area is ripe for development & is filled with tons of potential. The subway service should match what the full potential of the area is. I see this has a great step in that direction. You can check out the long thread on Subchat about the planned renovations by clicking here.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Sensationalistic Journalism?

I sure think so in regards to the latest article in the New York Daily News’ “Halt The Hike” campaign. The article is about the MTA squandering the opportunity to buy much needed fuel at a substantially lower price before the price of fuel skyrocketed. Here is a brief part of the article courtesy of The Daily News:

Bureaucratic bunglers at the MTA – which now wants a 3.8% fare and toll hike to fill a budget gap – blew a chance to save millions of dollars by not buying fuel before prices soared.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board set aside $150 million in July to buy fuel to be used next year and in 2009.

Staffers didn’t realize until September that a key contract involving fuel delivery was expiring.

By then, the lower-price deal couldn’t be locked in because a new contract would have to be put out for bid, a long process, MTA Chief Financial Officer Gary Dellaverson told board members at a committee meeting yesterday.

Prices have “skyrocketed” since July, Dellaverson said, and the MTA has all but given up on the idea.

Here is the link to the full article.

So what is so sensationalistic about this piece? I’ll tell you, it is the way Pete Donohue,¬† some MTA officials & politicians are using this story to cry how the savings lost could have helped save off any sort of fare hike. Who are they kidding? Do you know the total amount the MTA blew in savings? The total amount is approximately $12 million dollars. Now don’t get me wrong I am not saying $12 million dollars is chump change but in the grand scheme of things it sure is. Math was one of my favorite subjects in school & I would like to think my skills are still pretty sharp. Lets test them out shall we….

We have the MTA saying they are facing upwards of a $6 billion dollar deficit in the near future & the savings lost here was $12 million. Last I checked there is just a tiny bit of difference between these two amounts. Just in case I made an error during mental math, I will take out my trusty pen & pad. Lets see $6 billion minus $12 million leaves us $5,988,000,000. So I was right, there is just a tiny bit of difference  between these two amounts!

Seriously lets get real here, I am all for criticizing the MTA for their mistakes as they are deserved. However it is one thing to justifiably criticize them & a totally different thing to unfairly criticize them so you can sensationalize your point. I expect this from politicians who love nothing more than a free chance to get a P.R. boost but I expected more from Mr. Donohue.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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