Composting is going to expand in NYC

New York Tries to Be Sustainable

With Trump taking the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement, New York can expect warmer temperatures, greater flooding and more damage from storms, and a whole host of other issues.

  • Did you see the New York Times article about composting? New York is trying to become more sustainable but it’s challenging for all sorts of reasons. However, building greener, more dense neighborhoods and improving public transit so people don’t have to drive will have more of an impact than composting. (It’ll be more affordable, too).
  • Check out this comparison between the subway map and where the trains really run.

    via GIPHY

    Notice how squished together everything is in Manhattan and how much further apart subway lines are in Brooklyn and Queens.

  • The Move NY group is proposing a plan to charge drivers for going into downtown Manhattan and use that money to pay for better transit. Their original plan required state approval and would also have lowered tolls on bridges between the outer boroughs where there are fewer mass transit options. This plan could be adopted by New York City but the money wouldn’t go directly to the MTA and so would make less of an immediate impact on fixing all the issues with the subways.

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Recently, countdown clocks have shown more and more delays for subway riders.

MTA Leaving Subway Riders High and Dry

  • After weeks of increasingly severe subway delays, the MTA voted on a new spending plan that does not include additional money for repairs and could lead to higher fares.
  • Advocates and unions say more money is needed to actually fix the MTA.
  • Cuomo’s promises of attention so far haven’t translated into significant action.

Just a day after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a contest to quickly improve the subways following mounting delays, the MTA board voted for a spending plan that showed where its priorities really are: not with riders.

What’s in the new spending plan?

The MTA voted for $3 billion in new spending between now and 2019. That money will go toward these main expenses:

  • $1.5 billion for a new Long Island Rail Road track
  • $700 million to begin construction on the second phase of the Second Avenue Subway
  • $400 million to replace tollbooths with electronic systems

Replacing the subway’s outdated, Great Depression-era technology did not get any additional funding and the MTA actually pushed back work on the 8th Ave A/C/E lines until 2020. They also cut over $1 billion in funding for new trains.

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Commutes: Back to the Bad Days of the 1970’s?

If you’ve been thinking the subway is getting worse, you’re right. Three times in the last week, problems have stranded thousands of subway riders. Since 2012, There’s been a 332% increase in subway delays, according to the MTA’s own data. This comes on the heels of a big New York Times report about the aging subway system. Meanwhile, LIRR had third straight day of evening rush hour train delays due to issues at Penn Station.

Activists say we’re fast approaching a redux of the 1970’s, New York’s nadir. Then, trains regularly broke down due to lack of maintenance, and New Yorkers fled the city. Of course, then and now, everything comes back to money. Thanks to Gov. Cuomo and his predecessors, the MTA doesn’t have the money to make repairs or replace outdated technology.

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More problems at Penn Station

Why Penn Station is a Mess

With the ongoing problems at Penn Station, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is involved in a lot of finger-pointing. He’s telling Amtrak: “Fix it. Do your job.” Amtrak says they will make repairs, shutting down two tracks at a time (out of 21 tracks at Penn Station) for most of the summer. That means fewer trains, more crowding, and more delays.

However, the New York Times reports that Cuomo hid alternative plans to redo Penn Station, instead preferring alternative plans that involve mostly cosmetic changes which help only a small portion of commuters.

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The L Train is the only line the MTA has upgraded. It'll take decades to finish the project.

Delayed due to train traffic ahead?

It’s probably because the subway still uses 1930’s technology to keep track of trains: cables and mechanical switches.

Computerizing the train control system will allow more trains to run more quickly but the MTA is in no hurry. The project started in 1991 and has upgraded only the L train. The target date to finish the rest of the subway is 2045 and that’s optimistic.

No one wants their subway line closed for long stretches of time and since the subway is supposed to run 24/7, that doesn’t give maintenance workers much time to do the work. As we’ve mentioned before, the MTA is perennially short of funding, making it difficult to fund important repairs like this. It also doesn’t help that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the legislature cut $400 million from the MTA’s budget for the project.

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

What’s in de Blasio’s 2017-2018 New York City Budget Proposal

Yesterday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio released his 2017-2018 budget proposal. The City Council will negotiate with the mayor on the new New York City budget and will need to reach an agreement before the fiscal year is over on June 30th.

This post will be updated as more information comes out.

Give me the headlines

What are people saying about the budget?

Citizens Budget Commission President Carol Kellermann: The budget “should have exhibited more spending restraint.” The new spending “does not demonstrate strategic and sensible prioritization of the City’s investments.” David Jones, director of the Community Service Society and de Blasio’s appointee to the MTA board, told AMNewYork: “Fair Fares will go on. I will fight it until my very last breath. We’re taking this fight on for as many years — I’m on the board until 2020. So they’re going to be hearing from me for a long time.” Adriene Holder, Legal Aid Society: “Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Mayor de Blasio set a bold example for other sanctuaries across the nation to model – we and our clients laud their leadership. City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito: The Council “remains concerned that the Mayor’s proposal does not increase the City’s reserves.” City Council Finance Committee Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland commented to Politico: De Blasio “very clearly stated that he felt that Trump’s positions have mostly been overturned by the courts, so he doesn’t necessarily feel that we will feel the impact in the way that was expected. He’s going to wait until the November plan is out to see if there needs to be adjustments — something that was a bit striking.” City Council Member Brad Lander: “Save for a rainy day, yes, we are doing that. But make preemptive cuts to deny services to New Yorkers, no way.” Glenn Martin, President of JustLeadershipUSA, one of the leaders of the campaign to close Rikers Island, said the budget proves the “continued absence of a concrete plan for closing Rikers.” GOP Mayoral candidate Paul Massey: “Bill de Blasio is a terrible manager, so as spending has gone up, the quality of services has gone down.”

Mayor de Blasio’s solution to every problem is tax & spend. Instead of fixing failed programs, he throws good $ after bad. We need results!

— Nicole Malliotakis (@NMalliotakis) April 26, 2017

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More problems at Penn Station

Penn Station Problems? It’s About to Get Worse

Commuters regularly suffer problems at Penn Station. There aren’t enough tracks at Penn Station, resulting in train delays. Train delays lead to the station becoming way too crowded and the problems just spiral downwards. And it’s likely to only get worse.

What’s Happening?

Amtrak, the train service that owns and runs Penn Station, has had three train delays in recent weeks, mostly due to trains derailing. Two weeks ago, Amtrak police triggered a stampede out of the station when they used a stun gun. Now, Amtrak is saying that, to fix the problems, they’ll need to shut down some of the tunnels under the Hudson River for weeks or months, promising untold future delays.

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Quick Hits from Around New York

• What’s going to happen when the L Train shuts down for repairs? The MTA doesn’t have a real plan for getting between Manhattan and Williamsburg but check out Slate’s coverage of the winners of Transportation Alternatives’ contest.

• It’s not all on the MTA, though. New York City doesn’t have the best transportation record. After promising $100 million seven years ago to improve access to JFK and LaGuardia Airports, they’ve spent only $6.3 million, the Post reports. Meanwhile, Gov. Cuomo’s new state budget cut $65 million from the MTA’s budget. That’s why it’s a nightmare to get anywhere.

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