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Replacing the subway’s outdated, Great Depression-era technology did not get any additional funding and the MTA actually pushed back work on the 8th Ave A/C/E lines until 2020.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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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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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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Balancing or in Danger?

Immigrants in danger, Bill de Blasio balancing competing demands, Republicans balancing ideological purity while in danger of losing the State Senate, and more.

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Our Feature
Will New York Be a Sanctuary for Immigrants?

Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened to take back $4 billion in federal aid to sanctuary cities, including New York City, Syracuse, Ithaca, and Rochester. Those cities have said they will not help Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) enforce federal immigration laws.

What does “sanctuary” mean?

Sanctuary cities refuse to use police in immigration raids, won’t allow federal immigration authorities to access school and other records to find undocumented immigrants, and won’t hold immigrants in jail for ICE to pick them up. However, if someone is already in prison, they will generally turn them over to ICE. They also generally won’t ask immigrants if they are documented.

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Where’s the money? The MTA doesn’t have it

Just two weeks after the MTA raised fares, the New York City Council is admonishing them for not fixing escalators and elevators quickly enough. Those escalators and elevators are incredibly important for wheelchair-users and parents with strollers. New York City’s subway is one of the oldest and largest subway systems in the world and many of the escalators and elevators are showing their age.

At the same time, many advocates including some of those same City Council members are calling for half-priced metrocards for low-income New Yorkers. While these are laudable causes, the MTA isn’t going to be able to find the money out of thin air. They’re already dealing with a growing number of break-downs (it’s not just your imagination; the subway is really getting worse) and face a proposed funding cut from Cuomo’s budget

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