NYC DOT Kicks off Citywide Transit Plan Workshops
Yesterday, the New York City Department of Transportation kicked off a series of public workshops aimed at developing a citywide transit plan.
The Brooklyn borough workshop took place last night at Brooklyn College, but NYC DOT will hold workshops in the other four boroughs over the next month (Queens even gets two). The goals of the Citywide Transit Plan, as it's being called, are to help guide the future of transit planning in New York City, and to understand where people want and need to go, how well they're being served currently, and where new transit options are needed.
The transit system's struggles have been well documented. While overall ridership is at an all-time high, the subways are bursting at the seams while entire lines face lengthy shutdowns for repairs, and bus ridership is actually falling, due, most likely, to the unreliability of the bus system. At the same time, there are many city residents who don't have easy access to transit. All while the city's population continues to grow.
Missing from the planning, of course, is the 800-pound gorilla: the MTA. But there's a fair amount that NYC DOT can accomplish on its own, especially when it comes to surface transit, by redesigning streets and promoting alternate modes of transportation, like Citi Bike.
You can let NYC DOT know about your vision for the future of transit in New York City by attending one of the upcoming borough workshops – more info at transitplannyc.org/events/ – or by taking the online survey today at transitplannyc.org.
Let's build a safe, convenient and reliable public transportation system that's accessible to all New Yorkers!
Complete George! Ask the Port Authority to Upgrade the George Washington Bridge Bike & Pedestrian Paths
When the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey released its proposed $32.2 billion 10-year capital plan last month, it included almost nothing for active transportation, save for the addition of bicycle and pedestrian access on a raised Bayonne Bridge and the new Goethals Bridge. At the same time, it tosses billions at questionable mega-projects like a LaGuardia Airport AirTrain.
The Port Authority's proposed capital plan makes no provision at all for widening the bicycle and pedestrian paths on the George Washington Bridge, which is about to undergo a nearly $2 billion re-cabling effort that will also replace the bridge's 85-year-old, seven-foot-wide paths. While the PA/NYNJ plan calls for replacing what's there with some minor upgrades, the advocacy group Complete George is calling for a significant expansion in space for people on bikes and on foot, as pictured below.
According to NYC DOT's 2015 12-hour counts, the George Washington Bridge carried almost 3,700 cyclists a day at peak use, a nearly two-thirds increase from just five years prior. That's more riders than either the Brooklyn Bridge or Queensboro Bridge in a fraction of the space allotted to bikes. And it's important to remember that the GWB is the only bikeable and walkable connection between Northern New Jersey and New York City.
The Port Authority is accepting comments on its proposed 10-year capital plan until February 15, and the public can also comment at the PA/NYNJ board meeting on February 16, which will take place at 4 World Trade Center at 12 p.m. You must register to speak in advance, here. Complete George has a comprehensive list of ways you can help advocate for expanded GWB bicycle and pedestrian paths at completegeorge.org/help/.
This is literally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve non-motorized access to the George Washington Bridge. Please join us in taking action!
MTA to Launch "Freedom Ticket" Pilot, Enabling Free Transfers Between LIRR and MTA Subways and Buses
amNewYork's Vincent Barone reports today that the MTA will launch a pilot test of a "Freedom Ticket" this fall, which will enable commuters to purchase single, weekly or monthly tickets usable on both Long Island Railroad trains and city buses and subways, creating a one-fare ride that should be a significant boon to city residents living in or around "transit deserts."
According to the report, the fare for a monthly pass, for example, would be more than the cost of a 30-day MetroCard, but substantially less than the combined cost of a MetroCard and an LIRR monthly commuter pass. Currently, someone commuting from Laurelton in Queens to a job on Manhattan's Upper West Side would pay $20 roundtrip for a seat on the LIRR plus $5.50 in subway fares, or $218 for a monthly LIRR pass plus $116.50 for a 30-day MetroCard.
The pilot program will likely be implemented along the LIRR's Atlantic Branch, including Brooklyn's Atlantic Terminal and the East New York and Nostrand Avenue stations, and in Queens at the Laurelton, Locust Manor, Rosedale and St. Albans stations.
StreetsPAC has advocated for a discounted City Zone fare in the past. At a City Council Committee on Transportation hearing in November, 2015, we urged the Council and MTA to take a hard look at exactly this type of program.
Image: Joseph Lentola, Complete George