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Thread: New York Subway and Bus System

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    Default New York Subway and Bus System

    Has anybody ever rode the New York Subway or Bus System? I find it simply amazing how everything is so organized and coordinated, because New York is a big and complex city where a lot of businessmen (and women) have to go to work every day. I would like to go down there for a trip just to ride around and see the sights while exploring the subway and bus system.

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    2nd Ave. subway work's killing biz
    2nd Ave. subway work's killing biz

    BY CAITLIN MILLAT
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

    Friday, June 20th 2008, 8:39 PM


    Warga/News

    Construction of the Second Avenue Subway has hurt local businesses.


    The Second Ave. subway will make East Side travel easier when it debuts in 2015 - but mom-and-pop merchants along the route say construction will destroy their businesses.

    Shopkeepers from E. 91st St. to E. 96th St. along Second Ave. said Friday construction has impeded car and foot traffic since it began last year, causing profits to plummet and doors to close.

    The merchants want Mayor Bloomberg to support state legislation that would give tenants and landlords grants, sales-tax reprieves and property-tax abatements.

    Six area stores have closed due to sagging sales that they attribute to subway construction, and six more have said they will go out of business if the legislation does not pass.

    "It's just heartbreaking to see my work get run into the ground," said Jill Homorodean, whose 92nd St. business, Blondie's Restaurant, has stopped serving lunch because it cannot afford to staff a nearly empty restaurant.

    "It's like a ghost town. No one wants to shop or eat here, because its noisy, dirty and hard to navigate," said Wine Lovers owner Barbara D'Antonio, who said she will close her 92nd St. business on July1 if the bill fails.

    D'Antonio and Homorodean said they have lost about half of their business since work on the line began.

    Danny Carrero, owner of Eastview Pharmacy on E. 91st St., said he has had to lay off several staff members to combat the more than 20% loss in sales his business has suffered.

    "We're definitely entertaining exit strategies right now," he said.

    The $4 million grant proposal, if passed, will be immediately divided among the struggling businesses to help them attract more customers.

    All three bills are pending in the state Legislature.

    cmillat@nydailynews.com

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    BTW, this is the subway map of NYC, and keep in mind that lines such as Metro-North RR, LIRR, PATH, NJ Transit, and SIR are not subway lines, they are commuter rails.


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    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/24/ny...l?ref=nyregion
    M.T.A. Cuts Delay Some Big Projects Until 2010

    By WILLIAM NEUMAN
    Published: June 24, 2008


    Nicholas Roberts for The New York Times

    The subway station at Smith and Ninth Streets is one of 15 in Brooklyn that will not be renovated as scheduled. Four stations in the Bronx also will wait.




    The Metropolitan Transportation Authority released a cascade of grim financial assessments on Monday that mean delays in subway station renovations and other major improvements, as well as possible cutbacks in service and increases in fares and tolls.

    In a series of public meetings of authority board committees, officials said the authority would be forced to cut projects valued at $2.7 billion from its 2005-9 capital spending program, largely because of soaring costs on construction projects already under way.

    The projects being cut include 19 subway station renovations and important projects for the modernization of subway signals and repair facilities. The authority’s chief executive, Elliot G. Sander, said those projects were expected to be included in the authority’s next five-year spending plan, which begins in 2010. But he acknowledged that the authority did not yet know how it would find the financing for that plan.

    Officials also said the revenues from taxes on real estate transactions, which have buoyed the day-to-day operations of the transit system in recent years, were falling off at an alarming rate, resulting in a shortfall this year of $122 million. Revenues from the real estate taxes are on track to end the year about $280 million below budget projections.

    And costs are up, especially in subway and bus operations, where overtime and fuel prices have led New York City Transit to go $60 million over budget through May.

    “Should riders be concerned?” Mr. Sander said in an exchange with reporters at the authority’s headquarters in Midtown. “Absolutely. Am I concerned? Absolutely.”

    Mr. Sander said the financial picture would become clearer next month when he presents a preliminary budget for 2009.

    “We remain hopeful that revenues will rebound and subsidies will increase, but if they do not then we will, of course, have to consider fare and toll increases and/or service cuts,” he said.

    Officials also acknowledged that because of the rocky budget numbers, they would not carry out a package of major service improvements promised for buses, the subway and commuter railroads.

    But even a more modest series of subway service improvements that officials said will begin next month to ease overcrowding on several lines prompted a board member to question whether the authority could afford it.

    “If we put this in, six months from now are we going to have to take it away?” said the board member, Jeffrey A. Kay, at a meeting of a committee that oversees the transit system.

    “That’s what we should do — is expand service — but we need to make sure we have the money to do that,” he said. “Because we can’t expand it one day and cut it the next, and I fear that’s what were going to do in this situation.”

    Mr. Sander said that he hoped a solution to the authority’s monetary straits would emerge from a commission created by Gov. David A. Paterson and led by Richard Ravitch, a former authority chairman. The commission is to hold its first meeting on Thursday and is expected to complete its work by November.

    But there is likely to be plenty more bad news before then. The authority must present a preliminary 2009 budget next month, and Mr. Sander said that would include “a variety of potential scenarios.” Those would appear to include possible service cuts and fare and toll increases. Fares and tolls went up last March, and the authority had proposed raising them again in 2010. Only once before, in 1980 and 1981, has the authority raised fares two years in a row.

    The authority said it was also scrapping the accelerated capital program that it created in a rush earlier this year to coincide with the legislative debate over Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plan. The failure of congestion pricing means the authority will stick with its regular schedule for capital spending on big-ticket items, with the current plan ending next year and a new five-year plan beginning in 2010.

    The current $23.7 billion plan includes spending for new buses and train cars, nuts-and-bolts infrastructure items like subway ventilation fans and tunnel lighting and major projects like the Second Avenue subway.

    But rapidly inflating costs have resulted in the trimming of many projects from the program as the budgets for others grow.

    The station renovations that will be cut include 15 in Brooklyn: 10 on the D line; 4 on the N line; and 1 (Smith and Ninth Street) on the G and F lines. Four stations on the No. 6 line in the Bronx were also cut.

    The amended plan also cuts $366 million in projects to build fans that draw smoky air out of the subway in case of fire and $223 million to modernize subway track signals and switches.

    The changes will be submitted to the authority’s board for approval next month, and most of them must then be approved by the state’s Capital Program Review board, which includes representatives of the governor, the mayor, the Assembly speaker and the Senate majority leader.

    Mr. Sander said the changes should not be viewed as cuts because most of the projects would be included in the next five-year program for 2010-14. But subway advocates were leery, citing the uncertainty surrounding the financing for that program.

    “To me, a cut is a cut is a cut,” said Gene Russianoff, the staff lawyer for the Straphangers Campaign, a transit advocacy group. “Their spin is that they’re deferrals, but they’re deferred into no man’s land.”

    In the context of the authority’s financial difficulties, Mr. Sander was asked about the appropriateness of a raise he received this year that increased his compensation by $10,000, to $350,000.

    Mr. Sander portrayed the raise as being in the best interest of the authority, saying that other transit systems paid their executives more. “Our ability to retain and attract talent is significantly at risk,” he said. “The reality is the salary structure for the M.T.A. is set in relation to my salary.”

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    Stranded by construction, book store will close its doors
    Volume 21, Number 7 | THE NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN | June 27 - July 3, 2008

    Stranded by construction, book store will close its doors

    By James S. Woodman


    The Strand had to take in its sidewalk stands because of Fulton St. construction.

    Strand Bookstore announced this week that its annex at 95 Fulton St. will soon join the multitude of New York bookstores that have succumbed to increasing rents in recent years. The decision to close the bookstore came after its landlord announced a 300 percent rise in rent for the Strand Annex, which will go into effect August 31 when the location’s lease expires.

    The recent notice that the water main construction work on Fulton St., directly outside the bookstore, will continue into next year gave the management another grim forewarning for the Strand Annex’s survival. After the construction on Fulton St. began nearly a year ago, the Strand has been unable to place their characteristic racks of used books on the sidewalk and has seen a drop in pedestrian traffic. “Sales just fell tremendously after the construction began,” owner Fred Bass said in a phone interview.

    Bass, however, does not see the store’s closing as signifying its failure as a business, but rather sees the annex as a victim of circumstance.

    “The numbers just didn’t add up,” Bass said. “It was a great store. We sold a lot of books. I’m sad to see the store going because it was doing very well, but given the circumstances it wasn’t worth it to stay in that location.”

    The only used bookstore in Lower Manhattan, Strand Annex has filled the 15,000-square-foot Fulton St. space for 12 years now. Having moved to several different Downtown locations before settling at 95 Fulton St., the Strand Annex has served Lower Manhattan for over 20 years altogether.

    Osvaldo Principe, a regular customer, said the closing is “a shame.” Rent increases, he said, were making the city a less interesting place. “This city needs less banks, less Duane Reades, and more bookstores,” said Principe.

    “I’m personally brokenhearted,” said David Smith, a robust bearded Strand employee for 11 years. “It’s a very high regarded store, and a nice place to find off-beat stuff and things that you can’t find anywhere else. We have the best section of literary biography in the city.”

    The good news for Strand Annex employees, though, is that Bass has committed not to lay off anyone as a result of the closing.

    “No one is getting canned,” Strand Annex manager Joe Wakal said. “All of the employees here will be able to work at the 12th St. bookstore or one of our kiosks.”

    Despite the much-appreciated promise of job security, the loss of the Fulton St. location will be difficult for most of its employees who have worked in the store for years, according to Wakal. “We don’t have a high turnover here,” Wakal said, “people work here for a fairly long time.”

    On June 30, Strand Annex will begin its 20 percent off liquidation sale in hopes to greatly reduce its inventory before its lease expires. Bass said that all of the books left over will be brought to their main store.

    Bass does not blame the annex’s closing on the presence of corporate booksellers such as Barnes & Noble. “I have been competing, in a friendly way, with Barnes & Noble for 30 years now,” Bass said. Even as Barnes & Noble have come to all but surround his 12th St. location, Bass says his store’s business has only improved.

    Bass does, however, believe that this is a difficult time for bookstores in general. Two Barnes & Noble bookstores in Manhattan (one in Chelsea, the other at Astor Place) have closed in recent months after rent increases, and small bookstores have become a rarity in the city.

    “I wonder if this is part of a dying trend,” said employee David Smith.

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