New subway car design unveiled
As part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s $27 billion, five-year capital plan, the city is slated to receive 1,025 new subway cars, with features such as wider doors and accordion-like passageways that allow riders to move between cars, the New York Times reported. MTA officials are also planning to renovate 31 subway stations across the five boroughs, adding amenities such as Wi-Fi, USB chargers and digital information displays. At a press conference last month, Governor Andrew Cuomo stressed the urgency of the project. “These projects have to happen, and they have to happen now,” he said. Transit advocates, however, expressed skepticism toward the governor, who has been criticized for a lack of investment in mass transit. “Daily commuters are looking to see whether Governor Cuomo can really turn around a system that is not meeting their needs,” said John Raskin, executive director of advocacy group the Riders Alliance.
In reversal, court gives Pier 55 green light
Last month, a State Supreme Court appeals judge lifted an injunction blocking the construction of a 2.4-acre public park on the Hudson River known as Pier 55, Curbed NY reported. In June, the court ordered that work on the $130 million project, which would turn a dilapidated city pier into a floating attraction with gardens and a 700-seat amphitheater, cease until a judge could hear a lawsuit filed by the City Club of New York. The advocacy organization alleges that the Hudson River Park Trust, which is spearheading the project, undertook an improper environmental review process and did not collect sufficient public input. Under the latest ruling, construction can proceed until the case comes before the court in September.
Report: De Blasio staff knew about Rivington deed
An investigation has found Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office at fault for “a complete lack of accountability” in the city’s removal of deed restrictions that paved the way for the sale of a Lower East Side nursing home to luxury condo developers, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Department of Investigation last month issued a damning report that found many top administration officials were aware of the deed removal efforts at Rivington House as early as May 2015 but did nothing to intervene. De Blasio has said he did not learn of the deed restriction removal until 2016. The former owner of Rivington House, the Allure Group, paid the city $16.15 million last year to lift the restrictions, which limited the building’s use to a nonprofit medical-care facility, then flipped the property for $116 million to a group of developers that include Slate Property Group, Adam America Real Estate and China Vanke. The city comptroller, the state attorney general and the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan are also pursuing investigations.
L train to shut down for 18 months, starting in 2019
The MTA will shut down the L train between Brooklyn and Manhattan for 18 months starting in 2019, in order to repair damage to the East River tunnel caused by Hurricane Sandy. While the shutdown will come as a bitter pill for residents who live along the line, which handles some 400,000 passenger trips each weekday, the transit authority concluded that it was preferrable to a staggered repair, which would have reduced service by 80 percent for three years. “This is the, ‘Get in, get done, get out’ option,” Veronique Hakim, president of New York City Transit, told the NYT. The line will continue to operate in Brooklyn between Williamsburg and Canarsie during the shutdown.