Second Ave. Sagas: 2011 in review


Every year as December draws to a close and we near another New Years Eve, I take some time to look back on the year that was. So here is my annual list of the top ten most popular posts on Second Ave. Sagas. They run the gamut from musings to news and provide a glimpse into some hot topics. With a new contract for the TWU on tap and another tough economic year ahead, we can only wonder what 2012 will bring.

1. Graphic of the Day: Pregnant on the Subway
My top post this year was a hot-button topic. Elizabeth Carey Smith of The Letter Office presented a graphic about being pregnant on the subway. She tracked those who would and would not give her a seat while she was pregnant, and her findings sparked a long debate over the proper subway etiquette when confronted with a woman who may or may not be with child.

2. Building a Better Subway Bench
Veyko, a Philadelphia-based design shop, unveiled a new bench for the City of Brotherly Love’s SEPTA subway stations, and I wondered if the modern and sleek design to could replace the frumpy wooden benches that mark New York City Transit’s system. The Philadelphia prototype is too expensive to mass market, but the agency is working on a different solution.

3. Photo of the Day: The 7 Line Extension Moves Onward
Patrick Cashin, the MTA’s photographer, released a series of images from inside the 34th St. station cavern as the 7 line moves forward. The new subway extension will be open within 24 months, but the station planned for 41st St. and 10th Ave. remains a lost opportunity.

4. Breaking: Second Ave. Subway Slashed to One Track
April Fools! Gotcha.

5. The View from Inside the Second Ave. Subway
In April, I took a tour of the Second Ave. Subway construction site and shared my photos from the trip. That subway extension won’t open for another five years, but construction is massive nonetheless.

6. A September Nostalgia Train with a Sponsored Twist
HBO sponsored the September Nostalgia Train to mark the start of the new season of Boardwalk Empire. The train ran along the West Side IRT route for a few weeks.

7. A Tale of a Viaduct, a Sign and the Need to Pay Attention
Despite years of planning and numerous community meetings, folks in Brownstone Brooklyn were still surprised and outraged when the MTA announced station closures along the IND Culver Line. I took residents to task for ignoring the news that impacts their commute. New Yorkers take subway service for granted and rarely pay attention to goings-on until it threatens their rides.

8. Photo of the Day: At 50th St., a Passageway Reopens
The MTA reopened a long-shuttered walkway between 7th and 8th Aves. at 50th St. earlier this year. The passageway had been closed in the early 1990s due to safety concerns, but with crime at near-record lows, the MTA has been able to reopen this out-of-system walkway.

9. End of the Designline for New Buses
After extensive testing, the MTA determined that Designline buses weren’t cut out for New York City streets.

10. Jay Walder to resign as MTA CEO and Chair
Without support from the governor and facing a tough round of negotiations with the TWU, Jay Walder resigned abruptly in late July. He left New York to take a high-paying job in Hong Kong, and the MTA is still waiting around for Albany to confirm his replacement, Joe Lhota. His departure was symbolic of an MTA brain drain that has seen many qualified managers and executives leave in the face of a multi-year pay freeze and no support from the government.

3 Responses to “Second Ave. Sagas: 2011 in review”

  1. Scott E says:

    Meanwhile, the commuter tax benefit (TransitCheck, WageWorks, etc) that lets workers put pre-tax dollars towards public transit, is being cut from $230 to $125 per month next year as a stimulus program expires, in what the reporter of this Star-Ledger article implies to be a mere oversight by lawmakers. Meanwhile, the equivalent program which helps pay for parking is increasing by $10/month.

    Steven Higashide, federal advocate for Tri-State Transportation Campaign, says: “The rollback of this benefit means the federal code has a bias toward subsidizing driving, because the parking benefit is higher than the transit benefit. That certainly doesn’t make environmental or economic sense.”

    Sorry to hijack a year-end post, Ben, but this is a timely end-of-year story that flies in the face of mass-transit advocacy and I believe is worth sharing.

  2. Anon says:

    Top 10 Viral Subway Videos Of 2011, From Shoe Lickers To Spaghetti Fights

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