Home Brooklyn Quick Hits: MTA Reinvention, PABT, Greenpoint ferry

Quick Hits: MTA Reinvention, PABT, Greenpoint ferry

by Benjamin Kabak

A few updates on some stories I’ve been following:

MTA Reinvention Commission kicks off meetings

Last week, I shared my thoughts on the MTA Reinvention Commission and the august body’s need to focus on overhauling how the MTA works and how the agency does business. Today, the group kicked off their first set of meetings. (You can follow along via webcast.)

So far, the panel has spent a lot of time talking about affordable housing, and I’m growing worried that their focus is wrong. Reinventing the MTA requires asking hard questions and proposing top-to-bottom solutions for streamlining procurement, cutting extremely high capital costs and improving agency operations. It’s not about using the MTA to advance city policy goals. The MTA, I would argue, already does more than anything else for affordable housing than any one agency in the city, and the early framing on policy goals rather than MTA problems bodes ill for this Commission’s future, especially when a largely unfunded $30 billion capital plan looms. Affordable housing, for instance, is an outcome of sound transit policy, and without reinvention such that subways do not cost over $2 billion per mile, the policy goals will remain elusive.

On the bright side, Dana Rubinstein spoke with the Commission’s heads, and they expect results. “I don’t think any of these very busy people, any of these very important and smart people, would be involved in this if they didn’t think that these recommendations would be carried out,” Ray La Hood said to Rubinstein. Hopefully, the recommendations are expansive enough.

amNY: Where is New York’s better bus terminal?

The Port Authority Bus Terminal is low-hanging fruit, but it pays to remember just how sorry a spot it is. In an editorial today, amNew York urges the Port Authority to redevelop the bus terminal. “Midtown Manhattan urgently needs a brand-new, world-class bus station,” and with air rights value at an all-time high, the money to realize this dream — $500 million to $1 billion depending upon the scope of the project — could materialize.

G train shutdown looms as ferry questions remain

When Greenpoint’s India St. ferry stop collapsed earlier this year, everyone in the know knew that city had around four months to fix the dock before the summer shutdown of the G train for Sandy-related repairs. Now, with 11 days to go before the five-week outage, the ferry stop is not yet open, and no one knows when repairs will be complete. Brooklyn politicians are demanding answers, but concrete details are not forthcoming. This is one spot sorely in need of its ferry service and soon.

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Christopher July 15, 2014 - 2:42 pm

While I agree with that a top to bottom reassessment of much of the MTA is necessary, I do think that includes a much closer tie in between the role of transit and planning in NYC in general. The disconnect between the various components of the city — libraries, housing, transit, schools — not only isn’t keeping pace with the change within the demographics of the city, it’s terribly bad practice in terms of city management. And honestly, a closer tie between landuse and transit would also help our funding problems through special tax districts. It’s time to stop thinking about the city as isolated pieces and start planning holistically. It should happen at every agency within government, including the MTA.

sonicboy678 July 15, 2014 - 4:23 pm

Unfortunately, the MTA is primarily a state-based agency as opposed to many other agencies/departments, which are primarily city-based. This creates a serious disconnect between the MTA and may NYC operations.

Bolwerk July 16, 2014 - 10:10 pm

It’s looking like an MTA NIH Committee.

Charlie July 20, 2014 - 9:55 pm

What about extending the 7 train to Weehawken/Secaucus and move part of the bus terminals there?


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