Monday, May 22, 2023

MTA nickels and dimes commuters

Eyewitness News 

The MTA proposed an increase to the subway and bus fare to $2.90 by Labor Day.

It is a 15-cent increase from the current $2.75 base fare, and the first fare hike since 2019.

"A lot of the stations are still dirty," rider John Delaruz said. "They are not in commission as often. I don't see the benefit in raising the price right now."

Weekly MetroCards would increase a dollar to $34 and 30-day MetroCards would go up $5 to $132.

Express bus fare would increase a quarter to $7 and seven-day bus passes would increase $2 to $64.

This year's planned fare hike will be closer to the standard 4% increase, which is typically how much the fare goes up every other year, instead of 5.5% originally floated, thanks to Governor Kathy Hochul's budget.

However, a planned 5.5% toll revenue increase remains in place.

Straphangers were less than pleased with the proposed hike.

Even Executive Director of the MTA's Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee Lisa Daglian acknowledged that fare hikes are necessary to keep the transit system rolling.

"Improving the discount options for riders across the system, ensuring there is equity across increases so that those who can least afford them have access to more options is critical," Daglian said. "That includes raising eligibility to fair fares to 200% of the federal poverty level from the current 100% level."

The last fare increase on trains and buses was in 2019. There was not a fare increase in 2021 due to the pandemic.

In addition to buses and subways, fares on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North would also go up by about 4%.

The MTA also anticipates that with congestion pricing, more commuters will want to take the subway and commuter rail.

Officials unveiled two possible scenarios for drivers. One rewards E-Z Pass users with a 6% increase, vs a 10% increase for tolls by mail. The other spreads the pain, with a 7% increase for both E-Z Pass and toll by-mail users.

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Transportation Alternatives message to Southeast Queens residents: you'll pay congestion pricing and like it

Southeast Queens population is predominantly people of color and immigrants who rely on cars to get around New York City for work, chores and leisure. Danny Harris says the quiet part out loud about the inherent racism and discriminatory nature of the congestion pricing tax and apparently he does not want them coming to his borough of Manhattan anymore without paying admission.

More Ardila pre-Assembly malfeasance,1024&quality=75&strip=all

NY Post

Assemblyman Juan Ardila — who faced accusations of sex abuse — hasn’t yet paid $19,200 in arrears for a two-bedroom Maspeth apartment he used to rent, a Queens landlord claims.

In an interview with The Post, his former landlord, Anne O’Reilly, said she’s not afraid to take Ardila to court over the issue.

“I feel like it’s an injustice to me,” she said.

But Ardila scored a temporary legal victory last month when a Queens judge dismissed a case filed by O’Reilly in June when Ardila only owed $11,200.

He moved out in November. (wow, he was still squatting there after he won the election-JQ LLC)

The judge ruled Ardila, who was sued alongside unnamed roommates, was served outside the required 10-17 days before a court date, a technicality that won’t prevent O’Reilly from refiling the suit in the future.

She told The Post she aims to do just that to get Ardila to pay the year of outstanding rent.

“I’m a nurse and try to take care of people and I think people should respect everybody and if I’m working hard I expect everyone else to work hard — if they’re working — to pay their rent,” she said.

Ardila tried to turn the tables on his former landlord in a statement to The Post where he claimed he and his mother had been harassed by her.

“My mother and I moved to this apartment when I was 14. I was staying with my girlfriend but my mother has endured relentless harassment from her landlord, particularly throughout the pandemic & even left her without heat during some of the coldest days,” he said in a statement that included a link to a past 311 heating complaint.

“Experiences like these only reinforce my unwavering commitment to advocating for tenants’ rights and protections in Albany,” he added.

But Ardila, who technically was not on the lease signed by his mother when he was a child, did not say whether he still owed rent to O’Reilly until several hours after The Post reported about the dismissed suit.

“I do not owe rent,” he said.

The legal win for the rent-skipping legislator came one month after two women accused Ardila of forcibly touching them at a 2015 party while they were intoxicated. 

Juan should be really grateful that George Santos exists as the worst elected official from Queens, because he deserves just as much press scrutiny and notoriety.

Saturday, May 6, 2023

The U.S. Department Of Transportation Alternatives has approved congestion pricing 

NBC New York

The federal government has given the green light on New York's plan to implement the long-debated, highly-anticipated plan to become the first U.S. city to charge motorists an extra fee for entering its most congested area.

On Friday afternoon, the Federal Highway Administration submitted a "letter of sufficiency" for plan from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the city's Department of Transportation, approving of the environmental review.

The MTA’s pricing plan has been discussed for more than a decade now. It’s the plan that could charge drivers, many of whom coming from New Jersey, as much as $23 to enter Manhattan below 60th Street. The pricing plan has yet to be implemented.

"We are optimistic the time has arrived for congestion pricing," said MTA Chairman Janno Lieber. "New York is the number one most congested place in the U.S. Ambulances can't get to hospitals, firetrucks to fires. We have to do something."

The practice is commonly referred to as congestion pricing and has been used in cities including London, Singapore and Stockholm. In New York, motorists entering Manhattan below 60th Street would be charged a toll electronically.

The MTA has long argued that congestion pricing is essential to their bottom line and would net them $1 billion annually. Revenue from the plan would be used to back borrowing for capital improvements to the MTA’s subway and bus systems.

Friday, May 5, 2023

Department Of Sanitation Alternatives plans to usurp parking spaces for trash bins


New York Times 

New York City, where sidewalks have long been overrun by foul-smelling heaps of garbage bags that force passers-by to yield to oncoming rat traffic, is about to try a not-so-novel idea to solve the problem.

The concept, known as trash containerization, seems simple enough: Get trash off the streets and into containers. The strategy has been used successfully in cities across Europe and Asia, like Barcelona and Singapore.

But in New York, nothing is that simple.

In a highly anticipated new report being released on Wednesday, city sanitation officials estimate that it would be possible to move trash to containers on 89 percent of the city’s residential streets. To do so, however, will require removing 150,000 parking spots, and up to 25 percent of parking spots on some blocks.

The report does not address the cost of implementing trash containerization citywide, but it could easily cost hundreds of millions of dollars over the next decade. City officials must buy new specialized trash trucks and stationary containers, while also increasing the frequency of trash collection in large swaths of the city.

The new approach could revolutionize trash collection in New York. Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat in his second year in office, has said attacking trash is one of his priorities, framing it as part of broader efforts to improve quality of life in the city after the disruption of the pandemic. He has hired a new rat czar with a “killer instinct” for slaying rats.

But embracing trash containers will require trade-offs, including sacrificing more parking spots than were taken for outdoor dining or the city’s popular bike-share program — both of which stirred pockets of outrage.

The city’s sanitation commissioner, Jessica Tisch, said in a statement that sanitation officials were working hard to remove trash more quickly, including setting new hours for placing trash on the curb, and that trash containerization was the critical next step.

“Mayor Adams wants a permanent solution, something like what other global cities have that takes our sidewalks back from the black bags — and from the rats,” she said. “The detailed street-level analysis in this report shows, for the first time, that containerization — in the form of individual bins and shared containers — actually is viable across the vast majority of the five boroughs.”

The new trash program would look different across the city depending on the block. For a single-family home in eastern Queens, residents could be required to use individual bins for trash, recycling and compost. On a block lined with six-story apartment buildings in northern Manhattan, the street could get a dozen large aboveground containers — artist renderings suggest a cross between a dumpster and a giant laundry bin — placed in parking spaces.

By this fall, the city will start a major new pilot program in West Harlem, in Community Board 9, that will install large trash containers in parking spots on up to 10 residential blocks and at more than a dozen schools. On residential blocks, trash collection will double from three times a week to six.

At a time when Mr. Adams is cutting spending across city agencies, he included more than $5.6 million for the pilot program in his latest executive budget proposal — a sign of his commitment to the idea, city officials said.

Shaun Abreu, a City Council member who represents West Harlem, said in a statement that he was excited for the neighborhood to be a part of the pilot program and that it would “make a real difference and teach the city a lot about the path forward.”

The city’s 95-page new report examined trash containerization in cities across the world that have been experimenting with the idea for 15 years and analyzed the program’s feasibility in each neighborhood. In the United States, San Francisco and Chicago remove garbage bags from the streets, mostly using individual bins and Chicago’s famed alleyways which New York City does not have.

New York City is a bit of a global pariah when it comes to trash. On garbage days in Manhattan, towers of fetid trash bags line the streets, with food and liquids oozing on to sidewalks. Sanitation workers carry out the Sisyphean task of carting away 24 million pounds of trash and recycling every day.

Other cities have successfully reined in their garbage. Amsterdam uses underground storage and electric boats. Singapore and other cities use a pneumatic pressure chute system. Barcelona, Buenos Aires and Paris rely on shared and individual trash containers, providing the most useful examples of what is possible in New York, city officials said.

The report was written by Sanitation Department staffers and informed by a study by McKinsey & Company, the consulting firm, that was initially reported to cost $4 million. The city ultimately paid McKinsey & Company $1.6 million for the study, city officials said.

Ms. Tisch said in an interview that it was too early to provide an estimate for the total cost. But she acknowledged that the cost was “not inexpensive.”

“It is one of the most massive, complicated infrastructure programs this city can undertake over the next decade because it affects every borough, every neighborhood, every block and frankly every resident in the City of New York,” she said.

Parking is one of the third rails of New York City politics, and the plan could face pushback in some communities. The city has roughly 3 million free street parking spots. Trash containerization would remove up to 10 percent of available parking spots on residential streets citywide, compared to less than 1 percent of parking spots removed for outdoor dining. Citi Bike, the city’s bike-share program, has taken about half of a percent of curb space in its service area for bike docks, according to the company.

On 11 percent of the city’s most densely populated residential streets in places like Lower Manhattan, the city found that it was not feasible to install containers because there was not enough street space for the trash produced in those areas.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Firefighters have to push planters to get to an emergency on the open streets



These open streets are not only putting residents in danger, but firefighters are going to injure themselves moving those fucking things.


 This post is dedicated to Voices of Jackson Heights who recently had her twitter account suspended. She has been reporting about these hazardous open streets since it started which is now subjected to a current lawsuit to end them. And also dedicated to the Department Of Transportation Alternatives, Shekar Krishnan and the simping agency captured elected officials who continue to support this 85 million dollar boondoggle.

Big Ugly Hochul budget finally done


Nearly a month after its initial due date, New York state lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul have agreed to a $229 billion state spending plan that will make changes to a controversial bail law, boost direct aid to schools by billions of dollars and keep personal income tax rates the same.

"A conceptual agreement has been reached," Hochul said at a press conference Thursday evening.

The state budget will also increase the state's minimum wage in the coming years to $16 an hour in New York City and to $15 an hour north of Westchester County. Phased-in hikes will lead to a $17 minimum wage by 2027. After that it will be indexed to the rate of inflation.

Lawmakers and Hochul have also agreed to an expansion of charter schools in New York City by allowing for 14 so-called "zombie" licenses to be revived.

The child tax credit in New York is set to expand for families with children under the age of 4, addressing the expiration of a similar program on the federal level.

After initially discussing ways in which New York's system of publicly financed campaigns — in which political campaigns match individual donations with public money — on hold, lawmakers have agreed to fund the program without a delay.

Once given final passage in the Legislature, New York's budget this year will be one of the latest spending plans to be adopted since 2010. That year, lawmakers did not approve a final budget until mid-August.

This was Hochul's second budget since taking office in 2021 and her first since she won a full term last year. Hochul struggled to include some of her key items in the budget that she made clear were priorities for her this year. 

Several of Hochul's initial proposals were pared and whittled down during the negotiations if not jettisoned entirely. A proposal to expand housing in New York through a mix of incentives for communities to build out infrastructure while also allowing the state to override local zoning officials for qualified projects was rejected by lawmakers. The proposal would have also set goals for every municipality in New York to expand housing stock in the coming years.

Hochul wants to build 800,000 new units of housing within the next decade. After an effort to reach an agreement ended in a stalemate, Hochul told reporters she would continue to pursue elements of her original plan.

The emergency rental assistance program will be expanded as well $50 million for low-income families to make housing repairs.

But the governor was able to win changes to the state's 2019 law that limited the circumstances in which cash bail is required in criminal cases after a campaign season in which crime and public safety were top concerns for voters.

Hochul also pointed to $40 million for public defenders and a pay raise for assigned attorneys providing indigent defense. She announced money for measures to combat gun violence and the State Police.

The change will give judges greater discretion in criminal cases to set bail for serious charges, loosening what's known as the "least restrictive" requirement when bail is considered.

Hochul had emphasized through the budget process she wants to address New Yorkers' concerns over crime while not undermining the initial intent of the law: addressing inequities in the criminal justice system.

On health care, the state is set to expand Medicaid spending for hospitals and nursing homes by increasing reimbursement rates.

The proposal, a 7.5% and 6.5% rise, is less than what health care networks wanted, but more than what Hochul had initially proposed.

New York will spend $34.5 billion on education, a record setting amount that also boosts direct aid to schools by more than $2 billion. The budget will also provide $134 million for schools to provide free meals regardless of a student's family income.

Hochul's initial plan to expand charter schools was reduced after objections from teachers unions.

A mobility tax to fund mass transit in the New York City area will be increased modestly, Hochul said. A two-year pilot program for free bus service on five lines will be included in the budget.

Hochul's announcement came in the evening after lawmakers left Albany and are not expected to return for several days.

Hochul called the agreement a "conceptual framework" as some legislators continue to review the specifics of the budget.