The city is facing a crisis; this summer, because of Amtrak repairs at Penn station and now the LIRR refusal to pay what it has dedicated, expected delays and service changes will negatively affect commuter capacity from NJ and Long Island by nearly 20%. Couple this with the overall aging of the MTA and NYC is in for a season of enormous challenges.
As one example, the 4-5-6 Green line is the heaviest trafficked train line in the US, yet it is plagued with safety issues, delays and overcrowding. Updating the signal switches that the MTA system is relying on, which currently date from the 1930’s, would go a long way to increasing reliability, and safety. Noting that replacing the signal switches can be a long, costly and arduous project, there are simpler things we can do in the mean time that will help mitigate the problem. In particular, the installation of proximity beacons, at a low cost compared to the overall capital budget, this would allow the MTA to track exact locations of all trains in the system in real time with a greater degree of accuracy than currently exists. Helping the MTA to better plan as well as react to break downs and track switches.
While the completion of the first phase of the 2nd Ave Subway has been a boon to the northern part of District 4, there is still an entire second phase of the project yet to be started or even funded properly. To connect the southern portion of District 4 to the 2nd Ave subway would go a long way to helping alleviate the problems of transit accessibility in places like Waterside Plaza, and there is little reason why it ought to take another 25 years to complete the project.
It is for these simple, yet straightforward reasons that I support Move NY's fair tolling plan to revitalize NY’s transit. I applaud the work of Council-member Garodnick in the planned rezoning for Grand Central Station, particularly his emphasis on public safety, I believe this is a great example of the type of innovation we need.
In the years ahead, we as a city must find the will to properly plan for the massive disruption that will be caused by automation in transportation. Across the country, cities are plowing ahead with new regulatory approaches to automated vehicles and NYC should be on the forefront. We need a plan to deal with driverless vehicles within the next 4 years, so I am calling for a commissioned study, inclusive of all relevant agencies and parties, to formally propose the best possible way forward for our future.