34 St-Hudson Yards: A Look at the 7 Subway Extension to the Far West Side

At the MTA board committee meetings this week, officials showed a preview of the 34 St-Hudson Yards station, due to open later this spring. The station entrance canopy and surrounding park are complete, and the ventilation building will be surrounded by 55 Hudson Yards, a 51-story office tower outlined in yellow. To support the tower, two rows of five caissons are being sunk in the area adjacent to the ventilation building, six of which will be sunk between the two subterranean escalator banks that lead to the station’s mezzanine.

7 Extension - 34 St Hudson Yards exterior

The 7 Train extension to Hudson Yards was funded by New York City using bonds backed by future tax revenues from the new Hudson Yards neighborhood.

34 St – Hudson Yards is not the deepest station in the system, but the station’s escalators span an 84-foot vertical drop, longer than any other in the subway system. For comparison, the escalators at Lexington Ave – 53 St station span a 56-foot vertical drop. Continues…

100 Works Designed and Constructed by Women: Built By Women New York City

In 2014, supported by grants from the New York Building Foundation and the New York Council for the Humanities, the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation began a project to identify buildings, structures, and built environments in New York City that are designed or constructed by women. The criteria:

The structure or built environment must have a woman who was directly responsible for leading the design (architecture, engineering, or landscape) or who led the construction, either from the development or construction management team. Projects must be completed or have broken ground and located in New York City.

100 Works Designed and Constructed by Women: Built By Women New York City

A jury of eight leading women in architecture, landscape, engineering, design, and planning identified 100 civic, commercial, cultural, institutional, landscape, mixed-use, residential, transportation, and urban design projects, and in December, they published Built By Women New York City (BxW NYC). This is a wonderful celebration of the women who have made New York City what it is today, and the foundation is planning a series of public events to draw greater attention to these important works: Continues…

Space Under Hoboken’s New 14th Street Viaduct Will Anchor Neighborhood Development

In 2011, Hudson County broke ground on a $55M project to replace the 14th Street Viaduct, an elevated structure connecting Hoboken with the Jersey City Heights and Union City. The original viaduct, completed in 1908, had become structurally deficient and functionally obsolete, and after the 2007 collapse of the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge in Minneapolis, Hudson County accelerated plans to replace the aging structure. Major construction of the new viaduct structure and roadway wrapped up in mid-2014:

The new Viaduct is an eight-span, 1177-foot long structure, constructed entirely of multi-steel girders and includes extensive traffic improvements such as modern LED 12-inch traffic signals for the intersections at each end. In terms of total cost, the 14th Street Viaduct replacement was the most expensive—and perhaps the most challenging—local roads project in Hudson County history.

14th Street Viaduct from Parking Structure - 2014

In 2010, Hudson County and the City of Hoboken unveiled plans for public spaces underneath the new viaduct, including multi-use spaces spanning two blocks, a basketball/roller hockey court, and a pocket park surrounded by a children’s playground and dog park. Continues…

Proposed Overnight PATH Cuts Indefinitely Tabled by Port Authority

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney and New Jersey Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto announced today that Port Authority Chairman John Degnan has committed to indefinitely table the proposal eliminate overnight PATH service that was included in a report prepared by Governors’ Christie and Cuomo’s special panel. The move followed strong opposition by local, state, and federal officials, and a unanimous vote by the Hoboken City Council on a resolution opposing service cuts.

In a letter sent to the two state officials after meeting with them on January 13th, Degnan said he had agreed to their request in an earlier meeting to not move forward with any consideration of the proposed cuts, and noted, “the Panel’s suggestion has not even been presented to the board of commissioners.”

Mayors of the two Hudson County cities that would have been affected by the proposed cuts issued statements thanking Degnan for taking the proposal out of consideration. Continues…

Hoboken City Council Votes 8-0 to Approve Resolution Opposing Governors’ PATH Cuts

At its meeting Wednesday night, the Hoboken City Council voted unanimously to pass a resolution supporting Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s statement opposing cuts to overnight PATH service, and registering the Council’s opposition to reductions in overnight service. The resolution was sponsored by new Council President Ravi Bhalla, and Council Member Peter Cunningham. Council members Bhalla, Cunningham, Doyle, Giattino, Mason, Mello, Occhipinti, and Russo voted in favor. Council Member Castellano was not present.

Full text of the resolution as passed: Continues…

PATH Cuts Update: Press Conference Monday, Hoboken City Council Vote Wednesday

Federal, state, and local officials, along with labor advocates, will hold a press conference Monday afternoon to call for cancellation of a proposal to cut overnight PATH train service. According to a media advisory issued Sunday night by the office of Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, the press conference will be held at 2:00PM outside the Grove St. PATH Station, at the corner of Columbus and Newark Avenues in Jersey City. Elected officials expected to attend include Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, along with Congressman Albio Sires, New Jersey Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, and New Jersey Senators Sandra Cunningham, Nicholas Sacco, and Brian Stack (who also serves as mayor of Union City). Analilia Mejia, Director of NJ Working Families Alliance, and Ken McNamara, President of CWA Local 1037, are also expected to attend.

The Hoboken City Council is expected to vote Wednesday night on a resolution supporting Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s statement opposing the proposed cuts, and signaling the Council’s opposition to the recommendation by the Governors’ special panel to cut overnight service. The resolution was introduced by Council Members Ravi Bhalla and Peter Cunningham.

The controversial proposal to cut overnight service was included in a report released the evening of Saturday, December 27 by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, along with their veto of a reform bill that had been unanimously passed by the legislatures of both states. It has sparked widespread opposition on both sides of the Hudson from transit riders, the mayors of cities with PATH service, federal and state lawmakers, and the PATH Riders’ Council, a group of transit riders who formally advise the Port Authority:

The PATH Riders’ Council is strongly opposed to any reduction in PATH service that would adversely impact the communities it serves. We vigorously oppose the suggestion by the special panel convened by Governors Christie and Cuomo to eliminate weekday and weekend overnight service. The proposal itself comes at a time when PATH is experiencing record ridership numbers, when jobs and commuting patterns no longer follow the traditional 9-5pm, and when governments throughout the region and country are investing – not divesting – in transit. The $10M cost reduction – a tiny portion of the Port Authority’s $7.8B budget – would be devastating for communities on both sides of the Hudson, especially for hard-working New Yorkers and New Jerseyans in industries like construction, healthcare, and hospitality who rely on PATH to come home from an overnight job or commute to a job with an early morning start.

Update on Governors’ Proposal to Cut PATH: Riders’ Council, Public, Lawmakers Respond

Transit riders and lawmakers on both sides of the Hudson have reacted swiftly and strongly to the suggestion by Governors Christie and Cuomo to cut overnight PATH service between 1:00-5:00 AM. The PATH Riders’ Council issued a statement strongly opposing elimination of service, and PRC Vice Chair Stewart Mader spoke to PIX11’s Greg Mocker about the need for legislative oversight of reforms:

Early Tuesday morning, NJ.com reporter Brian Donohue interviewed riders who rely on the trains that run between 1-5AM:

Take a ride on the PATH train at that time of night, talk to the working stiffs who rely on the PATH to get to their service industry jobs. Meet a few IT workers who keep the servers running for Manhattan firms 24/7. Or the Wall Streeters whose long hours and high salaries are pumping millions into the boomtown that is Jersey City these days. Speak with them and you’ll see what a downright dastardly idea this is. In today’s video, I did just that – I skipped sleep last night to get a look at how the idea is going over in the tubes under the Hudson River in the pre-dawn hours.

US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said the Governors should not use reform as a “Trojan Horse’ for cutting transit:

As someone who has consistently fought for resources to help New Jersey commuters and expand our public transit systems, I have serious concerns with the Governors’ proposal to privatize PATH or cut system services. The notion of using Port Authority reform as a ‘Trojan Horse’ for transit cutbacks is ill-conceived. More than anywhere else in the nation, our region depends on transit for our economic viability and quality of life.

Menendez told WCBS880’s Steve Scott: “The global economy doesn’t stop at 1AM, and neither should the PATH”.

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-NJ) told the Star-Ledger that he opposes ending overnight PATH service, and plans to meet with Port Authority Chair John Degnan. Sweeney is the highest-ranking official in either state to oppose the plan, and he is said to be weighing a run for Governor in 2017. Continues…

Statement from PATH Riders’ Council on Governors’ Proposed Overnight Service Cuts

The PATH Riders’ Council issued a statement today opposing the proposed cancellation of weekday and weekend overnight PATH Train service between New York and New Jersey (Ed. note: Stewart Mader, Vice Chair of the PATH Riders’ Council, is also editor of Gotham & Hudson):

December 29, 2014 – The PATH Riders’ Council is strongly opposed to any reduction in PATH service that would adversely impact the communities it serves. We vigorously oppose the suggestion by the special panel convened by Governors Christie and Cuomo to eliminate weekday and weekend overnight service. The proposal itself comes at a time when PATH is experiencing record ridership numbers, when jobs and commuting patterns no longer follow the traditional 9-5pm, and when governments throughout the region and country are investing – not divesting – in transit. The $10M cost reduction – a tiny portion of the Port Authority’s $7.8B budget – would be devastating for communities on both sides of the Hudson, especially for hard-working New Yorkers and New Jerseyans in industries like construction, healthcare, and hospitality who rely on PATH to come home from an overnight job or commute to a job with an early morning start.

It would be devastating to a region that relies on mass transit more than any other in the country. Hoboken, one of the cities served by PATH, has the highest rate of transit ridership in the nation at 56%. Jersey City has the second highest rate of transit usage (45.8%) among cities with 100,000 more residents, second only to New York City’s 55.7%, according to the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey.

PATH is the lifeblood for communities and working families on both sides of the Hudson who rely on the system 24/7 to get to work, to school, to see family and friends. To eliminate overnight service at a time when more and more families rely on this service is simply unconscionable.

Ya-Ting Liu, Chair
Stewart Mader, Vice Chair
PATH Riders’ Council

Overnight PATH Train Service Could be in Jeopardy, Cutting Vital NY/NJ Transit Connection

In a move that defies his 2009 campaign promise that, “sunlight is the best disinfectant and will bring transparency and ethics to government”, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill that would have significantly reformed governance at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. His veto was announced in a joint press release with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who would have faced significant pressure to approve the bill in his state if Cuomo had signed it into law in New York.

PATH Newport Station

In the weeks after the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal became public, implicating senior members of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s administration, calls for reform of the agency centered on the outsize influence by the two governors who oversee it. In response, the two governors convened a “bi-state Special Panel on the Future of the Port Authority” in May 2014 to consider changes. As WNYC’s Andrea Bernstein reported in May, the panel consisted only of insiders – two appointees selected by each governor, along with each governor’s legal counsel. “Not on the committee: anyone from academia, a think tank, a watchdog group or with a transportation background.” The panel was to deliver a report within 60 days of its formation.

The legislatures of both states took on the issue of reform, and on June 11 the New York State Assembly unanimously approved the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Transparency and Accountability Act of 2014. The New York State Senate followed suit with a unanimous vote June 18, sending the bill to Governor Cuomo for his signature. In New Jersey, the Senate unanimously passed identical legislation September 22, and the General Assembly passed the measure unanimously November 13. The legislation would have required commissioners to acknowledge in writing their fiduciary duty to the agency, and their duty of loyalty and care to the authority and its mission – a marked departure from the status quo, in which each commissioner’s allegiance is to their appointing governor. The bill also required the authority’s financial statements to be certified by top officials and subjected to generally accepted accounting and auditing standards, and would have introduced strict ethics, whistleblowing, public disclosure, and conflict of interest policies.

Instead, the bill was vetoed in the middle of the last weekend in December, when, presumably, most people are busy spending the holidays with family and friends. Continues…

Hoboken City Council Votes 8-1 to Approve Hoboken Yards Redevelopment Plan

In a lengthy and at times lively meeting Tuesday night, the Hoboken City Council heard public comment and debated the Hoboken Terminal and Yards Redevelopment, before voting 8-1 to approve the plan. Councilmembers Bhalla, Castellano, Cunningham, Doyle, Giattino, Mello, Occhipinti, and Russo voted in favor, while councilmember Mason offered the lone dissenting vote.

Hoboken Yards - Building Heights

Ann Brady, executive director of Plan Smart NJ, spoke in support of the plan. She said that to be competitive, New Jersey needs to invest in infrastructure, provide a variety of housing types, and protect the environment, and she noted that the plan achieved these goals by taking a very underutilized site and making it into a multiuse, multimodal neighborhood that is good for city and state. Brady noted that it was unusual for Plan Smart NJ to speak about a local project, since the organization focuses on regional issues, but the organization makes exceptions for local projects that have important regional significance, like the Hoboken Terminal and Yards Redevelopment.

Council President Jen Giattino said, “The square footage in this plan is very similar to the square footage on the southern waterfront, which I think a lot of people don’t realize. The commercial/residential split is similar as well.”

Council member Michael Russo noted that some public comments calling the plan rushed were a misrepresentation, because development around Hoboken Terminal has been under consideration for over a decade. Councilmember Jim Doyle echoed Russo, saying, “I think it’s disingenuous to say this plan has been rammed down our throats.”

Russo also disagreed with some public comments suggesting that NJ Transit or LCOR have had involvement in the current plan, saying, “This plan has nothing to do with NJ Transit or LCOR. They have had zero input. This is the city’s plan. I am absolutely in support of this plan because it is in the best interest of the city, and the city will be a better place when it gets built.” Continues…

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