West 86th Street B/C Station Closes For Repairs

Patch-Logo.png By Brendan Krisel

UPPER WEST SIDE, NY — The West 86th Street and Central Park West subway station closed Monday for at least six months as the MTA begins to renovate the station, the transit authority announced.

The West 86th Street station is one of three Upper West Side B/C stations being renovated as part of the MTA's Enhanced Stations Initiative. The Enhanced Stations Initiative includes structural repairs and cosmetic fixes such as new stairs, floors, countdown clocks and LED lighting. The station is expected to reopen by the end of the year.

"We appreciate our customers' patience while we do these critical repairs and improvements," NYC Transit President Andy Byford said in a statement.

"These temporary closures will prepare these stations for decades of continued service. We're deploying customer service personnel to help riders through this transition and will hold the contractor to the aggressive work schedule."

The West 110th Street B/C station in Frederick Douglass Circle closed in early April and the West 72nd Street station closed on May 7. Service on the M10 bus line, which runs along the route of the B/C trains, has been increased during the renovations, the MTA said. 

When the West 110th Street Station closed, Upper West Side and Harlem politicians called the MTA's Enhanced Stations Initiative a blown opportunity. Politicians and advocates criticized the program for failing to upgrade subway service and failing to make the stations accessible to all passengers. Officials also decried a lack of community outreach done by the MTA before announcing the station closures.

"This kind of renovation is done once a generation if you're lucky," City Councilman Mark Levine said during the April rally. "And we're blowing this opportunity to do it right."

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Parking spots dedicated to car-sharing services are a reality

AMNY.pngBy Vincent Barone

Maybe he will Citi Bike to the gym.

Mayor Bill de Blasio will not go back to car ownership once he leaves office and returns to his home in Park Slope, he told reporters on Thursday while announcing parking spaces dedicated to car sharing services.

The mayor has been criticized for routinely having his security detail drive him from Gracie Mansion to his neighborhood YMCA in Brooklyn instead of using — or strongly advocating for — mass transit. But that will change once he leaves office and no longer requires that escort, de Blasio said.

“Whether I like it or not, I am a prominent person and there are security realities that go about being this person and holding this role, and the NYPD can speak to that,” de Blasio said. “But on January 1, at 12:01 a.m. on 2022, I get to do my own thing. And I’m going to go back to my house on 11th Street, and I am not owning a car — guaranteed.”

Instead, the mayor said he would rely on mass transit and car share services from the likes of Zipcar and Enterprise. The city has begun reserving spaces for both companies as part of a pilot car-sharing program that will formally begin Monday.

Under the two-year initiative, both companies will have access to 285 parking spaces on city streets and in municipal lots as well as another 24 spots in public housing developments, thanks to a City Council law sponsored by Manhattan Councilman Mark Levine.

Spaces will be reserved in all boroughs except for Staten Island as part of a pilot that aims to increase access to the services and eventually reduce car ownership and car congestion.

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NYC reserves parking for car-share services

Fox_5.png By Linda Schmidt

New York City is partnering with Zipcar and Enterprise to encourage residents to ditch their personal cars and use one of the car-sharing services instead.

"If we don't do something about the number of cars, we're all screwed," Mayor Bill de Blasio bluntly said during the announcement of the car-sharing pilot program to cut down on congestion. The city's Transportation Department has set aside 309 dedicated parking spots for shared vehicles.

"This is absolutely one of the ways we can reduce the number of cars still giving people the availability of a vehicle when they need one," the mayor said.

The city is hoping the car-sharing program will encourage people who own cars to give them up.

Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg pointed to studies that estimate that owning a car in New York can cost you about $9,000 so she said that resident can potentially save a dramatic amount.

Council Member Mark Levine said that similar programs in Baltimore and San Francisco have helped curb car ownership.

NYCHA tenants receive a free membership for the first year of the program and discounted rental rates.    For everyone else, memberships will range from $7 to $40 per month. Rental rates range from $8.50 an hour to $18 per hour, depending on where you live and the car you choose. Gas and car insurance are included

If the program is successful, the city will expand it.

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Car-Share Companies Get Coveted Parking in New York City

NYTimes.png By Sarah Maslin Nir

Losing a handful of street parking spots along a stretch of Upper Manhattan may seem like relatively little to give up. But in the blood sport that is parking in New York, Elisa Ferreira, who was pushing her son, Mason, in a stroller through Hamilton Heights on a recent weekday, said that the 20 spots the city plans to remove from her neighborhood will just make the ordeal even worse.

“It’s already really hard to find parking” Ms. Ferreira said. “It’s only going to be harder for us.’’

Starting Monday, as part of its campaign to expand transportation options, the city is taking away about 300 parking spots in more than a dozen neighborhoods, mostly outside of Manhattan, and reserving them exclusively for vehicles from car-share companies, like Zipcar. It is the first time the companies, which currently keep their inventory in parking garages, will be allowed to store cars on city streets.

The city’s Department of Transportation is well aware that cutting the number of precious parking spots — even in a city with millions of spaces — will infuriate drivers, some of whom already see the agency as bent on banishing cars as the city continues to install miles of bike lanes and turn parts of thoroughfares into pedestrian plazas. But making more vehicles available to be shared by more New Yorkers, officials said, could lessen the reliance on individual cars and reduce congestion and greenhouse gases.

“It is not my job to make anyone take up a particular mode. It is my job to try to provide the best options I can for all the travelers of New York City,” said Polly Trottenberg, the city’s transportation commissioner. In New York City, just under half of all households own cars, according to the New York City Economic Development Corporation — significantly less than the national average of 92 percent. Car-share programs, officials said, can play a vital role in helping people without cars who live far from public transit get around.

But the prospect of fewer street spaces has angered drivers who said aggressive ticket agents, unforgiving tow truck drivers and alternate side of the street regulations already make car ownership in New York more of a headache than most places in the country.

As part of the program, car-share companies will get a total of 285 parking spaces in 14 mainly low- and moderate-income neighborhoods that were chosen because they are not well-served by car-sharing companies as a result of having relatively few parking garages. About 230 spots will be on streets, and 55 will be in municipal lots.

Signs went up recently labeling the spots as reserved for Zipcar or Enterprise CarShare cars, the two companies the city selected to participate in the pilot program. Other than a one-time fee of $765 paid by each company, there is no charge to park on the street, though the companies were required to provide discount fares to certain low-income New Yorkers and deploy cars with high fuel efficiency.

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City launches new car share program with reserved parking spots

New_York_Daily_News_logo_(1).png By Erin Durkin

The city will reserve hundreds of parking spots in neighborhoods around New York for car sharing services, officials said Thursday.

Some 309 parking spots on curbs and in public and NYCHA parking lots will be set aside for ZipCar and Enterprise CarShare, companies where customers pay to use a car for a few hours.

Mayor de Blasio announced the two-year test program at a press conference Thursday in Morningside Heights, one of 14 neighborhoods that will have special spots.

Officials are hoping that with cars easily available, New Yorkers who own cars but don't use them very often will get rid of them.

"When you own a car in this city, you've got a whole set of challenges that come with it - obviously the cost of insurance, fuel, repairs, but particularly the challenge of parking in New York City. There are just too many cars here," de Blasio said. "We have to give people new options."

Hizzoner was blunt about the need to get cars off the road. "If we don't reduce the number of cars, we're all screwed," he said.

The 230 street spots will be reserved for car share starting June 4. Besides Morningside, they're coming to Parkchester in the Bronx, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, Williamsburg, East Williamsburg, Park Slope, and Red Hook in Brooklyn, the eastern Rockaways, Jackson Heights and Jamaica in Queens, and East Harlem and Hamilton Heights in Manhattan.

Studies in other cities have found that for every car in a car share program, between five and 20 households get rid of a car or choose not to buy one. But in New York, more than half of households already do without cars.

If the program is a success, the city plans to expand it.

"If this works, we're going to take it citywide in a very aggressive way," de Blasio said.

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Uptown truck facility slammed

Manhattan_Times_News.png By Gregg McQueen

It’s a trucking nightmare.

Uptown residents and elected officials are riled up over a city-owned site that the Department of Transportation (DOT) recently transformed into a maintenance truck lot.

The lot, located at 672 West 158th Street near the West Side Highway, was previously the home of “Safety City,” a fenced-in replication of city intersections used to teach school children about traffic safety.

Locals say that the site was repurposed by DOT in March as a truck parking facility, which is disturbing nearby residents with noise and fumes as early as 4:30 a.m.

“The trucks start up early in the morning,” said Henry Brockington, who lives next to the lot. “There’s fumes, noise, traffic, everything is worse since they started putting trucks in here.”

April Ellis, who lives across the street, said she is concerned for her two young sons due to increased truck traffic.

“It’s a very heavily-trafficked street as it is,” said Ellis, who voiced concern that the trucks endanger families attempting to access a nearby park. “To add to that, I think it’s too much.”

“[It’s] disrupting local life in the midst of a densely populated area,” said City Councilmember Mark Levine at a May 23 press conference next to the lot.

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On the heat beat

Manhattan_Times_News.png By Desiree Johnson

They want to bring the heat.

Advocates joined with Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and Councilmembers Mark Levine, Ritchie Torres and Robert E. Cornegy Jr. to call for remote temperature monitors to be installed in apartment buildings to independently monitor heat requirements.

This past winter, over 200,000 heat-related complaints were made to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) from tenants in private apartment buildings.

Torres is the prime sponsor of a new bill in which heat sensing technology would be used to enforce requirements mandated in the city housing code.

“Heat and hot water are not a luxury [but] one of the bare necessities of life,” said Torres. “In private housing, not only do you have the epidemic of heat and power outages, but you have the added element of harassment.”

The bill would require HPD to identify the 150 Class A multiple dwelling buildings with the highest ratios of temperature violations to unit beginning in January 2020. Those building owners would be required to install and maintain the temperature reporting devices in each living room for no less than four years – at no cost to the tenant. These devices will display heating details over the Internet for both the tenant and owner to view.

The current system requires a tenant to make a complaint by calling 311, which is forwarded to HPD. The agency provides landlords with a notice of future inspection and then visits to conduct the inspection.

“We know this dance and this dance has become a broken record each year,” said Adams. “[HPD] gives [landlords] a period of time. He comes out and turns on the heat, and then after the inspectors leave, he departs. And when he departs, the heat departs as well.”

The press conference was held in front of 509 West 134th Street, which was cited as the building with the highest number of heating related violations in the city.

“We’re here to talk about the challenge of heat for low-income tenants,” said Levine. “We are on a street that is ground zero for the abuse of landlords who use denial of heat and hot water as a weapon for pushing out low-income tenants.”

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Washington Heights residents say noisy DOT truck facility is ‘too much’ for the neighborhood

AMNY.pngBy Rajvi Desai

A loud Department of Transportation-owned site on a Washington Heights block by the Hudson River has been keeping people up at all hours of the night, neighborhood residents said Tuesday.

Concerned members of the community protested a recent conversion of a lot located at 672 W. 158th St., which used to be a Safety City — a simulated traffic safety program for children with street signs and other New York City paraphernalia resembling a streetscape — up until recently.

“I did not plan to have to dust off my old Army clothes and come out here like a warrior to get the city’s attention,” resident Jack Fogle, 63, said, gesturing to the lot populated with large trucks. Detailing the impact on his life, Fogle added that the trucks congest roads, and the built-in alarms of the vehicles when they are being backed up have been going off at inconvenient times of the day and night, he added.

The site emits noise and fumes that are causing disruptions in residents’ lives as early as 4:30 a.m., another resident, April Ellis, 38, said.

“Especially in the middle of the night or early in the morning,” Ellis said, expressing concern for her two sons. “It is already a heavily-trafficked street. The truck depot is too much.”

“This facility was repurposed as a result of a priority need within our safety operations and the agency notified elected officials and the local community board,” DOT spokeswoman Alana Morales said in an emailed statement, adding that the site is now a base for agency crew members that install Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero improvement projects, such as “critical pedestrian ramp upgrades.”

The crews begin their work early in the day, the effects of which the DOT is trying to mitigate, Morales’ statement added.

Elected officials, including Councilman Mark Levine (D-Manhattan) and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, allege that the conversion of the lot was sparked by another rally organized by the community in February, wherein protesters demanded the site become affordable housing. The training site was then converted to a “truck depot” without the community’s input, pols contend.

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Officials push to install sensors to track heat and hot water conditions in NYC apartments

NY1.pngBy Angi Gonzalez

Elected officials proposed legislation Monday to install heat sensors to track heat and hot water conditions in real time in New York City apartment buildings with extensive heat violations.

The legislation would pave the way for the installation of sensors, from a company known as Heat Seek NYC, in certain city apartments by 2020. The creators of the device said the sensors upload the information online.

"This app will monitor the heat levels, continuously, in real time," Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said at a press conference introducing the legislation. "Then, when a tenant decides to go to court, they're no longer playing a 'he said, she said' — they're able to bring real data into the courtroom and show the judge if a person was not providing the necessary amount of heat."

"If you try to move it or open it, it leaves a residue when you take the tape off, so we know it hasn't been tampered with," said Noelle Francois, the executive director of Heat Seek NYC.

The bill is designed to protect tenants who may not receive proper heat or hot water from their landlords.

The sensors would cost $120, with landlords picking up the tab.

Manhattan City Councilman Mark Levine said he is working with his colleagues on ironing out an implementation and enforcement of a program.

"When residents call for help, it can take days and weeks for an inspector to show up," Levine said. "By then, maybe the weather is warmer, or by then maybe the landlord has turned on the heat," Levine said.

Eventually, lawmakers hope the technology will help alleviate the amount of manpower and time needed for city agencies to respond to and fix heat-related complaints.

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Proyecto para obligar a caseros a instalar sensores para monitorear calefacción

Noticias.png Por Juan Manuel Benitez

Hernán Hernández vive en un edificio en el barrio de Harlem.

Hernández se queja de la falta de agua caliente y, durante el invierno, también de calefacción.

"De por rato la arreglaban, luego otra vez, pero así estuvimos", explicó Hernández.

Es el 509 de la calle 134 oeste, el edificio con mayor número de violaciones por falta de calefacción en la ciudad: 64, afirmaron un grupo de funcionarios municipales... que el lunes anunciaron un proyecto de ley que obligaría a caseros como el de ese edificio a instalar aparatos de monitoreo en la sala de todos los apartamentos. 

"Hasta ahora no había un mecanismo fijo y lo que nos da esta tecnología es un récord oficial comprobado con el aparatito que se puede transmitir directamente a la ciudad", explicó el concejal Mark Levine.

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