Our Transportation Plan
Keep New York Moving
Transportation. It's so obvious, we overlook it. We work all over the place. How do I get from Woodhaven to Woodside for my job and from Woodside to the Westside for my appointment? Oh, and I am handicapable. Transportation may be the single biggest antagonist in the life of a New Yorker.
The first traffic law in New Amsterdam was in 1652
Early transportation in New York was through trails and water. Jamaica Avenue, which runs through Queens and Brooklyn was built on the trail route of the Lenape people.
The first traffic law in New Amsterdam was in 1652 barring wagons, carts and sleights from being driven at a gallop.
In the 1800’s the shape of the city and it’s transportation system really began to take shape and form the foundation of the city we know today. First was the grid plan of 1811 dividing streets and avenues in a rectangular pattern that set a foundation for our transportation system. At the same time, the world’s first ferry service came into operation.
Naturally, horse-drawn carriages were the primary means of public transportation. Following the steam ferry came the steam train soon after. The first elevated trains appeared in 1867. By 1878, it was carrying an estimated 14,000,000 passengers.
Did you know the first “subway” was created by Alfred E. Beach from 1870-1873? It was a 312-foot tunnel under lower Broadway. The train was operated by "pneumatic pressure" and blown by a giant fan.
Steam cars replaced horse-drawn streetcars. This resulted in faster transportation and cleaner streets. They were so much faster that the Brooklyn trolleys became infamously dangerous for pedestrians. The local baseball team changed their name to the Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers in 1895 eventually shortening the name to Brooklyn Dodgers.
The 1900’s saw a surge in expansion. Trains went electric in 1903, Gas powered buses came on the scene in 1905. In 1919, New York installed it’s first traffic signal light. By 1925, we had two independently run train services. In 1957 the last streetcars disappeared, replaced by the bus system.
In 2017, Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the MTA due to reliability and crowding problems with mass transit in New York City
Our transportation is not our own
We have an extensive metropolis with cars, trains, buses and ferries providing the bulk of the business of transit in our city. The MTA is actually a multi-pseudo state-run corporation. Many riders didn’t know that the MTA also owns the Long Island Railroad, or the Metro-North Railroad. So the MTA renamed all their subsidiary and affiliate agencies to reflect their holdings.
MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR)
MTA Metro-North Railroad (MNR)
MTA Staten Island Railway (SIR)
MTA Capital Construction (MTACC)
MTA Regional Bus Operations
First Mutual Transportation Assurance Company
MTA Bridges and Tunnels (MTA B&T)
MTA New York City Transit (NYCT)
And so. Wait a minute. First Mutual Transportation Assurance Company? What is the First Mutual Transportation Assurance Company also known as FMTAC?
According to a report (attached here). The following is from that report.
2. DESCRIPTION OF COMPANY
The Company was incorporated under the laws of New York State as a pure captive insurance company on December 5, 1997 and commenced business on the same day. The Company is a wholly- owned subsidiary of the MTA and was established to maximize the flexibility and effectiveness of the MTA’s insurance program.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority was established under the New York Public Authorities Law and is a public benefit corporation of the State of New York. The MTA’s mission is to develop and improve public transportation and to develop and implement a unified public transportation policy in the New York metropolitan area.
The MTA carries out these responsibilities directly and through its subsidiaries and affiliates, which are also public benefit corporations. In addition to the Company, the following entities are MTA subsidiaries and affiliates:
The Long Island Rail Road Company
Metro-North Commuter Railroad Company
Staten Island Rapid Transit Operating Authority
MTA Capital Construction Company
MTA Bus Company
Metropolitan Suburban Bus Authority (eliminated on 12/31/11)
New York City Transit Authority and its subsidiary
Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority
According to an article in the Insurance Journal from 2015 (see attached), FMTAC’s total assets were $1.333 Billion at the end of 2013. FMTAC is run by an outside company, March Captive Solutions Group. In another article (Attached) by the Insurance Journal, it says:
Laureen Coyne, director of risk and insurance management for the MTA and president of FMTAC, said there are about half a dozen carriers that share the layers up through the tower. She said it’s too early to tell whether the excess liability coverages through the commercial markets might be triggered.
FMTAC said it’s fully reinsured in the domestic, London, European and Bermuda marketplaces for the property coverage.
In this COVID-19 crisis, it’s disheartening to hear of the MTA lack of funds, closures and breakdowns as our tax dollars, at over $1 Billion, are moved to London, European and Bermuda marketplaces.
My Transportation Solution
MY TAKE IT BACK PLAN
I believe character matters; leadership descends from character.
We need to lead our own path to come up with the solutions we need for our transportation system.
While the State runs our public transit system, it seems evident little if any money flows from entities such as the MTA’s First Mutual Transportation Assurance Company with its $1.333 Billion dollars in assets to help us with maintaining our transit system. Roughly 7% of the MTA budget comes from State & Local Subsidies. We are essentially left to fend for ourselves.
I propose the city should run the MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) putting subways and buses under municipal control.
We can’t build more trains or tracks anytime soon. But we have buses.
In addition, we should ensure the “Better Buses” project is not shut down and continued with the following modifications:
More Buses, More Jobs, More Routes.
I think the answer lies in our bus system. More ADA compliant buses, more bus routes, bus lanes, bus times. Our train system is like Fred Flintstone working at the quarry running up and down the spine of the dinosaur stairs up and down and crowded.
That doesn’t help our seniors or handi-capable people much. Our train routes have a lot of empty spaces, particularly in the meteor sized hole that's actually between Woodside and Woodhaven.
So I believe Buses are the solution for us all.
30 miles of bus lanes currently cost the same as 1 mile of subway tracks. Let’s make those bus lanes!
We need to fill in the transportation gaps in Rockaway with more buses and add more buses to ferry stops and over the bridge.
We need to fill in the meteor-sized hole in our transportation grid in Queens with more bus routes.
Improve 10 miles of existing bus lanes each year, not 5 miles.
Install 20–30 miles of new bus lanes each year, not 10-15 miles.
Remove the pilot program to add up to 2 miles of physically separated bus lanes. Instead, I would approve speed bump style divisions which would cost much less and stop the red zone bus painting that is costly and is already cracking and pulling apart.
Eliminate the goal to implement NYC DOT street design projects that benefit 600,000 daily riders each year. We already do this.
Adding 300 Transit Signal Priority (TSP) intersections per year is fine so long as it doesn’t interfere with increasing our bus fleet and work force or increased routes. Otherwise, we don’t need it right now.
Expand bus lane camera enforcement. I agree only if revenue goes directly to the MTA budget for our buses.
I would remove the goal to increase NYPD bus lane enforcement with seven dedicated tow truck teams. We have enough.
Evaluate and improve bus stops. You come to a bus stop, you wait, it comes, you go. This sounds like one of those line items where a lot of money disappears. No Thanks.
Working with the MTA
Support MTA Bus Network Redesign efforts with borough bus priority plans
Press for all-door boarding, restarting the SBS program, and other improvements to bus operations. This is the problem with the MTA in the first place.
Our City, Our rules.
We should decide for ourselves regarding all-door boarding, not the State run MTA. The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) shouldn’t be a program that needs restarting. It should be our standard of doing business.
Bus Borders are permanent or durable plastic sidewalk extensions at bus stops that provide more space for waiting passengers and allow buses to save time by pulling up to the curb without leaving the travel lane.
If they specifically assist in ADA compliance, I’m all for it. Otherwise, I want to put the money to more buses, more jobs, more routes.
I would like to open an investigation into First Mutual Transportation Assurance Company, an MTA owned but privately run organization with over a Billion dollars in assets that few people know about.
We have cameras and tickets for everything now. That’s fine. But let’s make the street a little safer instead of just more expensive to drive through.
Recently, we have had a surge of speeding, drag racing and other dangerous driving behavior in our district. We can’t undo it all. But we can slow it down some. I want to propose more speed bumps particularly in some of our wider streets.
If residents call in for a stop sign or speed bump, let’s get this processed quicker. Now is the time to work and clean up the city and make all the corrections we’ve been wishing for.
Let’s cut out the Cross Bay Bridge Toll. We are one district. We shouldn’t be divided by a toll.
Let’s expand citywide ferry service with stops closer to NYCHA buildings and integrated more with the mass transit system.
The MTA owns it all, so we should get reduced LIRR fares for New York City residents.
Illegal parking spots.
Let’s Build the QueensRail. It’s already there. It can reduce commutes to and from midtown Manhattan by at least a half hour in our District.
Have you heard about the reverse angle parking program? More cars fit on a block, more space, less time looking for parking, more time with the family. Let’s work with the DOT and just do it.
You’ve seen them. Cars parked on a lawn. Sometimes right in front of the entrance to homes. Many residents have made their own illegal parking spots. Sure some of them are ugly. Some of them are quite ingenious. The truth is, we have a lot of cars and not a lot of space. Driving around, looking for parking can be a very stressful time. So I get it.
Let’s do something about it. We should regulate and legitimize these spaces with affordable standards. Standards of how much minimum and maximum space can be used. Proper curbage and a reasonable city fee for the permit. This will take cars off the street and free up space.
We've been talking a lot lately about increased speeding in our neighborhoods. Speed bumps and cameras is an obvious solution. But I propose a lower cost option with speed strips. Those are those beveled ridges you can feel when you veer off on the highway or as a warning to slow down at tolls. I think this is a quicker, more economical option to curb speeding in out neighborhoods.
More cars off the streets, less time looking for parking, more time with family, less stress.
It’s a win all around.