A Few Key Elements Missing from NYMTC’s Future Vision

NYMTCplan2040Public comment on the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council’s (NYMTC) latest regional transportation plan (RTP), Plan 2040:  A Shared Vision for a Sustainable Region, wrapped up last week and TSTC submitted extensive comments on NYMTC’s vision for the future. While the plan covers a lot of territory, there are a few areas where it’s lacking.

VMT Reduction

The most glaring problem with NYMTC’s Plan 2040 is that it does not include reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT), and overestimates VMT growth in the next 25 years. The plan projects 12 percent increases in daily VMT by 2040, far too high an estimate given recent driving trends. A 2013 Victoria Policy Institute (VPI) report found not only that US car ownership per capita plateaued beginning in 2000 and has declined since 2005, but also that VMT growth leveled off in 2000, began to decline in 2007, and by 2010, remained significantly below the trend line.

At the same time, Plan 2040 underestimates the future growth of transit ridership in the region, which it predicts will grow by just 20 percent. VPI found that transit ridership in the United States grew by 34 percent from 1995 to 2011, roughly double the growth in population. With both millennials and baby boomers driving less and opting to live in walkable, transit-oriented communities, 20 percent growth seems far too low.

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD)

Plan 2040 recognizes that connecting smart land use policies to smart transportation investment is integral to the economic competitiveness, environmental health and quality of life of the region. Plan 2040 should go a step further and call for the creation of a Transit Village Planning and Capital program, similar to New Jersey’s successful program, that helps municipalities plan and build TOD.

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Suffolk County to Use Federal Funds to Study Feasibility of Bus Rapid Transit

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a key component of Suffolk County’s “Connect Long Island” plan. | Photo: trans4m.org

The Suffolk County Legislature adopted a resolution last Tuesday by a vote of 16 to 2 that will provide the county over $320,000 in New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) funding to study potential Bus Rapid Transit [...]

The 2012 New York State Legislature Candidate Transportation Survey

The capitol building in Albany

On Tuesday, November 6th, New York voters will decide who goes to Albany in 2013. Every seat in the New York State Senate and Assembly is being contested, which means that—no matter where you live in the state—your ballot will influence transportation policy.

This year, four organizations—NY Bicycling Coalition, NYPIRG’s Straphangers Campaign, Transportation Alternatives, and Tri-State Transportation Campaign—teamed up to coordinate a survey to find out more about the candidates’ transportation priorities. Every candidate for a New York State Senate or Assembly seat was invited to respond. Their responses provide voters with a unique opportunity to evaluate where their candidates stand on the transportation policy issues that affect New York State’s road, bridge, bicycle, pedestrian, and transit infrastructure. Below is a sampling of questions and responses. At the bottom of this post, you can find each respondent’s answers.

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NYMTC Embarks on Public Engagement Campaign for 2040 Regional Transportation Plan

The public has a chance to shape NYMTC's 2040 Regional Transportation Plan | Chart: nymtc-rtp.org

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) recently launched a public engagement campaign that gives New Yorkers a better opportunity to shape the 2040 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), a vision for the area’s transportation future.

NYMTC, the region’s metropolitan [...]

$18.6 Million Requested for Flawed Tappan Zee Bridge Project

Governor Cuomo and NYMTC still have the opportunity to make transit part of the Tappan Zee project. Photo: Patja

On Friday, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) announced a request for $18.6 million in federal transportation funds to begin preliminary engineering work on the Tappan Zee Bridge project.

The amendment to the [...]

Comments on NYMTC Long-Range Plan Due This Month

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, the NYC-area metropolitan planning organization, is looking for feedback on its 2010-2035 regional transportation plan. It is titled “A Shared Vision for a Shared Future” and includes demographic forecasts and funding strategies for the next 25 years. Overall, however, the plan reads less like a long-term planning document [...]

In Dribs and Drabs, New York Allocates Stimulus Funds

While states like New Jersey have already allocated their transportation stimulus funds, New York is piecemealing out its funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in small increments that make it harder to understand how the state is spending the stimulus overall.

This month, Gov. Paterson announced the release of $77 million for [...]

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Captain Asphalt!

Captain Asphalt at a recent meeting.

Yesterday at the NYMTC Annual Meeting, Timothy Gilchrist was once again dubbed “Captain Asphalt.” It’s the second time MTR has heard the title be used to describe New York State’s Senior Advisor for Infrastructure charged with distributing $2.3 billion in transportation stimulus funds; the first was in [...]

The Stimulus Goes Online: New York

The metropolitan planning organizations of New York State have released their lists of transportation projects that are eligible for stimulus funds designated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The act, signed into law by President Obama in February, dedicates roughly $2.3 billion for New York to invest in public transit, roads, bridges, and bike and pedestrian improvements. Of this, $336 million is “suballocated” to metropolitan planning organizations and transportation management associations.

The below offers a snapshot into individual regions’ needs and priorities. Many listed projects in the Northern and Western parts of NY favor bridge and road maintenance.  Not surprisingly, the NYC list is transit-heavy. Most lists have some sort of transit or pedestrian improvement request, showing that those needs stretch throughout the state.

NYMTC's stimulus lists are available in Google Map format. In NYC, NYMTC funding could go towards Brooklyn subway stations.

NYMTC's stimulus lists are available as Google Maps. Above: stimulus funding could go towards Brooklyn subway stations.

Almost all of the lists are accessible via websites, but members of the general public may find it hard to navigate the jargon. Non-professionals may not guess that a file titled “Transportation Improvement Program 2007-2012″ is where to find a stimulus project list, though that is the only place where some MPOs put it. Other MPOs at least mention ARRA by name, but only a few use plain-English language like “Draft 2009 stimulus projects.”

New York Metropolitan Transportation Council has lists located on its main page, and even has them in Google Map format (scroll down to “Candidate Projects for ARRA”).  NYMTC’s project lists cover NYC, Long Island, and Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester Counties.  Nearly all of the funds for NYC are directed towards NYC Transit for subway upgrades, including station rehabilitation in Brooklyn and the Second Avenue Subway.  Projects in NYMTC’s Lower Hudson Valley Region include modernization of Bee-Line facilities, bus purchases, and bridge and traffic signal replacements. The LI list includes traffic calming in Hempstead, buses for Suffolk County Bus, and a LIRR Atlantic Avenue Viaduct improvement.

After the jump, synopses of MPO stimulus lists from around the state.

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As Region Moves Towards Sustainability, Suffolk Calls for More Roads

Suffolk County’s vision for the future: Making sure roads like this become congested [Image from NYMTC 2008 Annual Report].

At the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council’s annual meeting last week, principal members laid out their visions for growth over the next few decades. Principals, or their representatives, from Nassau, Westchester, Rockland, and New [...]