Statement in Support of New York City Transit’s Fast Forward Plan
New York City Transit’s Fast Forward Plan
Why is this Important?
AIA New York (AIANY) is a professional organization representing over 5,500 architects dedicated to the quality of life of New York City’s residents, workers, and visitors. Recognizing the importance of access to high-quality, reliable, efficient and equitable mobility for all users, we support the region’s public transit systems as necessary to the vitality of the City and region. The goals of New York City Transit’s (NYCT) recently released Fast Forward Plan align with the guiding principles of AIANY’s Transportation + Infrastructure Policy Framework issued in 2017 which addresses the issues of mobility, placemaking, sustainability, building better and funding/financing.
Background of Subway Action Plan (2017)
In June 2017, Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency for New York City’s subway system, citing a debilitating increase in train and equipment breakdowns and resultant service. This follows a decade-long fall in bus ridership, a two-year decline in subway ridership, and a 14% loss in overall MTA ridership since 2007. In response to the Governor’s declaration, the MTA created the NYC Subway Action Plan, outlining a strategy for immediate repairs due to disinvestment and deferred maintenance. $836M in emergency funding was allocated for short-term repairs, shared by the State and City.
While the emergency stabilization plan did produce incremental improvements in the past year, it did not directly address long-term needs, including the modernization of the outdated signal system, replacement of obsolete subway rolling stock, lack of universal access to most subway stations, lags in communications and fare technologies, normal maintenance and repair, and endemic cost and schedule overruns on capital projects.
Fast Forward Plan (2018)
In May 2018, Andy Byford, the new President of NYCT, addressed these long-term needs with the Fast Forward Plan, which outlines improvements to the NYCT bus and subway systems over 10 years. The plan aims to:
• Accelerate the replacement of signal system on 11 subway lines
• Provide universal accessibility at an additional 180 subway stations
• Make state-of-good-repair improvements at 300 subway stations
• Implement a new fare payment system
• Purchase 6,500 new subway cars
• Purchase 4,900 new buses
• Redesign all bus routes in the City
To meet this ambitious timeframe, more frequent weekend and evening service disruptions will be required. Coupled with management and service improvements as well as efficiencies in procurement, this proposal has the potential to renew the City and region’s transit systems in the decades to come.
AIANY supports the strategy to prioritize state-of-good-repairs, modernization and equal access as the first and best investments in public transit. To this end, we call on the public and businesses impacted by public transportation, government agencies responsible for the maintenance and operation of the networks, and government bodies tasked with securing the necessary capital funding to cooperate in implementing the plan within the 10-year timeframe.
We commend the MTA on its willingness to engage in a forthright analysis of its needs and look forward to the release of further details on the costs, schedule, and funding mechanisms required to achieve this bold plan.