TODAY'S PAPER

NYC transit projects 2018: Subway upgrades, NYC Ferry, LaGuardia renovation and more

As Timon in "The Lion King" says: "You gotta put your past behind you."

While we could whine about the transit problems of 2017, it's much more fun to look to the future.

From extra routes on the NYC Ferry to progress on the Subway Action Plan and LaGuardia Airport renovation, here's a look at what's in store for New York City in 2018.

Dockless bike share is coming to NYC

The city plans to launch a pilot program of so-called "dockless bike share" in the summer or fall of 2018 to fill gaps in Citi Bike's service area -- including in the Bronx and Staten Island.

After more than a year of rallies and internal negotiations about expanding Citi Bike to the five boroughs, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in December that his office is exploring alternatives to the dock-based system. Dockless bike share systems rely on smartphone apps -- not dedicating parking space -- to locate, lock and unlock bicycles.

The city has issued what's known as a request for expressions of interest, which will allow dockless companies to showcase how their service could work in the city. Dockless bike share has been rapidly growing in cities around the country and abroad. Though there are concerns that, without designated docking stations, bikes would be parked in hazardous or impeding areas in parks, sidewalks or other public space.

Subway Action Plan moves forward

Following a spike in service delays and a string of derailments over the summer, Gov. Andrew Cuomo put the state-run MTA under a state of emergency to help fast-track repairs to the system's crumbling infrastructure.

Just a few weeks later, MTA chair Joe Lhota unveiled his Subway Action Plan. The multipronged, two-phase blueprint to save the subways from falling deeper into disrepair aims to modernize the system by implementing long-term, systemwide upgrades and improve service with short-term projects.

But a difference of opinion on how to fund the extra work renewed a long-standing feud between Cuomo, who prefers congestion pricing, and de Blasio, who has proposed a so-called millionaire's tax.

While the feud over funding is likely to make headlines in 2018 alone, the MTA is also promising progress on its Subway Action Plan projects.

New NYC Ferry routes

New Yorkers will soon have two more ways to commute between Long Island City, the Bronx and Manhattan. The NYC Ferry service is expected to launch two new ferry routes: Lower East Side and Soundview. Both routes will operate from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, including on holidays. The daily schedules, however, will change based on the season, according to the city.

The city also partnered with Hornblower to build 20 new ferry ships in 2018, six of which will be larger, 350-passenger boats to accommodate an increase in ridership. Each of the ships will feature a food and drink concession stand, a state-of-the-art security system, charging stations and free Wi-Fi.

The new ferry routes are:

Lower East Side: Long Island City - North, East 34th Street, East 23rd Street, Grand Street and Pier 11/Wall Street

Soundview: Soundview, East 90th Street, East 62nd Street, Wall Street/Pier 11

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LaGuardia Airport renovation continues

LaGuardia Airport will be completely rebuilt over the next four years under a plan from Cuomo and his Airport Advisory Panel.

The estimated $8 billion project, which began in 2016, will link all four terminals through one new facility that will be built 600 feet closer to the Grand Central Parkway. The slight move will make way for two miles of aircraft taxiways to improve plane movement, leading to a reduction in delays, according to Cuomo. A new 3,000-car parking garage, called the West Parking Garage, is also in the works, as well as more mass transit connections.

In August, Cuomo announced a proposal to build an AirTrain from the Willets Point 7 train station and a ferry service to the Marine Air Terminal, the second phase of which has been approved by the Port Authority of New York for $55 million.

The second half of the renovation will involve redeveloping and connecting the Delta-operated terminals C and D to the unified airport.

The governor's office estimates that the facility will be open to the public in 2019 with the entire project completed two years later in 2021.

L train shutdown planning

Although the L train shutdown won't happen until April 2019, discourse over how to mitigate its impact on riders will continue to make headlines in 2018.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and city Department of Transportation unveiled its mitigation plans - including a 14th Street busway and 13th Street bikeway in Manhattan and increased subway service on lines near the L in Brooklyn - but some critics argue the blueprints are too Manhattan-centric.

DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg assured concerned riders that Grand Street, an already busy road that will play a key role in moving new bus service over the Williamsburg Bridge during the shutdown, will get dedicated bike and bus space. Details, however, have yet to be finalized and are unlikely to be announced before 2018.

BQX streetcar could still happen

The Brooklyn Queens Connector is still in its planning stages, but New Yorkers can expect to hear a lot more about the streetcar project in 2018.

Serious doubt was cast over the project in 2017, after an internal memo alluded to problems that could impede the progress of the project altogether.

In November, advocacy group Friends of BQX unveiled a $100,000 prototype of the connector, which could accommodate 150 people.

The proposed route would run along the waterfront, connecting Sunset Park, Brooklyn, to Astoria, Queens, with the potential to serve 405,000 residents, according to the NYC Economic Development Corporation and Department of Transportation.

The agency is conducting a block-by-block assessment of engineering costs for the streetcar, and residents along the route will soon get to engage with the project after the analysis is complete, Stephanie Baez, spokeswoman for the NYCEDC, said.

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