2017-03-29 / Editorials

Navigating A Snake Pit Of Construction

Getting around New York City is getting difficult. There is construction everywhere, much of it due to a boom in residential development, but also long-overdue repairs or rebuilding. Huge trucks are all around, and there are cranes and non-stop drilling all over. There is major work at LaGuardia and JFK Airports; the RFK-Triboro Bridge, and also the Kosciusko, Queensborough, Whitestone and Throgs Neck Bridges; the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and the new cashless tolling installations; scaffolding blocking bus riders – on every street and every block – it’s everywhere! You can’t drive and can’t take the subways with their evening diversions after 10 pm. Who knows where it goes or when? The trains have had interrupted weekend and evening service, in some areas for decades. The alternatives are either nonexistent, labyrinthine, or impossible to decipher in PA announcements, if any are even made. The same goes for driving, but that, perhaps, is worse, for the alternative routes are also often “under construction.” Long stretches of major thoroughfares are just shut down, sometimes with no apparent work being done, but still making it nearly impossible to get anywhere, much less home. When it is such a nightmare to get around, one hardly wishes to go out after work or during the weekend for recreation. It feels as if we are being discouraged from taking advantage of all the amazing activities the city has to offer. Half the city is blocked for one reason or another, and by the time they get it patched up, the other half will need to be rebuilt. Is there an end in sight?

These blockages are a fact of life in the city, but it seems that lately we are playing catch-up on countless areas that have been left to decay to the point of no return, having to be rebuilt from scratch. Here’s an idea: stagger the work. It would go a long way toward making life livable again, unless the work is an emergency, routine maintenance having been put off. In the meantime, what do we do? Be patient – walk a bit, check service advisories and try to get where you’re going anyway. Not great advice, but what else can we say? All this work is leading eventually to better things, and soon it will clear sailing – we hope.

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