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Many New Yorkers Face Punishing Transit Commutes

As sky-high real estate prices force many lower-income New Yorkers to the periphery, they're paying an additional price in lengthy transit commutes. Meanwhile, real estate interests that benefit from transit investment bear few of its costs.
December 13, 2017, 9am PST | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Subway Entrance

While negative stories on New York's transit system often focus on dramatic incidents, Jim Dwyer writes, the real problem is less picturesque. For many lower-income users, "The city's transit system controls everyday life [...] so insistently and so routinely that no one has thought to declare the situation a state of emergency."

Dwyer cites a 2013 study by the Pratt Center for Community Development and the Rockefeller Foundation indicating that "758,000 New York City residents now travel more than an hour each way to work, most of them to jobs that pay less than $35,000 per year." In addition, "Black New Yorkers' trips to work are 25 percent longer than whites, and Hispanics, 12 percent longer than whites, other research by the Pratt Center found."

Dwyer also points to the fact that despite New York transit's long-standing history of boosting nearby real estate, "none of the current proposals by the mayor or the governor for funding it touch on property values. That means the system captures none of the boom created by the new Second Avenue subway line on the Upper East Side of Manhattan."

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Published on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 in The New York Times
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