LaGuardia AirTrain, Cuomo's Prize, Enters Final Stages of Planning

An optimistic timetable for the proposed LaGuardia Air Train could see construction begin by the middle of 2021.

March 17, 2021, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


LaGuardia Airport

ERIC SALARD / Flickr

The Federal Aviation Administration this week published the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the LaGuardia AirTrain, a controversial project proposed and championed by beleaguered Governor Andre Cuomo.

The political context and controversy surrounding the project is dripping from the description that starts off an article on the EIS by Eve Kessler for Streetsblog NYC:

Even as Andrew Cuomo struggles to retain his governorship over mounting allegations of sexual harassment and bullying, his favorite construction boondoggle — the “Wrong-Way” LaGuardia AirTrain — got a shot in the arm Monday as the troubled project attained a key milestone.

The proposed $2-billion, 1.5-mile automated people mover has found support in the pages of Crain's and the Daily News, as well as stinging criticism in the pages of the Post and Streetsblog NYC.

The publication of the EIS means that the project has settled on one potential alignment, moving on from the 47 potential alternatives considered in the planning process so far.

"After the FAA issues a 'Record of Decision' later this spring, AirTrain construction can move forward, 'completing the transformation of LaGuardia Airport into a world-class gateway to New York,' per Port Authority literature. Initial utility work and foundations for the automated people mover guideway and stations will commence in June, the document says optimistically," reports Kessler.

The article includes a lot more detail about the hurdles the project has overcome to reach this point since its first announcement in early 2015, including a "$3 billion hole" blown in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's $20 billion capital plan by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021 in StreetsBlog NYC

Walkable Urban Commercial District

The Complexities of the '15-Minute City'

What does a '15-minute city' truly mean–and how achievable is it in the U.S.?

July 29, 2021 - Governing

Toronto Freeway

Does Highway Removal Make Cities Healthier?

Highway removal can improve the air quality and health of the immediate environment, but displacement and gentrification threaten to exclude former residents from the benefits.

July 30, 2021 - NextCity

Pioneer Square, Seattle

Tree Equity Score: The U.S. Needs 522 Million More Urban Trees

As climate change intensifies the urban heat island effect, poorer neighborhoods bear the brunt of tree canopy inequity.

July 28, 2021 - The Urbanist

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.