Associated Press – January 26, 2010 5:35 PM ET
NEW YORK (AP) – The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has announced improvements to its e-mail and text message system that alerts New York City commuters to subway, bus or commuter rail service disruptions.
The MTA on Tuesday says commuters can now update their accounts to receive only the information they want. Previously, commuters who had requested only planned service changes had also received additional, unwanted alerts on unexpected service delays or disruptions.
The MTA also says its 70,000 subscribers can suspend the alert service while away or on vacation.
On the Net:
MTA Alert Service: http://www.mymtaalerts.com
Leading the city in unfinished buildings: BROOKLYN….
The city’s count of stalled construction projects in the borough has surged 42% since it began tracking them this summer, according to the Department of Buildings’ latest statistics.
Brooklyn has the most stalled sites of any borough, with a total of 245. This makes up nearly half of the 527 buildings sitting unfinished citywide after the collapse of the housing market sent many developers packing.
“They went forward with all this stuff, and now we’re paying the price,” said community activist and Williamsburg resident Phil DePaolo, who said the metal frames and vacant lots strewn across his neighborhood are a magnet for drug addicts and homeless people.
“An area where you had factories and life, you [now] have emptiness and darkness, and it increases the fear factor in the community,” he said.
Greenpoint and Williamsburg, the hottest areas for development just a few years ago, have seen 80 sites stall, the most of any area in the borough. Brooklyn’s closest runnerup is Borough Park, with 18.
Tenth-grader Kimberly, 15, who lives near a partly finished building on S. Fourth St., said she often sees raucous teens partying there, adding: “I get nervous walking by at night.”
Earlier this year, the DOB sent investigators to monitor stalled sites and issue violations or work with the developer to fix emergency problems.
Last month, the City Council passed a bill giving developers incentives to keep up their properties, allowing them to renew permits at stalled sites for up to four years if they keep up with safety requirements.
“We’re worried about the impact that it’s having on neighborhoods,” said Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who has also devised a plan that would allow developers to turn stalled sites into affordable housing. While the city may consider stronger measures to get developers to push ahead, many simply don’t have the funds to do so, Quinn said.
But DePaolo said the city’s current efforts aren’t enough, adding: “It’s like putting a Band-Aid on a shotgun wound.”