clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Will LaGuardia Airport's Makeover Actually Be Good for NYC?

New, 12 comments

Earlier this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Vice President Joe Biden announced a planned $4 billion overhaul of the La Guardia Airport, which will consist of basically rebuilding the entire thing. La Guardia is, undeniably, not a good airport, so on the surface this seems like a good thing. However, transit advocates have been falling over each other to point why, really, it's not. First of all, the language Cuomo used in describing why the airport needs to be replaced highlighted a certain amount of hypocrisy when it comes his approach to mass transit in New York City, particularly the subway. Second Avenue Sagas writes:

Cuomo let slip that he felt LaGuardia had become 'un-New York," because, he said, the airport is considered "slow, dated, [and] almost universally derided' ... If it's 'un-New York' for something to be slow, dated and derided — if we need a 21st Century city — why do the subways, without a contactless fare payment system, city-wide countdown clocks, or an expansion plan to meet demand, get short shrift while the airport is lavished with dollars? Streetsblog had the same take:

Just a few days ago, Cuomo wouldn't even entertain the thought of enacting the Move NY plan to cut traffic and fund transit in one stroke. The logical conclusion from today's announcement is that, in Cuomo's eyes, Move NY doesn't address a glaring lack of New York-ness.

New York's failure to impress tourists who fly Delta is a problem Cuomo wants to personally address. New York's crushing traffic congestion, unpredictable subways, miserably crowded platforms, and slow buses are just part of the city's charm. Meanwhile, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal, the myriad improvements will not do much of anything to reduce delays:

Experts were skeptical the redesign would do much to reduce delays, because aircraft will still be waiting in line on the tarmac to take off from the airport's same two runways.
"It's a bigger parking lot," said New York-based airline consultant Robert Mann, a former airline executive. "Planes will be away from the building, so they're not congesting gates. But at the end of the day, they're not taking off or landing any faster."

"Basically it seems to be a lot more amenities and the same amount of runaway and airspace capacity," Mr. Mann said of the La Guardia overhaul. "I guess you'll have a nicer place to sit while you're delayed." On the bright side, maybe Cuomo can get the new airport named after him.
· Why Flashy Plans for LaGuardia Don't Impress Transit Advocates [City Lab]
· La Guardia's Makeover Likely Won't Ease Delays [WSJ]
· If Crowded Old Airports Are "Un-New York," What Are Crowded Old Trains? [Streetsblog]
· On Cuomo's $4 billion overhaul for 'un-New York' LaGuardia and his lackluster support for transit [2nd Avenue Sagas]
· Overhauling La Guardia, an Airport With a Historical Name but a Tarnished Image [NYT]
· Behold, the First Glimpse of a Revamped LaGuardia Airport [Curbed]