- Amazon’s reported plan to bring HQ2 to New York City is raising questions about the city’s subway system.
- Seattle has struggled to adjust to Amazon’s super-sized presence in the city when it comes to commutes, with drivers spending an average of 55 hours in traffic in 2016.
- Many New Yorkers expressed fears that Amazon’s HQ2 move would create more problems, though others expressed hope that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos might help fix the MTA.
For many New Yorkers, Amazon‘s reported plan to move HQ2 to Long Island City left them with one question: What does this mean for my commute?
After months of deliberations and dramatics – without many official communications from Amazon – the company is finalising plans to split its second headquarters between two locations: Long Island City in Queens, New York, and Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia, The New York Times reported on Monday evening.
Seattle has struggled to manage the influx of commuters as Amazon’s employee count has grown to exceed 45,000.
Drivers in the city spent an average of 55 hours in traffic in 2016, placing it among the top 10 worst US cities for congestion, according to Inrix. In June 2017, King County Metro even added more buses to accommodate Amazon’s summer interns.
In New York City, most people get to work via public transportation, with more than 5 million daily subway riders every year. However, the system is crumbling, with overcrowding, delays, and major planned closures.
Some people are worried that Amazon opening HQ2 in the city will only make things worse. Frequent riders say the Long Island City subway lines – especially the 7 line, which is the most direct route to Midtown Manhattan – are already desperately overcrowded.
famous for its ruthless pursuit of efficient delivery systems, Amazon thinks, "but what if we congested one of New York's key subway chokepoints?" https://t.co/kLdmGc1Io3
— Alan Yuhas (@AlanYuhas) November 6, 2018
Ok so it's 8 am, and this is the 7 express train after it's picked up riders from the first stop in Flushing. This is one of the trains to LIC where Amazon wants to build it's new HQ. pic.twitter.com/TtQkI7CZmL
— Kendra "Gloom is My Beat" Pierre-Louis (@KendraWrites) November 6, 2018
WHY IS AMAZON CONSIDERING GOING TO LONG ISLAND CITY ALL THE TRAINS ARE CROWDED AS IT IS AND LIC IS GONNA COST MORE AND THE L TRAIN IS GONNA STOP AND LIFE IS TRAGIC I DONT WANT AMAZON
— Jocelyn (@1359pm) November 6, 2018
“The 7 train is overloaded today, and we can’t sell Long Island City as being transportation rich,” local councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, told The New York Times. “The people who work at Amazon are going to be competing for space on that train.”
It is horrifying to imagine the G train with the L shutdown and 25,000 new Amazon employees commuting to Long Island City everyday
— Max Tani (@maxwelltani) November 6, 2018
If Amazon HQ opens in LIC before the L Train reopens, well, God help us on the G.
— Hiroko Tabuchi (@HirokoTabuchi) November 6, 2018
Amazon arriving in LIC will utterly collapse a crippled transportation system unless the governor radically reforms & amps up MTA now. There's room to build (Sunnyside Yards LIRR stop, busway over bridge etc) but Cuomo's MTA is totally paralyzed & incompetent. https://t.co/RR69xFLsAJ
— 5G Ghost Dad (@saschasegan) November 6, 2018
Some people see a potential silver lining on Amazon’s reported HQ2 move. Perhaps, a few people speculated, Amazon and CEO Jeff Bezos could help fix the subway system.
Is Bezos gonna fix the MTA? https://t.co/Oi5i61JXOb
— Danielle (@daniellegee) November 6, 2018
Maybe Bezos can tell Cuomo he’ll only bring Amazon to NYC if he fixes the subway
— kludt (@kludt) November 6, 2018
Others are less optimistic.
Imagine if Amazon lobbied for through-running commuter rail and a modernized subway system instead of milking out every last tax incentive from the man now legally required to change his name to Amazon Cuomo.
— Second Ave. Sagas (@2AvSagas) November 6, 2018
If only it were this easy and inexpensive. Instead Gov. Cuomo will decimate the MTA's funding to give Jeff Bezos the required bribe/tax break. https://t.co/jvWTjFObua
— ???? No Friend of Kissinger Scott Wooledge (@Clarknt67) November 5, 2018
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
However, last week, the city of New York released a proposal that included potentially adding more transportation options near Long Island City. The city plans to work with the MTA and Amtrak “to study the feasibility of creating a new rail station in Sunnyside Yard at Queens Boulevard,” according to The Times.
Read more about Amazon’s HQ2:
- Amazon made an important investment in Seattle, and it highlights a key issue for HQ2
- Amazon HQ2 candidates are going to great lengths to keep their plans secret
- HQ2 is making cities consider projects they have been ignoring for years – and it shows the power of Amazon
- 7 horrible things that could happen to cities if they win Amazon’s HQ2 bid
- The cities where homeowners will benefit the most if Amazon’s second headquarters lands there
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