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May 2021 Newsletter

CELEBRATING ASIAN-AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER HERITAGE MONTH
AND BIKE MONTH!

 

We honor all the contributions that Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) people have made in transportation, such as for U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Yoshio Mineta, Aviation Pioneer Hazel Ying Lee, Materials Engineer Abdus Suttar Khan, Railroad Foreman Chin Lin Sou, and the first Chinese-American who traveled to outer space, Taylor Gun-Jin Wang. We celebrate all AAPI members of our community this month! 

May is also a time to celebrate active transportation! Since the pandemic began, there has been a surge in biking in NYC. In response, the City has established 80 miles of Open Streets, and there are roughly 50 miles of new bike lane projects in the works that will expand the current 1,375 mile bike network. Providing dedicated bike infrastructure goes a long way towards improving safety and comfort for people on bikes. Whether you ride a bike or not, we can celebrate this progress in local and regional mobility!
 

Ai Weiwei – Forever Bicycles, 2014, 1,254 bicycles. Dimensions variable. Installation view, Waller Creek Delta, The Contemporary Austin – Museum Without Walls Program, Austin, Texas, 2017, photo: Brian Fitzsimmons/The Contemporary Austin.
 

YPT-NYC MAY EVENTS
 

Congestion Pricing, a Conversation with Sam Schwartz 
Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.

Join YPT-NYC for a conversation with Sam Schwartz, a.k.a. “Gridlock Sam,” on New York City’s congestion pricing plan. Mr. Schwartz, former New York City traffic commissioner and CEO of Sam Schwartz Consulting, has been an advocate for congestion pricing for over a decade. Mr. Schwartz has kept the topic front and center in public discourse, creating his own congestion pricing plan proposal and forming a broad coalition of supporters through the Move NY campaign. Mr. Schwartz recently served on the New York State’s congestion pricing task force and helped to formulate the current plan. Mr. Schwartz will share the latest updates on congestion pricing and its role in New York City’s COVID recovery.
RSVP will close on May 4 at 5:00 p.m., and an event link will be sent to attendees shortly thereafter.

Click here to register. 

Virtual Speed Networking 
Wednesday, May 19 at 6:00 p.m.

Our Virtual Speed Networking event is coming up soon on May 19, 2021. This event will take place on Zoom at 6:00 p.m. Similar to speed dating, recent graduates and early-career transportation professionals will be paired with experienced transportation professionals in breakout rooms in ten-minute intervals. This is a great opportunity to learn about different career options in transportation!

Click here to register.

Lawn Day 
Saturday, May 22 from 2:00-5:00 p.m

Join YPT NYC as we gather for some socially distant lawn games to refresh our motor and/or social skills after more than a year hunched over our laptops. We will provide games like Kubb, badminton, and bocce. Bring your own snacks, chairs, masks, and blankets for a low-key lawn event in Brooklyn’s front yard: Prospect Park! We will gather by the center of the Long Meadow Ball Fields. Rain Date: May 23.

Click here to register. 

Creator Talk with Andrew Lynch a.k.a. vanshnookenraggen
Wednesday, May 26 at 6:30 p.m.

Andrew Lynch, more widely known as vanshnookenraggen, is a New York based cartographer and transit activist. For nearly 20 years he has been documenting subways and exploring the rich history of unrealized transit expansion. Lynch is the Chief Design Officer at QueensLink, a project he helped launch, reimagining the abandoned Rockaway Beach Branch as a co-transit and park corridor through central Queens. Join Lynch as he takes you on a tour of lost futures from the past and places we still may travel.
Learn more about Andrew Lynch’s work here.

Click here to register.

YPT-NYC UPCOMING EVENTS
 

The Future of NYC Transportation System, a Conversation with Dick Ravitch
Wednesday, June 9 at 12:30 p.m.

Image credit: William E. Sauro/The New York Times

Dick Ravitch has earned a reputation for his political savvy, business skill, and commitment to social responsibility throughout his decades-long career in government and business. He is renowned for his work to fix numerous fiscal crises in the public sector. He served as New York’s Lieutenant Governor from 2009-2010 in the midst of the Great Recession. However, our community may know him best for his work as Chairman and CEO of the MTA from 1979 to 1983. Ravitch successfully transformed a system struggling with disinvestment and disrepair by reorganizing its management structure (including establishing Metro-North Railroad) and developing a long-term capital plan for systemwide rehabilitation. With the MTA undergoing another transformation amidst a global pandemic and fiscal uncertainty, there are parallel challenges today. He remains an outspoken proponent of investing in our cities, infrastructure, and public sector workforce in the wake of the pandemic. Please join us for a conversation with Dick Ravitch to learn valuable lessons from his experience in navigating politics (including in his autobiography So Much to Do), the merits of careers in public service, and his outlook on the future of New York. 

Click here to register.

RECENT YPT-NYC EVENTS

Game Night

Thank you to everyone who joined our Game Night on
Backyard.co. We had a blast playing pictionary and cards against humanity! 

 
YPT-NYC MEMBER PROFILE

Dubary Brea, Deputy Director of Federal Transit Administration Grant Programs, NYC Department of Transportation

Bio

Dubary Brea manages a team that oversees the financial and programmatic management of over $500M in federal and state funding for infrastructure projects across NYC at NYC DOT. Previously, Dubary spent five years at the Port Authority of NY & NJ and PATH in various roles encompassing operating and capital budgeting,  financial reporting, and grants management, along with two years as a rotational leadership fellow serving in multiple departments across the agency. Mr. Brea has experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, which has shaped his unique policy perspectives. His prior experiences include the Congressional Budget Office, KeySpan Energy (now National Grid), Congressman José E. Serrano’s Washington D.C. office, and Groundwork, Inc. He received a Master of Public Administration from the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA), focusing on government, politics, and policy studies, and a Bachelor of Arts in international relations and economics from Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Q&A 

What is your favorite YPT-NYC event and why?  
The YPT-NYC Holiday Party is always a fun occasion and I enjoy catching up with friends in the transportation sector.

If you could snap your fingers and make one change to regional transportation, what would it be?
I would consolidate all the regional transportation entities, such as the MTA, NJ Transit, PANYNJ, and NYCDOT, and their respective services and revenue streams under one regional entity. I’d grant the new entity the independence and authority for all regional planning, transit service decisions, and capital project construction. Imagine using just one fare media on any of these systems: more efficient and smoother service integration amongst all the various modes and routes.

What are you working on that you’re most excited by?  
We are currently finalizing the construction and delivery of three new ferry boats for the Staten Island Ferry. The new storm-resilient vessels will be more capable of operating in a wide range of weather conditions and locations and can also be used in emergency evacuations. My team at NYCDOT manages the federal funding, reporting, and compliance for the project.

What career advice would you give to other YPT’ers interested in your career path?
If you see an opportunity that piques your interest, actively find out more information about it and network with your colleagues at work, school, or YPT. 

What famous celebrity do you think should be given the opportunity to voice a NYCT Subway Announcement?
Definitely Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson.
 

YPT-NYC LINKEDIN

Use the YPT LinkedIn group if you are #OpenToWork!
Our LinkedIn group is a great way for members to share information about yourself as a job seeker, connect with others, or share job opportunities!
 
WE CAN’T DO IT WITHOUT YOU!

Young Professionals in Transportation – New York City (YPT-NYC) is an official 501(c)(6) non-profit organization that provides benefits to its members through professional development, fellowship, and networking. YPT-NYC’s members keep the Greater New York City region moving while providing a space for growing skills, sharing knowledge, and expanding professional networks. Check your membership status here, or join here. Being an active member is $20 for the year and allows us to provide our membership with impactful programming.

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Member Profiles

Member Profile: Dubary Brea

Dubary Brea, New York City Department of Transportation

Dubary Brea is currently the Deputy Director of Federal Transit Administration Grant programs at the NYC Department of Transportation, where over the past four years he has managed a team that oversees the financial and programmatic management of over $500M in federal and state funding for infrastructure projects across NYC. Previously, Dubary spent five years at the Port Authority of NY & NJ and PATH in various roles encompassing operating and capital budgeting and financial reporting, grants management along with two years as a rotational leadership fellow serving in multiple departments across the agency.

Mr. Brea’s varied professional background includes experiences in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, which have shaped his unique policy perspectives. Prior experiences include working at the Congressional Budget Office, KeySpan Energy (now National Grid), Congressman José E. Serrano’s Washington D.C. office, and Groundwork, Inc. He received a Master of Public Administration from the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA) at Cornell University, focusing on government, politics and policy studies, and a Bachelor of Arts in international relations and economics from Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

1. What is your favorite YPT-NYC event and why? 

The YPT-NYC Holiday Party is always a fun joyous occasion. I enjoy getting together for the end of celebration and catching up with friends in the transportation sector.

2. If you could snap your fingers and make one change to regional transportation, what would it be?

I would consolidate all the regional transportation entities such as the MTA, NJ Transit, PANYNJ, and NYCDOT and their respective services, revenue streams under one regional entity. Grant it the independence and authority for all the regional planning, transit service decisions and capital project construction. Imagine using just one fare media on any of these systems, more efficient and smoother service integration amongst all the various modes.

3. What sparked your passion to work in the transportation industry? 

As a lifelong New Yorker and subway rider, I feel that our local transportation services are generally underappreciated. We love to point out what’s wrong but often overlook the marvel that allows all these services to run every day. I wanted to contribute and learn more about the industry since it is a very important part of our daily lives.

4. What are you working on that you’re most excited by? 

We are currently finalizing the construction and delivery of three new ferryboats for the Staten Island Ferry. The new storm-resilient vessels will be more capable of operating in a wide range of weather conditions and locations – and can also be used in emergency evacuations. My team at NYCDOT manages the federal funding, reporting and compliance for the project.

5. What career advice would you give to other YPT’ers interested in your career path?

If you see an opportunity that piques your interest, actively find out more information about it, network with your colleagues at work, school, or YPT. The information you can glean from your contacts will help you make a better-informed decision.

6. What famous celebrity do you think should be given the opportunity to voice a NYCT Subway Announcement?

Definitely Dwayne Johnson, especially if he voices it using his old “The Rock” wrestling moniker. I feel that many people would be surprised and happy that he would do it, and the announcement when it comes on would get many people’s attention.

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newsletter

April 2021

SPRING IS HERE! 

We’re wishing everyone in the YPT-NYC community sunnier walks, more comfortable bike rides, less bundled-up public transit trips, open-air ferry rides, and more enjoyable mobility in the days ahead. Join us on Earth Day, April 22, by sharing a transportation-related photo showing how you celebrate with #YPTNYCEarthDay2021. Show some love to Mother Earth and share with our community how transportation can be earth-friendly and fun! 

Maravilla, Guadalupe, Planeta Abuelx. Sculpture. 2021. Socrates Sculpture Park. 
https://socratessculpturepark.org/exhibition/planeta-abuelx/ 

This month we feature an exhibit called ‘Planeta Abuelx’ by Guadalupe Maravilla, commissioned by Socrates Sculpture Park, and opening on May 15. The website explains that the title, which in English means Grandparents Planet, expands on the idea of “Mother Earth” as intergenerational, non-binary, and inclusive. The installation is an homage to our elders’ ancestral knowledge of the curative properties of nature, passed down through generations, to encourage communal healing.

YPT-NYC APRIL EVENTS

Game Night 
Thursday, April 15 at 6:30 p.m.

Click here to register.

You asked, and we answered! YPT-NYC is very excited to introduce our first virtual game night. We will be using the platform backyard.co to enjoy a variety of popular games. We hope you can join us on Thursday, April 15 at 6:30 p.m. 

RSVP will close on April 15 at 5:00 p.m., and an event link will be sent to attendees shortly thereafter.
 
 
YPT-NYC UPCOMING EVENTS

Congestion Pricing, a Conversation with Sam Schwartz 
Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.

Click here to register. 

Join YPT-NYC for a conversation with Sam Schwartz, a.k.a. “Gridlock Sam,” on New York City’s congestion pricing plan. Mr. Schwartz, former New York City traffic commissioner and CEO of Sam Schwartz Consulting, has been an advocate for congestion pricing for over a decade. Mr. Schwartz has kept the topic front and center in public discourse, creating his own congestion pricing plan proposal and forming a broad coalition of supporters through the Move NY campaign. Mr. Schwartz recently served on the New York State’s congestion pricing task force and helped to formulate the current plan. Mr. Schwartz will share the latest updates on congestion pricing and its role in New York City’s COVID recovery.

RSVP will close on May 4 at 5:00 p.m., and an event link will be sent to attendees shortly thereafter.
 
Virtual Speed Networking 
Wednesday, May 19 at 6:00 p.m.
Registration link will be in May Newsletter.

Stay tuned for our Virtual Speed Networking event on May 19, 2021. This event will take place on Zoom at 6:00 p.m. Similar to speed dating, recent graduates and early-career transportation professionals will be paired with experienced transportation professionals in breakout rooms in ten-minute intervals. This is a great networking experience for all and we hope you’ll participate! 

Our May newsletter will contain the registration link for this event, and all who register will receive the event link approximately two weeks before the event. 
 

RECENT YPT-NYC EVENTS

Author Talk 
YPT-NYC’s Author Talk featuring Kyle Kirschling, Senior Director at NYCT, was a success! Kyle discussed his paper “An Economic Analysis of Rapid Transit in New York, 1870-2010” and guided YPT’ers through the origins of the New York City Subway system. Kyle discussed the reasoning behind the subway’s original operations, including challenges with city density, geography, mainline track configuration, and local versus express service. The event concluded with a productive Q&A session. Participants left with a deeper appreciation of the subway system both past and present.

YPT-NYC MEMBER PROFILE 

Ben Rosen-Filardo (they/them), Transportation Engineer at Sam Schwartz Engineering

Ben is a transportation engineer with a passion for improving transportation systems through data-driven analysis. They graduated from MIT in 2018 with a degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering. Ben has worked at Sam Schwartz Engineering since 2015, when they started as an intern. While not at work, they knit & crochet, rock climb, and volunteer as an operator at Trans Lifeline.

Q&A

What is your favorite YPT-NYC event and why?
The tours! My favorite so far has been BookOps. 📚

What sparked your passion to work in the transportation industry?  
I was one of those kids who was obsessed with infrastructure and transportation from an early age. I loved my BRIO train set and could happily pass the time on a long drive with a game of Auto Bingo. In middle school, I was gifted Kate Ascher’s The Works. The whole book is incredible, but I found myself reading the transportation section over and over. It sounds kind of silly, but from then on, I knew I wanted to be a transportation engineer.

What are you working on that you’re most excited by?  
Right now, Sam Schwartz Engineering is gearing up to help a city transform a downtown thoroughfare to prioritize transit riders, cyclists, and pedestrians. I’m excited to support this effort by giving stakeholders access to real-time traffic data to evaluate the impact of the project.

What career advice would you give to other YPT’ers interested in your career path?
Find opportunities to learn on the job! In my current position, I’ve been able to grow my coding and data analytics skills immensely. I now can work with transportation data on a scale that was previously quite intimidating. I’ve accessed these opportunities by being as forthcoming as possible with my supervisors about what excites me and finding mentors in the company who are supportive of my continued growth.
 

YPT-NYC LINKEDIN

Use the YPT LinkedIn group if you are #OpenToWork!
Our LinkedIn group is a great way for members to share information about yourself as a job seeker, connect with others, or share job opportunities!
 
WE CAN’T DO IT WITHOUT YOU!

Young Professionals in Transportation – New York City (YPT-NYC) is an official 501(c)(6) non-profit organization that provides benefits to its members through professional development, fellowship, and networking. YPT-NYC’s members keep the Greater New York City region moving while providing a space for growing skills, sharing knowledge, and expanding professional networks. Check your membership status here, or join here. Being an active member is $20 for the year and allows us to provide our membership with impactful programming.

Young Professionals in Transportation – New York City (YPT-NYC) is the local chapter of Young Professionals in Transportation International, a nonprofit coalition of organizations, which helps professional development, fellowship, and networking for young professionals in the transportation field. YPT-NYC’s members keep the Greater New York City region moving while providing a space for growing skills, sharing knowledge, and expanding professional networks.

Categories
Member Profiles

Member Profile: Ben Rosen-Filardo

Ben Rosen-Filardo (they/them), Transportation Engineer, Sam Schwartz

Ben is an engineer with an interest in using data to improve transportation systems. They graduated from MIT in 2018 with a degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering. Ben has been at Sam Schwartz since starting as an intern in 2015. While not at work, they knit & crochet, rock climb, and volunteer as an operator at Trans Lifeline.

1. What is your favorite YPT-NYC event and why?

The tours! My favorite so far has been BookOps 📚

2. If you could snap your fingers and make one change to regional transportation, what would it be?

I was thinking of saying a true regional rail system, but Robert Joseph picked that one just a couple months ago 😛 At this point, I’d really like to see the subway return to 24-hour service.

3. What sparked your passion to work in the transportation industry?  

I was one of those kids who was obsessed with infrastructure and transportation from an early age. I loved my BRIO train set and could happily pass the time on a long drive with a game of Auto Bingo. In middle school, I was gifted Kate Ascher’s The Works. The whole book is incredible, but I found myself reading the transportation section over and over. It sounds kind of silly, but from then on, I knew I wanted to be a transportation engineer.

4. What are you working on that you’re most excited by?  

Right now, Sam Schwartz is gearing up to help a city transform a downtown thoroughfare to prioritize transit riders, cyclists, and pedestrians. I’m excited to support this effort by giving stakeholders access to real-time traffic data to evaluate the impact of the project.

5. What career advice would you give to other YPT’ers interested in your career path?

Find opportunities to learn on the job! In my current position, I’ve been able to grow my coding and data analytics skills immensely. I now can work with transportation data on a scale that was previously quite intimidating. I’ve accessed these opportunities by being as forthcoming as possible with my supervisors about what excites me, and by finding mentors in the company who are supportive of my continued growth.

6. What famous celebrity do you think should be given the opportunity to voice a NYCT Subway Announcement?

Bernie Sanders 🧤

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newsletter

JOIN US AT THE (virtual) BAR! 

JOIN US AT THE (virtual) BAR! 

YPT-NYC HAPPY HOUR
This Thursday, March 25th
6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

This event will be held on Gather Town, a virtual space where you can move around to different rooms like you’re inside a video game, pick an avatar, and join different conversations. Stop by and reunite with old friends in our community and meet some new folks!

No downloads needed, just join from your web browser. You can check out Gather Town tutorials if you’d like, but it’s pretty easy to figure out.

Please RSVP here and we’ll send out the event link to those who RSVP’d on Thursday (to avoid event-bombers). Once you receive the event link, click and join with your full name as well as another identifier like your employer or interest (example: Andy Byford, Train Daddy).

FYI 

  • Stay tuned for our April Newsletter next week!
  • And finally, if the sunny weather is calling you outdoors to walk or bike, don’t miss the public art exhibit MONUMENTS NOW at Socrates Sculpture Park ending on March, 30th, which addresses the role of monuments in society and commemorate underrepresented narratives such as diasporic, indigenous, and queer histories.
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newsletter

March 2021 – Author Talk on 3/11!

Celebrating Women’s History Month!

We are honoring the contribution of women in the transportation industry, such as the first female NYCT Subway Train Operator Marion McAllister, inventor Mary Walton, bus company entrepreneur Helen Schultz, first female African-American commercial pilot Willa Brown, and first female Asian-American commercial pilot Katherine Cheung. We also honor all the women and female-identifying people within our YPT-NYC community that keep our region moving.

A special congratulations to the following women (who have previously kept the NYC region moving) who will now be serving us as USDOT appointees in the Biden Administration: Nuria FernandezMeera JoshiPolly TrottenbergDiana Lopez, and Dani Simons.  

Mercado, Stephanie. For the Love of Essential Workers. Relief Print Collage. 2020. LA Metro Silver Linings Series.

In honor of Women’s History month, we are featuring the work of an emerging female artist based in Los Angeles. Stephanie Mercado is a multidisciplinary artist influenced by her life as a working-class Angeleno from a family of artisans. Mercado’s work explores the proverbial American Dream and psychology of labor. Her piece featured above, which was commissioned by LA Metro, celebrates the valuable services provided by essential workers and the power of arts and culture are heightened during challenging times.

UPCOMING YPT-NYC EVENTS

Author Talk

Thursday, March 11 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Join us as we discuss the paper announced last month, Engineering the New York City Subway: The Thinking Behind the World’s Fastest and Most Convenient Rapid Transit System, with the author, Kyle M. Kirschling. The paper delves into the New York City subway system, which embodies design elements unparalleled among the world’s major rapid transit systems. The pillars of the system’s design are the high-speed right-of-way, trains located underground but still close to the surface, extensive four-track mainlines with all tracks on the same level, and bi-directional local and express service. 
 
Please come with questions! The author is looking forward to discussing with you all!

Click here to register.

RECENT YPT-NYC EVENTS

Podcast Club

Thanks to everyone who joined our first ever Podcast Club series in February to discuss streets, tunnels, bridges, and airports! Stay tuned!

Salary Negotiation Workshop

Thanks to those who attended the salary negotiation workshop. It was very well attended with over 60 people! We learned so many useful tips to approach salary negotiations. Takeaways from the workshop include: be prepared to articulate your value to a potential or existing employer, track your skills and accomplishments, share your successes, and quantify the impact of your work. Visit the AAUW website for online resources and free trainings on salary negotiation.

Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy Student Information Panel Event

Six members of YPT-NYC and YPT-Philadelphia teamed up for a panel with Bloustein students on careers in transportation. Panelists shared personal stories about their diverse professional paths within the private and public sectors and tips on landing a job for the soon-to-be jobseekers. A recording of the panel will be available upon request. 

YPT-NYC MEMBER PROFILE

Chelsea Ramos, Technical Specialist in the Environment, Energy, & Sustainability (EE&S) Department at NJ Transit 
 
Chelsea is an Environmental Scientist with 7 years experience at NJ Transit, all of which have been both professionally and personally rewarding. She received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Environmental Science from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. She enjoys being an active member of the YPT-NYC community, and she currently holds the position of Vice-Chair of College Outreach for the new Women Transportation Seminar (WTS) NJ Chapter. 

What is your favorite YPT-NYC event and why?  
 
The facility tours and scavenger hunts. These events are great because they provide both an educational outlet while also building social connections with other members of YPT-NYC. Also, as a New Jerseyan, the scavenger hunts help me learn more about NYC!
 
What sparked your passion to work in the transportation industry?  
 
My passion was sparked when I realized how diverse the field really is! To make this industry successful, it requires the collective input of many different backgrounds, experiences, and types of expertise to continue to function daily.
 
What are you working on that you’re most excited by?  
 
I am currently working on two different railroad bridge replacement projects. As an environmental scientist, my role includes environmental impact review, mitigation measures, and permitting. Large-scale capital projects like these are complex and engaging because of the far reach of the project and the collaboration with other agencies, like Conrail and Amtrak. I have the opportunity to work with expert engineers, scientists, and designers, and as a side perk, I get to make some new friends outside of my organization!
 
What career advice would you give to other YPT’ers interested in your career path?
 
I would say to use every opportunity as a learning experience. Every task should be considered a productive action–even drafting an email can build on your skills. 
 
What famous celebrity would you like to hear voice a NYCT Subway Announcement?
 
Jennifer Lopez! She is a native Bronx resident and she often took the NYCT subway to get to her gigs around the City.  

To read our full Q&A with Chelsea, click here. 

YPT-NYC LINKEDIN

Use the YPT LinkedIn Group if you are #OpenToWork!

We want to point members on the job hunt or with job opportunities to post and share in our LinkedIn group. The group is a great way to share information about yourself as a job seeker or post opportunities. Check out previous posts by members for ideas on what to include in your own post!

YPT-NYC UPCOMING EVENTS

Stay tuned for upcoming events!  Also, please reach out to us here if you’re interested in hosting a virtual tour or skill share.

WE CAN’T DO IT WITHOUT YOU! 

Young Professionals in Transportation – New York City (YPT-NYC) is an official 501(c)(6) non-profit organization that provides benefits to its members through professional development, fellowship, and networking. YPT-NYC’s members keep the Greater New York City region moving while providing a space for growing skills, sharing knowledge, and expanding professional networks. Check your membership status here, or join here. Being an active member is $20 for the year and allows us to provide our membership with impactful programming.

Categories
Member Profiles

Member Profile: Chelsea Ramos

Chelsea Ramos

Technical Specialist in the Environmental, Energy, & Sustainability (EE&S) Department at NJ Transit

Hi! My name is Chelsea Ramos, I am currently a Technical Specialist within the Environment, Energy, & Sustainability (EE&S) Department within NJ TRANSIT.  I have worked for NJ Transit for approximately 7 years and my experiences have been very rewarding both personally and professionally. By education, I am an Environmental Scientist, having received both my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Environmental Science from the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).  In addition, I am a 2-year member of YPT-NYC and currently hold the position of Vice-Chair of College Outreach for the Women Transportation Seminar (WTS) NJ Chapter.

1. What is your favorite YPT-NYC event and why?

My favorite YPT-NYC events are the facility tours and scavenger hunts. These events are great because they provide both an educational outlet while also building social connections with other members of YPT-NYC. Also, as a New Jerseyan, the scavenger hunts help me to explore, learn, and travel around NYC a lot better.


2. If you could snap your fingers and make one change to regional transportation, what would it be?

One change that I would make to regional transportation is relieving high traffic areas. Traffic is never fun to experience especially when you are heading to work or an important events. It is also difficult to pinpoint and remove traffic within an area because it often causes traffic in another location. If more direct pathways, public transportation, and highways are better utilized that may be able to provide some type of relief. But until then, I will continue to schedule extra travel time between destinations.

3. What sparked your passion to work in the transportation industry?

My passion within the transportation industry was sparked once I realized how diverse this field really is Individuals from all different educational and ethnic backgrounds have found a home within the transportation field. I have encountered individuals whom are engineers, scientists, lawyers, mechanics, planners, etc. whom all found a career within the transportation industry. To make this industry successful, it requires the collective input of many different backgrounds, experiences, and expertise to continue to be able to move daily.

4. What are you working on that you are most excited by?

Currently, I am working on two extensive railroad bridge replacement projects. These types of projects are always engaging because of the far reach of the project and the collaboration with other transit agencies. Specifically, within these projects I have been able to work with individuals from Conrail and Amtrak to help support the coordination of these projects. Also, as an environmental scientist, each project is unique within their permitting, environmental impacts, and mitigation techniques. These projects have allowed me to work with some experienced engineers, scientists, and designers from various levels and corporations whom broaden my understanding of different tasks. As a side perk, I get to make some new friends outside of my organization!

5. What career advice would you give to other YPTs interested in your career path?

I would say to use every opportunity as a learning experience. Starting off within a position or transitioning to a new position very task, opportunity, or assignment should be looked at as a productive action. Even small tasks such as drafting an email or letter for a supervisor should be constructive and build on your personal skills.


6. What famous celebrity do you think should be given the opportunity to voice a NYCT Subway Announcement?

Jennifer Lopez! Jennifer is a native Bronx resident and she often took the NYCT subway to get to her gigs and shows around the City. It would be awesome to have her say an announcement for the system!

Categories
newsletter

February 2021 – Celebrating Black History Month!

Wishing you a happy Black History Month! 

The accomplishments of Black Americans in transportation extend throughout the history of the transportation industry in America, such as inventor Granville T. Woods, bridge engineer Horace King, the first Black female pilot, Bessie Coleman, the first Black Metropolitan Transit Authority Board member, Lawrence R. Bailey Sr., the first Black USDOT Secretary, William Thaddeus Coleman Jr., and the first Black woman to lead a transit agency, at WMATA, Carmen E. Turner. We also honor those within our YPT-NYC community who work to keep the region moving.

Credit: Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Painting created by Thelma Johnson Streat, American, 1912-1959. © Thelma Johnson Streat Project.

YPT-NYC EVENTS THIS MONTH

Podcast Club 

Every Wednesday in February at 12:00 p.m.

Join us at the YPT-NYC Podcast Club! We are hosting a four-part weekly discussion where we’ll chat about four topics in NYC transportation infrastructure: streets, tunnels, bridges, and airports. Our weekly curriculum (here) consists of 1 “required” podcast episode and 1-2 “optional” podcast episodes. There is no pressure to join all four sessions or to listen to all the podcast episodes. Meet us at the [podcast] “club”, it’s going down! 

Click here to RSVP.

Salary Negotiation Workshop

Tuesday, February 9 at 12:00pm

We will be holding a Salary Negotiation Workshop jointly with WTS Greater New York and APA New York Metro Chapter, free for members of YPT-NYC, APA NY or WTS-GNY. The workshop will be held through the AAUW (American Association of University Women) Work Smart program. 
Click here to register. 

(Check your YPT membership status here, or join here.)

YPT-NYC UPCOMING EVENTS 

Author Talk (Date Announced in March)

Join us as we read Engineering the New York City Subway: The Thinking Behind the World’s Fastest and Most Convenient Rapid Transit System, a short paper by Kyle M. Kirschling, who will join us for an author talk in March (to be announced). Kyle is also featured in this month’s member profile below. 

The paper delves into the New York City subway system, which embodies design elements unparalleled among the world’s major rapid transit systems. The pillars of the system’s design are the high-speed right-of-way, trains being underground but close to the surface, having extensive four-track mainlines with all tracks on the same level, and providing bi-directional local and express service. The subway’s design principles were shaped by a booming population, geographical barriers, and a pre-existing state-of-the-art elevated railway network.

YPT-NYC MEMBER PROFILE

Kyle M. Kirschling, Senior Director, Quality Assurance, MTA New York City Transit

Kyle is an urbanist who specializes in improving cities’ infrastructure. He is a licensed CPA and has a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University. He is the author of “An Economic Analysis of Rapid Transit in New York, 1870-2010,” an evaluation of the impact of private, public, and hybrid institutions for transit ownership and operation. He presently runs an internal management consulting group at the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority focused on solving infrastructure maintenance and safety issues for the subway division.

Q: What sparked your passion to write this paper?

A:  I wrote this paper to inspire greater ambition and better design in urban infrastructure.  Planners often express despair and disappointment over projects that fall short of our hopes and dreams, like the Second Avenue Subway and AirTrain LaGuardia.  However, to achieve our hopes and dreams, it’s super important to understand and celebrate our successes, and the subway is a magnificent example.  The engineers who designed it were facing extraordinary challenges and working in totally uncharted territory, they came up with a radical design that would depend on unproven technology, they faced heavy opposition from the public (including real estate interests), and yet they won the day.  How?  Through the excellence of their design and the soundness of their thinking.  If they could do that then (with fewer resources and 19th Century technology), think what we could do now.  

To read our full Q&A with Kyle, click here. 

OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS

Live from NYPL Event – NYPL Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Presents: Four Hundred Souls by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain 

Tuesday, February 9 at 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET

Four Hundred Souls is a history of African Americans collected from 90 writers, edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain. Kendi and Blain assembled the writers to consider the 400-year journey of African Americans from 1619 to the present. Each contributing writer takes on a five-year period, examining it from their unique point of view and set of experiences. Join the editors, alongside contributors Robert Jones, Jr., Bernice L. McFadden, and Dr. Blair L.M. Kelley for this free virtual talk, which includes readings from the collection and a discussion on what it takes to develop a community history, by a community.

Click here to register. 


On-going Online Exhibit – NYPL Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Presents: Traveling While Black: A Century of Pleasure & Pain & Pilgrimages

Since the start of their experience in the Americas, Black people have been defined by travel, displacement, and resistance. Whether in the horrors of the Middle Passage or the rebellion of Maroon communities made up of escaped slaves, travel has meant much—and something much more—for Africans in the Americas. This exhibition explores over a century of travel. Moving from the Great Migration of African Americans north and west at the start of the 20th century to the restrictions and resistances of travel in the Jim Crow South and the Jane Crow North, Traveling While Black examines a history of travel, from those who found themselves exiles within their own country down to the pilgrims and pleasure seekers of our time. 

Click here to view the exhibit. 

YPT-NYC LINKEDIN

Use the YPT LinkedIn Group if you are #OpenToWork!

We want to point members on the job hunt or with job opportunities to post and share in our LinkedIn group. The group is a great way to share information about yourself as a job seeker or post opportunities. Check out previous posts by members for ideas on what to include in your own post!
 

WE CAN’T DO IT WITHOUT YOU! 

Young Professionals in Transportation – New York City (YPT-NYC) is an official 501(c)(6) non-profit organization that provides benefits to its members through professional development, fellowship, and networking. YPT-NYC’s members keep the Greater New York City region moving while providing a space for growing skills, sharing knowledge, and expanding professional networks. Check your membership status here, or join here. Being an active member is $20 for the year and allows us to provide our membership with impactful programming.

Young Professionals in Transportation – New York City (YPT-NYC) is the local chapter of Young Professionals in Transportation International, a nonprofit coalition of organizations, which helps professional development, fellowship, and networking for young professionals in the transportation field. YPT-NYC’s members keep the Greater New York City region moving while providing a space for growing skills, sharing knowledge, and expanding professional networks.

Categories
Member Profiles

Member Profile: Kyle Kirschling

Kyle Kirschling

Senior Director, Quality Assurance, New York City Transit

Kyle M. Kirschling is an urbanist who specializes in improving cities’ infrastructure. He is a licensed CPA and has a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University. 

He is the author of “An Economic Analysis of Rapid Transit in New York, 1870-2010,” an evaluation of the impact of private, public, and hybrid institutions for transit ownership and operation.

As an advisor to the New York City Transit Authority, he sped up subway trains (reversing a 23-year trend) by conceiving a new operations strategy, saving one to four minutes per train trip and increasing on-time performance from 67% to 81% in 12 months, at zero cost (the “Save Safe Seconds” campaign and “SPEED Unit,” as reported in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and elsewhere).

He presently runs an internal management consulting group at the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority to improve infrastructure maintenance for the subway division.

  1. If you could snap your fingers and make one change to the NYC region’s transportation, what would it be?

Make it radically faster. Twice as fast, at least. And make the region a model of urban mobility for the world.  These are two changes, but it would only take one finger snapping.

Imagine if it took half the time to get anywhere in the region. Think of how your life could improve, especially after a year or two. I want speed because every second of travel time that can be reliably saved means, for instance, that we can reach a little bit better job, we can take classes at a school that is a bit more aligned with our life goals, we can find an apartment we like better, we can include more zip codes on dating apps and ultimately be better matched with a life partner.  Speed expands our “opportunity circle” and thereby makes the world a better place.

Here’s where the finger snapping comes in.  To do these two things, I would snap my fingers and open up our transportation market to competition and unleash our best minds on this problem.  For instance, make it legal for someone (such as the Alfred Beach types) to build and operate their own transit network in the desert of bedrock below the city.  Let them profit, too.  Create a framework that is always open to potential new competitors, and fares can be unregulated.  The Manhattan Elevated created the flat five cent fare in the 1880s as a volume-maximizing strategy to increase their profits.  With a trustworthy system of property rights, the region could become the world’s hub of urban transportation innovation, providing a double benefit to the region.

  1. What is the most common misconception the public has about the NYC Subway, and how would you debunk the myth?

Before I answer, you should know that the thoughts and opinions expressed in this Q&A are my own and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).  

Now, three misconceptions immediately come to mind, but the one that interests me lately is the idea that the unions (and the collective bargaining agreements) are the biggest reason why the MTA cannot significantly reduce costs and cannot afford to expand the network much.  I think that this misconception is also shared by many of my good colleagues at the MTA, understandably so.

To be sure, the unions represent the interests of their members, not those of passengers.  That’s what the unions are for.  Nonetheless, we could improve the MTA’s financial position and still have a highly paid workforce with a growth strategy and if the productivity were correspondingly high.  In addition to growth strategies, I see lots of opportunities to increase productivity in ways that would simultaneously increase job satisfaction (and therefore be in the interests of the union members).  In some cases, increasing morale and job satisfaction would itself contribute to higher productivity.  For instance, discipline policies often discourage innovation.

I don’t yet know how to prove this, which is why it interests me.  I certainly think that a productivity strategy is far more doable than trying to get major cuts in wages and/or benefits, and it’s more sustainable than new subsidies from taxpayers.  Freight railroads in the United States and passenger railroads in Japan have well-paid unionized workforces, and they can afford it because management has figured out how to make them extremely productive.  Doing this at the MTA would be a tough job requiring a lot of unsexy changes that few people would appreciate, so there’s little incentive to do this at present.  I don’t think we can expect the MTA to take this on without paying much higher salaries to MTA executives.  We’d also need to rethink capital spending in a way that prioritizes investments that increase labor productivity.  Perhaps in future labor contracts, real wage growth could be linked to productivity growth, and this might even get the labor union interested in increasing productivity.  For the union to get on board, however, I think the MTA would need to simultaneously be growing its transportation business, in order to take advantage of the productivity gains without significantly reducing the workforce.

  1. What sparked your passion to write this paper?

I wrote this paper (“Engineering the New York City Subway: the Thinking Behind the World’s Fastest and Most Convenient Rapid Transit System”) to inspire greater ambition and better design in urban infrastructure.  I want big cities to keep getting bigger and better, so more people can enjoy life in the metropolis.

Planners often express despair and disappointment over projects that fall short of our hopes and dreams, like the Second Avenue Subway and AirTrain LaGuardia.  I’m sympathetic, because I want to raise, not lower, our standards and expectations.  Plus, it’s fun to complain sometimes.  However, to achieve our hopes and dreams, it’s super important to understand and celebrate our successes, and the subway is a magnificent example.  The engineers who designed it were facing extraordinary challenges and working in totally uncharted territory, they came up with a radical design that would depend on unproven technology, they faced heavy opposition from the public (including real estate interests), and yet they won the day.  How?  Through the excellence of their design and the soundness of their thinking.  If they could do that then (with fewer resources and 19th Century technology), think what we could do now.  

The subway is a symbol of New York City, but few seem to know why it has a subway in the first place.  Understanding the thinking behind the unusual design reveals the impressive logic and the great lengths to which these engineers went to see their design perfected and realized.  It is an amazing story, it makes me love this city, and it gives me emotional fuel to persevere and keep working for an even better future.

  1. Throughout your professional career, what is your proudest accomplishment?

I am definitely most proud of speeding up the subway.  I poured my soul into it, fighting an uphill battle for years.  Thus, it is deeply meaningful to me that I can report that trains are several minutes faster (in the range of 2 to 6 percent faster end-to-end running times), and service is more reliable (on-time performance).  For this, I am indebted to Andy Byford for taking me seriously and giving me the opportunity of a lifetime to see my ideas implemented and actually make the subway faster.  Governor Cuomo put his support behind the speed effort too–apparently the influence of “politics” is sometimes a good thing.  

The average passenger might not perceive the improvements, but whether they know it or not, their opportunity circle is a little bit bigger and they have a little bit better life within reach.  Happily, I do perceive the improvements, so I have the added benefit of getting a thrill up my spine every time I notice them on the subway.

  1. What career advice would you give to other YPT’ers interested in your career path?

Be a bureaucrat for a few years.  If you want intimate knowledge of mass transit in the United States today and knowledge of what works and what doesn’t, there’s no place better than the public agencies that directly run big city transit systems.  That’s where all the action is.  Plus, you will be seriously popular at parties. I had no idea how many people I would encounter with such great interest in my job.

Once you have an understanding of how things work, fight the good fight, if you’re inclined.  I’m a troublemaker, in the noblest sense of the word (as used by Charlan Nemeth).  If that’s you, and if you have good-but-unpopular ideas, I say “do it.”  

Try to understand why your good ideas are unpopular.  This will help make sure that your ideas are, in fact, good.  If, for instance, your idea would require your boss to have a lot of difficult conversations, solve that problem too.  If you think you deserve it, take the moral high ground.  Not to put down others, but rather to show how your idea would truly make the city a better place.  That can have a very powerful impact.

Public agencies are not well-suited for innovation, but you can still have a real, positive impact.  There are a lot of good people who will help you, if you first take the initiative.  People will go above and beyond if they can clearly see the virtue, the justice, and the benefits of your idea.  Even if you don’t succeed, just by trying you’ll build an inner pride and learn a ton of practical skills along the way.

  1. What would you want to learn more about or write about next?

Since snapping my fingers won’t do it, I’m doing research for a paper on how you might design a legal framework that enables homesteading of the city’s underground desert (the soil and bedrock beneath the city that presently serves no human purpose), and thereby attract entrepreneurs and investors to develop faster, cheaper, and better transit networks.  This requires expertise in finance, and I’m excited to have Raymond Niles as my co-author, who is an economics professor, an expert on utility infrastructure finance and regulation, and a former Wall Street stock analyst.

Presently, I’m trying to come up with important infrastructure projects that could be built today were such a homesteading framework enacted.  That is, projects that would (1) bring major, visible improvements to the transportation system, (2) be profitable with today’s technology, and (3) occupy the underground desert.  If you have ideas, please let me know.  

If you think for-profit transportation is impractical, immoral, or im-whatever, I’d like to hear from you too.  Help me make sure I’ve addressed any and all potential downsides.

 

Categories
newsletter

YPT-NYC: January 2021 News and Events!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, YPT-NYC MEMBERS! 

Wishing you a happy and healthy year full of exciting new YPT-NYC opportunities and transportation wins for our region. 

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., we want to take a moment to reflect on how Dr. King’s legacy informs our responsibility in the transportation industry to serve all people and the importance of equity. Transportation infrastructure is central to daily life, as it allows people to get to school and work, and to access food, faith, and family. We celebrate his lasting legacy in our work. 

UPCOMING YPT-NYC EVENTS 

YPT Podcast Club

Struggling to keep up with your book club? Consider joining the YPT-NYC Podcast Club! This February, join our four-part weekly discussion where we’ll chat about four topics in NYC transportation infrastructure: streets, tunnels, bridges, and airports. Our weekly curriculum (here) consists of 1 “required” podcast episode and 1-2 “optional” podcast episodes. Sessions will be held each Wednesday in February, beginning at 12:00 p.m. There is no pressure to join all four sessions or to listen to all the podcast episodes. Meet us at the [podcast] “club,” it’s going down! RSVP here.

Salary Negotiation Workshop

Building on the success of our Public Service Loan Forgiveness event, we are joining forces with APA and WTS to organize a salary negotiation workshop later this winter. The event will be open to members of any of the three organizations. Stay tuned for more details!


RECENT YPT-NYC EVENTS

Public Service Loan Forgiveness WorkshopWe hope you enjoyed our Public Service Loan Forgiveness Workshop last year, presented by Betsy Mayotte from The Institute of Student Loan Advisors, which was full of valuable information on eligibility and terms of the program.  The recording is available upon request, just send us a message here.

OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS

TransitCon is a free and virtual transit conference where everyone has the opportunity to speak. It will be held on Sunday, January 31st. This conference was created with the idea that many transit enthusiasts, advocates, and nerds are fully engaged on social media, but are limited to the comments and threads these mediums allow. TransitCon wants to provide a space for those transit passions in a conference-like format. The program of the conference consists of three concurrent sessions: transit professionals, open mics, and 10 regional discussions. 

THANK YOU TO ALL OUT-GOING BOARD MEMBERS AND HELLO TO NEW ONES!

VISIT OUR WEBSITE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YPT-NYC’S 2021 BOARD!

YPT-NYC MEMBER PROFILE 

Robert Joseph, Bus Planner at MTA New York City Transit

Q&A:

1. What is your favorite YPT-NYC event and why?

Transportation Trivia is my favorite because it brings out my competitive and nerdy sides. 

2. If you could snap your fingers and make one change to regional transportation, what would it be?

I would want Paris RER-style through-running commuter rail trains. The ultimate convenience of fast, frequent trains that cross the city, and serve multiple stations rather than one large hub, is not to be underestimated. 

3. What sparked your passion to work in the transportation industry?

(After my dream of becoming an astronaut fell apart…) I was inspired by a page of my AP history textbook showing how train routes connected cities across the country in the 1830s. The more I found out about the environmental benefits, economic opportunities, and public health impacts of transportation planning, the more I loved it.

4. What are you working on that you’re most excited by?

I have recently done a lot of work on improving overnight bus service for essential workers, specifically helping launch and monitor the Bx99 route.  

5. What career advice would you give to other YPT’ers interested in your career path?

Put yourself out there as much as possible with networking opportunities and never stop learning. Pick up new skills online, show an interest in learning the tools of the trade, and use each role or task as a stepping stone to the next.

6. What famous celebrity do you think should be given the opportunity to voice an NYCT Subway Announcement?

Samuel L Jackson. If there’s someone who I want to assure me that the upcoming service change won’t be so bad, it’s him. His voice is exactly the iconic and authoritative presence we need.

YPT-NYC LINKEDIN

Use the YPT LinkedIn Group if you are #OpenToWork!

We want to point members on the job hunt or with job opportunities to post and share in our LinkedIn group. The group is a great way to share information about yourself as a job seeker or post opportunities. Check out previous posts by members for ideas on what to include in your own post!
 

WE CAN’T DO IT WITHOUT YOU! 

Young Professionals in Transportation – New York City (YPT-NYC) is an official 501(c)(6) non-profit organization that provides benefits to its members through professional development, fellowship, and networking. YPT-NYC’s members keep the Greater New York City region moving while providing a space for growing skills, sharing knowledge, and expanding professional networks. Check your membership status here, or join here. Being an active member is $20 for the year and allows us to provide our membership with impactful programming.


Young Professionals in Transportation – New York City (YPT-NYC) is the local chapter of Young Professionals in Transportation International, a nonprofit coalition of organizations, which helps professional development, fellowship, and networking for young professionals in the transportation field. YPT-NYC’s members keep the Greater New York City region moving while providing a space for growing skills, sharing knowledge, and expanding professional networks.