Metro North Viaduct Replacement Update

The team is working to minimize impacts to the community and on Metro-North Railroad schedules. Over the next several months, mobilization and some site activity will occur for Phase 1 of the PAV project. Then, beginning this summer, we expect to begin work underneath the Viaduct, constructing new footings and columns (substructure work). In coordination with the NYC Department of Transportation, there will be temporary removal of parking lanes in 2-block increments alongside the Viaduct on a rolling basis. As soon as work in each segment concludes, those parking lanes will be reopened, and work will move onto the next segment. Sidewalks will remain open, and emergency access will be maintained. We’ll share more information as we get closer to this work in the summer, including in our next newsletter and through pre-construction community notifications.

We’ll share additional details on some of the work planned for 2024 later in the year. You can find details from our recent presentation to Manhattan Community Board 11 on the project website here, as well as an overview of the project timeline, below.

Neighbors Under the Viaduct: Urban Garden Center, La Placita, and Parking Lots
We know La Placita, the Urban Garden Center (UGC), and parking lots are important to the East Harlem community. Given their locations under the Viaduct, the contractor, MTA, City, and stakeholders are working closely together to minimize impacts on the operations of all facilities.

UGC’s retail operations will be temporarily relocated 5 blocks south (under the Viaduct, between East 111th and East 112th Streets) for the duration of the project.

We’re pleased to report that we have been successful in significantly reducing the length of impact on La Placita. La Placita operations will not need to be relocated until the second quarter of 2024, and we expect to have events back to their current home in late 2025, with fully restored aesthetics and functionality. We’ll continue to coordinate with the City and Friends of La Marquetta, including identifying a temporary site for La Placita operations during the relocation period.

Some of the other parking facilities located under the Viaduct will also require relocation at various points in the project. Alternate locations for parking operations will be provided for each of these temporary relocations.

Art & Design Update
This project will include a permanent art installation at East 116th Street, as you may remember from our emails about the open call for artists earlier this year. The artist will be selected by a professional panel with input from Community Board members and local elected officials. The unique characteristics and diversity of the East Harlem community will be part of proposal review. We look forward to sharing updates on this as the project progresses.

Good Neighbor Initiative
Being a good neighbor to the community is important to the MTA, and part of that is ensuring our project and contractor are accountable and responsive to community feedback. We’re pleased to announce that the PAV project will include a Good Neighbor Initiative. This initiative will grade the contractor on factors like environment and livability, site upkeep, cleanliness, and housekeeping factors. Those grades will then be tied to financial incentives.

Once construction is fully underway, we’ll share a public quarterly report card showing how the contractor is doing, and ways in which the Good Neighbor Initiative is helping improve the project. As part of this effort, we will distribute regular surveys to members of our stakeholder advisory group. Additionally, members of the public can always submit feedback on worksite conditions through our project email or hotline.

Construction Community Liaison
In February, Allan S. Valerio joined the team as the project’s Construction Community Liaison. Allan will be the point person on day-to-day construction questions, concerns, and feedback. You can reach Allan at (347) 422-7780 or Allan is Spanish/English bilingual, and he will become a familiar face in the neighborhood as he conducts community outreach, educational programming, and addresses your feedback on the project.

FBI Alert for Seniors

The FBI’s Summary of Elder Fraud Report: 

In 2022, the total number of complaints received from victims over the age of 60 was 88,262.  The monetary losses to elderly victims has risen at an alarming rate, losses of $3.1 billion were reported in 2022, which is a 84% increase over 2021.  The average loss per victim was $35,101, with 5,456 victims losing more than $100,000.

Call Center Fraud (Tech and Customer Support schemes), continued to be the most common type of fraud reported by seniors, with over 17,800 complaints and over $587 million in losses.   Monetary losses due to Investment Fraud reported by seniors increased over 300%, more than any other kind of fraud, largely due to the rising trend of crypto investment scams.

To educate the public and provide as much information on the types of frauds targeting seniors as possible, the IC3 has released its publication of the 2022 IC3 Elder Fraud Annual Report. This report is a companion report to the 2022 IC3 Annual Report released earlier this year.  This report focus’ on crime types, state statistics, and common frauds affecting over 60 victims reporting to IC3. 

Also, in the last couple weeks released some other alerts that may be of interest. They are:

IC3 Warns Chinese Community: IC3 published a public service announcement yesterday to warn about a scam targeting the Chinese community in the U.S. Criminals posing as Chinese law enforcement or prosecutors are telling potential victims that they are suspects in financial crimes. Victims are told to pay the criminals or face arrest or violence. The PSA offers tips for recognizing and avoiding the scheme. 

Link to PSA: Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) | Criminals Pose as Chinese Authorities to Target US-based Chinese Community 

Sextortion Victim Scam: IC3 also published a PSA last Friday warning the public about for-profit companies that are offering sextortion victims “assistance” services. While law enforcement and non-profit agencies will provide assistance at no charge to victims, these companies charge victims exorbitant fees. The PSA includes examples of deceptive tactics, provides tips for avoiding assistance scams, and explains how to file sextortion complaints with IC3. 

Link to PSA: Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) | For-Profit Companies Charging Sextortion Victims for Assistance and Using Deceptive Tactics to Elicit Payments  

You can find the release here:

There’s also a brochure you can download here: