Rikers Island Closing Could Result in Third Runway for LaGuardia
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio’s pledge to close Rikers Island, a troubled jail complex, could free up space to add a third runway for the city’s congested LaGuardia Airport.
The mayor’s pledge came as a 97-page report from an independent commission created by the speaker of the City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito, released a plan to replace Rikers Island with smaller jails in all five boroughs over a ten-year period. The commission was led by Judge Jonathan Lippman, the former chief judge of the state’s highest court.
“Rikers Island is strategically positioned to accommodate a third runway for LaGuardia Airport,” the panel said in its report, noting the airport’s proximity to the island.
Construction on a new Central Terminal at LaGuardia is already underway and the modernization project will free up space that will make airport operations more efficient, but the airport is still constrained by the amount of traffic it can handle on its two 7,000-foot (2,100-meter) runways.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)