An architectural rendering of the IRT platforms with a connection to the IND platforms below. (Courtesy of Lee Harris Pomeroy. Click for a bigger view.)
Is there a more annoying station than the Broadway-Lafayette St./Bleecker St. disaster? Because you can’t transfer from the uptown 6 platform to any other train in that station, you have to know which entrance you want well ahead of time. And good luck explaining to lost tourists on the IND lines that they can’t switch to an uptown 6 without leaving the station and paying the fare again.
Over two years ago, word came out that the MTA was preparing a station rehabilitation plan for this relic of the era of dual systems and competing, separate subway lines. At the time, these plans were to cost $50 million. Since that announcement, this great idea has gone nowhere. The station is a still an odd labyrinth sort of connecting two tunnels that used to be parts of competing corporations — one owned by the Interborough Rapid Transit company, the other by the City of New York.
But all of this may change soon. In a few weeks, the MTA will hold a public hearing on a whole slew of capital projects. Since the MTA is eligible to receive nearly $1 billion in federal funds for these projects, the list is rather extensive. Buried among the more mundane station rehabilitation plans however is a three-tiered request for the Bleecker St. station and the Broadway-Lafayette St. connector.
Here, in a nutshell, is what the MTA hopes to do with this station:
- Extend the northbound platform on the IRT line 290 feet to the South.
- Construct a new mezzanine under the IRT platforms that would provide a connection from the uptown and downtown platforms to the uptown and downtown IND lines.
- Install five elevators and an escalator as part of the Authority’s need to fulfill the ADA requirements for this station complex.
The rest of the plans for this now-$60 million rehabilitation include the standard overhaul: Restored tile mosaics, new floors, a paint job, etc. It’s a shame that inflation and higher costs will lead to a $10 million price increase, but that seems to be business as usual for the MTA’s Capital Construction department.
Personally, I love this plan. This station — unique among all of the city’s transfer points — has long been an oddity in New York. At no other point can you transfer to or from a train heading in just one direction. The companies that oversaw the Union Square rehabilitation are — Weidlinger Associates and Lee Harris Pomeroy — in charge here, and it looks like they plan to produce a snazzy looking station for the East Village/SoHo area.
The New York City subways will once again be safe from dumbstruck and confused tourists. Or at least at Bleecker St.
The plans call for a wider platform for the southbound IRT. (Courtesy of Lee Harris Pomeroy. Click to enlarge.)
A new mezzanine will allow for a connection between the IND trains and the northbound IRT platform. Also, there will be see-thru people. (Courtesy of Lee Harris Pomeroy. Click to enlarge.)