NYCT plans years of ‘F’-ing construction on Culver Viaduct

By · Published in 2007


The designs for the Culver Viaduct work at 4th Ave. are a huge improvement over the current bombed-out shell of a subway station. (Source: New York City Transit)

The Culver Viaduct sure has been on our minds for the better part of 2007. A key component to the dreams of Brooklynites to enjoy the F as an express train, the Viaduct is in terrible shape and living seemingly on borrowed time.

Earlier this month, the MTA announced the details of their viaduct rehabilitation plans which will turn the Viaduct stations — one at Smith-9th Sts. and one at 4th Avenue — into crown jewels of the subway system. Recently, at a Community Board 6 meeting in Brooklyn, New York City Transit unveiled the architectural renderings and track work plans for the extensive renovations. There is, of course, good news and bad news.

4thavecurrentsmall.jpg The good news first: The renderings of the stations look fantastic. On top of this post is what the station at 4th Ave. will look like in a four years. At left is what the station looks like now. (Click to enlarge.) The difference is night and day. Gone are the boarded-up windows and grungy outside.

fourthplatsmall.jpg With views up and down Brooklyn’s admittedly less-than-scenic 4th Ave., the station will no longer be an isolated island in the subway system. Meanwhile, the stations will look just as nice on the inside (see left). Looks good. Too bad we have to wait so long for the finished product.

Finally, in the good news department, comes news of the G train. Beginning next year, the MTA will run the G out to Church Ave., and that service addition will be permanent. In an effort to alleviate F train overcrowding, Manhattan-bound passengers in Kensington and Park Slope can now take the G to Hoyt-Schermerhorn and transfer to the A or C. Otherwise, the G will now allow riders to take a one-seat ride from Greenpoint to Kensington. The good folks at Kensington (Brooklyn) are quite pleased with his news.

But — and this is a rather big but — the project comes with its fair share of bad news, both centered around things we already knew. As I’ve reported in the past, the F Express Plan won’t come to fruition until this viaduct work is completed, but that’s bad news only in the abstract. Worse is the news that the Smith-9th St. stop will be closed for the better part of 2010 with service changes (details available here in PDF form and below) affecting the line for the better part of four years.

This project will be divided into four phases, each with varying degrees of impact. Take a look:

Phase 1 – Set to kick off next fall, the first phase, lasting 15 months, will have only a minimal impact on the line. The center express tracks will be closed as crews will be conducting structural work on the viaduct. At this point, the G will begin running to Church Ave., and the F will run normally.

Phase 2A – During the second stage of work, things get dicey. For four months, the northbound local tracks will be out of service. The F and the G will run express from Church Ave. to Smith-9th Sts. with southbound trains providing service to 15th St.-Prospect Park and Ft. Hamilton Parkway. Northbound trains will service 4th Ave. via a temporary platform, and Smith-9th Sts. will be closed completely with shuttle bus service running along the path the train currently takes. Good thing that’s only four months in MTA time.

Phase 2B – The second part of Phase 2 will last 8 months, but service will slowly return to some semblance of normality. The F and G will run local on the northbound tracks except the trains will bypass Smith-9th Sts. for the first five months of this phase. Smith-9th Sts. will reopen after nine months of repairs and renovations in the middle of phase 2B, but at that point, northbound, only the G will stop there while southbound both the F and the G will service that station.

Phase 3A – This is, in effect, the opposite of Phase 2A. Southbound trains will run express from Smith-9th Sts. to Church Ave. with northbound service only to 15th St.-Prospect Park and Fort Hamilton Parkway. Temporary platforms will service southbound F and G riders at 4th Ave. and southbound G riders only at Smith-9th Sts. This phase will take around five months.

Phase 3B – The last ten months before things get back to normal constitute phase 3B. Here, F and G trains return to local service south of Smith-9th Sts., but Smith-9th Sts. will be service southbound by G trains on a temporary platform. Northbound service will be normal.

Phase 4 – For the last three months of work, riders along the newly-extended G line and F line won’t notice a thing. NYCT is installing new switches on the express tracks just north of 4th Ave. that should allow for that long-awaited F express service.

So there you have it. That is a 45-month project to completely renovate the Culver Viaduct. When all is said and done, the G train will be vastly improved, and if NYCT holds to its word, express service will start along the F line. But for now, as residents in Brooklyn face around four years of service delays and shuttle buses, it’s no wonder that many residents are not too happy.

32 Responses to “NYCT plans years of ‘F’-ing construction on Culver Viaduct”

  1. Marc Shepherd says:

    Do you have any idea why, during some parts of the project, only the G will stop at Smith–Ninth Streets? The diagrams show that the F & G are both passing through the station on the same tracks, so why would only one of them stop?

  2. Marc:

    Good question. I think – but I’m not 100 percent sure – that the answer has to do with the length of the platform. Since the G trains are only four cars long, the entire train can fit at the temporary platform, but the 8-car F trains won’t fit. Instead of confusing passenger with the need to be in the front four or middle four cars, the trains will bypass the station all together.

  3. Hey, how about a link to The Brooklyn Paper’s website, which reported this story (and I think reported it well) at this URL:


    The Brooklyn Paper

  4. Gersh!

    You jumped the gun. I’ve got an article coming up at noon about the G train service extensions, and that very same Brooklyn Paper article gets a link. Worry not. I’ve got it covered.

  5. Marc Shepherd says:

    Is the PowerPoint deck linked in this post available from official sourcesm, such as the MTA website? I’m not doubting its authenticity, but just wondering.

  6. I don’t think it’s on the MTA’s Website, but NYCT distributed it to interested parties following the CB6 meeting a week and a half ago. The PDF linked above is the exact document they distributed. If NYCT posts them on its Website, I’ve yet to find them. If you want some more info on contract info for people at NYCT, get in touch with me via e-mail, and I’ll send you what I know.

  7. I guess nobody at the MTA or on the community board picked up on my suggestion to run shuttle buses through the Battery Tunnel.

    By the way, Gersh, I tried to submit this as a comment to your story, but I got javascript errors after I pressed the “Submit” button.

  8. Gary says:

    Marc, I can assure you that the deck is authentic. Check the Brooklyn CB6 website or the MTA website; it will be posted at one or both eventually, if not up already.

    Hey Gersh, how about endorsing enhanced F/V/G service once the viaduct is complete? You know by now that tunnel capacity is not an issue, comrade . . . and Brooklyn sure could use more and better transit options.

    Ben, you are correct – only G service at Smith/Ninth is due to the short length of the temporary platforms.

  9. Kevin Li says:

    The document: I checked it and it contains a lot of glaring errors—particularly with the track maps. The most obvious error is the F and G lines not diverging after Bergen Street.

  10. Allan Rosen says:

    To Cap’n Transit: Extending the B71 through the Battery Tunnel (but not as a shuttle bus) has been proposed by the MTA as part of its congestion pricing response.

  11. Beth Segal says:

    How about if the F line runs from Coney Island to 4th Avenue and commuters can transfer directly to the D and N . That would of course require some minor changes to the D/N, but it is only fair. How else will Brooklyn folk commute?

  12. Michael says:

    It would be a great place to watch the New York City Marathon

  13. David says:

    The F express tracks start at Bergen Street. The article says that it will start after Smith and 9th streets. why? Smith N 9th street is a local stop. so is 4th avenue.

  14. You’re the best! nice read. i post about health and LifeDrVitamins. i hope you have wonderful weds.

  15. Someone says:

    So by October of this year we can expect F express service to start?

  16. Someone says:

    This is becoming a really long renovation… I’ve been following this blog since 2007 and the viaduct is still not finished


  1. […] 2nd Ave. Subway History « NYCT plans years of ‘F’-ing construction on Culver Viaduct […]

  2. […] for months to convince NYCT to run the F as an express and the V as a local out to Church Ave., but four years of construction on the Gowanus Viaduct has rendered this opporunity moot. Instead we’ll just suffer the ails […]

  3. […] sure is in for a rough ride. A few weeks after announcing years of construction — and service changes — in central Brooklyn along the F line, the MTA unveiled plans to completely overhaul seven stations along the Brighton Line from Neck […]

  4. […] the impending (in 2010) closure of the Smith-9th Sts. F/G stop due to work on the Culver Viaduct, pols in the area are already calling for shuttle bus service. […]

  5. […] for riders along the Culver Line once the Gowanus Viaduct rehabilitation project is complete after 45 months of construction. It will be a welcome addition […]

  6. […] some reason, I thought the G train extension would take a few years, but according to Second Avenue Sagas, it’s actually scheduled for next year (!!). Hopefully this means […]

  7. […] 2007. While we depressingly know that the F Express option won’t be back on the table until the completion of the Culver Viaduct rehabilitation, the accolades for Gary Reilly’s project are much deserved. [The Gowanus […]

  8. […] these parts, we’ve known for a while that service changes were heading the G train’s way. Earlier this week, the MTA made it officially, and the changes are rather extensive to the […]

  9. […] the start date for the Culver Viaduct rehabilitation project nears, more architectural renderings of the proposed changes to the Smith-9th Sts. station are […]

  10. […] to yearn for the innocent days of November when it seemed like the MTA would actually be rehabbing the stations along the Culver Viaduct while they did the necessary engineering work on the Viaduct itself. Or perhaps we could revisit […]

  11. […] a lot of press of late. Originally, the MTA had planned a full station overhaul as part of the Culver Viaduct Rehabilitation project. But when parts of the project were scaled back, the station rehab plans were placed in […]

  12. […] the MTA announced earlier this week that the long-anticipated Culver Viaduct rehabilitation project would take longer and cost more than originally anticipated, Brooklynites the world over were […]

  13. […] the MTA first announced plans for the Culver Viaduct, work was supposed to begin in the fall of 2008. Shockingly then, this project is already delayed, […]

  14. […] more on the Culver Viaduct project, check out my old posts here, here and here. After the jump, a video from the MTA about the rehabilitation […]

  15. […] instead, let’s look at some history. In late 2007, New York City Transit unveiled their plans for the Culver Viaduct, and while the timeline has been pushed back and the project slightly scaled down in the […]

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