Inside the Bleecker/Broadway-Lafayette constructionBy
A close-up of the planned realignment of the uptown IRT platform at Bleecker St. (Courtesy of Lee Harris Pomeroy Architects. Click to enlarge.)
A long, long time ago — May 30, 2007, to be exact — I unveiled architectural renderings of a station connection decades in the making. That day, we explored Lee Harris Pomeroy Architects’ plans for a complete renovation of the Bleecker St./Broadway-Lafayette complex.
The overhaul includes a fully ADA-compliant station, but the real catch is a true connection between the 6 on the upper level and the IND stop on the lower level. For decades, this station provided a transfer point only for those coming from and going to the downtown 6 trains but not the uptown trains. The two IRT platforms were off-set by a good 300 feet, and a full transfer to the uptown trains was impossible.
Now, the MTA is overhauling the station. As part of the $94 million project set to wrap up in November 2011, the uptown IRT platform is being extended 300 feet south to line up with its downtown counterpart. The mezzanine above the IND stop at Broadway/Lafayette but below the IRT will be extended east to provide a full transfer, and elevators and escalators will provide all sorts of access.
The project commenced with little fanfare a few months ago, but this week, we’ve seen a flurry of Bleecker St.-related stories emerge. For the subway construction porn aficionados among us, LHP Architects has updated the project page with new renderings, and I’ll show a few at the end of this post.
On a more ground-level basis, Curbed has some stunning pictures of the state of the IRT tunnel as well. These photos — available here and here — show corroding bricks lining the walls to the 105-year-old tunnels. Curbed also notes plans to open a new station entrance in front of the Puck Building on Houston St. for the southern end of the uptown IRT platform.
Finally, of course, we arrive at the construction hiccups. Earlier this week, Heather Haddon reported on some unanticipated problems concerning the nearby Peace Pentagon. This bastion of liberal activism at the corner of Bleecker and Lafayette Sts. is apparently sinking, and the building has been surrounded by scaffolding since 2007. The perilous state of this building is preventing the MTA from embarking on some of the work on the project.
To further complicate things, the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute, the owners of the so-called Peace Pentagon, do not have the money to pay for the building upgrades, and everything remains in limbo. While Haddon reported that the MTA is looking into a solution, Transit officials assured me earlier this week that these problems would not delay completion of the station renovation. Paul Fleuranges, Transit spokesman, offered this update:
We are rescheduling this work to start in Jan. 2011 partially due to the scaffolding interference. Moving this work to 2011 will not delay the overall project completion. We have been in touch with the building owner and their lawyers to resolve the issue but have not received any report concerning the building’s condition. We are looking at options that would have our contractor modify the scaffolding to allow him to perform the work.
And that’s that. Exciting times for a station overhaul decades in the making.
After the jump, two additional glimpses into the station renovation. Click the images to enlarge.
A cross-section of the completed renovations reveal elevators, escalators and some crazy LED-based artwork.
Future signs on the mezzanine level at Broadway-Lafayette promise a transfer to the uptown 6.