Jan
12

Service changes could lead to Chrystie St. Cut use

By · Published in 2010

As the MTA adjusts the planned service cuts to better meet customer demands, a novel use for the Chrystie St. Connection between the IND and the BMT at Essex and Delancey Sts. may be in the cards. According to a few message board posters and now Heather Haddon’s “transit sources,” the MTA may adjust the route of the V train to subsume the current M route out to Metropolitan Ave. This new route could alleviate some pressure on the L line and provide an indirect one-seat ride from parts of Brooklyn and Queens that just aren’t that far apart.

Over the last few days, I’ve been checking in on some of the message board chatter concerning the upcoming service cuts. Last week at the NYC Transit Forums, frequent poster Zman started a thread about a potential merging of the M and V lines. He said:

The TA is considering eliminating the M and sending the V to Metropolitan Av via the Chrystie St Cut if the doomsday cuts aren’t head off at the pass. This would mean that the V could only run 8 car trains. This could start in late June.

Logistically it would be a little difficult unless they took some of the 60 foot SMEE’s that are mothballed and put them back into service, or if ENY has enough 4 car unit 160’s to cover service since 46’s can’t run on the Williamsburg Bridge. For passengers though, this sounds like a good deal.

It’s in the talking stages and nothing is official yet.

Subchat picked up the news a short time later, and the subsequent discussion has been rather lively. Today, amNew York, citing only “transit sources,” joins the chorus. The M is scheduled to be scaled back from its current peak-hour run into South Brooklyn through the Montague St. tunnel and along the BMT Fourth Ave. and West End Lines, and this rumored cut would, in effect, kill the line.

So how would this work? Transit would run eight-car sets along the V from Forest Hills along its current route along the IND Queens Boulevard line via the 53rd St. tunnel to the IND Sixth Ave. line. After stopping at Broadway-Lafayette, the train would then take the Chrystie St. Cut, shown in in this track map, to the current J/M/Z BMT Nassau St. stop at Essex/Delancey Sts. The V would then run over the Williamsburg Bridge and up to Metropolitan Ave.

In a way, this makes sense. Once the M is scaled back from its southern extension into Brooklyn, the train will operate mainly as a spur to Metropolitan Ave. with peak-hour service to Lower Manhattan. Here, Transit would replace that M service with a line that serves Midtown. Although some Lower Manhattan-bound riders would have to transfer to the J, those heading to Williamsburg and points east could take a one-seat ride on the V and, ideally, avoid the L.

Right now, Transit and the MTA are still working to formulate a plan for the service cuts, but when everything is finalized later this year, we could see some changes to the subway map. I wouldn’t be surprised to see revenue service restored to the Chrystie St. Cut as long as the numbers work out.



Categories : Service Cuts

66 Responses to “Service changes could lead to Chrystie St. Cut use”

  1. Alon Levy says:

    They should have done this years ago. Some Williamsburg residents are going to choose the subway under this plan over a taxi or a bus because the L is less crowded.

    • Russell Warshay says:

      I agree. This is an opportunity to see how much a M/V combo helps to alleviate L train crowding.

      When the economy returns to normal, and if this proves to be valuable, then the MTA can consider extending platforms to 600′.

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        Extending the platforms to 600′ has been considered in the past. It is a monster project and the benefits are minimal, as the Williamsburg Bridge is the MTA’s least used East River crossing. If more capacity were needed in the future, equipping the line for CBTC would be cheaper.

        • Russell Warshay says:

          Was the consideration of extending the platforms done in the context of maintaining higher capacity on 6th Ave. and Queens Blvd.?

          Also, extending the side platforms should not be very expensive, unless doing so also requires those stations to be made ADA compliant.

          The island platform at Essex St. is longer than 480′, but I’m not sure if it is 600’+. The other island platforms are elevated, so it shouldn’t be astronomically expensive.

          I’m not sure what such a project would cost. Not cheap, but my guess is that it could be in the $100 million range.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            The trouble is that many of those stations are in densely built-up urban areas, where there is no room to expand without demolishing other infrastructure. Not every station is equally problematic, but remember, the project achieves nothing until every single one of them is renovated. There are 13 stations from Metropolitan Avenue to Essex Street, and you’re kidding yourself if you think they could be extended to 100 feet at an average of $7.7m apiece. Even the most basic station renovations (with no platform extension) tend to cost more than that.

          • Alon Levy says:

            I’m not sure what such a project would cost.

            Look up similar projects in Western Europe. Eyeball the average cost per station, and multiply it by 7. That should give you a rough estimate of the cost of extending each station’s platforms.

  2. Scott E says:

    For the benefit of those of us who don’t know these lines too well: what are “SMEEs? (“took some of the 60 foot SMEE’s that are mothballed and put them back into service“). And how many 75-foot cars currently run on the V? I don’t think current riders would be too happy to see their trains shortened.

    • Kid Twist says:

      The SMEEs are the generation of cars that went into service between the end of WWII and the early to mid 1970s, when trains with new technology took over. It typically refers to car classes R-10 through R-42, if that means anything to you. Don’t ask me what SMEE actually stands for. And I doubt that thye’d put old cars backc in service under this plan. Sounds like the eight-car trains now on the M would become V trains and the cars on the V would be shifted elsewhere, most likely to the C, so they could retire the oldest cars in the system.

  3. Eric says:

    Don’t know why this wasn’t brought to the table years ago. It seems like a great idea.

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      I think you’re missing the context. This is a service cut. Overall, the amount of service is being reduced. V Trains will be shorter, and the M Train will be eliminated. There are 17,000 Brooklyn riders who use the M Train today, who will no longer have that option.

      What is more, this move is likely to be temporary, as the V Train would need to return to its original route if Culver express service is to be restored in Brooklyn after the current construction project along the F Line is completed.

      Rail buffs have long wished for restoration of service on the Chrystie Street Cut, mainly because they cannot bear the thought of unused train tracks. The reality is that if the MTA is maximizing its assets, the Chrystie Street Cut has no useful purpose. The only reason this is being proposed now is as a means of offering less service.

      • Scott E says:

        I would think that this is being considered as an alternate to one of the other proposed, more devastating, cuts, not in addition to them. If it saves the “W” or some of the bus lines (none of which I am familiar), it might be worth it.

        • Kid Twist says:

          I think this allows them to save the J/Z skip-stop service.

          • Andrew says:

            I think it requires that J/Z skip-stop service be saved – otherwise there wouldn’t be enough service to Broad Street.

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          Yes, I believe you are correct that this is being considered as an alternative to other potential cuts.

          But the point remains that it is a service cut, which answers the question as to why this wasn’t done years ago: it is not a good idea, but merely the “least bad” way to reduce the budget.

          • I think that’s really the best way to conceptualize it. It’s the least bad way to reduce the budget. Cuts are cuts no matter how great the service realignment sounds.

            • AlexB says:

              This could do three very useful things: 1) Provide one transfer access to the West Side; 2) Provide a no transfer route to Midtown from Williamsburg/Bushwick; 3) Potentially relieve the F and L lines, both more crowded than they have to be (fewer transfers from Essex to Delancey.) It may be a service cut, but it also will be a better use of the tracks they already have.

      • Eric says:

        The current configuration that has everything from the Broadway/Williamsburg Bridge corridor running through a tiny portion of Lower Manhattan has always irked me.

        It just makes sense to me that one line from that same corridor run uptown and at the same time it could take a heavy load off of the F train overcrowding.

        If it saves the MTA money in the process, all the better.

      • Andrew says:

        This is a service cut in lower Manhattan and in southern Brooklyn (4th Avenue and West End). It’s not a service cut on the core part of the M or anywhere on the V, except that trains will be 20% shorter. In other words, it’s cutting out the underused bits with alternative service. But it’s doing so in such a way that gives people direct access to Midtown for the first time ever! So it’s a service cut that improves service for a lot of people. That sounds pretty good. It might even make sense outside the framework of service cuts.

        Who says that Culver express service is going to be restored? Why should it be restored? There are two reasons to extend the V to Church and run the F express: faster service and room for more people. But the faster service only helps the people at Church and below and at 7th Avenue, and the express will only save 3 or 4 minutes at best in each direction. Meanwhile, people at local stops will have to wait longer, since the V is less frequent than the F. And F trains now operate at only 75% of capacity in the AM peak hour at Bergen Street (see page 12 of the report that Russell mentions); according to NYCT’s crowding guidelines, there’s no reason to add service at all (and there are plenty of other lines that have a greater need for extra service). If there’s huge ridership growth on the Culver line, then, yes, the V may be diverted to Church. But otherwise, I doubt the Culver line will ever see the V.

        Rail buffs have long wished for restoration of service on the Culver express, mainly because they cannot bear the thought of unused train tracks. The reality is that if the MTA is maximizing its assets, the Culver express has no useful purpose.

  4. Jaystreet says:

    I agree with Marc. There are talks of extending the V into Brooklyn to use the long neglected Culver Express track, and provide much needed speedier service to the most dense part of the F line. This is the long term goal of the V train. If riders from the J/M lines currently want to go to midtown, they can get on the F (and someday, the V) at Essex/Delancey Street Station. The reality is that Brooklyn is losing a vital route into the city. Don’t forget – you’ll have V trains merging with J trains at Essex, which will cause a mild bottleneck there, and on the 6th Ave local line.

    • Alon Levy says:

      Trains merge and split all the time in New York. The 4 and 5 merge and split, twice, with one severe bottleneck in Brooklyn. The 2 and 3 have two junctions as well, including said bottleneck. The E and F have two junctions, too. All of those train pairs manage close to 30 tph, which is much more than what the J and V would need.

      • JPN says:

        If the track map is correct, the merges can’t be any worse than when the V terminates at 2nd Avenue. The V/M from 6th Avenue would even arrive on its own track at Essex/Delancey.

    • Andrew says:

      The most dense part of the F line is in Queens.

  5. Christopher says:

    I’d like to see a proposed map on this. On live along the M in Bushwick. Would it the M or the V still go out this way? Or are we suddenly not cool enough?

    I’ve never found the L to be all that crowded, but then again I don’t go out at night. And I had been living along the 4-5-6. So really, anything is better.

    • Christopher says:

      Okay, I think I understand somewhat. Had to look at the map to figure out how that would work. That would actually be convenient. But really it would do a lot to eliminate crowding on the 4-5-6 as well. Not just the L. Getting to midtown can be sort of a pain and not having to deal with the crush at Union Station would be fantastic.

  6. Josh says:

    Wow, you mean the V might actually become a worthwhile route?

  7. digamma says:

    “Rail buffs have long wished for restoration of service on the Chrystie Street Cut, mainly because they cannot bear the thought of unused train tracks. The reality is that if the MTA is maximizing its assets, the Chrystie Street Cut has no useful purpose. ”

    Uh, no. I have long wished for restoration of service on the Chrystie Street Cut because all the neighborhoods on the J and M trains have annoyingly limited access to Manhattan. Which is exactly why we built that part of the Chrystie Connection in the first place.

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      Yes, but this cannot be done without losing the opportunity to operate the even more useful Culver express service, once the viaduct repairs are complete. If the Culver express tracks did not exist…then yes, this would be the most useful route for the V Train.

      • Alon Levy says:

        Run the F express and the G local – problem solved.

        Or just bag the F express plan on the grounds that it would save 2-3 minutes, tops, and the MTA has better things to do than mothball service to the rest of Brooklyn just to make Park Slope residents happy.

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          There is no way they will take away the Culver local stations’ one-seat ride to Manhattan. You can fuhgeddaboudit. I will sooner be elected Pope.

          What I know is that there is considerable community demand for a Culver express, and the community served by the M train has not been similarly vocal about a one-seat ride to midtown. Maybe they should be…but they are not.

          • Andrew says:

            Stated community demand is just about the worst way to plan service. A lot of the people making the “demands” probably don’t even realize that “express” is not a synonym for “fast” – it’s a synonym for “train that will bypass my station.”

            The community served by the M has no idea that there’s a track connection from their line to Midtown (or at least they didn’t until they read the paper this morning). Do you expect them to be vocal about something they don’t even know exists?

            I want more service on my line. In fact, I want a super-express from my home station to my work station. I can scream all I want about it, and I can get all my elected officials to support me, but that doesn’t mean that NYCT owes me anything.

        • Russell Warshay says:

          Run the F express and the G local – problem solved.

          That used to be the arrangement. The local stops that lost F service yelled and screamed until it was eliminated. Also, there was a functioning transfer at Bergen St at that time. The lower level platforms were removed a number of years ago.

          If you read the recent MTA report about the F train, there is an interesting pint made on page 6.

          “Approximately two-thirds of F riders in Brooklyn are on the northern segment of the Culver Line, between Church Avenue and Bergen Street, and two of the busiest stations on the line – Bergen Street and Carroll Street – are local stops.”

          It seems to me that if F express service is restored in that area, it won’t take long until the communities by the bypassed local stations break out their torches and pitchforks.

          • Marc Shepherd says:

            When the G was the Culver local, riders at local stations needed to transfer to reach Manhattan. That was the source of their objection. Operating the V as a local would obviate their concern, because they would still be getting a one-seat ride to the city, as they do now.

            The Bergen Street local platforms were not removed, by the way. They are currently used for storage, but they could be put back in service without too much effort. The main problem with that station is that riders used to clog the stairwell so that they could quickly run up or down, depending on which platform had the next train.

            • The Bergen St. platforms were heavily damaged by a fire in 1999, and while Transit repaired the upper level, they haven’t done much with the lower. Still, considering reports from the time of a two-month closure, it wouldn’t take long to re-open the lower level.

              As for the F Express via Culver, our plan as envisioned in 2007 involved sending the V into Brooklyn. Then, either the F or V — it doesn’t much matter beyond semantics — would run express while the other would run local. The one-seat ride would remain in place, and the G would be used for local service instead of the F/V.

            • Andrew says:

              They’re not used for “storage.” From the report (page 6, footnote 3):

              “The Bergen Street station had originally been a bi-level express station, with local platforms on the upper level and express platforms on the lower level. This bi-level design led to awkward customer service because customers would often wait in stairwells between levels in order to see which level the next Manhattan-bound train would arrive at. When the station was rehabilitated in the 1990’s, the lower level express platforms were removed from service and support facilities were built on the platforms. Enabling the station to operate as an express stop would require major capital investment.” (emphasis mine)

              So – on top of the operating cost of running lots of extra trains to Church, and on top of the capital cost of buying extra cars to run to Church, you want the MTA to make a “major capital investment” to reopen the express platforms at Bergen Street. All of this to provide a large service boost to a line that’s carrying 75% of capacity!

  8. Emily Litella says:

    Among the pros and cons of combining the M and V, one must consider that 53rd Street line capacity will be reduced by a few percent in the peak. Also, the shorter trains will result in longer dwell times all along the V route. Reducing capacity AND increasing dwell time is not tolerable on the 53rd St line which is operating at capacity. Also not tolerable on the Queens local and Sixth Avenue/Houston lines either. Its a sexy proposal that will go nowhere unless we see major reductions in Queens ridership due to economic contraction.

  9. AlexB says:

    The whole point of the Chrystie St connection was to provide direct access to West 4th, and therefore the entire IND system, and provide more routes to a growing Midtown. Before, getting from the BMT lines in Brooklyn to the ACE was an inconvenient series of transfers. As it is now, not using the Chrystie St connection, you have to transfer twice to get from the JMZ line to the ACE, or travel all the way down to Fulton St (rush hour only.) The JMZ doesn’t connect to the 123 either, so getting to the west side from the JMZ is a pain.

    There are a lot more midtown-bound commuters living in South Williamsburg and Bushwick than ever before. They last used this connection about 30 years ago, when the neighborhood was totally different. If they want to restore service to the Montague St line and 4th Ave local, they should extend the W, not the M. Also it makes a big difference if they stick with 6 trains per hour as the M currently has or if they go with 10 trains per hour as the V currently has. The Culver Rehab will take two years. I’d much rather have this in the mean time.

    Minor observation: I am pretty sure that if they have to use BMT compliant cars and shorter trains, and if the only non-shared part of the route is the Myrtle St portion, they should ditch the V and call the whole thing the M.

    • kvnbklyn says:

      I’ve been wondering why the MTA didn’t do this from the first day it introduced the V train. I ride the F train from Brooklyn every day and it always irks me to see the empty V train slowly pulling out of Second Avenue to get in front of my packed F train when I know that that train could be carrying people from Williamsburg and Bushwick, many of whom pushed their way onto the F at Delancey.

      And I think a lot of people can’t get their heads around the concept that something could save money AND move people better. That is not a service cut and it is not MTA shenanigans. It seems someone down at the MTA finally started using their brain.

      • Marc Shepherd says:

        I don’t see what is so difficult to understand. This is a service cut. The fact that some riders might actually like this service pattern better doesn’t change the fact that the city, as a whole, will see less subway service as a result. That, quite simply, is the reason why this was not done to begin with. The V was introduced to create service, not to curtail it.

        • Russell Warshay says:

          For M riders, this could be a service increase. The M operates at 6tph during rush hour, and the V operates at 10tph. I imagine that the MTA would operate the same number of train sets, so the tph should drop, but it would still be greater than 6.

        • AlexB says:

          It’s not a service cut if you use the V train regularly. It’s only a service cut if you use the 4th Ave local. No one lives in the city as a whole or uses the subway as a whole. Everyone uses their own little piece.

      • rhywun says:

        Something tells me that riders along 4th Avenue who will have their service cut in half will feel differently.

  10. Andrew says:

    I can’t imagine it’s on the table in the context of service cuts, but it would be great to have both the merger of the M/V over the Chrystie St Cut AND also have the J/Z run into South Brooklyn all the time.

    • Andrew says:

      You’re probably right, but in the future, if the M/V merger proves popular and there’s demand to reintroduce the old M service to Bay Parkway, extending the J/Z is probably the easiest way to do that.

      (But the real reason I’m responding is to say hi to another Andrew. No, I’m not talking to myself.)

  11. SEAN says:

    Just for the heck of it I plotted a trip from Metropolitan Av to 71st Av Contenental Av both by bus & subway.

    Taking the M & then Transfering to the F took 1:18. On the other hand taking the Q54 to Woodhaven Blvd Station & transfering to the R took 35 minutes. You could also have transfered to the Q23 at 71st Av & road around Forest Hills Gardens in the same lenth of time.

  12. Matthew says:

    This is a great idea for combining two routes; saving money and moving passengers more efficiently. I would call it the orange K though. Keep the M only for rush hours to Chambers or Broad, and the rest of those R160 4-car sets to the new K. (The K would probably require close to the same number of trains that the M to Bay Parkway currently requires.)

  13. JPN says:

    I’d welcome the proposal, but what about travel times? From Myrtle/Wyckoff, it takes around the same time to go to Union Square on the L as to Essex/Delancey on the M. Many people transfer at Myrtle/Wyckoff for this reason, and for better transfer connections in Manhattan. If only the speed over the bridge could be faster…

    • Andrew says:

      But this will turn some three-seat rides into one-seat rides. Even if travel time is a few minutes longer (and is it, taking waiting into account?), I think it will be popular.

      • JPN says:

        Must depend on each individual rider’s preferences. You have to trade off between comfort and quickness. Even if transfer times are longer, I’d think some people don’t want to be in a subway car longer than they have to. And the speed of the trains over the Williamsburg Bridge does feel annoying especially when compared to the 14th Street tunnel.

        One poster on Gothamist said people at Delancey/Essex will scramble to the first F or M/V train. I don’t know how accurate this prediction is.

  14. The M subway line has a far longer history than the V line. Why should it be renamed? Let’s save the M subway line! http://www.facebook.com/pages/.....088?ref=nf

  15. annette says:

    THIS IS GOING TO BE AN ABSOLUTE DISASTER FOR PEOPLE COMING FROM RIDGEWOOD. We have to change at Myrtle Avenue Broadway to the J? That train is horrible its always crowded crowded crowded in the morning . We are going to have to wait for two or three trains in order to just fit on the J train I can see it already. Gonna have to wake up even earlier now to get to work i cant wait.

  16. R160Thug1863 says:

    Tha (M) train has enough to ignore the nassau st line. i cannot believe it! >:-(

  17. R160Thug1863 says:

    (V) train: R.I.P.

    (M) train: I’m through with ya fool! i thought we were cool! now i can only trust the (J)/(Z) train!

  18. R160Thug1863 says:

    The orange (M) is also a disaster for people coming from Bay Parkway, Brooklyn!
    1. it’s a two-seat ride from bay parkway to myrtle ave.
    2. isn’t Manhattan bound trains ALWAYS crowded???
    3. can i just have 1 trip to from myrtle ave – bay parkway WITHOUT R68s?!? ((D) = R68, (M) = R160 (And R42???))

  19. R160Thug1863 says:

    The orange (M) is also a disaster for people coming from Bay Parkway, Brooklyn!
    1. it’s a two-seat ride from bay parkway to myrtle ave.

    2. isn’t Manhattan bound trains ALWAYS crowded???
    3. can i just have 1 trip to from myrtle ave – bay parkway WITHOUT R68s?!? ((D) = R68, (M) = R160 (And R42???))

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Second Avenue Sagas Picks Up Chatter About Possible M and V Line Merger […]

  2. […] realized that the MTA has a different plan in the works. Yesterday, we looked at how the V train could be replacing the M train in north Brooklyn, and today, MTA sources reveal another change to the 2009 Doomsday service […]

  3. […] Funds for Students (Tri-State Transportation Campaign) Rerouting the V Train to Metropolitan Ave. (Second Avenue Sagas) Free E-Waste Pickup Expands to Brooklyn (Metropolis) No Guidelines on Environmental Review […]

  4. […] the MTA will, as I reported a few weeks ago, reactivate the Chrystie St. Cut for revenue service. The M designation will be eliminated, and the V will replace the M between […]

  5. […] of the V is a surprise. Early reports indicated that the M would be the designation to go. The V, running via the Chrystie St. Cut, would run from Forest Hill to Middle Village during the day and from Myrtle Ave. to Middle Village […]

  6. […] When residents who live along the M line from Bushwick to Middle Village wake up on June 27, they will find their commutes drastically altered. The M will no longer travel down Nassau St. and into Southern Brooklyn. Instead, with a new orange bullet denoting a Sixth Ave. trunk route, the M will take the Chrystie St. Cut to Broadway/Lafayette and make local stops up Sixth Ave. to Forest Hills. It is a service cut with a purpose. […]

  7. […] Village will be even more confused when their M trains go from Essex St. to Broadway/Lafayette via the Chrystie St. Cut. Along Queens Boulevard, the V train will be a part of New York subway history, lost to a budget […]

  8. […] Many aren’t even aware that this service route is possible. While we know about the Chrystie St. Cut, it hasn’t seen revenue service since the mid-1970s and remains a tunnel lost in time — […]

  9. […] via Sixth Ave., many riders were confused about this routing. While those in the know knew about the Chrystie St. Cut, only New Yorkers around for the death of the K train in 1976 could lay claim to knowledge of that […]

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>