Aug
13

Out of the service cuts rises the successful orange M

By

When the MTA instituted its service cuts in late June, one change was long overdue. Instead of having the litte used V train terminate at 2nd Ave. in Manhattan, New York City Transit rearranged subway service so that the 6th Ave./Queens Boulevard Local route made use of the old Chrystie St. Cut, crossed the Williamsburg Bridge and terminated at Middle Village, the northern end of the BMT Myrtle Ave. line. Designed to alleviate overcrowding on the L and provide a one-seat ride to Midtown from areas of Brooklyn and Queens with high population growth, the rerouting has been a success.

Earlier this week, NY1’s newest transit beat reporter John Mancini hit the Orange M line to chat with riders about the service changes, and most believed it was a change for the better. “I live in Ridgewood, Queens, I work here in Greenwich Village. And basically now for the first time I have a one-seat ride to work. It’s taken probably 10 to 15 minutes off of my commute. I used to have to take the M to the F, which you could never get on at rush hour. So I’d have to take it down to Chambers Street and get on the 6. It took forever,” Christopher Crowe told Mancini.

The piece is a short one from Mancini, and in it, he talks to a few happy riders and a few others wary of the changes wrought by better transit service. “People who can’t afford to pay these rents will have to be moving out of the area. I mean because you are going to bring more of a crowd that can afford to pay this, and then the poor people that are here can’t afford to pay what they are paying now,” Ariel Lopez of Bushwick said.

In two quotes from two strangers on a train, Mancini captured both the essence of the service change and a problem with the MTA’s approach to service demand. When the V became the M, the Lower East Side and Alphabet City lost a train. No longer does every 6th Ave. local stop at 2nd Ave., the station closest to thousands of people who live on the far East Side. Those folks in a growing area were without one of their trains, and the neighborhood lost some of its bus service as well.

Across the Williamsburg Bridge, however, New Yorkers found reasons to cheer the service cuts. Although some Middle Village residents who work in Lower Manhattan or near Foley Square have a schleppy two-seat ride, those bound for Chelsea or Midtown no longer have to transfer or brave the crowds along the L train. The M has gone from a much-maligned shuttle to a useful train, and this was a service change that should have been made years ago. Unfortunately, the MTA is not in a position to adjust service to meet demand as fast as we’d like.

On the other hand, increased transit service comes with a cost. Neighborhoods are suddenly more accessible and more desirable for renters. Bushwick residents will see their rents creep up, and we can see in Brooklyn and Queens along the Myrtle Ave. line a harbinger of things to come for Second Ave. With more transit service, properties become more valuable, and thus, landlords can charge more. It’s an efficient market economy at work even if it penalizes those who were looking for a deal.

The Orange M will never please everyone, and at some point, if the MTA can introduce F express service in southern Brooklyn, the new routing will come under some form of scrutiny. For now, though, the new route is earning praise, and amidst a bad year for transit in New York City, this useful change is as welcome as any service cut can be.



Categories : Service Cuts

186 Responses to “Out of the service cuts rises the successful orange M”

  1. Brian says:

    Even though I’m against the Orange M 100% but in the long run, having direct Midtown subway service will hurt M riders in the long run. The increase in retns will hurt residents and businesses along the M line. Since I know a lot regarding day-to-day operations, if or when F express service is reintroduced, the MTA will be forced to get rid of the Orange M and and reincarnate the V.

    The facts are there that F riders from Bergen St. to Church Ave. have it worse then L riders. Having observed those stations over the years, one subway line isn’t enough that enters Manhattan. The F line is the one that needs the help the most, not the L. In the end, I’m not worried at all. The V will come back when the time arises.

    • ajedrez says:

      There is always the chance that there could be an (F) local and express. If the (F) runs every 8 minutes and the (G) runs evgery 10 minutes, Park Slope stations see a train every 4-5 minutes, the same as before the (G) was extended to Church Avenue. Also, consider the fact that those trains would be less crowded, as riders would take the , leaving more room for Park Slope passengers.
      I’m not saying that it will or won’t happen or if it is or isn’t a good idea. I’m just saying that it is a possibility.

      • Brian says:

        That is one service pattern that makes ZERO sense. The whole F local/express thing is what caused it to be eliminated years ago. The only solution is to re-introduce the V and get rid of the Orange M.

        • ajedrez says:

          That pattern was different. The pattern was as follows:
          (F): Express Bergen Street-Church Avenue. Local Church Avenue-Kings Highway
          : Express Bergen Street-Kings Highway. Local Kings Highway-Coney Island.
          (G): Local Bergen Street-Church Avenue

          The problem was that Park Slope was served by the infrequent (G) only. Passengers wanting to go to Manhattan had to transfer down a flight of stairs to the (F)/. That is what killed the idea-riders that had infrequent local service and had to transfer to get to Manhattan.

          The idea of having an (F) local in Park Slope is different because Parkk Slope gets direct access to Manhattan and service isn’t ridiculously infrequent.

          • Leroy says:

            IfWhen the (V) is introduces, the pattern will be as follows:

            (F): Express, Bergen-Church; local to Coney Island (unless they decide to split the (F) service in two and have one operate express south of Church to Coney Island, and the other local south of Church to Kings Highway. You can’t deprive Park Slope residents of their Manhattan service. The (G) wouldn’t help at all.
            (G): Same.
            (V): Local in Brooklyn to Church Avenue. The (V) would help out approximately 20 million passengers annually who live north of Church Avenue. maybe people will then STFU about the (V) being “useless” (which it never was in the first place).

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      So your argument is that we should make subway service suck as badly as possible, to keep rents low.

      As for the comparison of the F to the L, it’s ridiculous. The data are out there and easily verified: the L is one of the most over-crowded lines in the city.

      • Brian says:

        That is not what I’m saying. The F is worse than the L line sinply because the F line serves far more areas than the L.

        • Alon Levy says:

          No, that is exactly what you’re saying. Your defense has nothing to do with your original argument.

          Seriously: retract it or own it. Don’t throw sand in people’s eyes. We’re not morons.

        • Andrew says:

          That alone implies better service, not worse service – F riders can get to more places without transferring than L riders.

          But if you’re referring to crowding, as you were in your 8:43 comment, then Marc is correct. The F isn’t overcrowded – especially at the Brooklyn end.

          • Leroy says:

            The (F) in Brooklyn sees over 30 million passengers annually. When the (V) returns and the (M) is ousted, 1/3rd of that crowd (above Church Avenue) will have frequent service because the demand is above Church Avenue rather than below it.

            • Andrew says:

              Crowding isn’t determined by how many people ride the line annually, since they don’t all ride the same part of the line at the same time.

              NYCT periodically counts passengers on each train at the most crowded points on each line. Based on those counts, the L is severely overcrowded, while the F, especially at the Brooklyn end, has room to spare.

              http://www.nysenate.gov/files/pdfs/flinereport.pdf – page 12, table 6

              Barring an enormous increase in ridership, there’s no need for the V to go to Church Avenue. The F can handle the load just fine.

              • Leroy says:

                The reason why the (F) is empty in Brooklyn is because of the lack of express service. Even with the Brighton project going on, the (Q) sees more ridership along the Brighton Line than the (F).

                The Culver Line can’t be local forever. Something will eventually have to give and that will mark the (V)’s reincarnation. The Culver work isn’t being done for nothing you know.

                • Andrew says:

                  The F isn’t empty in Brooklyn – it carries a lot of riders north of Church. South of Church it’s relatively unpopular because it’s not in a highly developed corridor and because the buses from the east hit the Brighton line first. Nobody’s going to spend 15 extra minutes on the bus in order to catch an express that might save them 4 minutes.

                  If people want to use the Brighton line instead of the Culver line, what’s wrong with that?

                  Of course the Culver line can be local forever. The work is being done because the viaduct is falling apart! There was nothing preventing express service before the viaduct work began.

                  • Brian says:

                    The Brighton Line is more attractive because there is two services as opposed to one along the Culver Line.

                    • ajedrez says:

                      But it is also the geography. The buses coming from the east, like Flatbush, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Mill Basin, etc all hit the Brighton Line before the Culver Line. The reverse (buses coming from the west) doesn’t work for the Culver Line) because those buses would’ve hit the Sea Beach or West End Line. Not to mention that riders will choose the 4th Avenue Line over the Culver Line if they are in between because the R offers more connections than the F.
                      That being said, the F is pretty much dependant on the ridership centered around the neighborhoods it serves, compared with the surrounding lines, which are more popular with people transferring from bus lines.

                    • Andrew says:

                      You’ve reversed cause and effect. The Brighton line has two services because it’s a busy line.

                  • Leroy says:

                    “Of course the Culver line can be local forever.”

                    No, it can’t. The (F) is the ONLY line that serves Coney Island without express service in Brooklyn. And FTR, 20 million people use the Culver Line in Brooklyn north of Church while 8 million use the line south of Church to Neptune Avenue. Look at the ridership statistics; it’s on the MTA’s website. Express service is needed on the Culver but local residents still want Manhattan. Making the (F) both local and express north of Church won’t do; the (V) will have to compensate someway.

                    The (V) will return and the (M) will go back downtown, watch and see.

                    • Andrew says:

                      Not every line that serves Coney Island has to have express service in Brooklyn.

                      And if, as you point out yourself, one particular line has low ridership on the southern portion and high ridership on the northern portion, express service is unlikely to make sense.

        • Sharon says:

          The lack of F express service kills the brighton line as many riders towards the end of the line including those who board at Stillwell ave take the Brighton over the F

          Look at the ridership numbers on the F south of kings highway. Many of those riders choose other lines due to the slow service.

          neptune ave station on the F is one of the lowest ridership station in the system even though it sits next to a large housing development . Most walk an extra block or two and take the brighton which is over crowded

          • Andrew says:

            The Brighton line isn’t overcrowded.

            The Brighton line is more crowded than the Culver line because it’s much better situated. It’s in a denser area and it connects first with the buses from the east.

            South of Kings Highway the F is competing with the N, not the Q or B.

            • Brian says:

              You are wrong. Ride the Brighon line during peak periods and you’ll see that it gets heavy use. One main factor why the Brighton line gets so much use is the bus routes that feeds into some of the stations. That’s why the Brighton line needs two services during weekdays.

          • Brian says:

            The F is the least attractive line to ride because of the time it takes to get from STL to 34th St-Herald Sq. The reason the Brighton line gets the most amount of riders is because many bus routes feed into some of those stations along the line. I have not only looked at the ridership figures but I’ve seen what ridership is like during peak hours.

          • Leroy says:

            Well said. For those who want Manhattan, the last line anyone would want to take in the peak direction is the (F). Between Church Avenue and Neptune Avenue, only 8+/- million people use the (F) in that sector, and those coming from Coney Island who want Manhattan will avoid the (F) since it’s local and will take the (D), (N) or even the (Q) for the matter, even with the Brighton project going on.

            The (F) is putting a strain on riders who come from Coney Island and are forced to use the other lines since they’re express somewhere in Brooklyn.

            • Andrew says:

              Aside from summer weekends, Coney Island isn’t a major traffic generator. The vast majority of riders on the four lines come from intermediate points, and most of them will use the closest line available.

              • Leroy says:

                Have you taken a look at the ridership figures front he MTA website as well as the (F) report that was released in October of 2009? I highly suggest you check out both, especially the latter document I wrote.

                • Andrew says:

                  You mean the “latter document” that I cited for you at 10:39 last night, in a comment that you responded to 2 minutes before you wrote this one? Yes, I’m quite familiar with it.

                  Rush hour crowds aren’t driven by beach ridership. Do you really think there are large crowds leaving the beach every day at 7 in the morning, searching for the fastest way into Manhattan?

                  • Brian says:

                    Rush hour crowds aren’t driven by beach ridership. Do you really think there are large crowds leaving the beach every day at 7 in the morning, searching for the fastest way into Manhattan?

                    Comparing beach crowds to general riders isn’t a valid comparision. Very few people go to the beach that early in the morning.

                    • Andrew says:

                      That’s my point. Rush hour riders aren’t looking for the fastest way to get from Coney Island to Manhattan, because not many rush hour riders are coming from Coney Island.

              • ajedrez says:

                It’s not a major traffic generator, but you still have passengers transferring from the B36 and B74 from the Sea Gate area.

      • Leroy says:

        This change is only affecting those who would generally get on the (L) train at Myrtle – Wyckoff Avenue…riders west of Myrtle Avenue sure as hell aren’t going to backtrack away from Manhattan for Midtown service, and riders east of Myrtle and Wyckoff won’t climb up a bunch of stairs and get the (M) train, which, by the time it enters the Williamsburg Bridge approach, the (L) would be in Manhattan already.

        Riders at Myrtle and Wyckoff would get the (M)…but I still wouldn’t be surprised if riders at that stations chose to take the (L) train regardless of the train upstairs that would get them to Midtown.

        • Andrew says:

          The change is affecting those who start on the M, not on the L. Many of them used to transfer to the L to get into Manhattan, but now that the M takes them directly to Midtown, they don’t need to anymore.

          • Brian says:

            That shows you the M riders are so goddnamed lazy just to transfer and/or find other alternatives.

            • ajedrez says:

              They don’t transfer because they don’t need to. What does that have to do with being lazy. You could argue that V riders are lazy because they took the V train directly from 2nd Avenue when they could’ve taken the F, which everybody agrees is crowded. You could make that same argument for many riders. They don’t transfer because they already have a one-seat ride.
              This is all ignoring the fact that riders going to Downtown still have to transfer to the J/Z. They “found the alternative” of transferring to the J/Z instead of having a direct ride to Lower Manhattan.

              • Brian says:

                V riders weren’t lazy. That is where you’re wrong. 2nd Avenue has seen an increase in ridership by 95% in the last twenty-two years. A secondary line is needed at that stop to bettr serve the needs of the East Village. If you looked at a bus map from Manhattan, you’ll see that Alphabet City isn’t well served by mass transit dispite being a highly residential area.

                • ajedrez says:

                  I’m not saying the East Village isn’t in need of mass transit options, but what is with this obsession with M riders being lazy? There are plenty of M riders that need to go to Lower Manhattan that are now inconvenienced.
                  I don’t know why the MTA made the V terminate at 2nd Avenue. Maybe it was, as you say, to provide another line ot the East Village, or maybe it was simply because it was a convenient place to terminate (there is no other place to terminate the V besides Bergen Street or Church Avenue in Brooklyn).
                  I understand that the East Village needs more transit options, but there are plenty of other neighborhoods in the outer boroughs that are also in need of mass transit, most notably the Utica Avenue corridor in Brooklyn, the 3rd Avenue corridor in the Bronx, and the North Shore corridor in Staten Island.

                  • Brian says:

                    The reason why the V line terminated at 2nd Ave is due to the lack of cars the TA had back in 2001. The East Vilage is in dire need of more service. Likewise with parts of The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. I feel really sorry to for those who use the B44 and B46 routes daily. Soon, its going to come to a point that such neighborhoods like the East Village, Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, and Kensington are going to want more service.

                    Those places I listed above needs it more then Glendale, Middle Village, and Ridgewood.

                    • Andrew says:

                      Lack of cars? What are you talking about? The IND has two southern terminals in Manhattan, and the V terminated at the only one that wasn’t already occupied by the E. The V was started up to improve local service in Queens, not to improve service to one of several stations on the Lower East Side.

                      Service levels are determined by actual train loads, not by who “wants” more service.

                    • Brian says:

                      What in the hell are you talking about? The reason why 2nd Ave was chosen as the south terminus of the V line is because they didn’t have the cars to make it go further south. Just so you and everybody else be aware, the G line was reduced from 6-cars to 4-cars as a result of the introduction of the V line in 2001. People in the East Village and the Lower East Side liked the V because it provided them with a least crowded train along the 53rd St. Corridor (something the Orange M doesn’t do).

                      Service levels are determined by actual train loads, not by who “wants” more service.

                      Oh really? If that was the case, then why doesn’t the TA eliminate the Top 100 bus routes that see very few passengers. As fo subway service, train loads has no effect on overall service. As for the Orange M, expect it to be a very short lived line and the day its gone, it would be a service pattern that won’t ever come back.

    • Bolwerk says:

      Geeze, by that logic, let’s just tear down all the trains, and make sure we never see transit expansion. We wouldn’t want those evil trains driving rents up any further!

  2. AlexB says:

    Let’s make the subways so inconvenient, no one will want to live in the neighborhoods they serve. Reroute the M back to downtown. In fact, maybe we can just have it run between Myrtle and Middle Village at all times. What an excellent way to control rent!! I don’t know why no one thought of this before. We should get community boards to study ways to make neighborhoods less desirable. Just think of the money people could save. I bet we could control crowding on the L and gentrification in Williamsburg if it didn’t go into Manhattan at all. Wow, the possibilities are endless.

  3. IanM says:

    Shouldn’t a discussion of whether the re-worked M train is a success also address the many neighborhoods in Brooklyn that lost the M train entirely, without any sort of replacement, as a result of this change? Those along the 4th ave corridor are now reliant solely on the R train, meaning longer waits and more crowded trains and platforms – there’s no upside to this for them. Seems like this should be part of the assessment, since these neighborhoods were impacted as much as if not more than any by the change.

    • AlexB says:

      They should bring back the W and extend it down the 4th Ave local in Brooklyn where the M used to go during rush hour.

      • ajedrez says:

        The problem is that that would take away much of the savings that resulted from moving the (M) to Midtown. Of course, there are still the savings of not having a crew room at 2nd Avenue, and having 1 fewer service on Nassau Street.
        The problem with having the (W) instead of a Nassau Street Line is that the (W) wouldn’t provide a backup if there was a problem with the Broadway Line. The (N), (R), and (W) would all be screwed. With a Nassau Street Line service, at least riders would have the (D) and whatever the Nassau service is called as a backup, instead of just the (D).

        • Adam G says:

          So extend the J at rush hours. Problem solved?

          • ajedrez says:

            But then that would throw the whole (J)/(Z) skip-stop service out of whack. If there is a delay, there would be 2 (Z) trains in a row followed by 2 (J) trains in a row, meaning that (J)-only and (Z)-only stations would have a gap in service followed by bunching.
            It would be better to have a special line from Chambers Street to Bay Parkway.

            • John Paul N. says:

              The Z currently only operates 6 trips in the span of about an hour. So the out-of-synch service would apply only for that time.

              Also, in any extension, you would need more equipment (and the personnel required) to maintain the current service intervals on the existing lines.

            • Alon Levy says:

              The only way you could get two Js or two Zs in a row is if there’s a way for a J to pass a Z between Lower Manhattan and Bay Parkway. Since there are no passing segments like that on the subway, rest assured that this will not happen.

              • ajedrez says:

                I meant that if there was a delay that prevented (J) trains from going into Manhattan from Southern Brooklyn, the (Z) trains would be allowed to go and then you would have a bunch of (Z) trains followed by a bunch of (J) trains.

                • Alon Levy says:

                  The J and Z would be sharing tracks the whole way. Anything delaying one would also delay the other.

                  Unless you’re talking about short-turning one of the two services, which shouldn’t be done for precisely this reason.

                  • ajedrez says:

                    Picture this: (J) trains are held in Southern Brooklyn because of a sick passenger. That train is supposed to get to Broad Street at 5:30PM. However, it is delayed and doesn’t get into Broad Street until 5:50PM. In the meantime, a (Z) train is supposed to leave Broad Street at 5:35PM and 5:45PM. Either the MTA has to hold the (Z) train and delay everybody on the Jamaica Line (except for (M) riders) or let the (Z) go at its designated time and have bunching on the (J).
                    In this case, with both trains running every 10 minutes, there would be a (J) leaving Broad Street at 5:20PM, followed by (Z) trains leaving Broad Street at 5:25PM, 5:35PM, and 5:45PM and another (J) train leaving at 5:50PM, plus whatever trains are stuck behind the late (J) train. This, in turn delays (Z) passengers because all of the late (J) trains have to get through.
                    Basically, I was, like you said, referring to having one skip-stop line being shorter than the other one.

                    • Gorski says:

                      WHy not just bring that diamond R that used to run down the Nassau Street Line back in the 1980s? I mean, we’re dreaming right now, so dream big!

                    • Ron says:

                      Or they should have the ability to make a Z train a J train and vice versa to avoid bunching.

                    • Brian says:

                      The Nassau R saw very little use in its last years of service. The reason was that the M line was beginning to run along the West End. People decided to ride the M rather than the Nassau R.

          • Brian says:

            Do you have money to pay for the train crew? The reason why the M was routed to South Brooklyn is due to the length. The J being sent to South Brooklyn simply won’t happen. Not now, not ever.

            • ajedrez says:

              Sending the (J) to Southern Brooklyn is the same cost as sending the (M) to Southern Brooklyn, which is a similar cost as sending a special service from Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan.
              By the way, the (J) to Southern Brooklyn was Adam’s idea, not mine.

              • Brian says:

                Actually its not the same cost. The reason why the M was chosen to run to South Brooklyn is due to the fact that its shorter than the J and thus requires less trainsets.

                • Rick says:

                  Forevery winner there is a loser. I lost my one seat ride from Metropolitan ave(M) to downtown. Also, no one is counting the decrease in service to downtown. There were two J’s for every M going downtown. Therefore, we lost 33% of service downtown. The J is packed rush hour from Myrtle/Brdwy to Chambers and the students and teachers are on vacation. Good luck after Labor Day ! ! !

                  • Brian says:

                    What’s that supposed to mean? Why take away service from an area that needs it more (The V and the East Village) just so an area could benefit from a service cut (The M line and Middle Village, Glendale, and Ridgewood)? If you or anybody are to lazy to check, the East Village/Alphabet City has been inadequately served for decades. Ridership rose on the M14 by 46% from 1997 to 2007, the M9 has seen a ridership boost in the last several years, the M8 and M21 has since been reduced to a redundant weekday-only line, and the fact that people in my area are fiding it tough to get around.

                    • ajedrez says:

                      We’ve been through this before. There are many areas that have actually gained service because of these cuts, even when you are talking about the subway. Astoria has seen an increase in service when the Q was extended to Astoria to replace the W because the Q runs more frequently. As far as the bus service goes, I can give you a whole bunch of examples as to neighborhoods that benefitted from the reductions, such as neighborhoods that had shuttle service replaced with a full-length route.

                    • Brian says:

                      Gained service? Where? Sure as hell not the East Village. Give me some examples of areas that “gained” from the service cuts.

                    • Andrew says:

                      Actually, there was no gain in Astoria, since some Q’s terminate at 57th St – Astoria service is limited by capacity at the terminal and between 57th and Lex.

                      But I agree with your comments regarding bus service.

                      There was also a gain at Broadway local stations between Canal and 34th, since the N is more frequent than the W was.

                • ajedrez says:

                  The distance from Broad Street to Bay Parkway is the same distance, regardless of whether it is a (J) or an (M) running.

                  • Brian says:

                    You forgot to mention that from Metropolitan Ave to Bay Parkway is SHORTER than the J line from Jamaica Center to Bay Parkway.

                    • ajedrez says:

                      I don’t think you are understanding me. To run any service from Broad Street to Bay Parkway doesn’t require any more cars, regardless of whether it is the (J) or (M).
                      Think of it this way: The (J) and (M) both terminate at Broad Street. Now, you have the choice of extending the (J) or (M) to Brooklyn. Whether you add 30 minutes of runtime to the (J) or 30 minutes of runtime to the (M), it is still the same cost.

                    • Leroy says:

                      @ajedrez: What about the crew??? Most crew hate certain lines due to its length. Remember when the (J) ran to Bay Ridge after 9/11??? I bet you that those who had to work the (J) were not pleased one bit.

                    • Andrew says:

                      Subway service is not operated for the convenience of the train crew.

                    • Brian says:

                      Yes it is. Do you really want a Train Operator to strain their hands for a long trip? I don’t think so. Ast any T/O on the A line how they feel by operating the longest line in the entire system. In addition, the longer the line, the more trainsets you need. That is additional crews you must keep on your payroll.

          • Leroy says:

            If you make the (J) or (Z) their own independent routings, then that defeats the purpose of skip-stop service, and residents of the Jamaica Line will feel the hurt if either line were extended.

    • Brian says:

      The Orange M will never be a success. A sucessful line would be to bring back the V and extend it to Church Ave. and make the M a full-time shuttle.

      • Lance says:

        So you wanna screw over the (M) riders with full-time shuttle service, as well as make the (J) and (Z) lines more crowded. Let’s see where that goes, shall we…?

        • Brian says:

          The J line could handle the load from Myrtle to Marcy. Just add about two-three trainsets to handle the additional load.

          • ajedrez says:

            But Rick said that the J/Z were overcrowded going to Lower Manhattan. Now you want to overcrowd them not just from Essex Street-Broad Street, but from Myrtle Avenue-Broad Street.

            • Brian says:

              Just add more service. You could even expand skip-stop service during middays. I could see plenty of J riders supporting that idea.

              • Leroy says:

                Agreed 100%. I think it’s best if the (Z) ran during middays, and rush hours in both directions.

                • Andrew says:

                  When the Z runs, the J/Z headway is 5 minutes. When only the J runs, its headway is 10 minutes (for most of the day on weekdays).

                  Running skip-stop during middays and in the reverse-peak direction would double service levels on the line during those periods, which is quite unnecessary to meet the demand. (That is, unless you’re willing to leave most stations with a 20-minute headway!)

                  • Leroy says:

                    Make the (J) and (Z) run every 12 minutes then during middays, combining it to six. As for rush hour service, the (J) can handle the load alone, just increase the headways from 10 to eight. Most lines are dead anyway during midday hours anyway because people are at work or school.

                    • Andrew says:

                      Why would you increase midday service on the J by 67% (from 6 tph on the J to 10 tph on the combined J/Z) when “most lines are dead”?

      • Leroy says:

        I’ll have to disagree with you there as that will tie up (J)/(Z) service unless you’d have them stop at the stations between Myrtle and Marcy. I’d just send it to Essex Street during rush hours.

    • Bolwerk says:

      I’ve been told that this was actually something of an improvement for R riders too. There hasn’t been much Nassau-bound demand on that route from the Fourth Avenue Line in generations, yet service persisted through the Montague Street Tunnel. (Recently I ended up on a Brown R being used as a shuttle.)

      Having the M there simply meant that emptier M trains often delayed busier R trains. Of course, ideally there would probably be more R service, but the M was never really a good substitute for the R.

      • rhywun says:

        You were told wrong. I’ve seen no improvement in the R’s reliability with the W and M gone – just much more crowding. Maybe the winners in this deal outnumber the losers, but that’s not much consolation…

        • Brian says:

          I’ve seen a significant improvement along the R line wince the elimination of the W. The R line is quicker now than before. When the W line was around, service could potentially get backed up as far as 14th or even 34th Sts. I’ve seen a similar senario occur just weeks before the W line’s elimination. i wished the TA would have had the Q go to Astoria back in 2004.

    • Andrew says:

      Yes and no. You are undeniably correct that the former M corridor (4th Avenue and West End) lost service. But that service was going to be canceled even if the M had continued going downtown (compare to the plans for the 2009 service cuts), because it was very lightly used, and the R (and to a lesser extent the D) had plenty of room to absorb former M riders.

      Having ridden most of the affected lines after the service change, I’m a bit worried about crowding on the J south of Essex. The D seems to be OK and the R is definitely fine, only marginally more crowded than it was before.

      Granted, it’s still summer; we’ll see what happens when ridership goes up for the fall. But I don’t anticipate any problem on the R.

      • Brian says:

        I expect similar problems to arise with the F and M lines at Delancey Street. F riders are bound to get very angry when they decide to hold an F train at Delancey and allow an M to proceed to B’Way-Lafayette. That’s why I’ve been saying that the Orange M will become a short lived line.

        • Andrew says:

          No more angry than people get at any other merge point in the system.

          • Brian says:

            Like where? Show me some examples. Otherwise, don’t say anything else.

            • Andrew says:

              Um, every single merge point is a source of delays. You want me to start listing them all?

              Are you the webmaster? If not, don’t you dare tell me when I’m allowed to speak.

              • Brian says:

                You’re making it seem you don’t know jack about the daily operations of the NYC Subway system.

                • Andrew says:

                  Fine, you win. Everywhere else, trains flow smoothly and quickly through interlockings, and nobody ever has to wait for anybody else. Only here do trains get held. Boy, do I feel stupid! What else can you teach me about the subway, Brian?

            • Alon Levy says:

              Sure, here’s an example: the 2 gets priority over the 3 at 142nd. This is supposed to give the larger volume of riders on the 2 a slightly faster ride. The flip side is that when the delays are such that the 3 is immediately behind the 2, the 2 will get filled beyond capacity while the 3 will be empty. Yes, there are complaints.

              • Andrew says:

                That’s not true – lines don’t have blanket priority over other lines. Merges are based on either the schedule (with 2’s and 3’s mostly alternating) or on first-come-first-served. But in either case, people will be delayed and will complain about it.

                (If there were blanket priorities, I’d prioritize the 3 over the 2, to better handle the loads downstream.)

                • Alon Levy says:

                  It’s not blanket priority, but unless the 3 is seriously late, the 2 will get priority. The 2 is considered superior because it runs all day. For the same reason, the 2 gets priority over the 5.

                  But yes, this demonstrates how a lot of decisions are 50/50 or close to it, which means the Sun New York Post will always find a large number of complainers.

                  • Andrew says:

                    I don’t know where you get that idea, but it’s not the case. ATS, which normally operates those interlockings (except the East 180th and Jackson Avenue), typically runs on a first-come-first-served basis. I’ve been on plenty of delayed 2 trains.

              • Brian says:

                Why would people get angry at that? The 2 is given priority because it serves more areas.

                • ajedrez says:

                  But even though the majority of riders are happy, as the 2 has more passengers than the 3 at that point, the riders on the 3 from Harlem would complain that their train is being delayed. While most riders are happy, not every single rider involved is.

    • qolspony says:

      The worst thing about this plan is now people have to rely on the redundant “R” line. Loosing the “W” line was also a big mistake. Often times it was the only line serving local on Bwy. The “V” should have been extended to at least Church Avenue.

  4. I live in Park Slope and visited PS 1 in Queens. A (new) one seat ride there on the G and I came home for free by walking over to the (new) one seat ride on the Q. I still had time to get a free transfer at Court Square!

  5. Al D says:

    How do we go from re-routing a subway line to increased rents? That’s already happening in Bushwick, pre-orange M as the hipsters continue eastward towards a lower cost alternative to Williamsburg. In Fort Greene, only the G runs, but that has not kept rents down.

    • Brian says:

      Easy. A direct route Midtown would causes a massive spike in rent vs. a direct route to Downtown which wouldn’t see a major change.

      • ajedrez says:

        He’s saying that the increased rents are already happening without the rerouting. The rents were going up even while the (M) went Downtown. The neighborhoods around the (G) have seen increased rents and the routing of the (G) hasn’t changed (as far as going into Manhattan)

      • Al D says:

        The L is not a direct route to Midtown, and yet a massive spike in rents occurred along its route.

        • Brian says:

          Some people consider 14th St. to be the southern boundry of Midtown. I disagree with that because I’d consider Midtown to be from 23rd to 59th Sts. As for the spike in rents along the L line, blame those who have moved in the last ten years. Landlords will see that those that can afford the higher rent feel they can hike to their liking. If those aparments are rent-stabilized, you wouldn’d see the spike those nighborhoods.

  6. Peter says:

    Has anyone noticed that the ‘new’ M, now starts and finishes just a stone’s throw away from its other terminal?

    Also, when this route ran more than 40 years ago, it was quickly abandoned, as at the time, Brooklyn was bleeding people – the ridership just wasn’t there.

    I write more about the M here.

    Peter
    inklake

    • John Paul N. says:

      There’s a recurring joke that the M is like the Q38 bus, which intersects with the M and has a similar route structure. But as a nearly circular line, whatever the term is, there is nothing really special about it. They serve two different markets into Manhattan, so the terminals are nothing more than a coincidence.

      And since the 40 years, the center of employment has shifted to Midtown over Lower Manhattan, and the demographics of the people using the route has changed. Don’t ask me further information about it, that is what I had read about the former KK route.

      • Brian says:

        You’re wrong. The center of employment is becoming increasingly scattered. Does it ever occur to you that some companies have left Midtown Manhattan and relocated to New Jersey?

        • John Paul N. says:

          How many companies? My friends who work in Midtown have not left Midtown.

          Even so, how would they connect to the PATH? With the L or M.

          • Brian says:

            I don’t remember the number off hand but the number is low that nobody would really notice. As for the connection to the PATH system, simple. Do it at 14th St.

        • Alon Levy says:

          The center of employment is becoming increasingly scattered.

          Wrong. In New York, the trend is in the opposite direction: employment is more concentrated than 30 years ago.

          • Brian says:

            How is that so? If employment was concentrated, then how come we don’t have a Wal*Mart, Target, Sears, Best Buy, and other large retail chains all centered in Midtown? Explain that to me. Employment is becoming scattered because not everybody could afford the high rents that landlords charger to own a business in Midtown. In addition, those chain resturants such as the Hard Rock Cafe and Planet Hollywood have to fork up rents that costs over $100,000 a month.

            Times Sqaure is becoming more a place for tourists than native New Yorkers these days.

            • Alon Levy says:

              There’s more to retail than the same chains that crop up everywhere. A lot of those, like Wal-Mart and Costco, have a basic business model based on huge parking lots in the middle of nowhere, and just don’t go into cities, or don’t try to serve the urban market. (Target is different; that’s why the one at Atlantic/Flatbush is successful). Suburban parking lots have Wal-Marts; Manhattan has Macy’s.

      • Bolwerk says:

        The Financial District has been in decline since long before the KK. It arguably only came back into its own again after 9/11, and that was as a residential neighborhood.

        I’d like to see a loop structure actually. They might look close together on the map, but really the southern M terminal is quite far from Queens Boulevard.

        • Brian says:

          The reason is that most jobs in the Financial District are traditional 9 Am to 5 PM, Monday to Friday kind of thing. I have visited Lower Manhattan plenty of time before and after the 9.11.01 attacks. Lower Manhattan has always been residential with a bunch of M-F jobs thrown in.

    • Brian says:

      Had the TA proposed such route in 1988, the TA could have gotten away with it. Come 2010, people who live in the East Village has since noticed that the F line has gotten worse and their commutes has gotten worse. Several people are failing to realize that the East Village and Lower East Side has had inadequate public transit for decades.

      • John Paul N. says:

        The Lower East Side has the same level of service as the V, albeit at Delancey/Essex and not 2nd Avenue. Connect with the M9 and you have the access to the East Village.

        I do notice the lamentation that the 2nd Avenue Subway cannot swing over to Alphabet City due to the complicated engineering and alignment involved, and the bitterness that came over the loss of consideration. At this point, if you want action, go to the politicians that serve your area and see what they say about transit service. Although I have little faith in them myself, they are the people likely to have the most influence in the MTA’s decisions. The MTA has long had an aversion to try experimental routes, and there’s no reason to say that will change soon.

        • Brian says:

          I’ve always told myself that if you want change, you have to have faith in those who can help you.

        • Leroy says:

          The (M) runs under eight-minute headways. The (V) ran at 6. That Christopher Crowe dude has NO idea what he’s talking about. He’s just better off leaving New York City and dreaming about his so-called wonderful direct Midtown service after it’s pulled.

          • Andrew says:

            In the Queens Boulevard peak direction, the M runs at the exact same headways that the V used to run at.

            The M isn’t going back downtown any time soon.

            • Leroy says:

              “The M isn’t going back downtown any time soon.”

              LOL!!!

            • Brian says:

              In the Queens Boulevard peak direction, the M runs at the exact same headways that the V used to run at.

              No it doesn’t. The V ran more frequently than the M. There is NOTHING M riders can do to add more service because J riders will get pissed off and there is little demand for M service.

              The M isn’t going back downtown any time soon.

              Yeah, someday the M line won’t even touch Manhattan.

              • Andrew says:

                Wrong. In the peak direction for Queens Boulevard, the V ran on a 6-minute headway and the M runs on a 6-minute headway.

                • Brian says:

                  Wrong. How can you operate the M at 6-minute intervals WITHOUT taking service away from the J/Z? Its obvious “studying” mass transit isn’t your forté.

  7. And Another Thing says:

    Slightly off topic, but why is there never consideration of getting more use and better rider conditions from each train? On a local, there’s not much to be done other than better train handling – some engineers apply the brakes smoothly, others jerk the 400 ton train around as if it’s a Yugo. But on express trains there is room an obvious way to increase capacity; move the darn train.

    The express trains move so slowly that they’re sometimes passed by the entire length of a local. That’s just bizzare; it amounts to a near-religious commitment to waste. Line capacity is based on how many trains per hour circulate on the route, not on how many trainsets and crews (dollars) are poured into it. As an extreme example, one trainset that takes an hour for x route moves as many people as two trains with two crews crawling over the same route in two hours… except that 2 slow trains cost a fraction under twice as much.

    So when an express train is traveling at 27 mph on welded rails with banked turns, it’s at that moment half wasted. (Subway trains have a lower center of gravity than most people think – they’ll go around a banked turn well faster than the passenger scream speed ;-). Overall one cannot double speeds on any line (except maybe the A express -ugh) but many of the expresses could cut 20% off their route times with very modest track fixes and maybe skipping one underused stop per route.

    That simple step would mean 20% more capacity with the _same_ equipment, same crews, same stations etc. It would also allow 1 out of 6 trains to be parked in off peak hours with no reduction in service, resulting in a substantial net savings.

    • Brian says:

      The main problem is the TA is slowing down the subway system. They place speed restictions in areas that doesn’t need them.

      • Caelestor says:

        I’m pretty sure speeds were reduced due to the accident at Union Square in the 90s.

        • Brian says:

          The 1991 Union Square wreck has nothing to do with it. Blame the 1995 Willamsburg Wreck as the cause.

          • Andrew says:

            You mean the wreck that demonstrated that the signal system couldn’t safely accommodate faster train speeds?

            Integrity of the signal system seems kind of important to me.

            • Brian says:

              Seems you know very little of what happened after the Union Square wreck. The incident was caused by a drunk motorman that was unfit to operate the controls of the train. The signal system has little to do with the events before the crash. In fact, there was already a speed restriction north of Union Sq. on the southbound IRT.

              The Willamsburg Bridge wreck is what caused the system so slow down. In this instance, the motorman was going too fast on a unrestricted section of track. For more information, go read the NTSB’s report.

              • Andrew says:

                I’m talking about the Williamsburg Bridge. The signal system is designed to protect trains from coming into contact with other trains, only the second train was moving faster than the signal design anticipated, so it couldn’t stop in time. That’s a fundamental failure of the signal system, and it had to be corrected.

                • Brian says:

                  The MTA already had safeguards placed before June 5th, 1995. Does it over occur to you that the train that caused it was going a full speed? The signal system never needed to be corrected.

                  • Andrew says:

                    I’m sorry, you are absolutely wrong. The purpose of a signal system is to keep trains from colliding. That two trains collided pointed to a fundamental failure in the signal system – in particular, a mismatch between speeds assumed in the signal design and speed achieved by the trains.

                    • Brian says:

                      Before you begin to assume more things, go and read the NTSB’s report on the 1995 Willamsburg Bridge Wreck here: http://www.ntsb.gov/publictn/1996/RAR9603.pdf

                    • Andrew says:

                      I’m not assuming anything, and I’m quite familiar with the report.

                      Probable Cause
                      The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of the J train operator to comply with the stop indication because he was asleep and the failure of the train to stop within the block because of inadequate braking distance between signals on the Williamsburg Bridge. Contributing to the accident were the New York City Transit’s inadequate measures for ensuring employee compliance with proper radio procedures.

                      As I was saying.

                    • Brian says:

                      The main cause was the failure of the deadman’s feature on the controls. The signal system had little to do with dispite the NTSB’s report.

                    • Andrew says:

                      Wrong. And now that I’ve proven you wrong, you’re suddenly discrediting the very NTSB report you’ve been pushing on me!

                    • Brian says:

                      Prove me wrong? I know a ton of people who operate trains on a daily basis. All the NTSB does is investigate possible reasons why accidents occur. I have read their report countless time and I’ve visited where the accident happened plenty of times.

                      The area where the Willamsburg Bridge Wreck happened had NO speed restrictions prior to 6/5/95.

                    • Andrew says:

                      Boy, have you shown me! You know dozens of train operators! And you’ve even been to the Williamsburg Bridge yourself! That makes you a real expert in signal design. Congratulations!

    • Alon Levy says:

      On the IRT, raising speed on curves is pretty hard. The issue is that at very low curve radii, speed is limited by more than just cant and cant deficiency; it’s also limited by wheel/rail squeal.

      But on the IND and most of the BMT, yes, speeds could be much higher. In Moscow and Singapore, subways that average a stop every mile, which is shorter spacing than New York’s express trains, average 27 mph, including stops.

      • Brian says:

        There are speed restrictions on all three divisions. On the IRT you have a speed restriction on the South Ferry Loop (Outer and Inner), City Hall, and north of 14th Streeet-Union Square on the southbound tracks. There are more on the IRT that I didn’t list.

        On the IND, there is a speed restriction along the CPW Express. On the BMT, there is a speed restriction along both the Willamsburg & Manhattan Bridges, the R line from Cortlandt St. & City Hall.

    • Andrew says:

      If you’re referring to slow speeds during rush hours, that’s usually due to congestion.

      If you’re referring to slow speeds off-peak (and when no work is going on the area), if trains ran faster, they’d compromise the safety of the signal system. The signal system could be reworked to allow faster speeds, but the cost would be tremendous and capacity might be reduced as a result (since trains would have to be kept further apart than they are now).

      CBTC on the L allows trains to operate faster than they did before, since it’s a brand new signal system.

      • Brian says:

        CBTC does nothing to add additional capacity to any line. JFTR, the TA has since been allowed to add ONE additional train on the L line. The signal system has little to do with how fast a train can go unless when a train goes through a speed restricted area. In the 50’s and 60’s the sybway system ran more efficiently compared to 2010. The masses are too buzy believing that CBTC is the answer when in reality its not.

        • Andrew says:

          CBTC on the L isn’t a finished product. Wait for it to be finished before judging its effectiveness.

          I was discussing speeds, not capacity. When CBTC is in effect, the cars accelerate faster. That’s by design – NYCT’s old signals aren’t safe unless the acceleration is toned down a bit (as was demonstrated in 1995). The cars on the L are capable of accelerating fast, but that capability is only enabled when CBTC is in use.

          The signal system on the L had to be replaced with something new – the old signals were original to the line. The decision was made in the 90’s to go with CBTC, not because CBTC is needed on the L (although with the ridership growth since the 90’s, it might be needed after all) but because CBTC will be needed elsewhere and the L is a good testbed.

          • Leroy says:

            “CBTC will be needed elsewhere”

            Ha! Dumbest statement ever.

          • Brian says:

            WRONG. I’ve heard it from various transit employees that CBTC would only be able to add ONE additional train along the L line.

            CBTC needed elsewhere? That has to be the most asnine statement I’ve heard in the last two days.

            • Alon Levy says:

              You’re right. The 4 and 5 have no capacity problem, and no need to run more trains. Nope.

              • Leroy says:

                The MTA is well aware of the severe crowding on the East Side. Unfortunately, adding more trains to the (4) and (5) won’t solve the crowding problem either…that will just make the line more slower. The Second Avenue subway is being built to curb that, but sadly, we don’t know when that will be complete. The M15 +SBS is supposed to help out…how I don’t know, but I’m anticipating the day +SBS comes to the M15 and later the S79 in Staten Island.

            • Andrew says:

              “Various transit employees” apparently aren’t experts in signal system design.

              • Brian says:

                What does that supposed to mean? The TA employees whom I know have a ton of knowledge on the signal system as well as day-to-day operations. Don’t disreguard what I know. Shows me you don’t don’t anything about the way the subway system is ran on a daily basis.

  8. Peter says:

    Bolwerk,
    I grew up in Forest Hills. You’re right, it’s a long walk between them, but still closer than any 2 termini I can think of. I don’t take any astrological significance in it.

    As for a true loop, apparently they don’t work well. London in fact, ‘broke’ their Circle Line recently.

    Peter
    inklake

    • Alon Levy says:

      Loops in London didn’t work well. In other cities, they work fine. Tokyo is happy with the Yamanote Line, Moscow is happy with the Koltsevaya Line, Berlin is happy with the Ringbahn.

  9. Leroy says:

    Successful orange (M)??? Ha! Thanks for the lulz, I really needed it.

    What I find ridiculous was that the (M) train had to be recolored just to cater to a bunch of pansies that live in Middle Village, Ridgewood and Glendale. Sentimentalism my ass. I’m against this new line all the way but I know one thing: the MTA was better off leaving it as (V). how many services will Sixth Avenue riders have to get accustomed to? Geez Louise, they had the Orange (Q) from the late 1980s to 2001, the Orange (S) at night when the (Q) didn’t run, the Orange (S) in 2001 until the (V) came to life, and now the (M). It’s ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous.

    The new (M) is here…I understand. I’ll put up with it but I don’t have to like it!

  10. Alon Levy says:

    You know, I just realized that this thread is almost as long as a PRT debate.

    • Phil says:

      True, but far more sane.

      • Alon Levy says:

        Not necessarily. Most of the PRT trolls aren’t abusive, or just plain jerks. They may think PRT will solve all of the world’s problems, but they don’t alternate between getting elementary facts wrong and then trying to mock people who correct them for being ignorant.

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