Feb
15

FASTRACK set for year-long trial

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The early returns from FASTRACK, the MTA’s weeknight shutdown program, have been successful enough to warrant a year-long trial, the Daily News reported this week. Per Pete Donohue, the MTA has scheduled 12 more weeks of shutdowns beyond the four currently in the works. By year’s end, Transit will have shuttered trains through Manhattan for a total of 448 hours.

As Transit officials justified the move, advocates gave it a lukewarm embrace. The MTA has billed it as an efficiency program, but the authority is providing less overnight service in bits and spurts. “We know it’s an inconvenience to our customers and we apologize for the inconvenience,” Senior Vice President of Subways Carmen Bianco said. “Hopefully, our customers will only have to walk a block, or two blocks at the most, to get alternate service.”

Ultimately, the FASTRACK program has its limitations. Due to the need for nearby redundant service, Transit cannot expand it to the areas outside of the Manhattan core without seriously impacting mobility. Yet, some of the stations in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn need more attention than those in Manhattan. For now, though, we’ll have to cope with weeknight changes through the end of November.



Categories : Asides, MTA Construction

13 Responses to “FASTRACK set for year-long trial”

  1. Avi says:

    Why not just combine FASTRACK with shuttle service for the outer boroughs? I would think shutting down service every night for a week is still better than a months worth of weekend diversions.

  2. Larry Littlefield says:

    “Due to the need for nearby redundant service, Transit cannot expand it to the areas outside of the Manhattan core without seriously impacting mobility.”

    Lots of places where that isn’t true. There is the IRT and IND on Manhattan’s West Side. The Jerome Avenue and Concourse lines in the West Bronx. The 2/3 and #6 lines in the South Bronx. Lines could be shut down in Downtown Brooklyn between Atlantic to Manhattan.

    Remember that subway maintenance is done in the overnights, while outdoor construction is done in the mid-days. So relevance to the outer boroughs is limited anyway. But there are places where they can do it.

    • jim says:

      There are problems with the west side lines: I’m not sure that I’d want riders to be pushed to cross St. Nicholas Park or Morningside Park in the middle of the night.

      But portions of the west side are totes possible. One could close the A between 168th and 207th or the 1 between 168th and Dyckman. One could close the IRT between 59th and 96th. Where the IND has the uptown and downtown on different levels, one could close one level and run the uptown on the express and the downtown on the local of the level you’re keeping open.

      • Andrew says:

        Closing the upper end of the A is an option, but it would probably require shuttle buses due to the hills.

        Closing the upper end of the 1 makes less sense, because much of it is elevated, so work can’t take place at night.

        There’s no way to terminate IRT trains at 59th. Even if there were, shutting down the middle of a line is a terrible idea. Do you expect people who are dumped off of trains at 96th to walk the three long avenue blocks to Central Park West to continue their trips?

        On four-track lines, the northbound tracks only have northbound signals and the southbound tracks only have southbound signals. There’s no way to run a northbound express on the southbound track!

        There aren’t many more locations this is feasible. Concourse is the most obvious, although it would need a shuttle bus at the north end. Full bidirectional shutdowns have already taken place on weekends on various two-track lines, so I won’t list those.

        • jim says:

          There’s no way to terminate IRT trains at 59th.

          Sigh. You’re right. It would have to be Times Sq.

          Do you expect people who are dumped off of trains at 96th to walk the three long avenue blocks to Central Park West to continue their trips?

          No. Shuttle bus.

          There’s no way to run a northbound express on the southbound track!

          Another beautiful theory slain by an ugly fact.

          • Andrew says:

            Do you realize how many people you’re proposing to dump onto a shuttle bus? The 1, 2, and 3 carry pretty heavy loads until well after midnight. The point of this program is to shut down line segments that don’t need bus replacements (except in some cases for short, low ridership stubs, like the short Lenox branch on the 3) because of available transfers to nearby alternatives.

            By the way, CBTC allows trains to run in either direction on any track, so once CBTC becomes more widespread, some of your crazier suggestions might actually become practical.

  3. Chet says:

    Curious to know, how look would the work being done on the 7 line take if done from 10:00pm to 5:00am over consecutive days instead of the weekend shut downs…or better yet, in addition to the weekend shut downs?

    Anyone have an educated guess? Would it have saved time?

  4. Ahnold says:

    “Advocates gave it a lukewarm embrace” – specifics?

    • I don’t have time to collect them now, but in any article about FASTRACK in which Gene Russianoff has been quoted, the Straphangers’ position has been a reluctant embrace of this project. The MTA is providing less service at a time when transit options are fewer and slower.

      • Bolwerk says:

        Maybe I’m being a bit harsh about this, but I’ve had trouble taking SH seriously ever since I heard Russianoff make some comment about how every train should have a two-man crew. Most “advocates” (me included) are amateurs on transit operations, but we shouldn’t be that financially illiterate if we’re going to make a case for transit as a competitive mode.

        And, if it weren’t for zany finances, we really might not need FastTrack, or at least we’d maybe have better alternatives.

  5. Andrew says:

    As I’ve said before, FASTRACK is not focused on stations!

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