Dec
17

For 2013, a wide expansion for Fastrack

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Due to Hurricane Sandy, the MTA’s new Fastrack program suffered a premature end in 2012. The November treatments were canceled as the MTA worked first to restore subway service and then to repair the transit system. Despite this road bump, Fastrack will be back in 2013, and yesterday, New York City Transit unveiled to me the full schedule of work lined up for the coming year.

In a press release issued Monday, Transit touted the benefits of Fastrack. The overnight subway shutdowns allow MTA workers unimpeded access to subway infrastructure, and repairs and renovations can be completed quickly and without the same fear of passing trains. The agency used some glowing phrases to describe “an increase in productivity and significant decreases in employee accidents and maintenance costs” and cited cost savings — to the tune of $17 million — and reduced delays as reasons for a 2013 return.

“Over the past year we have found this to be an extremely effective way to maintain a subway system that operates around the clock, seven days a week,” NYC Transit President Thomas F. Prendergast said. “We have seen concrete benefits in the way the system is being maintained through FASTRACK and we are now ready to roll it out to other line segments.”

As the 2012 version of Fastrack focused on the system’s core trunk lines in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, the new track segments venture further afield into the Bronx, Queens and Upper Manhattan. Still, the MTA assures its customers that these new routes have bend chosen because “there is adequate alternate means of transportation, including enhanced services along some bus lines during work periods.” I’d stick with alternate nearby subway lines over late-night bus service, but that’s just me.

So what are these new corridors? They include the Concourse Line (D) north of 161st St., the BMT Broadway Line (N/Q/R) between Queensboro Plaza and Court Street; the Eighth Avenue Line (A) north of 168th St.; the Queens Boulevard Line (E/F/M/R) between 5th Ave./53rd Street and Roosevelt Avenue; and the East Side IRT (4/5/6) north of Grand Central to 125th St. There will be a few one-offs during the year as well.

Each Fastrack segment will receive four treatments a year when service is shutdown overnight from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for four consecutive nights. First up is the D train’s Concourse Line during the week of January 14. That will repeat during the weeks of April 8, July 15 and November 4. The BMT Broadway line will be shutdown during the weeks of January 28, April 15, June 17 and September 30. The A train won’t venture north of 168th St. during the weeks of February 25, June 10, August 26 and November 18. The Queens Boulevard work will occur during the weeks of March 18, June 3, August 12 and October 14. Finally, the 6 train will be offline during the weeks of March 25 and September 9 while the 4 and 5 tracks will be shut down during the weeks of May 20 and October 28.

But! That’s not all. In addition to this trunk line work, there are a few other overnight Fastrack happenings. Out in Brooklyn, between the D train’s Coney Island Creek Bridge and the North Stillwell Interlocking, the MTA will conduct a weekend day-time Fastrack during the weekends of February 2, May 18, September 5 and November 23. Furthermore, a series of one-offs will dot the year. The J train tunnels in Manhattan will undergo maintenance during the week of April 1 while the F train’s Rutgers Tube through to Broadway/Lafayette will be off during the week of December 2. The R train will not run south of 36th St. along 4th Ave. during the week of May 6, and the 2 train will not operate south of Franklin Ave. during the week of January 21. The A/C/D trains will not run from 59th St. to either 168th or 161st St. during the week of September 16.

That’s quite the laundry list of Fastrack, and if you’re eyes haven’t glazed over yet, congratulations. The MTA is clearly engaged in an aggressive attempt at, well, something. It’s a money-saving effort to speed up necessary and vital repairs. It’s a major inconvenience to many late-night commuters who have few alternate routes. It is, as I’ve said before, the new normal, and it’s taking over more and more of the system. It starts up again in just a few weeks, and one day soon, we won’t remember when Fastrack wasn’t a part of the normal way of things. We don’t always like it, but we live with it.



Categories : MTA Construction

31 Responses to “For 2013, a wide expansion for Fastrack”

  1. Andrew says:

    Furthermore, a series of one-offs will dot the year. The J train tunnels in Manhattan will undergo maintenance during the week of April 1 while the F train’s Rutgers Tube through to Broadway/Lafayette will be off during the week of December 2. The R train will not run south of 36th St. along 4th Ave. during the week of May 6, and the 2 train will not operate south of Franklin St. during the week of January 21. The A/C/D trains will not run from 59th St. to either 168th or 161st St. during the week of September 16.

    Overnight.

  2. Greg says:

    Looking forward to that Queens Boulevard work, although I look forward to it more when they go east of Roosevelt.

  3. Frank B says:

    Years of deferred maintenance lead to this. A $10 coat of anti-corrosive paint in 1970 deferred leads to $1000 to replace a rusted out piece of infrastructure in 2012.

    Talk about robbing Peter to pay Paul.

    On the plus side though, I do like fast-track. Quite a bit. Things are rapidly improving at a pace which is more acceptable to the general public.

    • Larry Littlefield says:

      Deferred maintenance may come back. When does the current capital plan end?

      At least they are painting the Brooklyn Bridge after letting the steel rust for 20 years. Borrowing money to do the job. It once carried trains. Now trucks are banned. If they lose enough steel, it will be bicycles only.

      • BoerumBum says:

        Larry, is the changing usage of the Brooklyn Bridge truly due to decreases in its ability to bear loads, and not other factors (e.g. ceasing the train usage due to the dismantling of the downtown El, banning trucks to induce them to use other crossings for traffic/toll reasons & to address security concerns)?

    • Nathanael says:

      Remember to give Walder credit for Fastrack. The basic concept has been used by London for quite a few years (they just called them “week-long blockades”). Walder, of course, attempted to bring over best practices from his prior job.

  4. Nyland8 says:

    “I’d stick with alternate nearby subway lines over late-night bus service, but that’s just me.”

    Yet another reminder of why it would be a great idea for the subway to have a beltway like the Tri-Boro Rx.

    With a train that intersected almost every outer borough spur at some point, there would always be options to circumnavigate the FastTrack shutdowns. Not only would it very quickly serve as a primary transit route for many, it would also function as the ultimate bypass for late-night and weekend maintenance shutdowns.

  5. Nick Ober says:

    I hope they repaint the ceiling of the Lex/53rd Street station on the Queens Boulevard line.

  6. Hoosac says:

    As a former Bay Ridge resident, my eye was caught by the line that says “The R train will not run south of 36th St. along 4th Ave. during the week of May 6″. Okay, the N train will get you to 59th Street, but if you want to go to Bay Ridge Avenue, 77th Street, 86th Street or 95th Street, how do you get there? It’s a long way to walk (as much as two miles), and finding a bus in the middle of the night is a dubious proposition.

  7. Flatbush Depot says:

    2 train not running south of Franklin St? You must have meant Franklin Ave. So they will Fastrack the Nostrand Ave line. Cool.

    • LLQBTT says:

      Wonder if the B44 +SBS+ will be the alternative!? Surely it can’t be the S!

      • MH says:

        This is what weekend work was/is for at least on the Nostrand (2/5) line. They used shuttle buses for like a month straight this past May as substitutes. As for the other lines, it’ll be a wait and see approach. I think for the lines outside of midtown/downtown Manhattan and the westside, a weeknight only fasttrack is not the best idea.

  8. Christopher A. says:

    I’d rather have Fasttrak than to have incomplete maintenance. It’s a major inconvenience to those who are affected. But it’s much better than the alternative. And, since it saves money – even better.

  9. BoerumBum says:

    I’m hoping that the Lexington Ave express lines can get some TLC. Nothing ruins my day faster than walking downstairs at 86th or 59th and seeing a roiling ocean of commuters with no trains to board.

  10. Someone says:

    The Concourse, Broadway, and 8th Ave alignments are good places for FASTRACK because they are both closely paralleled by IRT lines. The Queens Blvd and IRT East Side lines have no subway alternatives, making them very bad choices for FASTRACK. (Though when the SAS opens, at least straphangers have a place to go when the East Side line is closed.)

    • BoerumBum says:

      Perhaps they’ll run the M15-SBS all night during the UES IRT Fastrak?

    • LLQBTT says:

      That’s true for the uptown IND, however on paper part of the way only because the 1 and the A are in 2 hills separated the Broadway gulley, a not so little inconvenience. They might need some additional M4′s to supplement this.

    • Justin Samuels says:

      From LIC to Corona, the Flushing line stations are within walking distance of Queens Boulevard line stations. One can walk from Junction Blvd on the 7 to 63rd Drive on the M and R,

      As for the Lexington Avenue Line, there are uptown buses. All they have to do is place more uptdown buses for those going to the Upper East Side. For those going to the Bronx, take the 2 and transfer to the D, 4, and 5 in the Bronx, with maybe a shuttle bus to take you to the 6 train in the Bronx.

      Alternatively, Metro North is close to the 2 and 5 lines in the Bronx, that’s a potential alternative as well.

  11. Someone says:

    But! That’s not all. In addition to this trunk line work, there are a few other overnight Fastrack happenings. Out in Brooklyn, between the D train’s Coney Island Creek Bridge and the North Stillwell Interlocking, the MTA will conduct a weekend day-time Fastrack during the weekends of February 2, May 18, September 5 and November 23. Furthermore, a series of one-offs will dot the year. The J train tunnels in Manhattan will undergo maintenance during the week of April 1 while the F train’s Rutgers Tube through to Broadway/Lafayette will be off during the week of December 2. The R train will not run south of 36th St. along 4th Ave. during the week of May 6, and the 2 train will not operate south of Franklin Ave. during the week of January 21. The A/C/D trains will not run from 59th St. to either 168th or 161st St. during the week of September 16.

    Yeah. That sounds like a mouthful.

  12. Tower18 says:

    That’s gonna suck dumping all the Queens Blvd passengers onto the 7 at Roosevelt…but I guess it’s gotta be done.

    • John-2 says:

      They probably should extend outbound 7 express service between Queensboro Plaza and 74th Street into the overnight hours during Fastrack period, and then start up the inbound 7 express from 74th to QP earlier.

      The MTA also should extend the M into the overnight hours the week the Centre-Nassau Street work on the J is being done (to allow for a transfer to the 6 at B’way-Lafayette) and the week next December when the Rutgers Tunnel is being worked on, assuming the F’s terminating that week at Second Avenue (so that Eastern Division passengers don’t have to transfer to the 6 at B’way-Lafayette to take it downtown to catch the J at Canal or B’klyn Bridge).

      • Matthias says:

        What would be the benefit of running a few trains express between Queensboro Plaza and 74 St? Hardly seems worth the extra switching and loss of service to local stations. It certainly wouldn’t add capacity.

        • Tower18 says:

          Yeah I don’t think express trains solve anything, unless THAT MUCH of the 7 train traffic comes from Manhattan at that hour (probably not). It would be more useful to add trains to the local, since it’s overnight hours, there is plenty of capacity to add trains without resorting to using the express.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] 2 shut downs between Franklin and Flatbush Avenues. For more on the year in FASTRACK, check out my 2013 overview from mid-December. Categories : Service Advisories, Subway [...]

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