Home Service Advisories The L train for Ave. A, and weekend work on 10 subway lines

The L train for Ave. A, and weekend work on 10 subway lines

by Benjamin Kabak

Big news: The MTA has requested federal funding for some L train improvements including a long-awaited entrance to the 1st Ave. station at Avenue A. In all my years writing this site, the most frequently asked question regarding the subway is about that station. It’s hard to believe it’s taken this long for Transit to plan an Alphabet City subway stop. In an ideal world, they’d build a station at Avenue C, but this is much-needed upgrade nonetheless. More early next week on the rest of the $300 million request.

Christmas draws near. The weekend work is slowing up considerably. Don’t forget to check out the Holiday Nostalgia Train, running every Sunday on the M line this month.

From 3:45 a.m. Saturday, December 13 to 10:00 p.m. Sunday, December 14, Wakefield-241 St bound 2 trains run express from E 180 St to Gun Hill Rd.

From 12:45 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. Saturday, December 13, Woodlawn-bound 4 trains run express from 14 St-Union Sq to Grand Central-42 St.

From 12:45 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. Saturday, December 13, Pelham Bay Park-bound 6 trains run express from 14 St-Union Sq to Grand Central-42 St.

From 11:45 p.m. Friday, December 12 to 4:45 a.m. Monday, December 15, A trains are suspended in both directions between Ozone Park-Lefferts Blvd and Rockaway Blvd. Brooklyn-bound A trains skip Rockaway Blvd and 88 St. Free shuttle buses operate between 80 St and Ozone Park-Lefferts Blvd, stopping at 88 St, Rockaway Blvd, 104 St, and 111 St. Transfer between free shuttle buses and A trains at 80 St.

From 10:45 p.m. Friday, December 12 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, December 15, Norwood-205 St bound D trains run express from 145 St to Tremont Av.

From 11:45 p.m. Friday, December 12 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, December 15, World Trade Center-bound E trains run express from Forest Hills-71 Av to Roosevelt Ave.

From 5:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Saturday, December 13 and Sunday, December 14, G trains run every 20 minutes between Long Island City-Court Sq and Bedford-Nostrand Avs. The last stop for some G trains headed toward Court Sq is Bedford-Nostrand Avs. To continue your trip, transfer at Bedford-Nostrand Avs to Court Sq-bound G train.

From 11:45 p.m. Friday, December 12 to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, December 14, and from 11:45 p.m. Sunday, December 14 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, December 15, N trains are rerouted via the Q line in both directions between Canal St and DeKalb Av.

From 5:45 a.m. Saturday, December 13 to 6:00 p.m. Sunday, December 14, Coney Island-Stillwell Av-bound Q trains run express from Prospect Park to Sheepshead Bay.

From 6:00 a.m. to 12 Midnight, Saturday, December 13, and Sunday, December 14, R trains are rerouted via the Q line in both directions between Canal St and DeKalb Av .

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Elvis Delgado December 13, 2014 - 11:25 am

Wierd that the MTA has elected to completely omit any mention of an Avenue A entrance in their on-line “press” release: http://www.mta.info/news/2014/.....provements

One would have thought that they – like you, Ben – would have considered this to be the key element of the upgrade.

Simon December 13, 2014 - 11:31 am

There is a passing mention of the new entrance, but nothing more.

Nathanael December 15, 2014 - 1:06 am

I’m going to hope that the new entrance will be wheelchair-accessible (as is required by law).

With operating metro stations, the easiest way to build wheelchair access while keeping the station operating is often to build an entirely new entrance. Chicago has done this several times now.

Nathanael December 15, 2014 - 2:30 am

…and upon research I find that this will make the 1 Av station wheelchair-accessible, though it’s not clear which entrance will be the wheelchair-access entrance.

Plans are also to make the Bedford Av. station accessible, which is good because it’s on the key stations list. The deadline is 2020. According to the 2010 list, there are still 15 to go:
– South Ferry
– Times Square shuttle station (good luck with that)
– 68 Street (#6)
– 57 St. (NQR)
– 23 St. (#6)
– Kingsbridge Road (BD)
– Lefferts Boulevard (A)
– 59 St (NR)
– 86 St (R )
– Gun Hill Road (#5)
– Chambers St. (JMZ)
– Greenpoint Avenue (G)
– Bedford Avenue (L)
– Brooklyn Museum (#2,3)
– Bedford Park Boulevard (BD)

Those which were already under construction in 2010 have been finished; apart from that, as of 2014, 4 additional stations have been made accessible and 1 (South Ferry) has become inaccessible again. As far as I know, no additional stations from the list are currently under construction, apart from South Ferry.

This isn’t looking good for meeting the June 2020 deadline; even if they get the grant for the two L line stations, there are 12 others to finish in 5 years, including the completely impossible Times Square shuttle station. The MTA could cut a deal with United Spinal (as the successor to the organization which got the pre-ADA settlement on key stations) to change the list of stations, since there are lots which are more important than the Shuttle station. But considering the past attitude of the MTA, United Spinal would probably demand a 2-stations-for-1 swap….

Boris December 13, 2014 - 4:30 pm

“The area around the Bedford Av station has been rezoned to allow for almost 10,000 new residential units, and ridership is expected to continue to rise.”

This is what kills me. The city has known for about a decade now that the area will see a surge in ridership, and did absolutely nothing about it, because we don’t do Transit-Oriented Development in this city. In fact, we don’t do planning at all; we just do what’s best for real estate developers and construction companies.

Cities from Philadelphia to Portland, to even Detroit now plan for inner-city growth, while New York continues to deny it.

adirondacker12800 December 13, 2014 - 5:33 pm

In very very round numbers Philadelphia has half the people and one third the population density of Brooklyn.

Bolwerk December 14, 2014 - 11:51 am

That says absolutely nothing. Think in terms of block level density. What is the urban density like near Philadelphia’s heavy rail lines? I don’t know, probably not incredible, but maybe similar to outer boroughs. (I’m too lazy to Google and find out.)

Having high density may not be sufficient for effective transit either. You can have a lot of people near a line that doesn’t go where many of them want to go.

Nathanael December 15, 2014 - 1:18 am

Hard to get the numbers. Phildaelphia’s density is almost entirely within walking distance of a few frequent lines — Market-Frankford, Broad St., and the city “surface-subway” trolleys. It drops off really fast after that.

Probably better than Queens, though.

Brooklyn has been a bigger city than Philadelphia for a long time. Lest we forget, Brooklyn by itself would be a freaking huge city; there was some resistance to merging it with New York back when that was done.

adirondacker12800 December 15, 2014 - 2:30 am

Or lots of people near the line who don’t want to go anywhere. Like the L was a short time ago.

“census brooklyn” “census queens” and “census philadelphia” will bring up the links for the Census Bureau’s Quick Facts page for those counties. If you want to go with “Kings County Census”, “Kings County NY Census” narrows it down better than without the NY.
Philadelphia 1,526,006, 11,379.5 per square mile.
Brooklyn 2,504,700, 35,369.1
Queens 2,230,725, 20,553.6
Bronx 1,385,108 32,903.6

Philadelphia is going to have to grow a lot to get to the same densities as Brooklyn. It’s gonna have to grow a lot to get as dense as Queens.

Bolwerk December 15, 2014 - 8:41 am

That’s population density. Urban density looks at more fine-grained distributions of people.

If 11k/sq. mi. is average in Philly, then it’s probably significantly higher near the heavy rail transit in the inner city.

Tower18 December 15, 2014 - 11:45 am

City-level population density isn’t that useful, because all cities include large tracts of land, either parks or industrial areas (or commercial downtowns for that matter) with extremely low, or zero, population.

According to the City-Data maps:

NW Philly past the end of the Market-Frankford Line: 20k-30k/mile
Far NW Philly, nowhere near transit: 10k/mile or less
South Philly, East of Broad: 35k-45k/mile or more
West Philly, along either MFL or trolleys: 20-30k/mile

Plenty of density to support transit, but still less than a lot of NYC:

Marine Park, Brooklyn: 28-40k/mile
Midwood, Brooklyn: 20k/mile around Bedford to 75k/mile around Ocean Av and trains
Nostrand and Av U, Brooklyn: 45k/mile
Parkside/Flatbush, Brooklyn: 143k/mile

Even SE Queens averages 10k-30k/mile across various tracts.

Bolwerk December 15, 2014 - 1:03 pm

Makes sense to me.

My guess is that if there is a population density floor for successful transit, it’s in the high hundreds of people per km^2 anyway. That might mean at most hourly daytime service, but it can be useful. That even includes rail transit under the right conditions (e.g., a line that already exists).

adirondacker12800 December 15, 2014 - 1:12 pm

And if it’s 35k in Brooklyn it’s probably higher than in Philadelphia near rail transit than it will be in Philadelphia for a very long time.

Nathanael December 15, 2014 - 9:35 pm

Philly has some very large, really, really empty, outlying tracts. Queens, of course, has those cemeteries.

The urban parts of Philly are comparable in form to the urban parts of Queens, *NOT* the urban parts of Brooklyn.

Nathanael December 15, 2014 - 9:38 pm

I mean “not the *most* urban parts of Brooklyn”. Basically, Philly along its subway and trolley lines is comparable to Queens along its subway lines, or outlying Brooklyn. The urban core of Brooklyn is *much* denser.

lop December 13, 2014 - 10:33 pm

Transit oriented development? Rezoning for higher density where transit exists doesn’t count? What do you want exactly?

Boris December 15, 2014 - 12:51 am

What do you mean by “transit exists”? The staircase and turnstile capacity of that station in 1992 was sufficient, and in 2014 it’s obviously not. In other cities, when an upzoning is done there is associated public money available for infrastructure improvements in the area to handle the higher density. While the city did build new roads, sewers, and water lines (and mandated that tons of new parking is available), it completely ignored the need for transit improvements.

lop December 15, 2014 - 3:27 pm

Adding an entrance to a station isn’t impossible.

City controls roads, sewers, and water lines. Maybe it should run the subway too.

Bolwerk December 15, 2014 - 4:08 pm

AIUI, the city owns the subway infrastructure and probably could build more if it wanted.

It might not even be a bad idea. As an operator, the MTA seems meh. But it seems horrible at managing construction.

Nathanael December 15, 2014 - 9:39 pm

The City of Chicago owns the subways in Chicago (as opposed to the elevateds). New construction on the subway stations is routinely funded and built by the City of Chicago Department of Transportation, rather than by the CTA, which is the transit agency.

(The CTA owns the elevated lines as successor to the former private companies, and funds construction on them.)

Bolwerk December 14, 2014 - 11:38 am

Yes and no. New York doesn’t seem that bothered by inner city growth, but it doesn’t seem to have come to grips with the nature of it.

I don’t see a capacity emergency on the L either. Yes, the L is crowded, but it does meet demand. Ridership has doubled since the 1990s, but it’s probably near the limit of how much it will grow.

Simon December 13, 2014 - 11:27 am

Because of a building fire in Brooklyn, buses are replacing J trains between Broadway Junction and Crescent St until 5am Monday.

Alex December 13, 2014 - 11:34 am

Is it even possible to add an Ave C stop on the L? I thought the grade was too steep.

vanshnookenraggen December 13, 2014 - 4:54 pm

It is. This is just a new entrance/exit at Ave A at the end of the existing station.

Kai B December 14, 2014 - 4:29 pm

With enough billions, probably.

BruceNY December 13, 2014 - 12:36 pm

Any chance/hope that the 3rd Avenue entrance at Lexington Avenue/E63rd St. could open before the official opening of the 2nd Avenue Subway? Like Avenue A on the L, it’s amazing that an extra entrance on the opposite end of a station can make a big difference to passengers.

Nathanael December 15, 2014 - 1:22 am

Depends on the construction sequencing. The 63rd St. station project is currently not supposed to be done until summer 2015…. and we know how schedules have slipped on this project.

BruceNY December 15, 2014 - 7:49 am

I’d be thrilled if it opened in 2015! That’s way ahead of the rest of the line.

Nathanael December 15, 2014 - 9:40 pm

It would be cool, wouldn’t it? But, y’know, delays….

capt subway December 13, 2014 - 4:32 pm

Way to increase on the L:

Consider running 9 car trains. The platforms were built for an 8 car train of 67′ BMT AB cars. A quick review of the signal schematics indicate most stations can accommodate a 9 car train of 60′ cars with no work at all.

Next step: extend the platforms to fit 10 car trains, as on the rest of the B (BMT-IND) division lines, except of course for the Bway-Jamaica-Myrtle.

Platform extensions were done on most of the IRT & BMT throughout the 1950s and 1960s, under traffic no less. I remember, as a kid, seeing it all done. This is not brain surgeons work.

sonicboy678 December 13, 2014 - 6:20 pm

Another thing that could help improve service (which I don’t ever see happening) is adding bidirectional express service with a new pair of tracks between Broadway Junction and Union Square.

Brooklynite December 13, 2014 - 9:40 pm

A federal study (from the ’90s, but still valid) found that express tracks increase the capacity of a line by significantly less than 100%, and in the case of the Lex much higher dwell times at Grand Central especially made the capacity increase in the neighborhood of 50%. Therefore, it would be much more efficient and economical to construct a parallel line through the most crowded part of the L line, Williamsburg.

While yes this will never happen, this could be combined with the Utica Av line, which would go through North Williamsburg and enter Manhattan around 23 St.

Much more practical is, as capt subway mentioned, extending platforms. It’s been done. It can be done again (hopefully). Tail tracks at 8 Av can also be extended to allow trains to enter the station at normal speeds.

Brooklynite December 13, 2014 - 9:58 pm

Specifically, here is the study.


p41 / 5-35
“The result is that four tracks rarely increase capacity by more than 50% over a double-track line — and often less”

Bolwerk December 14, 2014 - 10:44 am

What Eric said, and they seem to be using the word “capacity” to mean something like number of passengers who can be accommodated at current service levels.

When we talk about capacity here, we usually mean something like theoretical limit of passengers/vehicles on a track segment – which, as Eric says, can be reduced by merging and interlining.

That said, a new quad tracked segment is probably overkill. New north and south L terminals would probably do a lot to improve capacity. I guess to the south there would need to be a new branch line though since the L can’t be extended past Rockaway Parkway to site a better terminal.

Brooklynite December 14, 2014 - 11:10 am

On the L, the south terminal is not the problem, because eastbound trains can drop out at Myrtle/Wyckoff. On the other end of the line, capacity could be increased if the middle track between 6 and 8 Avs got a pair of switches on the east end, so trains could relay there after leaving service at 6 Av.

In this case though, there is no merging or interlining (lord knows the rest of the subway is incredibly inefficient because of this). That, along with the fact that the signalling is supposedly ultra-modern (even though CBTC is pointless on the L… other cities run 40tph regularly with fixed-block signalling), leaves only the termini as the constraint on service.

Bolwerk December 14, 2014 - 11:46 am

New York’s “can’t do” spirit! Tail tracks at Eighth Ave. could probably help a lot too.

Still, Myrtle-Sixth or Myrtle-Eighth service seems rather stunted. Bway junction can be a terminal too, right? At least then you can get the J transfers (however many or few there are).

Brooklynite December 14, 2014 - 2:22 pm

Tail tracks would help a lot, but that would entail new construction, which can be problematic to say the least given that NYC is NYC. Adding a switch is typically a job for a few weekends at worst.

As far as I know, the only way for L’s to terminate at ENY is by using an X-over just north of the station. With through service in both directions, that’s not sustainable.

Given that the majority of the L’s ridership comes from Williamsburg, Myrtle-Manhattan service would be perfect. It would give empty trains to those closer to Myrtle, and even allow people at Bedford to get on the train. To speed service at Myrtle and 6th Av, MTA could even waive the requirement to have the train cleared of passengers: having a relay T/O enter the rear cab would both speed service and reduce danger to crew. (This is done in many places around the world.)

Eric December 14, 2014 - 8:50 am

In theory, there should be no difference between a 4-track line with segregated local and express service, and a pair of separate lines that have several transfers between them. This is compatible with the complete quote:

“The capacity of four-track lines is not a simple multiple of two single tracks and varies widely with operating practices such as the merging and diverging of local and express services and trains holding at stations for local-express transfers. The result is that four tracks rarely increase capacity by more than 50% over a double-track line—and often less. A third express track does not necessarily increase capacity at all when restricted to the same station close-in limitations at stations with two platform faces.”

The NYC subway contains extensive merging between its express and local lines (the 6 is separated, but the 4/5 merge with the 2/3, for example). This decreases the frequency and regularity on each line. However, sonicboy678’s express line would be complete separated and thus avoid this problem.

Brooklynite December 14, 2014 - 11:22 am

That is a good point – NYC’s service patterns are incredibly inefficient because of all the interlining. Even if the lines are completely de-interlined, things like holding for connections and platform crowding when two trains arrive at once will reduce capacity. Meanwhile, having two distinct two-track lines will lessen the impact of disruptions, like fires, NYPD actions, etc, and increase network coverage. To speed up service, higher distances between stations can be used. To use Moscow as an example again because why not, their AVERAGE interstation distance is over a mile, and the shortest distance between two stations on the network is about the same as 14 St to 23 St.

Bolwerk December 14, 2014 - 11:57 am

Do they even hold for peak connections? Doesn’t seem to be TA policy.

They seem to fake doing it on the J/M transfer at Broadway, where the at-grade junction for the M must pass in front of the J. Sometimes one of the lines needs to be held and occasionally they announce they are waiting for connecting passengers on an arriving train.

Brooklynite December 14, 2014 - 2:30 pm

They aren’t supposed to hold during the rush, but the first passenger to get to the train will inevitably hold the doors for everyone else. If the doors were non-holdable (see: Moscow (again)*) this wouldn’t be an issue. Platform congestion is still a problem though.

*In a previous comment thread here someone mentioned that the doors there are pneumatically actuated. How exactly the mechanics work I don’t know, but nobody holds the doors.

Bolwerk December 15, 2014 - 11:54 am

That would seem to be little more a threat than any other kind of transfer, whether from an intersecting line or a bus from outside the system. People hold doors all the time, but I’m not sure it usually takes so much time it can’t be made up.

Just today I saw an amusing spectacle of what I guess were B44 riders rushing for a Manhattan-bound J at Marcy Ave. that I had just alighted from. Several punchable hipsterspeople simply jumped the turnstile instead of trying to use their MetroCards. I left through the emergency exit because there was no way I was getting out through the turnstile, and no doubt many slipped in that way thanks to me.

Tower18 December 14, 2014 - 7:15 pm

They don’t really do it off peak either. The number of times I’ve just missed the AC-to-F transfer at Jay St, or worse, a G leaves Hoyt-Schermerhorn right when an A or C pulls in. I know this also happens on the Fourth Av line all the time.

Trains don’t need to be held during rush when there are capacity concerns, but I sure wish they’d be held off peak. This of course wouldn’t be an issue if trains ran with, say, London frequency, but since the MTA doesn’t want to deviate from the “every 10-12 minute” schedule for most trains off peak, it would be nice if they’d hold off peak trains up to 60 seconds for immediately-arriving connections.

adirondacker12800 December 14, 2014 - 11:29 pm

If it holds at one station for 45 seconds it’s 45 seconds late at all the other stations it makes connections to. If those trains hold 45 seconds for connections they are all 45 seconds late for their connections. Making the trains they connect to late. Which then makes them late for their connections with the train that was 45 seconds late to begin with. It’s something that is very nice to do on systems with three or four lines. One with the complexity of New York City’s, things grind to halt very very quickly.

Milton December 13, 2014 - 5:11 pm

Anyone see that the 7 extension is delayed again? According to the cap program materials posted Friday, no earlier than April 2015 for rev service

Eric Brasure December 13, 2014 - 5:29 pm


John-2 December 13, 2014 - 10:14 pm

I’ll be interested to see which end of the First Avenue station gets the ADA elevator upgrades — the existing First Avenue one, or will they put it in when they do everything else at Avenue A? Doing the latter would seem to be the easier of the two options, but I don’t know if they want to make Avenue A the main access point for the station (and – assuming there’s enough space above the tracks for both Brooklyn and Eighth Avenue trains to have a common mezzanine, the MTA could save money by needing just one elevator from fare control to the street).

Nathanael December 15, 2014 - 1:25 am

Advocates for the disabled have been pushing for dual elevators whereever possible. Can you guess why?

Hint: look at the frequency of elevator outages. 🙁

Bolwerk December 15, 2014 - 11:56 am

The elevators are fucking horrible. They’re slow and smell like urinal pucks on a good day, and piss on a bad day.

I never understood the slowness either. Is that to keep people from using them unless they absolutely need them? I wonder if they’d be less attractive to pissing in if they were faster.

Nathanael December 15, 2014 - 9:43 pm

NYCT seems to get a lot of what I can only call bad elevators. Worse, there’s a lot of mismatching types, and apparently the maintenance workers don’t really know the details of the different types.

Elevators are tough in any mass transportation system, but it is possible to do better with standardized-parts designs (yes, even when each elevator must fit in a custom space) and better training of maintenance workers.

adirondacker12800 December 16, 2014 - 2:02 am

The elevators in other places are all different each other and they manage to keep working.

marv December 13, 2014 - 10:39 pm

the goal is create maximum mobility both physically and psychologically.

a street level subway entrance makes one feel that they are in the “system” even if they then walk a block or two underground!! to say nothing of a one block walk.

I do not understood why the 59th lex station was not shifted on one level (express or local as they are are on different levels each with side platforms that are easier to extend) closer to 63rd street thereby creating an in-fare transfer between the 63rd street F &the new 2nd ave/bdwy bmt train, the irt express 4+5 and the 60th street bmt N+R.

I also feel the area served by any one station could be extended through the use of horizon elevators and funiculars. As most people we no/little problem getting on to an elevator in a building to get to our desired floor, I imagine that most people would have no problem waiting up to 2 minutes for an up to 2 minutes ride to a train station.

This is being used on the new #7 11th ave station and i do not understand why it has become so complicated. It also reduces the congestion/pain of any one station entrance spreading those entering the system over a wider area. The use of unmanned but video monitored entry points allows for a spoke and hub system.

The Queens Blvd local IND should be extended through the Jamaica yards (as was done for the Worlds Fair) and then along the shoulders of the LIE to stations at Main Street and Utopia Parkway. On the surface each of the 2 new stations would be within walking distance of only limited users. Consider adding linear elevators/shuttles:

from the main street station to:
1) Queens college main gate on Kissena Blvd (also the Pomonok Public Housing Project)
2)Booth memorial/NY hospital

from utopia station:

*to 164th street (eleckchester)
*188 street

Two stations could serve hundreds of new users who have to wait but a minute for cars/shuttles

Michael December 16, 2014 - 5:10 am

From a previous message:

“I do not understood why the 59th lex station was not shifted on one level (express or local as they are are on different levels each with side platforms that are easier to extend) closer to 63rd street thereby creating an in-fare transfer between the 63rd street F &the new 2nd ave/bdwy bmt train, the irt express 4+5 and the 60th street bmt N+R.”

Let’s see, the #6 local platforms at the 59th Street-Lexington Avenue station was opened in 1918, then that station was a local only station. It is very easy to tell just where these platforms were extended to handle 10-car IRT trains in the 1950’s. The BMT station at 60th Street-Lexington Avenue was opened in 1920, that is the station currently used by the N, Q & R trains. The history of this station shows that there were changes in the design and construction of this station – look at the “under the tracks passageway” between the uptown and downtown #6 train platforms.

Of course since this station was designed to be a local station, the deep-level #4 & #5 track had to be very deep to allow the BMT subway tunnels to pass above those express tracks. The construction of a mezzanine and side platforms for the #4 & #5 express trains did not occur until the mid-1950’s – the original green tile along the walls and the escalators give strong hints as to when the construction took place. These platforms were built as full 10-car length platforms.

The Second Avenue while discussed for generations did not actually take its current shape until the late 1960’s. Between the 1ate 1920’s Second IND System ideas for an additional tunnel between Queens and Manhattan at about 74th Street – since this plan came out on the eve of the Great Depression most of these ideas would never be realized. Much later in the mid-1950’s or early 1960’s there were ideas for a tunnel at 64th Street that was moved to 63rd Street. At the NYCSubway.Org website and on this forum there’s a good deal of information about the various plans for a Second Avenue subway.

I own a copy of the NYC’s Master Plan from 1968/9 that talks about the plans and routes for the 63rd Street tunnel, and Second Avenue subway and Queens super-express routes. In any case the construction of segments of the 63rd Street tunnel, Archer Avenue segments in Queens, and track segments in East Harlem and Chinatown took place in the 1970’s and 1980’s. For a long period of time the completed 63rd Street tunnel was called the “Tunnel To NoWhere” even though it connected to both of the 57th Street stations with features for a track junction with the proposed Second Avenue subway, it ended just short of the Queens Plaza subway station. In mid-December 2001, the F-train started to use the 63rd Street tunnel instead of the 53rd Street tunnel that is has used since the 1940’s. At that time the V-train was created which later morphed into the current M-train along Queens Blvd.

Generally speaking the early planners of the IND system created very few areas with their “then new” municipal subway lines to connect to and allow transfers between the “then-established” privately operated BMT and IRT lines. In some cases, the new municipal subway lines directly targeted certain elevated lines for elimination and consolidation. The consolidation of the three subway lines into the NYC Transit system meant that the 3 systems there were not planned to work together had to be cobbled together into a unified whole. In terms of direct transfers to between the IRT and IND lines: there were 161st Street-Yankee Stadium; 168th Street; 59th Street-Columbus Cirlce; Park Place; Broadway-Nassau-Fulton Street (still the only connection of the A & C trains to the eastside #4 & #5 trains); the downtown only connection at Bleecker Station which was the result of a station lengthening project in the 1950’s and an accident; and the transfer at Roosevelt Avenue and the 74th Street station on the #7 train. The transfer connection at the 51st Street-Lexington Avenue and the 53rd Station had to wait until the construction of the CitiCorp Center complex in the late 1980’s. The uptown platform transfer at Bleecker Street opened within the last couple of years, circa 2012. The creation of the Court Street complex of three separate stations came about due to long-term changes with the G-train, and the connection of the 63rd Street tunnel in Queens in the 2000’s. There are no direct connections between the original IRT and IND lines in Brooklyn (note that the B and D trains in Brooklyn were referred to on subway maps of the 1970’s as being “BMT in Brooklyn”). The in-ability of the 63rd Street-Lexington Avenue station that opened in the late 1980’s to not directly connect to the nearest IRT should not be seen as an aberration.

Let’s get this straight. You’re wondering why a train station opened in 1920 with its express platforms opening in the mid/late-1950’s was not extended to better allow transfers for a station that would not open until the late 1980’s?


Brooklynite December 15, 2014 - 5:42 pm

Would it be possible to avoid elevators entirely, and just have a ramp from each platform to its side of 14 St? They would come out midblock between Avs A and B, thus being slightly shorter for commuters from the east, let alone cheaper to operate as compared to an elevator.

Nathanael December 15, 2014 - 9:46 pm

Is the sidewalk wide enough to carve out a 36″ ramp in it for that distance? (With an 8 foot ceiling, the necessary carveout for an ADA ramp would be at least 140 feet long, maybe longer). I doubt it.

Brooklynite December 16, 2014 - 6:20 pm

The south side of the street probably could not. However, it looks from Street View as though the north side easily could.

Rich B December 16, 2014 - 4:28 pm

An Ave A entrance for the 1st Ave stop is great (really), but what about a 2nd Ave entrance for the 3rd Ave station? It’s so frustrating to exit the train and realize that you’re basically at your designation of 2nd Ave, but have to walk back to 3rd to exit the station, then back to 2nd above ground.

Rich B December 16, 2014 - 4:32 pm

* destination

Brooklynite December 17, 2014 - 3:43 pm

I’m assuming that because 1 Av is so close by, the MTA does not see a need to build another entrance a block away.

Also, assuming the Second Av Subway is built before Manhattan is finally flooded by rising sea levels*, they might not want to build an entrance at 2 Av before the engineering plans for the SAS station are finished.

*cue photos from An Inconvenient Truth

Rich B December 17, 2014 - 3:45 pm

Ah, that’s a very good point about the Second Ave Subway.

Adrienne February 25, 2015 - 3:20 pm

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