At this point in our saga, the monthly release of the MTA Board books presents another opportunity to find out that the 7 line extension opening has been delayed. In March, the Board saw a fancy presentation with photos from the completed but unopened station while MTA Capital Construction officials noted that opening may not be until the start of the third quarter. In this month’s Transit committee meetings, we learn that the project is now officially delayed until the third quarter of 2015. The MTA hasn’t said if July 1 or September 30 will be the opening, but they expect the great unveiling to be some time in that time period.
This month’s materials don’t go into the same detail as previous updates. After all, the MTA’s Capital Program Oversight Committee has a variety of projects that require oversight, and they can’t all be as comically delayed as the 7 line extension. But we know that the vent fans, some alarm systems, escalators and inclined elevators have been at the root of the delay. Some of these are systems the MTA opted not to purchase off the shelf due to a combination of low bid requirements, Made in America obligations and sheer stubbornness.
Meanwhile, the one-stop extension — without, of course, the station at 41st St. and 10th Ave. that would have dramatically improved this project’s overall value — will now open more than 16 months before outgoing Mayor Bloomberg basically forced the MTA to conduct a ceremonial ride as part of his valedictory lap around the city. Because the area is still under development and considered Manhattan’s final frontier, few residents are up in arms over the delay. The project simply wasn’t disruptive to a densely-populated area.
The Second Ave. Subway, the MTA says, is still scheduled to open in December of 2016, but if similar delays happen on the Upper East Side — and remember, the feds have never revised their own estimate of an early 2018 opening for Phase 1 of the Second Ave. Subway — a powerful and vocal group of Manhattanites will not go quietly into the night. The 7 line opening date is a farce; the Second Ave. Subway could be much, much worse.
In its latest Board committee materials, the MTA let slip some news. The 7 line extension, that Moby Dick of subway expansion projects, won’t be ready for revenue service officially until the third quarter of this year. That means it could open as early as July and as late as September 30. We’ll find out soon enough when that date will be.
That’s the bad news, but the good news is that Transit is adding service to a few subway lines this fall. The 2, 7, L and M lines will all see new service while the D will lose a round trip due to the MTA’s self-established load guidelines. Here’s how the agency put it in a press release on Friday:
The most significant increase will be seven new weekday round trips between 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the L line, which experienced the greatest ridership growth at all hours in 2014. The new service will reduce the average time between trains to 5 minutes for the entire period between the morning and evening rush hours. NYC Transit last added service on the L line in fall 2014 with 56 more weekend round trips and an increase in weekday evening service.
The 7 line will see two additional new round trips on weeknights between 8 p.m. and 10:20 p.m., reducing the average time between trains to under 4½ minutes. The 2 line will also add two new weeknight round trips between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., reducing the average time between trains to 7½ minutes The M line will add one round trip on weekdays, reducing the average time between trains to 7½ minutes between 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m…
Following [the loading] guidelines, weekday service on the D line will decrease by one round trip split between the morning and evening rush hours. This will increase the average time to 10 minutes between 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. for Brooklyn-bound D trains and between 5:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. for Bronx-bound D trains.
The MTA says these changes will cost $1.6 million per year — a pittance compared to the agency’s overall budget — and the service increases show that Transit is “making the most of its resources to deliver service that accurately reflects ridership in growing areas.” I’m not so keen on decreasing service on the D, even by only a train, but by and large, this is all good news.
Meanwhile, after the jump, this weekend’s service changes. Read More→
Due to the fact that the MTA has burned through leaders at a rate of nearly one per year over the last six years, Tom Prendergast, on the job only for two years, was nearing the end of the current six-year term when news broke this morning that Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to reappoint him. The Governor let the word drop this morning during a breakfast speech in front of the Association for a Better New York, and in comments Prendergast made to the press later in the day, the MTA chief received the word the same way the rest of us did — through breaking news straight from Cuomo’s mouth at the breakfast. Now, the MTA may get some much-needed stability at a time when it’s searching for an even more badly-needed $15 billion in capital funding.
Thanks to politicking and such, Prendergast’s current term is actually the end of Jay Walder’s six-year appointment. That term began in 2009 when Lee Sander and Dale Hemmerdinger were forced out, and the bifurcated MTA Executive Director and MTA Board Chair positions were merged. Walder gave way to Joe Lhota, and City Hall ambitions led Lhota to step down. Now, Prendergast, 62, will get his own six-year term and the opportunity to leave a lasting mark on the MTA. Advocated had endorsed this move in March, and I think it’s a good one. I’ll have more once Cuomo puts out the official word; the Governor’s full speech is available on YouTube.
A bunch of years ago, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg released his comprehensive plan for New York City’s immediate future. Awkwardly called PlaNYC, it introduced the city to the idea of a congestion pricing charge for Manhattan’s Central Business District and tied in the revenue from this fee to transit upgrades designed to secure the city’s environmental future while cutting down on crippling congestion. The centerpiece failed, but the overall master plan concept has stuck around. It was refreshed four years ago and overhauled this year as Mayor Bill de Blasio released OneNYC on Wednesday.
The idea behind OneNYC is similar to PlaNYC but with de Blasio’s imprint. It is concerned with raising New Yorkers out of poverty while paying nod to growth, sustainability and resilience. While politicians sometimes hate to admit it, all four of these goals are focused around mobility, and transit necessarily has to grab the spotlight. In his OneNYC report [pdf], de Blasio doesn’t mention congestion pricing or the Move New York plan. In fact, he later claimed, perhaps to save political capital in the face of a recalcitrant governor, that he’s never read the Move New York proposal. But de Blasio did turn his attention to transit.
“Reliable and convenient transit access to employment and other activities remains stubbornly out of reach for too many New Yorkers. This problem is particularly acute for low- and moderate-income residents in areas poorly served by the subway or buses. For seniors and those with disabilities, this can affect their ability to simply get groceries, or see family and friends,” the report notes.
To correct these problems, the Mayor’s Office offers up some familiar solutions. The report discusses the new citywide ferry network that won’t actually correct the problems, and it again reiterates plans to bring 20 new Select Bus Service routes to the city within the next three years. Where things get interesting though is with the MTA’s unfunded capital plan. The OneNYC report says the city will “support full funding of the MTA capital plan.” The report dances around direct fiscal support though and states that “the City will also work closely with the MTA to identify significant savings and improve operational coordination in areas of common interest, such as bus rapid transit, other bus services, and Access-a-Ride. Any savings we achieve together can be leveraged to create new capital support for the MTA.”
In exchange for this support, the city wants something. They always do. In this instance, the city proposes the bombshell: a study of a subway down Utica Ave. in Brooklyn. The report calls for faster CBTC adoption, new or reopened entrances that are ADA-compliant, randomly a free transfer between the Livonia Ave./Junius St. L and 3 stations, and subway-fication of the LIRR between Jamaica and Atlantic Ave. after East Side Access opens. But the Utica Ave. line is the centerpiece.
The document doesn’t go too far here. The mayor wants simply “a study to explore the expansion of the subway system south along Utica Avenue in Brooklyn, one of the densest areas of the city without direct access to the subway,” and on its face, it’s exciting that someone in City Hall is talking about this idea in an official document. It is so far unclear how a Utica Ave. subway would take shape. It could involve an extension of the 4 train from the Eastern Parkway line. It could call back to Second System plans to run trains from 2nd Ave. through South 4th St. and, eventually, down Utica Ave. But there you have it.
As The Times noted, this is far from the first time this idea has arisen. A Utica Ave. subway was part of the early 1900s plans for the subway and were included in expansion plans in the 1920s, 1930s and 1960s. Another study today seems like overkill, but it’s the first step toward securing funding. It’s a very preliminary first step though.
In discussing this idea, the transit cognoscenti were surprised. “No one expected this,” the Rudin Center’s Mitchell Moss said to The Times. “It’s refreshing to see a proposal to extend mass transit into areas of Brooklyn that are transit-deprived. It’s obviously an idea that will take more than a decade to be carried out, but you have to start with an idea.”
The challenges being right there. One of the reasons why politicians are so hesitant to embrace these ambitious plans concerns timing. If it’s going to take a decade or more from start to finish, those who appear at the ribbon cutting won’t be those who did the heavy lifting and secured the dollars. There is no political incentive to push through infrastructure projects if the only photo op will be a staged event 18 months before the real opening date (cough cough 7 line extension cough cough).
But there are other challenges too. The next concerns money. Who’s funding this subway extension? How? The last concerns priorities. The MTA has its own capital program wishlist and a 20-year needs assessment. The Utica Ave. subway featured on none of those documents, and adding it to the capital plan means more money would be required and more demands made. The MTA has identified the Second Ave. Subway as a need; the Mayor wants Outer Borough support and has plans for Utica Ave. It’s a push and pull that gets resolved through money.
So that’s the plan for One New York. A Utica Ave. subway would be intriguing, but without a new and dedicated East River tunnel, it would create more a capacity problem on whichever line the extension would be a part of. It faces many, many challenges, but it’s a start. At least someone’s talking about it.
While drilling down on the 2014 ridership numbers earlier this week, I couldn’t get past the sheer volume of people using the subway each day. It’s hard to conceptualize 5.6 million every day, let alone the 29 weekdays last year with over 6 million riders, and that makes it very hard to figure out a solution for the MTA’s capacity woes that doesn’t involve multi-billion-dollar, decades-long construction efforts.
The easiest thing to do is for me to reel off a bunch of numbers. Times Square saw a whopping 7000 more riders per day last year than over 2013 and over 25,000 more per day in 2014 than in 2009. Grand Central saw a bump of 4000 entrances per day; the new Fulton St. saw nearly 5000 new swipes. Court Square saw nearly 2000 more entrances, and Bedford Ave. on the L, already beyond crowded, witnessed 1300 new swipes. What the Domino Sugar Factory development will mean for L train ridership is up for debate.
But numbers tend to lose their meanings after a while. New Yorkers know the subways are crowded because we’re down there every day. We know that the time to get space on the Manhattan-bound Q from Brooklyn is even earlier or later than it used to be, and we know we can forget about that seat. We know that trying to take a train up or down Lexington Ave. at 6 p.m. is a fool’s errand. We see trains on the weekend that are packed, and we remember when late-night meant empty cars instead of crowded platforms.
While discussing these ridership numbers on Twitter on Monday, a few people were surprised to hear the subway’s popularity were going up in light of the introduction of cab-hail apps such of Uber and Lyft and the raise in popularity of Citi Bike. It’s true that these services serve a purpose and an important one, but to get back to the numbers, they don’t do much for subway ridership. The car-hailing apps have cut into the supremacy of medallioned yellow cabs, but the price point for these services places them well beyond the reach of New Yorkers who rely on the subways day in and day out.
If anything, CitiBike may be able to solve some of the MTA’s capacity problems, others have argued, but the scales don’t line up. The overall subway network has an average ridership of 5.6 million with peaks of over 6 million. On its most popular day — which aligned with a day that saw subway ridership peak as well — New Yorkers took 39,000 rides on Citi Bike. That means Citi Bike accounted for barely six-tenths of one percent of subway ridership, and on average, that figure is closer to three-tenths of one percent.
A sampling of the Citi Bike travel logs suggests, anecdotally at least, that most riders aren’t duplicating subway rides. Even though more than half say their rides are replacing a subway fare, most are crosstown or otherwise replaces buses or walking routes. Furthermore, the crowding issues, particularly on the Lexington Ave. line, begin and end well outside of the current (or any planned) Citi Bike region. The scales just don’t line up.
The truth is that CitiBike can help around the margins. If 2 people out of 1000 opt against taking the 6 train from Grand Central to Union Square, then a few people may be able to get on a train rather than letting it pass. But CitiBike is a solution for the last-mile problem, not the MTA’s current first-mile problem.
To solve the capacity problems requires cost cutting and an infusion of capital dollars. It requires faster construction timelines and a more aggressive plan to bring real bus rapid transit — and not some souped-up express bus service with pre-board fare payment — to New York City. It will require taking an actual stand on political issues that resonant with subway riders, a constituency with great numbers but less access and money than those who aren’t regular subway riders. It’s not easy but it’s necessary. Otherwise, the subways will suffer from the Yogi Berra problem: “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”
I’ve used this line before, but here we go: If the subways seem more crowded than ever, that’s because they are. Transit released its final 2014 ridership figures on Monday, and the increase in ridership hasn’t slowed. Overall, ridership jumped by 2.6 percent over 2013, and 1.751 billion people rode the subways, a level not seen in 65 years. It’s amazing then that politicians like to act as though the subways don’t exist — or should be used only as a prop — when they power New York City.
On a daily basis, the crush is obvious. The subways average 5.6 million riders per weekday and around 6 million on Saturday and Sunday combined. Ridership is up by nearly 500,000 people per day since the depths of the recession in 2009 and by over 2 million riders per day over the past 30 years. That’s insane growth considering the system hasn’t added any significant new service since then.
“The renaissance of the New York City subway is a miracle for those who remember the decrepit system of the 1970s and the 1980s, but moving more than 6 million customers a day means even minor disruptions now can create major delays,” MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said in a statement accompanying the ridership figures. “We are aggressively working to combat delays and improve maintenance, but the ultimate solution requires investing in infrastructure upgrades such as Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) signaling systems to accommodate every one of our growing number of customers.”
On a granular level, the change in ridership mirrors long-standing patterns. Areas with massive population growth and development — Long Island City, Williamsburg, Bushwick — have driven ridership gains on nearby subway lines. Overall, Brooklyn led the charge with an increase of 31,000 riders per day while Manhattan entrances jumped by 2.5%, Bronx by 2.1% and Queens by 1.9%. Every single L train station saw ridership gains with Bushwick stations seeing double-digit percentage growth. The MTA attributed the jump, in part, to the CBTC installation which has allowed for more frequent service.
Meanwhile, the M line — rerouted in 2010 to cover for the dearly departed V train — saw ridership jump by around six percent at stations between Marcy and Metropolitan Avenues. The M in fact has led to a growth in ridership by nearly 25 percent throughout its corridor though it’s tough to separate that jump from the overall ridership increase brought on by an improving economy. Meanwhile, ridership in Long Island City grew by 12 percent as well, and the 7 line will see more new riders when the extension to Hudson Yards finally opens sometime ever. In the Bronx, the 2 and 5 led the way with 3.7 percent growth, and in Manhattan, the 2 and 3 set the pace with similar numbers.
Meanwhile, indirectly through Prendergast’s statement and directly from the mouth’s of the city’s transit advocates, the ridership numbers gave those fighting for dollars another platform to call for funding. The Tri-State Transportation Campaign:
The New York City subway system is one of the region’s most valuable assets, but with the delays and crowds that characterize the commutes of millions of daily riders, it is easy to underappreciate. Today’s news that subway ridership increased by 2.6 percent in 2014 is both a significant milestone celebrating the progress and popularity of the system over the decades, but potentially a harbinger of bad news if more investment is not made in the system.
The plan that outlines such investments, the 2015-2019 MTA capital program, has a $14 billion gap. The improvements that reduce delays and crowds are on the chopping block as a result.
As legislators return to session in Albany this week, addressing this gap must be one of their top priorities. This plan outlines the train, track, signal, technology, bus, and station projects that will mitigate delays, crowds and deteriorating service across the entire MTA system.
The New York Ci†y’s subways are giving us a degree of mobility unparalleled in America, with access to jobs, family and what makes New York City so appealing. So whether it’s a hipster going clubbing along the L line or tourists from Texas trying a new budget hotel in Queens, we welcome you – and demand that transit officials take action to make our commuting lives bearable.
The Riders Alliance:
People are taking the subway at levels we haven’t seen for generations. Our elected officials should be falling over each other to invest in better subway and bus service, to serve the eight million people who take the subway and bus every day. Instead, there’s a debate about whether to invest even the basic funds required to prevent the subways from deteriorating further. New Yorkers are voting with their Metrocards and relying on public transit more each year. It’s time for Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers to listen to the crowd and increase transit funding to match riders’ needs. If they don’t, riders are in for a future of more delays, dangerous crowding and higher fares. With more people than ever relying on public transit, that shouldn’t be Governor Cuomo’s vision for public transit in New York.
As voters do indeed vote with their Metrocards, is anyone listening? Even as alternatives bloom — CitiBike, Uber, Lyft — six million people per day can’t really be wrong.
Since my office is now across the street from Grand Central, I’ve had a front-row view of the work at 1 Vanderbilt. In a way, it’s a peek into the potential future of MTA financing. As the old building goes down and a new skyscraper takes its place, we should ask if this model of value-capture is sufficient and sustainable. The new developers of the new building will guarantee at least $210 million in upgrades for the Grand Central subway stop, but is this truly a model that the city can replicate on a grand scale while addressing the needs of growing demand for transit?
The idea behind the funding for the transit improvements at 1 Vanderbilt is simple: In exchange for permission to construct the 68-story tower, SL Green will contribute a few hundred million to fancy up the Grand Central subway station. The dank Lexington Ave. line will see improved street level access, more platform space and a larger mezzanine. Ideally, these changes will help the station better handle both current passenger loads and anticipated increases in ridership brought about by the new building, the East Side rezoning and the eventual opening of the East Side Access project.
Transit advocates seem to like the idea. On Friday, Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers and John Raskin of the Riders Alliance published an Op-Ed in the Daily News calling upon the city to pursue this type of funding on a wider scale. They write:
Over time, especially with systematic disinvestment from the federal government, we’ll need more funds to fill the gap. One promising source is sitting right there in underdeveloped land near the subway. Think of it as a kind of “value capture”: Landowners seek permission for large-scale bonuses to how big they can build. In return, they must offer transit improvements. In the past, many of the changes have been modest, as anyone stuck at the bottom of a non-working private escalator in the subways can tell you. We must be more demanding…
If we extend it to far more projects, the One Vanderbilt model could eventually bring in hundreds of millions of dollars as the city considers a new generation of super skyscrapers. (It’s true that real estate does pay citywide taxes that fund transit. But these are like the broad-based transit taxes on drivers, corporations and consumers — not tied to specific improvements.)
Many communities around New York City owe their existence to our number one capital asset — our subways. How fitting that desperately-needed subway aid should come from our number one home town industry, real estate.
In theory, it’s hard to oppose this deal. Mega-towers will likely tax the subways around them, and the MTA shouldn’t be left holding the bag as developers walk away with millions of dollars from these new towers. But in practice, I’m not yet convinced it’s a sustainable model for MTA funding.
The problem concerns, as Raskin and Russianoff put it, “underdeveloped land near the subway.” Is there enough underdeveloped land to generate enough revenue for the MTA to build multi-billion-dollar subway extensions? The land, for instance, around the Triboro RX line isn’t zoned for developments big enough to help offset anything more than a token amount of the costs, and asking developers in corridors with lower value than Midtown Manhattan may not be a fruitful exercise. This may work in Manhattan — and could help parts of additional phases of the Second Ave. Subway — but beyond that, I’m skeptical.
The MTA’s problems regard cost and sustainability. Can the MTA get a handle on its absurd capital costs? And is there a geographically neutral way to fund transit that doesn’t simply lead to more money for Manhattan and less for growing Outer Borough areas equally as overburdened? The 1 Vanderbilt model is a component to a capital funding plan, but it’s unlikely to be a panacea without significant other pieces.
So there’s really no good way around this, but for the next five weeks, there’s no L train service between Brooklyn and Manhattan. This is unavoidable work, but it’s definitely not ideal. The L’s weekend ridership across the river is nearly as high as it is during the week, and the alternative subway service options — the G to Queens, the J to Lower Manhattan, and sometimes the M through Manhattan — aren’t exactly up to standards. The MTA should run the M to Midtown at all hours during this shutdown, but accordingly to their website, this option is available only during the day.
The work, according to Transit, will involve a “number of critical repair, cleaning, and maintenance jobs necessary to keep the line in a state of good repair.” It will also involve “replacement of components, inspection and servicing of fire safety systems, water remediation, pump room improvements, and asbestos abatement.”
All in all, though, this is a tough time for this work (though no time is convenient). With temperatures forecast to be in the 70s on Saturday, Smorgasburg will kick into gear but without an L train. Some vendors have organized a shuttle service, but it too is sporadic at best. So this is the new normal between now and the weekend of May 15.
From 11:30 p.m. Friday, April 17 to 4:00 a.m. Monday, April 20, 1 trains are suspended in both directions between 96 St and 242 St-Van Cortlandt Park. AC trains, M3, M100, and free shuttle buses provide alternate service. For service between 96 St and 168 St, use free shuttle buses or the AC at nearby stations. For service between 168 St and 191 St, use the M3 or free shuttle buses. For service between Inwood-207 St and Van Cortlandt-242 St, take free shuttle buses. Transfer between buses and A trains at Inwood-207 St and between A and 1 trains at 59 St-Columbus Circle.
From 6:30 a.m. to 12 midnight, Saturday and Sunday, April 18 and April 19, 3 trains are suspended in both directions between Franklin Av and New Lots Av. Use 4 trains and free shuttle buses instead. Free shuttle buses operate all weekend between Crown Hts-Utica Av and New Lots Av, making all stops. Transfer between 23 and 4 trains at Franklin Av. Transfer between 4 trains and free shuttle buses at Crown Hts-Utica Av. 4 trains run local between Franklin Av and Crown Hts-Utica Av all weekend.
From 11:45 p.m. Friday, April 17 to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, April 19, and from 11:45 p.m. Sunday, April 19 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 20, Crown Hts-Utica Av bound 4 trains run express from Grand Central-42 St to 125 St. Woodlawn-bound 4 trains run express from 14 St-Union Sq to Grand Central-42 St due to CPM ADA platform work at 23 St.
From 11:30 p.m. Friday, April 17 to 7:30 a.m. Sunday, April 19, and from 11:30 p.m. Sunday, April 19 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 20, 4 trains are suspended in both directions between Crown Hts-Utica Av and New Lots Av. Free shuttle buses provide alternate service all weekend between Crown Hts-Utica Av and New Lots Av, making all 3 Line station stops.
From 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Saturday, April 18, and from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Sunday, April 19, 5 trains run every 20 minutes between Eastchester-Dyre Av and Bowling Green.
From 11:45 p.m. Friday, April 17, to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 20, Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall bound 6 trains run express from 125 St to Grand Central-42 St.
From 11:45 p.m. Friday, April 17, to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 20, Pelham Bay Park-bound 6 trains run express from 14 St-Union Sq to Grand Central-42 St.
From 11:45 p.m. Friday, April 17 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 20, A trains are suspended in both directions between Ozone Park-Lefferts Blvd and Rockaway Blvd. Free shuttle buses provide alternate service via 80 St. Howard Beach/Far Rockaway-bound A trains skip 88 St.
- For service to 88 St, take the A to 80 St and transfer to free shuttle buses.
- For service from 88 St toward the Rockaways, take a Brooklyn-bound A to 80 St and transfer to a Howard Beach/Far Rockaway-bound A.
- A service operates between Inwood-207 St and Howard Beach/Far Rockaway.
- 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 shuttle buses and A trains at 80 St.
From 11:45 p.m. Friday, April 17, to 11:59 p.m. Saturday, April 18, Norwood-205 St bound D trains run express from 145 St to Tremont Av.
From 3:45 a.m. Saturday, April 18 to 10:00 p.m. Sunday, April 19, Norwood-205 St bound D trains are rerouted on the N line from Coney Island-Stillwell Av to 36 St.
From 12:15 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 18 and 19, and from 12:15 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 20, Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer bound E trains run express from Queens Plaza to Forest Hills-71 Av.
From 12:15 a.m. Saturday, April 18 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 20, Jamaica Center- Parsons/Archer bound E trains skip 75 Av and Van Wyck Blvd. To 75 Av, take the E to Union Tpke and transfer to a Manhattan-bound E or F. To Van Wyck Blvd, take the E to Jamaica-Van Wyck and transfer to a World Trade Center-bound E. From these stations, take the E or F to Union Tpke or 71 Av and transfer to a Jamaica Center-bound E.
From 12:30 a.m. Saturday, April 18 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 20, World Trade Center-bound E trains run local from Forest Hills-71 Av to Roosevelt Av.
From 10:45 p.m. Friday, April 17 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 20, Jamaica-179 St bound F trains skip 75 Av, Briarwood-Van Wyck Blvd, and Sutphin Blvd.
From 12:30 a.m. Saturday, April 18 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 20, Coney Island-Stillwell Av bound F trains run local from Forest Hills-71 Av to Roosevelt Av.
From 5:45 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday, April 18 and Sunday, April 19, Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer bound J trains run express from Myrtle Av to Broadway Junction.
From 11:30 p.m. Friday, April 17 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 20, L trains are suspended in both directions between 8 Av and Lorimer St.
- L service operates between Lorimer St and Rockaway Pkwy.
- M service is extended to the 57 St F station, days and evenings.
- Free shuttle buses operate between Lorimer St and the Broadway G station, stopping at Bedford Av, Marcy Av J/M, and Hewes St J/M.
- Transfer between free shuttle buses and J/M trains at Marcy Av or Hewes St.
- Consider using the A or J to/from Manhattan via transfer at Broadway Junction or the M via transfer at Myrtle-Wyckoff Avs.
- M14A buses provide alternate service along 14 St between 8 Av and 1 Av, and connect with the JM at Delancey-Essex Sts station.
From 6:30 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Saturday April 18, and 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Sunday, April 19, M service is extended to the 57 St F line station.
From 10:45 p.m. Friday, April 17 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 20, Manhattan-bound Q trains run express from Kings Hwy to Prospect Park.
From 6:30 a.m. to 12 Midnight, Saturday, April 18 and Sunday, April 19, Forest Hills-71 Av bound R trains run express from Queens Plaza to Forest Hills-71 Av.
In a bill some (OK, so far, just me) have called “underwhelming” and the “bare minimum of support for public transit,” the City Council passed a measure this week requiring NYC DOT to . . . write a report about Bus Rapid Transit and submit it to them in two years. DOT will have to update this report every few years and maybe implement some of the bus routes they identify in the report. But whether these are bus rapid transit routes, Select Bus Service or some watered down version of everything remains to be seen.
OK, OK. Perhaps I’m being a bit too cynical. Perhaps I’m predisposed to think anything short of monetary and policy support in the face of loud protests from drivers and inanities from vocal Community Board members have led me to view City Council through a biased lens, but perhaps I’m not so far off. At a time when transit advocates are struggling to drum up support for anything related to the MTA’s capital plan or an expansion of our transit network and a time when the subways are sagging under the demands of record ridership, the City Council’s measure, two years in the making, strikes me as something that should have been implemented a decade ago.
Here’s what the legislation does:
- DOT has to consult with the MTA. (n.b. DOT already consults with the MTA.)
- DOT has to issue a report by September 1, 2017 identifying areas of New York that need BRT (all of them), strategies for serving growth areas, potential additional inter- or intra-borough BRT corridors that may be established by 2027 (ambitious!), strategies for integration with the current bus network, and costs.
- Every two years thereafter, DOT has to provide status updates on implementation and explain why DOT deviated if it did. No word if “whiny Community Board members who can’t sacrifice 30 seconds of their drive to Vermont” is a valid excuse.
When you consider that Brad Lander first introduced this bill back in 2013, it’s amazing that anything gets done with regards to transit in a city that sees a combined 8 million bus and subway rides per day. That this is some crowning achievement is telling. And therein lies in the rub and the source of my skepticism. This move essentially codifies DOT’s current practice, but it does nothing to speed up implementation of BRT or SBS routes. It certainly doesn’t encourage best practices — proof of payment throughout the system or pre-board fare payment on every popular route. It also doesn’t bolster DOT’s efforts at overcoming minority resistance to a better bus network.
Over at Streetsblog, Stephen Miller picked up on that latter point as while City Council passed this toothless bill, DOT trimmed back plans for a BRT/SBS corridor through Kew Gardens to Flushing over concerns from a very loud minority. He summarized the problem in a few sentences:
Meanwhile, Miller’s neighboring council member, Rory Lancman, can claim victory in his fight against Flushing-Jamaica Select Bus Service. At a meeting of the Kew Gardens Hills Civic Association last night, DOT said it would not be adding bus lanes to Main Street in that neighborhood.
“We had a very productive community meeting last night,” said Lancman spokesperson Nadia Chait. “The council member found that in that situation the DOT and the MTA had really listened to the community.”
The city encountered vocal opposition to bus lanes from Lancman and Assembly Member Michael Simanowitz. Actual bus riders, however, seem to be missing from the discussion: At a public meeting about Flushing-Jamaica SBS earlier this year heavily attended by civic association members, most people said they rarely ride the bus.
This is a story repeated throughout the city. In Harlem, politicians afraid of losing a driving lane and those entrenched Community Board members claim a bus lane would affect traffic based on the fact that they drive through the area rather than based on traffic engineers’ studies. So tens of thousands of bus riders have longer rides while a few hundred drivers stand to benefit instead. That’s not how a city of transit riders excels or expands its network. But hey, at least we’ll read a bureaucrat’s report on this whole mess every two years. After all, that’s what the City Council demands.
Warning: For those with sensitive ears or no headphones at their desk, the video contains some NSFW language.
Early on Wednesday morning, this video from Above Average started making the rounds, and it truly hits at something every subway rider thinks at least once or twice. To some note a few years ago, Transit’s automated announcements stopped apologize for unavoidable delays and simply started thanking riders for their patience. It was a sea change in the psychology of MTA announcements, and while it hasn’t solved the problem of unavoidable delays, the MTA is no longer apologizing on a regular basis for what they view as normal operating conditions.
Above Average has taken that concept to its comedic end as their video features a monologue from a conductor who is definitely not apologizing for a delay. “From now on,” she says, “we’re no longer going to apologize when we have nothing to be sorry for.” It’s the blunt approach to the MTA’s own shift in tone.
My favorite part of the video is the truth bomb. As the subway riders grow leery of the hijacked announcement, the conductor grows more petulant. “If you don’t like it,” she says after excoriating the passengers to act like adults, “you can go to some other city with a sh***ier subway system. Oh right, that’s every other city.” Spoken like a true New Yorker.