It’s the last weekend for Black 47, a New York institution of this year and a lost era. Check out the link if you’ve never heard of them. They deserve the attention.

Anyway, for the rest of you, here are this weekend’s service advisories. We’re 39 days from Christmas. These will start to slow down soon.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, November 14 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 17, 2 trains will not run in Brooklyn. Take the 5 instead. 2 service operates between E 180 St and Chambers St, and are rerouted via the 1 between Chambers St and Rector St. 5 trains run between Flatbush Av-Brooklyn College and E 180 St.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, November 14 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 17, 3 trains will not run in Brooklyn. Take the 4 instead. 3 service operates express all weekend between Harlem-148 St and 14 St.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, November 14 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 17, 4 service is extended to New Lots Av. 4 service operates all weekend between Woodlawn and New Lots Av, replacing the 3. 4 trains will run local in Brooklyn.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, November 14 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 17, 5 trains are suspended in both directions between Eastchester-Dyre Av and E 180 St. Free shuttle buses operate all weekend between Eastchester-Dyre Av and E 180 St, stopping at Baychester Av, Gun Hill Rd, Pelham Pkwy, and Morris Park.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, November 14 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 17, Brooklyn Bridge-bound 6 trains run express from Hunters Point Av to 3Av-138 St.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, November 14 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 17, 7 trains are suspended between Times Sq-42 St and Queensboro Plaza. Use EFNQ trains between Manhattan and Queens. Free shuttle buses make all stops between Vernon Blvd-Jackson Av and Queensboro Plaza. The 42 Street S shuttle operates overnight. Q service is extended to Ditmars Blvd from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 15, and from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 16.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, November 14, to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, November 16, and from 11:45 p.m. Sunday, November 16 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 17, Queens-bound A trains run express from 145 St to 59 St-Columbus Circle.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, November 15 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 17, Inwood-207 St bound A trains run local from Canal St to 168 St.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, November 14 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 17, Brooklyn-bound A trains skip 104 St and 111 St. For service to this station use the Q112 bus, or take a Brooklyn-bound A train to Rockaway Blvd and transfer to a Lefferts Blvd-bound A. For service from this station, take a Lefferts Blvd-bound A train to Lefferts Blvd, transfer to a Brooklyn-bound A.


From 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Saturday, November 15 and Sunday, November 16 Euclid Av-bound C trains run express from 145 St to 59 St-Columbus Circle.


From 10:45 p.m. Friday, November 14 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 17, Norwood-205 St bound D trains run express from 145 St to Tremont Av.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, November 14 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 17, Coney Island-Stillwell Av bound D trains are rerouted on the N line from 36 St to Coney Island-Stillwell Av.


From 11:00 p.m. Friday, November 14 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 17, D trains run trains run local between DeKalb Av and 36 St.


From 9:45 p.m. Friday, November 14 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 17, Jamaica-179 St bound F trains are rerouted via the M line from 47-50 Sts/Rock Ctr to Roosevelt Av.


From 5:45 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday, November 15, and Sunday, November 16, J trains are suspended between Hewes St and Essex St in both directions. Free shuttle buses provide alternate service between Hewes St and Essex St, stopping at Marcy Av. For direct service between Brooklyn and Manhattan, consider using the AC or L via transfer at Broadway Junction.


From 5:45 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday, November 15, and Sunday, November 16, M trains are suspended between Myrtle Av and Essex St in both directions. Take the JL and/or free shuttle buses instead. Free shuttle buses provide alternate service between Hewes St and Essex St, stopping at Marcy Av. For direct service to/from Manhattan, use the L via transfer at Myrtle-Wyckoff Avs.


From 11:00 p.m. Friday, November 14 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 17, N trains run local from DeKalb Av and 59 St.


From 10:45 p.m. Friday, November 14 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 17, 57 St-7 Av bound Q trains run express from Kings Hwy to Prospect Park.


From 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Saturday, November 15, and from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sunday, November 16, Q service is extended to Astoria-Ditmars Blvd.

42 St Shuttle
From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, November 15, to 6:00 a.m. Monday, November 10, the 42 St S Shuttle operates overnight.

Categories : Service Advisories
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It’s now been two days since the $1.4 billion Fulton St. Transit Center opened, and in New York, that’s an eternity. Instagram has filled up with photos of the Fulton oculus, the subway system’s newest attraction, and reviews running the gamut are coming in. I offered a first look on Sunday night with photos and a skeptical essay on the way New York and, more importantly, the federal government spends its transit dollars. Tonight, let’s run through what this thing really is.

What is the Fulton Street Transit Center?

Located on Broadway between John and Fulton Street, the Transit Center is a fully ADA-compliant, multi-story building that sits atop the massive Fulton St. subway station. The $1.4 billion rehab project involved reimagining the underground areas that were a confusing tangle of dimly-lit ramps that traversed multiple train lines built by a variety of private entities at varying depths. The new Transit Center untangles this mess as best it can and provides a much smoother transfer between the 4/5 and the A/C, the key choke point in the station.

Right now, the Transit Center itself is devoid of another other than empty space, but it has 30,000 square feet of retail space that will begin to fill up in early 2015. Space ranges from 200-700 square feet all the way up to one space of 8000 square feet and one space of 10,000 square feet. Westfield is working on leasing the retail spots and hopes to attract a restaurant for one the spaces and a big-name anchor tenant (such as Apple) for the other big spot. Retail kiosks will fill some of the floor space as well, and Westfield is in charge of maintenance and cleanliness. Essentially, the headhouse is a mall.

You’re the saying this isn’t the big white thing near 1 World Trade Center that looks like a porcupine?

No, sorry. That’s Santiago Calatrava’s $4 billion World Trade Center PATH Hub, a project offering even less bang for the buck than this one that also happens to feature extensive retail space.

Inside the Fulton St. Transit Center. (Photo by Benjamin Kabak)

So who designed and built this thing?

As the Port Authority went with a troubled starchitect for its project, the MTA used three architects of record: Grimshaw, Page Ayres Cowley, and HDR Daniel Frankfurt. The project was originally supposed to be completed seven years ago, but after engineering work proved more difficult and original designs too expensive, the MTA had to redesign the project on the go. These three firms led that effort.

Why didn’t the MTA build a 25-story mixed use building to better capitalize on the demand for real estate in New York City

That is literally the multi-million-dollar question. At a time when space is going for record dollar values and the MTA has to maximize its revenue potential, it had an opportunity to build up. Instead, the building is relatively short with only parts of four floor reserved for retail use. Together with the Corbin Building the MTA is realizing revenue streams of only 60,000 square feet for commercial and retail use.

What exactly is the Corbin Building?

Located next to the Fulton St. Transit Center, the 1888 Corbin Building was constructed as a proto-skyscraper for one-time LIRR President Austin Corbin. The building includes Guastavino tile structural floor arches visible from an escalator and a variety of terra cotta elements popular in the late 19th century. At the time, it was built in one year, a stark contrast to the 12 years it took modern crews to complete the Fulton St. project. The MTA had to spend a lot of time carefully underpinning the Corbin Building to install the necessary escalators and crews found a stock trade records from the 1880s during the work.

Westfield, the company in charge of renting out the retail space in the main Transit Center building, is also tasked with finding takers for the office space in the Corbin Building. The building contains approximately 30,000 square feet. A few years ago, I saw the inside, and it’s an interestingly narrow space that’s sure to attract tenants rather quickly.

These panels in the center of the atrium will one day have touch screens. (Photo by Benjamin Kabak)

How is this the “Station of the Future”?

The MTA is calling this the subway station of the future, and that’s because of the technology involved. With 340 security cameras, it’s one of the most watched stations in the subway system, and it features numerous video ad boards, 16 On The Go kiosks and other information screens. All in all, the building now has 52 digital displays, two jumbo screens (one that’s 32×18 and another 24×16) and ads as far as the eye can see. The MTA can always take control of these screens in the event of an emergency, and the screens split time with an MTA Arts & Design digital video.

The Sky Reflector Net rings the Fulton St. oculus. (Photo by Benjamin Kabak)

Tell me about this oculus.

Towering 110 feet above street level, the 53-foot diameter glass oculus is the main draw. It serves to bring daylight down into the depths of the subway and features the art installation called “Sky Reflector Night.” Designed by James Carpenter Design Associates, Grimsahw Architects and Arup, the 4000-pound cable net includes 952 alumninum panels that each geometrically unique. It will instantly become an icon of New York City.

The mezzanine above the former Broadway/Nassau stop is wide and well lit, a welcome change from its previous incarnation. (Photo by Benjamin Kabak)

What about the station? I still have to walk up and down stairs. What gives?

In a rather amusing/oblivious bit from The Post, Steve Cuozzo issued my favorite critique of the Transit Center to date. Instantly forgetting how dismal the old station was, Cuozzo had this say: “No matter how it’s prettied up, there’s simply no way to shorten the long trek from the Nos. 4, 5 and 6 East Side lines under Broadway to the J and Z lines several blocks west. And you’ll still climb stairs.”

Of course you’ll still climb stairs! The MTA didn’t invent a time machine to head back to the early 1900s in order to force the BMT, IND and IRT to design a better station experience. The A and C trains are still a few stories below the 4 and 5 and the 2 and 3. The BMT trains that run underneath Nassau St. still bisect the the passageway that would otherwise connect the 2 and 3 to the 4 and 5 via a walkway above the A and C. It ain’t perfect, but it’s much easier to navigate.

How many people are going to use this?

That’s a good question. The MTA materials all claim 300,000 per day, but current entries at Fulton St. are only in the 65,000 range. Will an additional 235,000 subway riders per day use this station as a transfer point? That seems awfully high to me. For comparison, Times Square, the most popular subway station by no small amount, sees 200,000 entries per day.

R train thisaway. The Dey St. Concourse provides an out-of-system connection between Cortlandt St. (and points west) and the Fulton St. Transit Center. (Photo by Benjamin Kabak)

I’ve heard of a new concourse under Dey St. What is it?

The Dey St. Concourse is an out-of-system walkway that connects the R at Cortlandt St. to the rest of the Fulton St. Transit Center. When work on the PATH Hub is completed the walkway will run from Brookfield Place near the Hudson River underneath the WTC site via the Calatrava station with out-of-system connections to the E and 1 trains. (Thus, the empty bullets in this photo.)

Did you say out-of-system transfer? What gives?

This is a major point of criticism: There is no free transfer between the R at Cortlandt St. and any of the trains at Fulton St. It’s an out-of-system connection that requires a swipe, and the MTA offered a few reasons. First, the Dey St. Concourse work was tricky as the MTA had to shore up very old buildings that lined Dey St. They had very little margin for error and couldn’t add more space to the corridor. They didn’t want to go through placing a barrier down the middle of it similar to the way the 53rd St.-3rd Avenue station is designed and claim they would lose $2 million annually by creating a new free transfer where one did not previously exist. Plus, all of the Fulton St. train lines connect to the R at Canal St., Borough Hall or Jay St.-MetroTech.

Who paid for this?

Although September 11 is beginning to feel like a different era in city history, federal post-9/11 funds built the Transit Center. Of The $1.4 billion, $847 came from Lower Manhattan Recovery Grants, $130 million came from the MTA in local funds, and $423 million came from the FTA’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the single largest FTA award under the ARRA program.

Was it all worth it?

I’ll leave that one up to you to decide.

The view from the lower level. (Photo by Benjamin Kabak)

Categories : Fulton Street
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The fares to fill up a MetroCard, such as this one celebrating the MTA's new $1.4 billion Fulton St. Transit Center, will soon increase. (Photo by Benjamin Kabak)

The fares to fill up a MetroCard, such as this one celebrating the MTA’s new $1.4 billion Fulton St. Transit Center, will soon increase. (Photo by Benjamin Kabak)

The MTA has, for better or worse, made a biennial habit out of fare hikes. As part of a master plan hatched a bunch of years ago, the MTA committed to raising the fares every two years in an effort to maintain steady revenue streams. Although the current fare hikes outpace inflation, the MTA is also working to overcome a significant fare decrease from the late 1990s brought about by the introduction of pay-per-ride discounts and unlimited MetroCards. On average, we pay less per ride today than we did in 1996.

The riding public — the folks that don’t pay much attention to the ins and outs of transit policies, politics and economics — will be caught off guard by the 2015 fare hike. Due to pressure from Gov. Andrew Cuomo who was trying to avoid any whiff of bad news in the lead-up to last week’s Election Day, the MTA has remained tight-lipped about the fact the fare hike is happening or any details regarding the proposals. Now that the Governor has assured himself of another four years of whatever he’s doing, the unofficial MTA news embargo can finally be lifted, and we can talk about good news such as higher subway fares for all!

Now, gone are the days that politicians lived and died by the nickel fare, but the fare hike process lends itself to a special set of outrage. The MTA is legally obligated to go through a public hearing process, and it’s largely a charade. People will express outrage over higher fares while probably bringing up two sets of books over and over again while politicians bemoan the system they refuse to support. The MTA raises the fares anyway, usually based upon plans drawn up months before.

So as we gear up for the hearings, what does the future hold? Pete Donohue, tell the audience what they’ve won:

The MTA has drafted two possible fare-hike schemes for bus and subway riders — one that keeps the $2.50 base fare stable and another that raises it by a quarter. But both models would increase the monthly MetroCard by $4.50. The two scenarios were fashioned in advance of public hearings that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will hold next month. The MTA board may not vote on a final package until January, but the increases would still go into effect as scheduled in March.

According to sources, the two fare-hike options are:

Option One: The base fare would remain at $2.50, but the 5% bonus would get trimmed. The 7-Day MetroCard goes up a buck, to $31, while the 30-Day MetroCard rises $4.50, to $116.50.

Option Two: The base fare is boosted by 25 cents, to $2.75, and the bonus increases from 5% to 11%. The 7-Day and 30-Day MetroCards are the same as in option one: $31 for the 7-Day card and $116.50 for the 30-Day pass.

Metro-North and the LIRR will be raising fares took, and Andrew Tangel of The Wall Street Journal reports that MTA Bridge & Tunnel tolls for trucks could increase by as much as 12 percent.

It’s hard to get too worked up one way or another over this proposal. The MTA had previously committed to a smaller-than-planned fare hike this year and stuck with it despite a huge capital funding gap and higher-than-anticipated labor expenditures. The fare hike is again whittling away at the pay-per-ride bonus, and to that end, I think a higher base fare with a more generous bonus is better. But higher base fares always affect those who can least afford it. Either way, I’ll be paying $116.50 (before tax, of course) for my 30-day card soon enough.

Which brings me to another point: As the federal government can’t do anything these days, pre-tax transit benefits are currently capped at $130 per month and seem to be stuck there. In the not-too-distant future, the MTA is going to hit that ceiling for 30-day cards, and then we’ll see what happens in Washington. For now, we’re facing another modest fare hike and one the city will have to resignedly accept.

Categories : Fare Hikes
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From street level, the Fulton St. Transit Center unfolds downward. (Photo by Benjamin Kabak)

The problem with federal funding is how inflexible it is. The feds may be willing to pony over a significantly amount of dollars — upwards of one billion for certain projects — but that money can’t be shuffled around to better uses. It’s earmarked for a specific purpose, and the local agency receiving that money has to spend it on that purpose, even if agency heads know how badly they could use those same dollars for something far more worthwhile. Such are the contradictions of the Fulton St. Transit Center which will open to the public at 5 a.m.

On Sunday, politicians and MTA officials past and present gathered to celebrate the completion of the Fulton St. Transit Center, and in a way, it was a big deal. Two former MTA heads — Joe Lhota and Lee Sander — were in attendance as well as Mysore Nagaraja, the former head of MTA Capital Construction, who oversaw the start of this project well over a decade ago. Chuck Schumer, Jerry Nadler and Sheldon Silver didn’t miss the photo op either. Finally, the construction surrounding Fulton St. will end, and as tenants fill into 1 World Trade Center, the Fulton St. part of the Lower Manhattan puzzle is complete.

The Sky Reflector Night spanning the oculus will bring natural light into the Fulton St. Transit Center. (Photo by Benjamin Kabak)

But in another way, the fact that the Fulton St. Transit Center even exists as a megaproject comes out of a different era in recent New York City history. Following the 9/11 attacks, politicians thought the best way to restore faith in New York and heal the wound to its psyche was to pump money into Lower Manhattan. It was, at the time, believed to be the only way to get people to return to the area to live or work or shop, and part of that money involved funding both the Fulton St. Transit Center and parts of the Calatrava World Trade Center PATH Hub. No one stopped to question whether the city needed to spend billions of dollars on two fancy subway stops, and no one could stop the political desire to create a public place and public space in Lower Manhattan.

So what we have now is the Fulton Center. It’s a multi-level headhouse atop the Fulton St. subway complex, and it’s not all just an ornate building with an oculus and the Sky Reflector Net, an art installation that will bring daylight into the depths of the headhouse. It’s also going to feature 30,000 square feet of retail that Westfield will begin to fill in early 2015, and the renovations open up corridors that were cramped, dark and hard to navigate. It’s fully ADA-compliant, and when all is said and done in Lower Manhattan, it will serve as the eastern end of an underground passageway stretching from Brookfield Place on the Hudson River to the Fulton St. station complex via the PATH Hub and the Dey St. Concourse. The transfers between the PATH, the E, the 1, the R and all the trains at Fulton St. will not be free, but they will be easy and underground.

R train thisaway. The Dey St. Concourse will eventually serve as a link from Brookfield Place to the Fulton St. Transit Center via the WTC PATH Hub. (Photo by Benjamin Kabak)

As I toured the new station on Sunday, I was struck by its size. There’s nothing quite like it in the New York City subway system today. While we’re used to cramped corridors with low ceilings and narrow spaces, the Fulton St. Transit Center is massive with wide open vistas and a lot of space for people. The transfer between the A and C platform and the 4 and 5 will be instantly easier and quicker, and the East Side IRT platforms are much wider. (The doors in that photo will always kept open; they can be closed in the event of the emergency.) The Fulton St. Transit Center will likely become a meeting spot and, as Therese McMillan, the Acting Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, said, “an essential part of everyday life” in the neighborhood.

Outside of fare control, this staircase will connect various levels of the Fulton St. Transit Center as well as retail spaces. (Photo by Benjamin Kabak)

Is it all worth it though? During his remarks on Sunday, Senator Chuck Schumer, quoting the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, stated that great public works are always “worth the dollars.” But he also said the same thing about the Calatrava hub, and he’s a big supporter of Moynihan Station. These three projects are all, to varying degrees, nice to look at, but they do little to nothing to solve problems of regional mobility. For a combined expense of over $7 billion — the total of the Fulton St., PATH and Moynihan expenditures — the city could build train tunnels it needs rather than another fancy building.

But the fancy building is what we get. So take a look around as you pass through there on Monday. Try to find the special edition MetroCard and marvel at what federal dollars can bring. It certainly doesn’t look like the subway system with which New Yorkers have a love-hate relationship. That alone is a step in the right direction, albeit a very, very expensive one.

I’ll have more on the features of the Transit Center — the video boards and ad screens, the climate control, the plans for the retail space — later this week. For now, enjoy the pictures. After the jump, view a slideshow of all of my photos from Sunday. For an ongoing stream of my transit-related photos, be sure to follow me on Instagram. Read More→

Categories : Fulton Street
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This was a bit of a light week. My new job gives me less time for posts, and I appreciate you all sticking with me through busier and less active weeks. It was also a slow news week as any transit-related developments were put on hold for Election Day. I’m sure we’ll hear more from the MTA Reinvention Commission and word on the fare hikes now that Cuomo doesn’t have to run up the score against anyone.

Next week, I’ll have a look at the new Fulton St. Transit Center after this Sunday’s ribbon-cutting and some developments on the plan, now in jeopardy, to bring the PATH train to Newark airport. Tonight, we have service advisories.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, November 7 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 10, 1 trains are suspended in both directions between 96 St and Van Cortlandt Park-242 St. AC, M3 and free shuttle buses provide alternate service. Please note that the 190th Street/Broadway entrance to the tunnel at the 191 St 1 station will be closed this weekend. The New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) will be painting the passageway. There will be no access from Broadway to the elevators at the 191st Street/St. Nicholas end of the station.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, November 7 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 10, Flatbush Av-Brooklyn College bound 2 trains run express from Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr to Franklin Av.


From 6:00 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. Saturday, November 8 and Sunday, November 9, New Lots Av-bound 3 trains run express from Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr to Franklin Av.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, November 7 to 8:00 a.m. Sunday, November 9, Woodlawn-bound 4 trains skip Fulton St.


From 11:00 p.m. Saturday, November 8 to 6:00 a.m. Sunday, November 9, and from 11:00 p.m. Sunday, November 9 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 10, New Lots Av-bound 4 trains run local between 125 St and Grand Cantral-42 St.


From 11:45 p.m to 6:00 a.m., Friday, November 7 to Sunday, November 9, and from 11:45 p.m. Sunday, November 9 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 10, Woodlawn-bound 4 trains run express from 14 St-Union Sq to Grand Cantral-42 St.


From 11:45 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Friday, November 7 to Sunday, November 9, and from 11:45 p.m. Sunday, November 9 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 10, New Lots Av-bound 4 trains run express from Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr to Franklin Av.


From 6:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, November 8, E 180 St-bound 5 trains skip Fulton St.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, November 7 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 10, 5 trains are suspended in both directions between Eastchester-Dyre Av and E 180 St. Free shuttle buses operate all weekend between Eastchester-Dyre Av and E 180 St, stopping at Baychester Av, Gun Hill Rd, Pelham Pkwy, and Morris Park. 5 service operates every 20 minutes between E 180 St and Bowling Green days and evenings only due to CPM platform edge and rubbing board work at 23 St.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, November 7 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 10, Brooklyn Bridge-bound 6 trains run express from Hunters Point Av to 3Av-138 St.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, November 7 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 10, Pelham Bay Park-bound 6 trains run express from 14 St-Union Sq to Grand Cantral-42 St.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, November 7 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 10, 7 trains are suspended between Times Sq-42 St and Queensboro Plaza. Use EFNQ trains between Manhattan and Queens. Free shuttle buses make all stops between Vernon Blvd-Jackson Av and Queensboro Plaza. The 42 Street S shuttle operates overnight. Q service is extended to Ditmars Blvd from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 8, and from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 10.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, November 7 to 4:45 a.m. Monday, November 10, A trains are suspended between Ozone Park-Lefferts Blvd and Rockaway. Free shuttle buses provide alternate service via 80 St. Brooklyn-bound A trains skip Rockaway Blvd and 88 St.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, November 7 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 10, Coney Island-Stillwell Av bound D trains are rerouted on the N line from 36 St to Coney Island-Stillwell Av.


From 11:00 p.m. Friday, November 7 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 10, D trains run trains run local between DeKalb Av and 36 St.


From 11:00 p.m. Friday, November 7 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 10, N trains run local from DeKalb Av and 36 St.


From 10:45 p.m. Friday, November 7 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 10, Coney Island-bound Q trains run express from Prospect Park to Kings Hwy.


From 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Saturday, November 8, and from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sunday, November 9, Q service is extended to Astoria-Ditmars Blvd.

42 St Shuttle
From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, November 8, to 6:00 a.m. Monday, November 10, the 42 St S Shuttle operates overnight.

Categories : Service Advisories
Comments (10)

Over the last few years, a rift has emerged between the well-funded QueensWay proponents and the well-intentioned advocates calling for a reactivation of the Rockaway Beach Branch. It’s either one or the other with the political muscle in the form of money from the Governor and the voice of formers Parks Commission Adrian Benepe backing the rails-to-trails side while Assemblyman Philip Goldfeder has been the lone politician trying to keep the hopes for rail alive.

As anyone who’s read my thoughts on this topic knows, I’ve been a supporter of the Rockaway Beach Branch reactivation effort but with a twist. I’m not entirely sold on the idea, but I’m much more against turning over a dormant rail right-of-way to parks advocates without a full study assessing the rail option. We need to know the costs, the potential ridership and impact on Queens and the work that would go into restoring rail before we decide that some über-expensive park in a relatively isolated area of Queens is the way to go.

But what if we can have both? And shouldn’t we be as willing to study all uses of the right-of-way as certain factions are to embrace a park? That’s the argument transit historian and former LIRR manager Andrew Sparberg makes in the Daily News this week. He writes:

A rail line could serve thousands of people per hour. A walking and cycling trail won’t serve those kinds of numbers, but it would still give the community the benefits of a new greenway. What might be the best approach is to research the feasibility of both land uses in the same corridor, before it’s too late — why not incorporate rail transit and a recreational trail together?

…The debated piece of land for this right of way, which has been owned by the city since 1952, now resembles a small forest. Some of it lies atop an embankment. Much environmental study and engineering work, including bridge repairs, would be needed if any re-use occurs. Only an extensive engineering survey can reveal what can or cannot be built, but any proposal should study the feasibility of both a new two track subway route and a greenway. In many areas, the right of way appears wide enough for both uses. Innovative construction techniques and designs could permit trains and people safely side by side.

If this line is completed, Queens would gain its first true north-south subway route, giving Rockaway and southwest Queens easy subway access to Forest Hills, Rego Park, Jamaica, Citi Field, and the Arthur Ashe tennis stadium without long roundabout trips through Brooklyn and Manhattan, or long bus rides. Transfers to the J line could be provided at jamaica Ave., where the LIRR once had a station called Brooklyn Manor. Rockaway, Howard Beach, Ozone Park and Woodhaven would have a second, more direct option for travel to and from Midtown Manhattan. Whatever the final outcome, the time to do a real study of reactivating rail transit and providing a recreational trail on the abandoned line, is now.

The QueensWay fight has pitted folks who are usually on the same side of the transit/livable streets/park advocacy debate against each other, but Sparberg wants to bridge that gap. Perhaps we should give him a listen.

Categories : Queens
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Once upon a New York minute, just the threat of a subway fare hike was enough to sink candidates and raise voter ire. In fact, one of the reasons the MTA has had to dig out from decades of deferred maintenance — and one of the reasons why the MTA was created in the first place — was due to the five-cent fare. Until the system nearly broke down, politicians simply could not raise transit fares in New York City without seriously jeopardizing their reelection changes.

With the MTA firmly entrenched in Albany, now, one could be forgiven for hoping that the days of playing politics with MTA fare hikes are a relic of the past. One might also hope to hear from the distant rich relative or receive a lifetime supply of 30-day unlimited ride MetroCards. Politics and the MTA are alive and well.

Recently, I’ve spent some time examining Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s relationship with the MTA. When convenient for him, he uses the agency for positive press; when inconvenient, he runs away or actively works to hold off the bad news. The looming 2015 fare hikes are no exception.

As part of the MTA rescue plan a few years back, the agency committed to biennial fare hikes. Although these raises seem to outpace inflation, the MTA is still playing catch-up from the introduction of the unlimited ride MetroCard nearly twenty years ago, and the inflation-adjusted average fare is still less today than it was in 1996. The fare hikes are a sure way for the MTA to guarantee revenue and a way to level the fare with long-term inflation. We had a fare hike in 2013, and we know we’re having one in 2015. The increase in revenue may have dropped from a projected eight percent to around four percent, but the fare hike is coming one way or another.

In the past, the MTA has unveiled fare hike information in early October in order to prepare the public for hearings and brief the Board on the fiscal plan. This year, the MTA has engaged in near-radio silence regarding the fare hikes. In fact, during last week’s MTA Board meetings, agency head Tom Prendergast danced around the issue. He again confirmed the hikes were happening and promised information within a few weeks. Otherwise, though, he was tight-lipped on the numbers or proposals for revenue increases.

“For me to go any further than that is inappropriate because there haven’t been discussions. We have to follow the process and ultimately this has to follow a process where there’s an interchange with the public,” Prendergast said when pressed on the issue.

So why the delayed timeline and the lack of details or even a leak? I’ve been told by a few people in the know that Governor Cuomo has put the kibosh on fare hike talk until after Tuesday’s vote. He’s not in danger of losing to Rob Astorino, and the existence of the 2015 fare hike is public knowledge. But Cuomo doesn’t want the press to focus on numbers and increased costs at or around Election Day. He wants to run up the score on his opponents and then have this news come out. (This may as well be why the MTA Reinvention Commission hasn’t turned in a report yet, but I haven’t been able to confirm or refute that suspicion one way or another.)

And so we get another round of MTA politics. No one is discussing fare policy before Election Day. No one is discussing the capital plan, and no one is talking about ways to reform the MTA. It’s just the way Gov. Cuomo wants it.

Categories : Fare Hikes, MTA Politics
Comments (60)

It’s Marathon Weekend — which usually means fewer subway changes. But not this weekend. The 1 isn’t running between 96th and 242nd Sts., and there are a slew of other changes that will make travel a little rough. Anyway, as a note, these no longer have the explanation for the change because the MTA stopped providing it. These come from them. Enjoy the costumes tonight if you’re still out.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, October 31 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 3, 1 trains are suspended in both directions between 96 St and Van Cortlandt Park-242 St. AC, M3 and free shuttle buses provide alternate service.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, October 31 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 3, Flatbush Av-Brooklyn College bound 2 trains run express from Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr to Franklin Av.


From 6:00 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. Saturday, November 1 and Sunday, November 2, New Lots Av-bound 3 trains run express from Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr to Franklin Av.


From 11:45 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., Friday, October 31 to Sunday, November 2, and from 11:45 p.m. Sunday, November 2 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 3, Woodlawn-bound 4 trains run express from 14 St-Union Sq to Grand Cantral-42.


From 11:00 p.m. Saturday, November 1 to 6:00 a.m. Sunday, November 2, and from 11:00 p.m. Sunday, November 2 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 3, New Lots Av-bound 4 trains run local between 125 St and Grand Central-42.


From 11:45 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., Friday, October 31 to Sunday, November 2, and from 11:45 p.m. Sunday, November 2 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 3, New Lots Av-bound 4 trains run express from Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr to Franklin Av.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, October 31 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 3, 5 trains are suspended in both directions between Eastchester-Dyre Av and E 180 St. Free shuttle buses operate all weekend between Eastchester-Dyre Av and E 180 St, stopping at Baychester Av, Gun Hill Rd, Pelham Pkwy, and Morris Park. 5 service operates every 20 minutes between E 180 St and Bowling Green days and evenings.


From 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Saturday, November 1, and from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Sunday, November 2, 6 trains run every 16 minutes between Parkchester and Pelham Bay Park. The last stop for some 6 trains headed toward Pelham Bay Park is Parkchester. To continue your trip, transfer at Parkchester to a Pelham Bay Park-bound 6 train.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, October 31 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 3, Pelham Bay Park-bound 6 trains run express from 14 St-Union Sq to Grand Cantral-42 St.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, October 31 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 3, Brooklyn Bridge-bound 6 trains run express from Hunters Point Av to 3Av-138 St.


From 3:45 a.m. Saturday, November 1 to 10:00 p.m. Sunday, November 2, Mets-Willets Point bound 7 trains run express from Queensboro Plaza to 74 St-Broadway.


From 12:01 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Saturday, November 1, and 12:01 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. Sunday, November 2, 7 trains operate in two sections.

  • Between Times Sq-42 St and Mets-Willets Point.
  • Between Mets-Willets Point and Flushing-Main St.


From 11:45 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., Friday, October 31 to Sunday, November 2, and from 11:45 p.m. Sunday, November 2 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 3, Inwood-207 St bound A trains run express from Canal St to 59 St-Columbus Circle.


From 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Saturday, November 1 and Sunday, November 2, 168 St-bound C trains run express from Canal St to 59 St-Columbus Circle.


From 10:45 p.m. Friday, October 31 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 3, Norwood-205 St bound D trains run express from 145 St to Tremont Av.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, October 31 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 3, Norwood-205 St bound D trains are rerouted on the N line from 36 St to Coney Island-Stillwell Av.


From 12:15 a.m. to 6:30 a.m., Saturday, November 1 and Sunday, November 2, and from 12:15 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 3, Jamaica Center Parsons-Archer bound E trains run express from Queens Plaza to Roosevelt Av.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, October 31 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 3, Jamaica-179 St bound F trains are rerouted via the A line from Jay St-MetroTech to W 4 St.


From 5:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Saturday, November 1 and Sunday, November 2, 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, October 31 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 3, Coney Island-Stillwell Av bound N trains are rerouted via the D line from 36 St to Coney Island-Stillwell Av.


From 10:45 p.m. Friday, October 31 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, November 3, 57 St-7 Av bound Q trains run express from Kings Hwy to Prospect Park.


From 6:30 a.m. to 12:15 a.m., Saturday, November 1 to Monday, November 3, Forest Hills-71 Av bound R trains run express from Queens Plaza to Roosevelt Av.

Franklin Av Shuttle
From 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday, November 1, S Franklin Av Shuttle trains run every 24 minutes.

Categories : Service Advisories
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An East Side Access drill bit, right, and an F train had an unfortunate encounter today. (Photo: MTA)

When you or I think about a drill bit, we probably conjure up images of something small used to secure some houseware to the wall, maybe 3/4 of an inch. We don’t really think of drill bits on the scale of the East Side Access project, but today, numerous subway riders and the MTA had a close call with a giant drill bit as it pierced a subway tunnel and narrowly avoided an F train with 800 on board.

The Daily News had the story about the runaway 10-inch drill bit:

A contractor operating a drill as part of the MTA’s East Side Access project mistakenly penetrated a Queens subway tunnel on Thursday, and the massive bit scraped the top and side of an occupied F train, transit officials said. Some 800 passengers were aboard the Jamaica-bound train at the time, about 11:45 a.m. Nobody was hurt in the terrifying blunder, but it was far too close for comfort. “That’s a near miss,” an MTA supervisor said, wondering what would have happened if the bit had made a direct hit and punctured a subway car’s passenger compartment. “Oh my God! If it had hit the train, you could forget about it! Of course we are concerned.”

…A contractor working on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s East Side Access project, which will connect the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal, was operating the drill above ground, roughly at the intersection of 23rd St. and 41st Ave. in Long Island City.

The contractor, Griffin Dewatering New England, Inc., was using the drill to expand a well, said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz. An MTA source familiar with the work said the contractor was at fault. “Some people don’t follow instructions; they drilled deeper than they were supposed to.”

This comes at the end of the week during which the MTA David L. Mayer, formerly of the National Transportation Safety Board, to be the agency’s first Chief Safety Officer. It also comes at the end of the week during which the NTSB ripped into Metro-North, calling last year’s derailments, injuries and deaths “preventable.” For more on that — and criticism lobbed toward the FRA as well — check out Railway Age’s take and The Times’ piece on the press conference.

Much like the drill bit exiting the tunnel today, the only way to go from here is up.

New signs for Fulton St. await at Transit’s sign shop. (Photo: Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin)

While I was musing on the MTA’s capital construction credibility problem yesterday, the MTA decided to open a big-ticket project. At the Board committee meeting yesterday, the agency revealed that the Fulton St. Transit Center finally has an opening date. On Sunday, November 9, the politicians will gather for a largely undeserved photo op, and the building will open to commuters on Monday, November 10 at 5 a.m.

For MTA Capital Construction, this is a good moment. It’s only the second project, after the short-lived South Ferry station, that MTACC has opened, but like South Ferry, this one is a few months late due to some issues with the finishes and occupancy permit. The MTA will also open the Dey St. Concourse early. The passageway, outside of fare control, provides an underground walkway between the Fulton St. subway complex and the R train’s Cortlandt St. station. It may one day connect to the E train and wasn’t supposed to open until the PATH Hub is finished next year. But after months of delays, the MTA is just opening the whole thing at once.

So what are we getting for $1.4 billion? Well, most of the work we already see. The passageways and fancy LED screens are lit up; the hallways are as straight as they can be considering the layout; and everything just looks refreshed. But we’re also getting our headhouse, and for now, it’s simply the system’s fanciest Arts for Transit installation. Westfield is working to bring retail to the Transit Center, but no stores will be open on November 10 when politicians cut their ribbons. For now, the Transit Center is an empty building with lots of natural light and lots of empty space.

But cynicism aside, opening the Fulton St. Transit Center is a big day for Lower Manhattan. Some construction will wrap, and a new building, promised as part of the post-9/11 rebuilding effort a decade ago, will reopen. Onward and upward.

Categories : Fulton Street
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