• The politics of the TWU · While Democratic mayoral candidate Bill Thompson is facing long odds and a distinct financial disadvantage in his efforts to unseat Michael Bloomberg, Thompson is earning himself some powerful union friends. Today, Michael Grynbaum explores how the TWU Local 100 arm has become a de facto powerhouse for Thompson. Because Bloomberg has developed an antagonistic toward the TWU and because he continues to oppose the mandated 11 percent raises the transit workers won in binding arbitration earlier this year, the TWU has taken to the streets to oppose Bloomberg’s push for a third term. I wonder, though, if the TWU’s actions on behalf of Thompson are simply coming about because they oppose Bloomberg, and I fear for the future the state of transit labor relations if Bloomberg succeeds in beating Thompson. Currently enjoying a 16-point lead, Bloomberg won’t take kindly to the TWU’s outspoken opposition. · (9)


On Saturday afternoon, I found myself waiting for the 2 or 3 train at Fulton St. I was waiting at the norther end of the platform when I espied the above sign hanging from a column. Both intrigued by it and somewhat confused by its necessity, I took a picture.

The north end of Fulton St., you see, is something of a dead end. There is an exit at that end of the platform, but it is open only during the weekend and does not allow a transfer to any of the other trains that stop by that busy station. Walking south brings a straphanger to the staircase that connect the 2 and 3 to the maze of tunnels that eventually lead to the IND (A/C), BMT (J/M/Z) and East Side IRT (4/5). Some day in the future, the N/R/W will be connected to rest of this confusing station as well.

Now, back to our sign. The thing about Fulton St. and the 4 is that, well, the 4 always stops at Fulton St. No matter the day, the hour, the week, the 4 train is one of the few trains that will always, no matter what stop at Fulton St. Over the weekend, the 4 had a service advisory in place. Due to communications cable work, all 4 trains were terminated at Bowling Green, and the 3 was providing service into Brooklyn. Passengers wishing to transfer from the 3 to the 4 or vice versa had to do sat Fulton St.

So I get it. The sign is there to guide passengers from wayward trains heading to or from Brooklyn back to the 4. Even though Fulton St. is covered with signs, even though this transfer is in effect no matter what, Transit wanted to make it easier for passengers traveling the route of this service change to make the connection.

There is but one problem, and while it’s a technical one, it’s a problem of communications nonetheless. The sign above does not depict a service change. At the top, in a blue strip designed to attract someone’s attention, the sign says “Service Changes,” and yet, it points the way to the normal path to the 4 train.

One of the many complaints disgruntled straphangers levy at the MTA concerns communications. With sub-par public address systems and myriad service changes every weekend, the MTA gets no credit for keeping its riders informed. In fact, the conductor of my 2 train failed to inform riders that the uptown A and C trains were bypassing Broadway/Nassau on Saturday. Had I not read my own service changes, I would not have known about this inconvenience until arriving at the platform a few twists and turns through the Fulton St. complex.

For casual riders, a sign saying “Service Changes” with an arrow and a 4 bullet will be confusing. It won’t make sense, and it will lead to head-scratching, questions and a less convenient commute. Transit and the MTA should be trying to make convoluted weekend subway trips easier, and although the intentions behind this sign are good, the execution is not.

A new era for the MTA begins on Monday morning. Jay Walder, fresh off the plane from London, will begin his stint at the MTA’s Chairman and CEO. He’ll begin the era by greeting passengers at Flushing-Main St. on the 7 line at 9 a.m. on Monday morning. That’s quite the way to begin a job.

Before Walder takes over, the MTA will roll out its buses for the Atlantic Antic. The Transit Museum will host its 16th Annual Bus Festival. The vintage bus fleets will occupy the expansive street on Boerum Place between State St. and Atlantic Ave. I’ve always enjoyed the old buses.

And of course, first, we get the weekend service advisories. As always, these come to me via the MTA and are subject to change without notice. Look for signs at your local station and be sure to listen for on-board announcements for up-to-the-minute service changes.

From 11:30 p.m. Friday, October 2 to 9 a.m. Saturday, October 3, and from 11:30 p.m. Saturday, October 3 to 10 a.m. Sunday, October 4, there are no 1 trains between 14th Street and South Ferry. The 2 and 3 trains provide alternate service between 14th Street and Chambers Street. Free shuttle buses replace 1 trains between Chambers Street and South Ferry. These changes are due to track maintenance.

From 12:01 a.m. to 9 a.m. Saturday, October 3 and from 12:01 a.m. to 10 a.m. Sunday, October 4, 1 trains skip 28th, 23rd, and 18th Streets in both directions due to track maintenance. 2 and 3 trains provide alternate service.

From 12:01 a.m. to 9 a.m. Saturday, October 3, from 12:01 a.m. to 10 a.m. Sunday, October 4, and from 12:30 a.m. to 5:15 a.m. Monday, October 5, 2 and 3 trains run local between 96th Street and Chambers Street due to track maintenance.

From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, October 3 to 5 a.m. Monday, October 5, 4 trains run local between 125th Street and Brooklyn Bridge due to communications cable work.

From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, October 3 to 5 a.m. Monday, October 5, there are no 4 trains between Bowling Green and Utica Avenue due to communications cable work. The 3 and N provide alternate service. Note: 3 trains are extended to New Lots Avenue all weekend.

From 6:30 a.m. to midnight Saturday, October 3 and Sunday, October 4, there are no 5 trains between Grand Central-42nd Street and Bowling Green due to communications cable work. Customers should take the 4 instead.

From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, October 3 to 5 a.m. Monday, October 5, Manhattan-bound 6 trains run express from Hunts Point Avenue to 3rd Avenue-138th Street due to a track chip-out at East 143rd Street-St. Mary’s Street.

At all times until December 21, 2009, Manhattan-bound A trains skip Beach 90th and Beach 105th due to station rehabilitation.

At all times until January 18, 2010, Far Rockaway-bound A trains skip Beach 67th, Beach 44th, and Beach 25th Streets due to station rehabilitations.

From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, October 3 to 5 a.m. Monday, October 5, Manhattan-bound A trains run on the F from Jay Street to West 4th Street, then local to 59th Street-Columbus Circle due to the Chambers Street Signal Modernization Project.

From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, October 3 to 5 a.m. Monday, October 5, A trains run local between Hoyt-Schermerhorn Sts. and Euclid Avenue due to the Chambers Street Signal Modernization Project.

From 6:30 a.m. to midnight, Saturday, October 3 and Sunday, October 4, there are no C trains between Chambers Street-World Trade Center and Euclid Avenue due to the Chambers Street Signal Modernization Project. Customers should take the A instead. Note: C trains run on the E track at Chambers Street-World Trade Center.

From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, October 3 to 5 a.m. Monday, October 5, D trains run local between 34th Street and West 4th Street due to a track chip-out in the 53rd Street tunnel.

From 5 a.m. Saturday, October 3 to 10 p.m. Sunday, October 4, Coney Island-bound D trains run on the N from 36th Street to Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue due to track panel installation.

From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, October 3 to 5 a.m. Monday, October 5, E trains are rerouted on the F line in Manhattan and Queens due to a track chip-out in the 53rd Street tunnel:

  • There are no E trains between 34th Street and World Trade Center. Customers should take the A instead.
  • Manhattan-bound E trains run on the F line from Roosevelt Avenue to 34th Street/Herald Square.
  • Queens-bound E trains run on the F from 34th Street-Herald Square to 47th – 50th Sts.; trains resume normal E service from 5th Avenue to Jamaica Center.

From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, October 3 to 5 a.m. Monday, October 5, Manhattan-bound E platforms at Queens Plaza, 23rd Street/Ely Avenue, Lexington Avenue-53rd Street and 5th Avenue stations are closed due to a track chip-out in the 53rd Street tunnel. Customers may take the R, G or 6 instead. Note: Free shuttle buses connect the Court Square G/23rd Street-Ely Avenue, Queens Plaza, and 21st Street-Queensbridge F stations.

From 12:30 a.m. Saturday, October 3 to 5 a.m. Monday, October 5, Queens-bound E trains run express from Queens Plaza to Forest Hills-71st Avenue due to track maintenance.

From 8:30 p.m. to midnight Friday, October 2, and from 6:30 a.m. to midnight Saturday, October 3 and Sunday, October 4, there are no G trains between Forest Hills-71st Avenue and Court Square due to the track chip-out in the 53rd Street tunnel. Brooklyn-bound customers may take the R to Queens Plaza and transfer to a shuttle bus connecting to Court Square. Queens-bound customers may take the E instead.

From 12:01 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. Saturday, October 3 and Sunday, October 4, and from 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m. Monday, October 5, Queens-bound G trains run express from Queens Plaza to Forest Hills-71st Avenue due to track maintenance.

From 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday, October 4, uptown N trains skip 49th Street due to track cleaning.

From 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m. Saturday, October 3, uptown N trains skip Prince, 8th, 23rd, and 28th Streets due to track cleaning.

From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, October 3 and Sunday, October 4, Q trains run in two sections due to switch repair:

  • Between 57th Street (Manhattan) and Brighton Beach and
  • Between Brighton Beach and Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue*

*Trains run every 16 minutes.

From 6:30 a.m. to midnight Saturday, October 3 and Sunday, October 4, Queens-bound R trains run express from Queens Plaza to Forest Hills-71 Avenue due to track maintenance.

From 10:30 p.m. Friday, October 2 to 5 a.m. Monday, October 5, there are no S shuttle trains between Broad Channel and Rockaway Park. Free shuttle buses and A trains provide alternate service due to station rehabilitations.

Categories : Service Advisories
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With its proposed Capital Program for 2010-2014, the MTA is finally making a true effort catch up with transit system innovation and technology from the 1970s. Earlier today, I examined the impending 2011 arrival of subway arrival boards. Now, we turn our attention to the surface streets and look at how the implementation of this technology is progressing for buses.

Buses in New York, as long-time SAS readers know, have had a tortured history with this technology. The MTA had to abandon a pilot a short time ago when the technology, in place in various cities with tall buildings, could not handle Manhattan’s density and skyscrapers. While the authority is currently embroiled in a lawsuit over that failed bus tracking experiment, a new trial is in place along the 34th St. select bus service corridor, and this time, the agency feels that a wider roll-out is on the horizon.

In fact, the latest Capital Program Q-and-A document — available here as a PDF — further explores the plans for the bus system. The explanation starts with a statement of commitment. “NYCT and MTA Bus are committed to pursuing an Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) system, which will be used to provide automated real-time bus location and arrival information to bus customers,” the document promises. “This technology will be rolled out initially along existing and planned Select Bus Service (SBS) routes, with the eventual goal of providing real-time information on all bus lines.” All of the bus lines, however, won’t receive this service until the 2015-2019 capital plan.

Currently, the MTA is testing out preexisting technologies. According to the report, the 34th St. corridor pilot is being fronted by technology from Clever Devices. This pilot is set to run through February 2010, and it comes “at no capital cost” to Transit.

At the same time, the agency has issued a request for information to all AVL providers. “Extensive market outreach is also being conducted to identify all suppliers who can competitively provide this technology,” says the MTA. “The goal of this effort will be the development of specifications that can be successfully met by existing, proven and competitively available technologies.” In other words, why reinvent the wheel if the technology already exists?

By 2010, the MTA will have its specifications in place to issue a request for proposals with a target date for the award of a contract by the end of next year. That contract, however, will cover select-bus service routes only for now including the First and Second Ave. corridors. The MTA plans to work with NYCDOT on both costs and implementation.

As to the former, this is not a cheap system. The MTA has already received $30.7 million for AVL roll-out through the current capital plan and is asking for another $50 million in the next capital plan. A systemwide cost estimate for non-SBS routes is “not currently available,” but those costs will include a technological retrofit of the entire bus fleet. It won’t be a cheap investment.

That is not to say that it shouldn’t be made. As the MTA notes, this is a necessary program, and one could argue that, as the respective implementation plans stand, the bus countdown clocks will be more useful than those underground. “AVL is expected to result in improved customer service by providing a comprehensive history of running time data that can be used to update bus schedules to better reflect actual conditions, resulting in more reliable service,” the MTA says. “AVL will also improve the ability to dispatch services, particularly in response to congestion or other unplanned events, resulting in a more efficient use of NYCT and MTA Bus resources.” A more efficient bus system would be a boon to New York’s transit infrastructure indeed.

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Other cities have enjoyed train arrival boards for years. (Photo by flickr user NYCArthur)

When the MTA first proposed bringing train arrival boards into its system, the original target date for an A Division — that’s the IRT numbered lines in NYC Transit lingo — roll-out was 2006. As I reported last year, the MTA had since pushed back that date to 2011 for a delay of five years. In the latest Q-and-A sections about the 2010-2014 Capital Program, the MTA confirmed that the train arrival boards will make their A Division debuts in 2011 as long as the current schedule holds.

While an on-time date one year later is good news, the surprising development to many riders is that many of the components are already in place. Take a walk around many of the IRT stations — Bergen St. and Grand Army Plaza near me in Brooklyn come to mind — and wrapped LCD signs dangle from the ceilings. Those signs will, in around 14 months, usher in a new age of technology for the MTA.

To implement the countdown clocks, as the Q-and-A (pdf) says, the transit authority must implement a two-tiered technology structure. First, either Communications-Based Train Control, a state-of-the-art technology not loved by unions, or Automatic Train Supervision, a simple enhancement to the current system, must be brought online to “identify the location of trains.” Then, Public Address and Customer Information Screens must be installed in every station. This PA/CIS system broadcasts those annoying digital audio announcements currently heard on the L line and display the countdown clocks and other pertinent information.

Already in place along the Canarsie Line, all of the A Divisions except the Flushing Line — so the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 but not the 7 — are equipped with an ATS system. That installation cost $213 million and was covered by the current 2005-2009 capital campaign. Currently, the MTA is working to install the PA/CIS system, and as I mentioned above, many stations are already equipped with the digital signs. The final cost of this part of the project will be $171 million, and it should be online by December 2010. But the MTA document says it is “subject to the successful resolution of contractual issues.” That’s a big red flag.

Once the major installation projects are complete, Transit will begin using the technology right away on all but the White Plains Road (2/5) and the Dyre Avenue (5) Lines in the Bronx. The White Plains Road boards will come online in November 2011 when signal modernization is complete. Dyre Avenue passengers won’t enjoy this technology until 2016.

So that’s the good news. There is, of course, some not-so-good news. The Flushing Line will not enjoy train arrival boards until 2016 when the CBTC work and the PA/CIS upgrade are completed.

The B Division lines — all of the lettered trains — are even less likely to see this technology. The 2010-2014 Capital Plan budgets $25 million for “design/piloting of an ATS system for monitoring trains.” The report continues, “Full rollout on the entire B-Division will cost approximately $175 million, with the balance of the cost to be funded in 2015-19.” In other words, these lines may receive countdown clocks in a decade from now. The MTA has, however, included $46 million to equip the final 43 stations that have no public address systems at all.

Despite the slow roll-out, this is progress for the MTA. They have a concrete plan to bring this countdown clock technology to the system. It will, however, be online throughout the system nearly two decades after London and Washington, D.C. began using it. While the system allows for real-time train location data to be broadcast online, it is unclear if the MTA will take the technological leap of making that information available to the public.

In the end, Michael Grynbaum’s Times article on this topic says it best. Transit advocates are indeed skeptical about “whether this system would be sufficient.” I’ll let Andrew Albert, head of the NYC Transit Riders Council, have the last word. He said to Grynbaum, “It would be even more useful if they install a repeater on the street, so people can have time to get a cup of coffee or a newspaper.” Or just walk home.

  • A federally-mandated braking system with a lofty price tag · A new federal law will require the MTA to spend over $700 million on retrofitting its commuter rail fleet with a new braking system, according to the agency. WNYC’s Matthew Schuerman issued a brief report on how a required automatic braking system could prove to be very costly. In the wake of last fall’s deadly train crash in Los Angeles, Congress is now requiring freight and passenger rail cars to utilize positive train control, a system that would lock the wheels automatically if, for example, a conductor misses a signal. Congress has granted $50 million to outfit our nation’s rail fleet, but the MTA alleges it will cost $700 million just to address the problem in New York. As the Association of American Railroads calls this effort “an unfunded mandate with questionable safety benefits,” I wonder who will carry the burden of paying for it. · (4)
  • Cuza off NY1’s transit beat as ‘In Transit’ gets the axe · Bobby Cuza, the subway reporter/heartthrob on New York 1, is off the transit beat. According to Transit Wisdom, Cuza announced his transit departure during last week’s “In Transit,” the 30-minute Friday evening segment devoted to transit news. The NY1 vet won’t, however, be leaving the station. Instead, Cuza has shifted over to the political beat. It sounds as though NY1 will not be finding another host for the “In Transit” segment, and with this cancellation, New York City has lost a valuable and informative outlet for transportation news. · (3)

Earlier this week, I briefly touched upon a Second Ave. Subway report card released by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. At the time of my post, the report card had not yet been unveiled to the public, but late on Wednesday, Ben at The Launch Box secured a copy of the release.

What follows is Maloney’s assessment of this project. She gives the overall effort a B- but sees a modicum of light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Take from this what you will. I’ll chime in with some commentary at the end.

Second Avenue Subway Report Card

On April 12, 2007, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) celebrated the most recent groundbreaking for the Second Avenue Subway. At the time I expressed the wishful hope that the fourth groundbreaking on this project would be the charm. And it still may be, but there’s been a lot of sobering news since we celebrated the subway line’s most recent resurgence.

At groundbreaking, the plan was for the subway line to be completed in 2013, with three tracks at 72nd street and at a cost of $3.8 billion. Today, the MTA and the Federal Transit Adminstration (FTA) are discussing whether the subway will open in 2016 or 2018, projected costs are now estimated at $4.4 billion and we’ve lost the third track. Meanwhile, construction is having a dramatic impact on local businesses, residents and traffic. Roughly two and a half years into construction, it is time to take a look at the project and see how well the MTA is doing. Just as the City has found that report cards help evaluate the schools, this report card is intended to gain a better understanding of how the MTA is doing in moving forward with construction. This is a mid-term report, and the MTA has plenty of time to make up for early deficiencies.


Project Merit: A+
All the reasons that led the FTA to consider this project one of the best in the nation remain strong factors. The subway will relieve overcrowding on the Lexington Avenue line, which continues to be the most overcrowded subway in the nation. When it is completed, it is expected to carry roughly 202,000 passengers a day, more than any other new start project in the nation. New Yorkers continue to rely on mass transit to commute to work, more than any other area of the country, and the Second Avenue Subway will provide much needed capacity on a system that has not grown in more than half a century.

Economic Benefits: A+
The Second Avenue Subway is creating 16,000 jobs, most of which are well-paid union jobs. At a time when the construction industry is slowing down, infrastructure construction like the Second Avenue Subway provides a vital source of income for thousands of construction workers. It has generated $842 million in wages and produced $2.87 billion in economic activity. Economists like Mark Zandi tell us that every dollar spent on public infrastructure increases GDP by an estimate $1.59. Using that formula, the Second Avenue Subway will generate nearly $7 billion in GDP.

Communication with the Public: B+
The MTA has held numerous public hearings during the environmental review portion of the project, and before property takings were approved. The MTA has also worked with Community Board 8, and other community boards, and has participated in Second Avenue Subway Task Force Meetings at least quarterly. As construction moves forward, they have agreed to attend meetings as frequently as monthly. In addition, the MTA has attended frequent meetings of the Second Avenue Business Association, and has worked with the City to mitigate impacts relating to sanitation, signage, traffic, utilities disruption and other matters. The MTA has hired Claudia Wilson who received plaudits at a recent Community Board 8 Second Avenue Subway Task Force Meeting for her availability and her willingness to solve individual problems. The MTA has also been willing to meet with local residents to resolve individual concerns relating to particular buildings. Nonetheless, despite these efforts, many community residents seem to know little about the project until construction begins in their neighborhood. Further, some details have not become public until it was considered too late to address the problem. For example, residents of buildings adjacent to ancillary facilities are being told that their windows will be covered by the new buildings. The likelihood was long known, but the MTA never told the neighbors until the designs were finalized.


Planning: B-
The Second Avenue Subway is a complex project, and it requires a lot of coordination to bring all of the elements together. It is surprising, therefore, to find that there has been so little progress in two and a half years. Anyone with experience in New York City’s streets knows that there are few roadmaps for utility pipes, and that there are surprises. The MTA says it lost several months on the tunnel launch box because of where utilities were located. Delays of this type should have been expected and built into the schedule. Further, the MTA should have investigated the structural integrity of local buildings long before masonry started falling. If there had been better coordination between the MTA and city agencies, blasting would not have been delayed in order to allow adjacent building to be appropriately shored up. All of this should have been done much earlier in the process.

Construction Management: B-
The MTA is working on many large projects simultaneously and it needs to ensure that this project is getting the attention it deserves. The 7 train extension (which does not need federal approvals and is being constructed in a less dense area) began long after the Second Avenue Subway, and the tunnel boring machine is already in the ground. The MTA has recently taken steps to pull up its grade by getting permission of the MTA board to allocate federal funding so that contracts can be bid more quickly. It has broken contracts into smaller chunks to allow for more competitive bidding to bring costs down. It has created a schedule of contracts so that the public can follow its progress to make sure that contracts are being bid on time.

Mitigation of Construction Impact: C
The MTA seems to want to try to mitigate the impact of construction on local residents and businesses. They have been diligent in meeting with local businesses. They have hired people who genuinely appear to want to work with the community to address individual concerns, and some members of the community have complimented their efforts. They have reduced the number of buildings they have condemned to limit the number of people who will be losing their homes. They have created a Shop Second Avenue campaign to try to drive customers to affected businesses. Unfortunately, more than a dozen businesses have closed along the subway’s construction zone despite these efforts.

On Time Record: C
When this project went into Final Design, the MTA was projecting a completion date of 2012. By the time the project broke ground, they projected a completion date of 2014. This summer, the MTA began projecting a 2016 completion date. Some argue that the project will not be finished until 2018. Others suggest that the MTA could get its act together and move forward more aggressively, finishing earlier than December 2016. There’s a lot of room for improvement here.

Staying on Budget: C
When the full funding grant agreement was signed, this project was supposed to cost $3.8 billion. Today, the MTA is projecting $4.4 billion. It’s not going to be easy to find the extra funds, particularly when there are so many other competing projects. The longer this project takes, the more it will cost. The MTA is taking advantage of the dip in the economy to bring some of the costs down, and it has scrapped plans for a three track system to reduce costs further. But unless the MTA meets its projections, it will be very hard to find the resources to complete this project.

Progress Toward Completion: C-
Thus far the MTA has bid 3 of 11 contracts. It has completed some of the preparatory work for the tunnel launch box, including building the slurry wall, but no blasting has begun. Thus far there has been no tunnel dug, no shafts completed, no station entrances built, and no ancillary facilities built. It’s early in the project and preparatory work does need to be done before we should expect to see tangible results. Two and a half years into construction, we hoped for greater progress.


Overall Grade: B-
The Second Avenue Subway is crucial to the economic future of New York. It needs to be built. The MTA has an ambitious construction schedule, and it needs to put its full attention to making sure that this project is moving forward with all deliberate speed. Up until now, the project has been marred by missed deadlines, cost overruns and a harsh impact on local businesses. There is a lot of room for improvement, but also the possibility that the project is now starting to gain momentum.

* * *

It’s tough to dispute Maloney’s assessment. She is brutally honest about the pace of progress, and in fact, her C grades for the project’s on-time and on-budget records could even be considered generous. In the end, the MTA should inform the public why this project is nearly six years behind schedule and what the agency is doing to address these concerns. The city needs the Second Ave. Subway, and after so much disruption on the ground, further delays should not be tolerated.

“The new subway line will be great for the East Side in the long run, but the construction process is clearly devastating the neighborhood,” Upper East Side Assembly representative Micah Kellner said of Maloney’s report. “It is simply unacceptable that the time line is endlessly revised with the excuse that the original end date was merely ‘optimistic’ and arbitrary. The MTA must be held accountable for the construction’s impact on the lives of residents and the livelihoods of business owners. This report only serves as a reminder of the serious work that needs to be done to streamline this project.”

Comments (19)
  • Wanted: A few good subway maps · I’m currently working on a post about the evolution of the New York City subway map and the various ways in which station location and geographical information are presented on maps from around the globe. I’ve come to the realization though that I do not have a few maps I might need for this project, and so I’m going to attempt to crowd-source. Do you, loyal SAS readers, have any subway maps from the early or mid 1990s lying around? Do you want to find a new home for them (or lend them to me for a bit)? If so, please contact me. · (2)
  • MTA awards last major East Side Access contract · As the Second Ave. Subway battles problems and delays, the MTA’s East Side Access project is moving ahead mostly as scheduled. Yesterday, the MTA awarded a $659 million tunneling contract to a joint venture team of Granite Construction Inc., Traylor Bros. Inc. and Frontier-Kemper Constructors Inc. The contract, according to the Associated Press, covers the “Queens Bored Tunnels and Structures for Long Island Rail Road’s East Side Access project in New York. The work to be done on the project represents the last major link in the tunnels from Queens to Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan.”

    Work on this tunnel is scheduled to take 42 months and will begin immediately. Reports the AP, “The companies will excavate and concrete line four bored tunnels beneath an active rail storage yard. The tunnels will total nearly two miles in length and about 22 feet in diameter. The work also includes excavating three emergency exit structures, underpinning existing bridges and demolishing various rail yard buildings.” Although it will not meet its original 2012 completion date, the East Side Access project remains on track for a 2015 opening. · (6)
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