Massimo and his map. (Photo by Benjamin Kabak)

Whenever I unfold one of my original 1970s Massimo Vignelli subway diagrams, I’m always struck by how small they are. Compared with the maps the MTA hands out today that lend themselves to awkward interactions that clearly indicate someone unfamiliar with the subways, the city or both, Vignelli’s maps open smaller than even a tabloid newspaper. They were meant to be stuffed into a pocket and consulted when needed. They also launched a thousand endless debates of form over function. To honor Vignelli, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 83, let’s have another.

For the vast majority of New Yorkers — or at least the vast majority of New Yorkers who have heard of him — the name Massimo Vignelli conjures up images of a very distinctive style in subway map history. For 42 years, in fact, New Yorkers have debated this map, and in the minds of this city’s millions, it will be Vignelli’s lasting legacy even as our lives are infused with his designs for American Airlines, for National Parks brochures, for Big Brown Bags, for countless other items that use and exploit the stark lines of Helvetica, his preferred font.

Over the past few years, I had the opportunity to see Vignelli speak, first on a panel and later in a presentation. He had a sharp wit and a good sense of humor, but he also had a clear stubborn streak. He always felt, long after the MTA pushed him away and then brought him back into the fold, that his subway diagram — definitely not a map, mind you, but a diagram — was better than anything before it and certainly better than the overloaded mess of a map the MTA has tried to streamline in recent years. It had smooth angles, clear lines and obvious colors, and it was designed to get a straphanger from place to place underground, not from place aboveground to place aboveground via the underground.

Simplicity was key to Vignelli. During a 2012 talk at the Transit Museum, Vignelli spoke of his philosophy while heaping criticism on the current map. His design featured straight lines at 45-degree angles of various orientations. As he put it, “Line, dot, that’s it. No dot, no stop.” While looking at the current map with its curved route lines and angled text, he asked, of the Montague St. tunnel, “Who cares if the subway has to go around like that?”

New Yorkers of course hated it. Their subway map had been an amorphous blob of shades of grey, red and green, and the new Vignelli map was a shock to the system. It had so many colors and lines and angles, and for some reason, parks weren’t the right shape and 50th St. and 8th Ave. was east of 50th St. and Broadway. That, from day one, seemed to be the sticking point. Vignelli’s diagram, designed to be some with a modicum of knowledge about the city’s grid and neighborhood maps that, to this day, still populate subway stops, was a geographic mess. After seven years of complaints, the MTA torpedoed his subway diagram in favor of the first version of the map we know and use today.

Over the years, Vignelli would harbor grudges against those at the TA who pushed him out, but he eventually reached a detente and a reconciliation. He redesigned his map in 2008 for Men’s Vogue, and the printing sold out nearly immediately. The diagram appeared on a dress at Nordstrom’s in 2009, and he reproduced a 2012 version that currently hangs in my living room. His design formed the basis for the MTA’s Weekender app and the Super Bowl’s Regional Transit Diagram. Long a piece in the Museum of Modern Art, his diagram is seeming here to stay in some form or another.

Massimo’s legacy extends well beyond this controversial map. In addition to the ways in which his designs have created conversation and controversy, he also streamlined signage in the subway system. He and Bob Noorda, who passed away four years ago, reimagined the way signage works and appears in the subway system. With a few changes, his Helvetica designs remain in place (though he, like I, never embraced “Exit Middle of Plat” as an appropriate shorthand for anything). The general philosophy behind subway signage lives on in the Graphics Standard Manual.

Vignelli’s passing leaves that role of stubborn, funny, cantankerous man to someone else. His map, his subway diagram, his angles and font will forever live on.

For more on Vignelli, I recommend the obit in The Times, and a piece penned in The Wall Street Journal by friend-of-SAS Keith Williams. Michael Beirut offered up his memories of Massimo as well.

The Vignelli map, in wearable form.

Categories : Subway Maps
Comments (28)

When the MTA adopted a proposal, nearly five years ago, to shore up their finances by, in part, raising fares every two years, the plan of attack involved biennial increases of around 7-8 percent. The rate of these fare hikes outpaced inflation but was designed to overcompensate for years of fare policies that didn’t align with inflation. After a fare hike last year, though, Tom Prendergast announced that the 2015 hike would be only four percent, and I wondered if the MTA had jumped the gun.

At the time, the MTA had still been pressing for a net-zero labor increase, and it wasn’t clear how strong the MTA’s finances would be, even in the face of an improving economy. Now, we’ve been led to believe that the MTA can afford something more than net zero without rigid work rule reform, at least for the TWU, and the Long Island labor dispute has become the center piece of the battle over MTA dollars. Last week, it seemed as though a summer strike would be more likely than not, and the question on everyone’s mind concerns the money. While the Presidential Emergency Board again failed to account for the MTA’s razor-thin margins and lack of financial flexibility, the PEB still awarded the LIRR union 18 percent raises. Where would this money come from?

In a piece last week in the Daily News, Pete Donohue attempted to answer. For starters, Prendergast said at least week’s MTA board meetings, the fare hikes won’t be increased, but what about everything else? Donohue summarized:

Prendergast said that if an agreement calling for 17% raises for LIRR workers were reached, there would be an impact on MTA budget models, but members of the authority’s board still want to limit next year’s fare hike to 4%, as previously planned. “Fares we’re pretty firm on,” Prendergast said after an MTA board meeting on Wednesday.

MTA officials will meet with LIRR union leaders and attempt to negotiate a less expensive contract, Prendergast said. LIRR workers have been without a contract for more than three years. Union leaders have said they will call a strike if they don’t have a deal by the July deadline. Federal law permits strikes by commuter railroad workers after a multi-stage process of independent mediation and cooling-off periods.

Prendergast said “we’ll have to see” if the MTA would be able to afford service improvements if its budget plans had to be adjusted to accommodate LIRR raises in line with the mediation panel’s non-binding recommendation. Top transit officials last week had begun discussing implementing a package of service increases and improvements that could total $20 million, the Daily News reported.

If the MTA has to dole out more dollars than it anticipated to the LIRR union, the riders wouldn’t see planned service increases, but more alarming are the unsaid sources of revenue. The MTA would possibly have to figure out a way to use pay-as-you-go capital funding to cover labor wages for a union in bad need of reform. Such a move would leave fewer dollars for emergency repairs, component upgrades and maintenance and upkeep efforts. Clearly, that’s not a positive.

I don’t know what will happen. No one wants a strike, but as I said last week, there are some long-term gains to be had from a strike. Still, it’s important to remember that the MTA’s finances are better but still on shaky grounds, and the most vulnerable monies are the ones the agency needs the most. Instead, those dollars could go to the UTU as the city’s transit system faces a potential capital crisis.

Categories : UTU
Comments (36)

A lot of this work stretches through Memorial Day, and trains will be operating on a weekend schedule on Monday. On the bright side, SBS M60 service debuts Sunday. The bus lane isn’t nearly as long as we’d like, and the Community Board highlighted everything wrong with transit expansion in New York City. But there you go. Stay safe. Enjoy those BBQs.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, May 23 to 5:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 27, 2 trains are suspended in both directions between Franklin Av and Flatbush Av-Brooklyn College due to switch renewal north of Nostrand Av. Free shuttle buses provide alternative service, making all subway stops between Franklin Av and Flatbush Av-Brooklyn College.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, May 23 to 5:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 27, 3 trains are suspended due to switch renewal north of Nostrand Av. 2 trains and free shuttle buses provide alternate service. In Brooklyn, free shuttle buses operate between Franklin Av and New Lots Av. Transfer between 2 trains and free shuttle buses at Franklin Av. In Harlem, free shuttle buses serve 135 St, 145 St, and 148 St. Transfer between 2 trains and free shuttle buses at 135 St.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, May 23 to 5:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 27, 4 trains are suspended in both directions between Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr and New Lots Av due to switch renewal north of Nostrand Av. 2 trains and free shuttle buses provide alternate service. Transfer between 2 trains and free shuttle buses at Franklin Av.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, May 24 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, May 26, Inwood-207 St-bound A trains run local from Canal St to 125 St due to track tie and track plate renewal at 59 St-Columbus Circle. Far Rockaway/Lefferts Blvd-bound A trains run local from 59 St-Columbus Circle to Canal St due to Mulry Square vent plan upgrade.


From 9:45 p.m. Friday, May 23 to 5:00 a.m. Sunday, May 25, Bronx-bound D trains skip 182-183 Sts due to ADA work at Kingsbridge Rd.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, May 24 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, May 26, Bronx-bound D trains run local from 59 St-Columbus Circle to 145 St due to track tie and track plate renewal at 59 St-Columbus Circle.


From 12:30 a.m. Saturday, May 24 to 5:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 27, E trains run local in both directions between Queens Plaza and Forest Hills-71 Av due to CPM signal modernization at Forest Hills-71 Av and Kew Gardens-Union Tpke.


From 9:45 p.m. Friday, May 23 to 5:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 27, Queens-bound F trains are rerouted via the E line from 47-50 Sts-Rock Ctr to Queens Plaza due to Second Avenue Subway construction work.


From 12:30 a.m. Saturday, May 24 to 5:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 27, F trains run local in both directions in Queens due to CPM signal modernization at Forest Hills-71 Av and Kew Gardens-Union Tpke.


From 5:00 a.m. to 12 midnight, Saturday, May 24 to Monday, May 26, G trains run every 20 minutes between Long Island City-Court Sq and Bedford-Nostrand Avs due to Sandy recovery work in the Greenpoint Tube. The last stop for some trains headed toward Long Island City-Court Sq is Bedford-Nostrand Avs.


From 3:30 a.m. Saturday, May 24 to 10:00 p.m. Monday, May 26, J service is suspended between Marcy Av and Broadway Junction due to track panel work from Flushing Av to Myrtle Av, and track repairs near Broadway Junction. Free shuttle buses operate between Marcy Av and Broadway Junction stopping at Hewes St, Lorimer St, Flushing Ave, Myrtle Av, Kosciusko St, Gates Av, Halsey St, and Chauncey St.


From 3:30 a.m. Saturday, May 24 to 10:00 p.m. Monday, May 26, M service is suspended due to track panel work from Flushing Av to Myrtle Av, and track repairs near Broadway Junction. Transfer between J trains and free shuttle buses at Marcy Av. Free shuttle buses operate between Middle Village Metropolitan Av and Marcy Av, stopping at Fresh Pond Rd, Forest Av, Seneca Av, Myrtle-Wyckoff Avs, Knickerbocker Av, Central Av, Myrtle Av, Flushing Av, Lorimer St, and Hewes St.

Categories : Service Advisories
Comments (7)
  • An unclear future for Phase II of the Second Ave. Subway · Late last week, a bunch of politicians gathered on the Upper East Side to celebrate the ongoing progress toward completion for Phase I of the Second Ave. Subway. At the time, the project was approximately 960 days away from revenue service, and after nine decades, everyone’s feeling pretty good. “For years, people have been asking me if they will live long enough to ride the 2nd Ave subway. Usually I’ve had to respond that it depends on your age,” State Senator Liz Krueger said, “but now I finally feel we can say with confidence, ‘Get ready: We will soon have a new subway to ride.’”

    It would, obviously enough, be a good time to think about starting the funding push, let alone the work, for Phase II. The second part of this multi-step project is a northern extension from 96th St., through preexisting tunnel and some new stations to a connection to the 4/5/6 and Metro-North underneath 125th St. It was initially estimated to cost around the same as Phase I, as the station caverns and auxiliary structures drive the expense, and it’s a key element to the East Harlem transportation picture.

    It is then a bit concerning to hear the MTA be a bit non-committal as the deadline for funding for the next capital program looms. In the past, the agency has noted that, while the EIS will be updated, the project is still an important one, and powerful politicians have urged the MTA to keep building. Still, MTA CEO and Chairman Tom Prendgast said this week, as amNY reports, “it’s too early to tell what will and won’t be included” in the next five-year plan.

    The MTA has to shift its focus to climate change-related work to shore up the system in the event of another Sandy-type flood event, but the Second Ave. Subway is an important element of any plan to improve mobility and reduce NYC’s dependency on car travel. The MTA shouldn’t wait until 2016, when everyone is celebrating the ribbon cutting for the Second Ave. Subway, to start planning for Phases II (or III or IV). The time to act is now, and politicians and agency officials should do what they can to move this behemoth forward. · (70)

For the second time since last 2013, a Presidential Emergency Board convened to help mediate the long-simmering labor dispute between the LIRR and UTU Local 645 has sided with the union. In a non-binding decision, the PEB urged the MTA to adopt the UTU call for wage increases of 17 percent over five years, no change in pension obligations and only the promise to negotiate over work rules with no real reforms in sight. As the MTA is unlikely to accept this decision, such a ruling paves the way for the UTU to strike in 60 days.

During the recent negotiations, the MTA had proposed a deal similar in form to that accepted this week by the Transport Workers Union Local 100. The offer included modest increases, both retroactive and in the future, as well as substantial pension reform and wage structures. The PEB did not view this as a comparable or fair offer and has rejected it. Unlike last time, though, when the first PEB stated that “It simply cannot be concluded that the MTA’s current financial position is one in which it is unable to pay for wage adjustments that are otherwise warranted,” the new decision (available here and below) stays away from a discussion of the MTA’s finances.

Still, it is highly unlikely that the MTA will accept the PEB-backed proposal, and the agency said as much tonight while hoping to stop a strike before it begins:

The MTA is disappointed that the Presidential Emergency Board did not accept as the most reasonable offer our proposal for 11 percent raises over six years for the Long Island Rail Road unions, consistent with the agreement overwhelmingly ratified by the Transport Workers Union. Our proposal is a fair and reasonable way to recognize our employees’ hard work and provide them with competitive wages, retroactive pay, quality healthcare and secure pensions. If adopted, the Board recommendation would significantly reduce funds available for the MTA Capital Plan. We still believe a fair, reasonable and affordable agreement can be negotiated at the bargaining table, as it was with the TWU.

In all likelihood, though, the UTU will strike, and the MTA is probably OK with that. Had the PEB sided with the LIRR, the optics of a strike would have been more favorable to the agency. The UTU would have been the side to reject the contract offer, but instead, the MTA will appear as though it is goading on a strike when it eventually rejects this deal. But it’s hard to say that a strike shouldn’t happen; as I discussed last night, a strike could be beneficial in the long run even as it exacts short-term pain.

So now we wait. The UTU and MTA have 60 days to attempt to negotiate something palatable to either side, and the PEB decision is nothing more than advisory. If I were a betting man, though, I’d put money a strike, and that may not be the worst outcome around.

After the jump, read the PEB decision. Read More→

Categories : UTU
Comments (116)

As the MTA Board gears up to validate the new TWU contract on Wednesday, the union met for a vote yesterday, and the deal passed with an overwhelming majority. Over 80 percent of the rank-and-file voted in favor of the agreement — which grants modest retroactive and future raises while requiring higher healthcare contributions. It doesn’t have the work rule reform many had hoped, but it ushers in some peace after years of rancorous negotiations between the TWU and various MTA heads.

Now, attention will turn to the east as the Long Island Rail Road, whose workers can legally strike, gears up for some labor unrest. The UTU has already authorized a strike for late July, and unless the MTA and its LIRR union can come to an agreement soon, the eastern suburbs will be look at a rough summer. The TWU though may be the savior for Long Island riders hoping against a strike. The subway union and the new contract may also be just the thing the MTA needs to put some added pressure on the UTU.

In a paywalled article for Newsday, Alfonso Castillo follows that thread. It could be worse; it could be better. Castillo writes:

An LIRR union source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the TWU’s approval of the contract increases the likelihood of a railroad strike, as LIRR unions have lost some leverage at the bargaining table. “The MTA is going to dig their heels in now,” said the source, adding that the subway workers’ ratification gave the MTA’s case “validity.”

Without an agreement in place, 6,000 LIRR workers could legally strike as early as July 20, stranding some 300,000 daily riders who use the nation’s largest commuter railroad. The LIRR unions have said the MTA’s proposed contract is worth far less to LIRR workers than to subway workers, who will see several new perks that would not benefit railroad workers, including free rides on the LIRR. Railroad workers would also see a far bigger increase in employee health benefit contributions than transit workers will under the contract.

The unions have demanded that the MTA accept the more lucrative terms of a White House-appointed mediation board, which in December called for 17 percent raises for workers, and smaller health care cost contributions. A second Presidential Emergency Board was set to issue its recommendation for a fair LIRR contract Tuesday, just 60 days before a strike could be called. Losing the presidential board’s support a day after subway workers ratified their contract would be a “worst-case scenario,” the union source said. “That would definitely lead to a collision course.”

TWU officials, rightly so, declined to take a stance on the United Transportation Union situation. “I’m the president of the TWU Local 100. I’m not the president of the Long Island Rail Road coalition,” John Samuelson said to Newsday. “We have long-standing benefit issues that the Long Island Rail Road folks didn’t have.”

The MTA, meanwhile, claims they are committed to resolving the outstanding dispute with the UTU at the bargaining table and preferably before a strike. The clock is ticking though, and in two months, the LIRR would effectively shut down for substitute bus service until the two sides agree. As workforce reform goes, it’s more important for the MTA to extract concessions from the LIRR union at this stage in the game, and a strike almost feels inevitable. We’ll see where we are in 60 days.

Categories : TWU, UTU
Comments (40)

NextStopis Everyone’s favorite podcast devoted to New York City’s transit scene drops its 17th episode today. Rejoice as Eric Brasure and I tackle a few key topics. We discussed Mayor Bill De Blasio’s dealings with the popular green borough taxi program and his relationship with the yellow cab medallion and fleet owners. We explore the big push to improve transit access to LaGuardia Airport and the MTA’s plans to increase service over the coming months.

This week’s episode runs about 22 minutes, and if you haven’t left work for the day, give it a listen on your ride home. (But don’t worry; it will still be timely in the morning.) You can grab the podcast right here on iTunes or pull the raw MP3 file. If you enjoy what you hear, subscribe to updates on iTunes as well and consider leaving us a review. If you have any issues you’d like us to tackle when we return in two weeks, leave ‘em in the comments below.

Categories : The Next Stop Is
Comments (0)

What a difference four years make. At around this time back in 2010, New York City and its transit system was gearing up for a day of reckoning. Bus lines throughout the city were to be axed with more bus stops eliminated, and subway service was set to be pared down. Despite record ridership, the MTA’s finances were in disarray, and Albany wasn’t willing to take unpopular steps to shore up the balance sheet.

These days, the MTA’s finances aren’t any more secure than they were four years ago, but the economy on the whole — and key tax revenues — are on the up and up. Thus, the agency is on a better footing and can bring service increases online to meet demand. We heard last week about some major increases in off-peak L train frequency, and that won’t be, according to a report in the Daily News, the only transit bumps New Yorkers will witness this year. We’ll know more once the MTA’s budget is released in July, but as Pete Donohue reported, the MTA is gearing up to add $20 million worth of service.

“The customers want more service and the board members want to give them more service,” an unnamed MTA official said to the News. “We’re looking at the most cost-effective ways to do that.”

And just what are those cost-effective ways? Here’s Donohue’s take:

The presidents of the MTA’s bus, subway and commuter train operations have submitted to headquarters possible targets for funding. Some board members and advocacy groups, like the Straphangers Campaign and the Riders Alliance, also have pitched suggestions. They include extending the J train on weekends to Broad St., extending the B37 bus route to downtown Brooklyn, returning the M104 to 42nd St., restoring weekend service on the Long Island Rail Road’s West Hampton branch and extending Metro-North Railroad trains with additional cars to reduce crowding.

The service upgrades, if ultimately adopted, would mark the third year in a row the MTA put forth major spending programs that boosted bus, subway and commuter train service after enacting deep cuts in 2010…

The MTA executive, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the authority will not restore all of the 2010 cuts, adding that they included bus routes that proved too expensive because of extremely low ridership. This new round also will likely include more nonservice initiatives, such as working to improve cleanliness and customer communications, the executive said.

Based on this list, I’m more intrigued by the cleanliness and customer communications initiatives than I am of the actual service increases. Longer Metro-North train sets at certain hours of the day would be a boon for riders who feel the space limitations, but extending the J train to Broad St. on weekends isn’t anything that impacts that many subway riders. I’m hoping for more once we see the final plans. I am also tempted to say that it doesn’t make sense to bring back many of the axed bus routes, but this position raises the question of induced demand. Can bus service — even those expensive to run — lead to a greater desire for transit service?

Still, investment in more transit service is a positive from the MTA. We saw them pare down service by nearly $100 million a few years ago, and they’ve slowly added it back where demand warrants it. These are moves that warrant support; it’s only too bad the investments come in such small increments. Imagine where we would be and how the transit network could serve the city and the region if money were less of an obstacle.

Categories : Service Cuts
Comments (31)

I have a few posts lined up for next week already. We’ll talk about Mayor De Blasio’s approach to the green boro taxi program. (Hint: I don’t approve.) We’ll talk about MSG’s tax breaks. (Hint: City Council’s desire to roll them back could be a baby step toward a new Penn Station.) And we’ll talk about 2nd Ave. Subway milestones. (Hint: We’re approximately 960 days away from this thing becoming an actual reality.)

If you’re running the Brooklyn Half tomorrow morning, as I am, good luck, and be ware the service changes on the 2, 3 and 4 lines.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, May 16 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, May 19, 2 trains are suspended in both directions between Franklin Av and Flatbush Av-Brooklyn College due to switch renewal north of Nostrand Av. Free shuttle buses provide alternative service, making all subway stops between Franklin Av and Flatbush Av-Brooklyn College.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, May 16 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, May 19, 3 trains are suspended due to switch renewal north of Nostrand Av. 2 trains and free shuttle buses provide alternate service. In Brooklyn, free shuttle buses operate between Franklin Av and New Lots Av. Transfer between 2 trains and free shuttle buses at Franklin Av. In Harlem, free shuttle buses serve 135 St, 145 St, and 148 St. Transfer between 2 trains and free shuttle buses at 135 St.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, May 16 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, May 19, 4 trains are suspended in both directions between Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr and New Lots Av due to switch renewal north of Nostrand Av. 2 trains and free shuttle buses provide alternate service. Transfer between 2 trains and free shuttle buses at Franklin Av.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, May 16 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, May 19, Queens-bound A trains skip 111 St due to station renewal work at 104 St.

  • For Service To 111 St: Take a Lefferts Blvd-bound A train to Lefferts Blvd and transfer to a Brooklyn-bound A train.
  • For Service From 111 St: Take a Brooklyn-bound A train to Rockaway Blvd and transfer to a Lefferts Blvd-bound A train, or use the Q112 bus.


From 9:45 p.m. Friday, May 16 to 5:00 a.m. Sunday, May 18, Brooklyn-bound D trains skip 182-183 Sts due to ADA work at the Kingsbridge Rd.


From 12:30 a.m. Saturday, May 17 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, May 19, E trains run local in both directions between Queens Plaza and Forest Hills-71 Av due to CPM signal modernization at Forest Hills-71 Av and Kew Gardens-Union Tpke.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, May 16 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, May 19, Queens-bound F trains run express from Church Av to Smith-9 Sts due to signal work at Church Av.


From 12:30 a.m. Saturday, May 17 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, May 19, Queens-bound F trains run local between Queens Plaza and Forest Hills-71 Av due to CPM signal modernization at Forest Hills-71 Av and Kew Gardens-Union Tpke. Coney Island-Stillwell Av-bound F trains run local between Forest Hills-71 Av and 21 St-Queensbridge.


From 9:45 p.m. Friday, May 16 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, May 19, Queens-bound F trains are rerouted via the E line from 47-50 Sts-Rock Ctr to Queens Plaza due to Second Avenue Subway construction work.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, May 16 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, May 19, Queens-bound G trains run express from Church Av to Smith-9 Sts due to signal work at Church Av.


From 3:30 a.m. Saturday, May 17 to 10:00 p.m. Sunday, May 18, J service is suspended between Marcy Av and Broadway Junction due to track panel work from Flushing Av to Myrtle Av, and track repairs near Broadway Junction. Free shuttle buses operate between Marcy Av and Broadway Junction stopping at Hewes St, Lorimer St, Flushing Ave, Myrtle Av, Kosciusko St, Gates Av, Halsey St, and Chauncey St.


From 3:30 a.m. Saturday, May 17 to 10:00 p.m. Sunday, May 18, M service is suspended due to track panel work from Flushing Av to Myrtle Av, and track repairs near Broadway Junction. Transfer between J trains and free shuttle buses at Marcy Av. Free shuttle buses operate between Middle Village Metropolitan Av and Marcy Av, stopping at Fresh Pond Rd, Forest Av, Seneca Av, Myrtle-Wyckoff Avs, Knickerbocker Av, Central Av, Myrtle Av, Flushing Av, Lorimer St, and Hewes St.


From 10:45 p.m. Friday, May 16 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, May 19, Brooklyn-bound Q trains run express from Newkirk Av to Sheepshead Bay due to track panel work from Church Av to Newkirk Av, and Brighton Beach.

Categories : Service Advisories
Comments (0)

Let us pretend you are a member of an industry group that could be a fairly powerful advocate for airport accessibility. Let’s say you are hoping to improve the way New Yorkers relate to their airports. This isn’t a particularly long stretch as New York’s airports have a reputation for being inaccessible and generally awful. And now let’s say you’re focusing on getting to and from the airport. Do you advocate for something challenging but more beneficial such as, say, a rail extension or do you settle for the bus?

If you’re the Global Gateway Alliance, an organization that includes Joseph Sitt and Kathryn Wylde, apparently a bus is good enough if you’re trying to “address the major challenges facing the metropolitan region’s airports and related infrastructure that, if left unaddressed, will serve as a major impediment to the long-term growth of New York City.” Who knew a simple bus would do the trick?

Maybe I’m selling this idea short. In a letter to NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and MTA CEO and Chairman Tom Prendergast, the Global Gateway Alliance urged the city’s transportation leaders to install a true BRT line between Ditmars Boulevard and LaGuardia Airport. It’s not a call for a subway extension, and it doesn’t involve the plans to bring BRT to Woodhaven. Rather, it’s a modest three-mile proposal, but the letter seems to create and give in to the opposition before wheels are even on the ground. Here’s an excerpt:

we believe the project should allow for the first true Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line in New
York City, linking the N line terminus at 31st Street and Ditmars Boulevard directly to LaGuardia, less than 3 miles away. The short distance between the N and the Central Terminal Building presents the opportunity for the elements of a BRT line that aren’t allowed by longer bus routes throughout the City – a dedicated lane, tickets purchased off the bus, and one or no stops along the route.

In addition, there are a number of potential route options. Ditmars Boulevard is the most direct and could increase foot traffic to and awareness of the shopping district. It may be difficult to remove parking spaces along Ditmars, however, so other alignments including down 31st Street to the Grand Central or another surface road could also be explored…

We know that an extension of the N line to LaGuardia was considered in the early 2000s. Ultimately, it was shelved due to community opposition from the disruption of constructing new elevated tracks. While an N Line extension would be a great boost to LaGuardia and mean the first one-seat ride to one of our major airports, a BRT plan is more workable right now…

We know that there may be new community issues associated with any additional mass transit plan, but we believe they can be overcome. Meeting with and including the local community in the planning process now will go a long way toward making the neighborhood a partner in this effort.

The GGA recognizes the recent moves to bolster Q70 service and install an SBS along the M60, but the organization notes that these two routes do not address the need for “direct and dedicated access” to the public transportation system from LaGuardia. Whether a BRT line from the airport to a subway terminal that’s a slow 11 stops away from Times Square qualifies is up for debate, but that’s my issue.

Rather, the GGA has the ability to impact decisions for the foreseeable future. These are powerful interests who care about mobility and have the resources to work with communities (and, if necessary, battle NIMBYs) to get good transit for everyone. They should be focusing on a faster rail link rather than a slower surface option with much less capacity. We used to think big; now we just think buses. How disappointing.

Categories : Queens
Comments (116)
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