Before getting to the service advisories, I have a reader-submitted link to share. One of SAS’s loyal followers and a Transit Museum member went on the City Hall tour earlier this month and snapped some photos. Check ’em out. That’s a fun tour.

Now on with the service changes. Nearly every line is suffering through some weekend-related work. With these changes and the weather, it’s a good weekend to stay indoors. Next week, I’ll cover the disaster in Queens with the 7 train service changes.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, January 17 to 5 a.m. Monday, January 19, 1 trains skip 28th, 23rd and 18th Streets in both directions due to signal testing near South Ferry.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday January 16 to 5 a.m. Monday, January 19, there are no 1 trains between 14th Street and South Ferry due to signal testing near South Ferry. Free shuttle buses and 2 trains provide alternate service.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday January 16 to 5 a.m. Monday, January 19, free shuttle buses replace the 2 between 96th Street and 149th Street-Grand Concourse due to conduit and cable installation.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, January 17 to 5 a.m. Monday, January 19, downtown 2 trains run local from 96th Street to Chambers Street and uptown 2 trains run local from Chambers Street to 72nd Street due to signal testing near South Ferry and conduit and cable installation.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, January 17 to 5 a.m. Monday, January 19, the 5 train replaces the 2 train between 149th Street-Grand Concourse and Wakefield-241st Street due to conduit and cable installation.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday January 16 to 5 a.m. Monday, January 19, there is no 3 train service due to conduit and cable installation. The 2, 4 and free shuttle buses provide alternate service.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday January 16 to 5 a.m. Monday, January 19, 4 trains are extended to New Lots Avenue due to conduit and cable installation.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, January 17 to 5 a.m. Monday, January 19, uptown 4 trains run local from 14th Street to 125th Street due to a track chip-out north of Spring Street.


From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, January 18, Manhattan-bound 4 trains skip Mosholu Parkway due to maintenance, testing and inspection of equipment.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, January 17 to 5 a.m. Monday, January 19, uptown 4 and 6 trains run express from Brooklyn Bridge to 14th Street due to a track chip-out of Spring Street.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, January 17 to 5 a.m. Monday, January 19, downtown 4 and 6 trains run local from 125th Street to Brooklyn Bridge due to a track chip-out north of Spring Street.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, January 17 to 5 a.m. Monday, January 19, there are no 4 trains available at Nostrand and Kingston Avenues due to switch renewal at Nostrand Avenue. Free shuttle buses provide alternate service.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, January 17 to 5 a.m. Monday, January 19, there are no 5 trains between Grand Central and Bowling Green due to a track chip-out north of Spring Street. Customers should take the 4 instead.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, January 17 to 5 a.m. Monday, January 19, 5 trains run in two sections (due to conduit and cable installation.):

  • Between Dyre Avenue and East 180th Street and
  • Between East 180th Street and Grand Central-42nd Street


From 4 a.m. Saturday, January 17 to 10 p.m. Sunday, January 18 (and the following weekend Jan 24-25), Manhattan-bound 6 trains run express from Pelham Bay Park to Parkchester due to track panel installation from Castle Hill Avenue to Parkchester. The last stop for some Bronx-bound 6 trains is 3rd Avenue-138th Street.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, January 16 to 5 a.m. Monday, January 19, (and weekends through Feb 28-Mar 2) there are no 7 trains between Times Square-42nd Street and Queensboro Plaza due to track panel installation on the Davis Street curve and security conduit and cable installation in the under river tube. The N and free shuttle buses provide alternate service.


From 12:01 a.m. to midnight Saturday, January 17, Manhattan-bound A trains run local from Euclid Avenue to Canal Street, then express to 59th Street, then local to 168th Street due to cable work north of Canal Street.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, January 17 to 5 a.m. Monday, January 19, Queens-bound A trains run local between 168th Street and West 4th Street, then via the F line to Jay Street, then local to Euclid Avenue due to the Chambers Street Signal Modernization.


From 12:01 a.m. Sunday, January 18 to 5 a.m. Monday, January 19, Manhattan-bound A trains run local from Euclid Avenue to 168th Street due to Chambers Street Signal Modernization.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, January 17 to 5 a.m. Monday, January 19, there are no C trains running due to the Chambers Street Signal Modernization. Customers should take the A train instead.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, January 17 to 5 a.m. Monday, January 19, Coney Island-bound D trains run on the N line from 36th Street to Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue due to canopy replacement work.


From 12:01 a.m. to midnight Saturday, January 17, uptown E trains skip Spring and 23rd Streets due to cable work north of Canal Street.


From 8:30 p.m. Friday, January 16 to 5 a.m. Monday, January 19, there are no G trains between Forest Hills-71st Avenue and Court Square. Customers take the E or R instead.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, January 16 to 5 a.m. Monday, January 19 (and weekends through February 2), there are no L trains between 8th Avenue and Union Square due to switch renewal near 8th Avenue. Customers may use the M14 bus instead.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, January 16 to 5 a.m. Monday, January 19 (and weekends through February 2), L trains run in two sections (due to switch renewal near 8th Avenue):

  • Between Union Square and Bedford Avenue every 16 minutes, skipping 3rd Avenue and
  • Between Bedford Avenue and Rockaway Parkway every 8 minutes

Customers must transfer at Bedford Avenue to continue their trip. From 10 p.m. Sunday, January 18 to 5 a.m. Monday, trains run every 20 minutes.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, January 17 to 5 a.m. Monday, January 19, N trains run local between Canal Street and 57th Street due to track panel installation on the Davis Street curve and security conduit and cable installation in the under river tube.


From 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, January 17 and from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, January 18, the last stop for some N trains is Whitehall Street due to track panel installation on the Davis Street curve and security conduit and cable installation in the under river tube.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, January 16 to 5 a.m. Monday, January 19, the 42nd Street Shuttle S operates overnight to replace 7 service between Times Square-42nd Street and Grand Central-42nd Street. due to track panel installation on the Davis Street curve and security conduit and cable installation in the under river tube.

Categories : Service Advisories
Comments (0)
  • Another set of subway cars set to sink · As more new subway cars come online, the MTA is busy getting rid of their old fleet. This time around, Ocean City, Maryland, is the lucky recipient of a new artificial reef. According to The Dispatch, the Maryland coast is set to receive 42 more cars for their ever-growing subway reef. I have to guess that this delivery contains either R42 or R32 formerly of the E line. · (1)
Jan
16

Requiem for a Z

By · Comments (17) ·

Brooklyn Borough President sings a (hopefully unnecessary) swan song for the Z train.

I like what city officials and transit advocates are doing right now. They’re keeping the attention on the MTA’s budget issue in ways that attract cameras and press coverage. Now if only they focus the rhetoric and get the politicians listening.

A day after a very contentious public hearing, two borough presidents and leading members of the Straphangers Campaign gathered in Lower Manhattan to eulogize the doomed Z train. Bobby Cuza had more about this funeral for a train set to vanish if state and city funds don’t find their ways to the MTA:

Transit advocates held a mock funeral today to mourn the loss of the Z line, which the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has put on the chopping block. “Yea, though the Z walks through the valley of the shadow of death, it will fear no MTA plan,” said Gene Russianoff of the transit advocacy group, The Straphangers Campaign.

While the Straphangers Campaign staged the mock funeral with tongue firmly in cheek, it says the loss of the Z train is no laughing matter. Along the same line, the MTA plans to shorter the M train and eliminate J/Z skip-stop service. Although the agency will add extra J trains, the changes will add time to riders’ commutes.

“Someone coming from Parsons Boulevard-Jamaica will have about seven minutes added to their trip one-way,” said Russianoff. “So when you calculate that twice a day, five days a week, that’s an hour of additional commuting time those riders are going to have.”

Joining Russianoff were Manhattan Beep Scott Stringer and his Brooklyn counterpart Marty Markowitz. Stringer had all the right words. “I’m here to tell you that we believe in resurrection,” he said. “And we believe that this battle, which now heads to Albany, we have not yet begun to fight.”

But Markowitz’s presence is far more problematic. According to one report, Marty sounded like, well, himself. “Though the Z train begins in Queens and ends in Manhattan, it is—like the J—Brooklyn to the core,” he said to the cameras. “When trains like the Z die, our City’s economy dies with them. This is why we grieve at this mock funeral today. Let’s hope these are not the Z’s last rites.”

As Cap’n Transit succinctly pointed out, Markowitz has been a vocal opponent of bridge tolls, and right now, those bridge tolls are the MTA’s last and best hope. As I mentioned yesterday, we are again seeing a dearth of leadership and rhetoric. It is, as a mentioned, comforting to see Russianoff on the front lines, but we need to see more pressure on Albany and more pressure on city officials — like Markowitz and Stringer — to embrace East River tolls. A healthy MTA for 100 percent of New Yorkers is far more important than placating the 4 percent of Brooklyn drivers who would be impacted by East River tolls.

But in the spirit of the day, I’ll toast the Z, a train I’ve had the pleasure of riding once in my nearly 26 years of life in New York City. No matter my own ridership figures, nearly 80,000 people will miss it, and that’s a big deal.

Categories : Service Cuts
Comments (17)
  • Transit advocates bemoan stimulus breakdown · The Democrats have released a breakdown of the proposed transportation stimulus bill, and transit advocates are not happy. The bill would send $30 billion to road expansion and maintenance problems while just $10 billion would be earmarked for public transit and rail plans. Streetsblog has a breakdown of the bill and round-up of the reaction. Historically, transit investment has been on the smaller end of an 80-20 split. While 75-25 is a step in the right direction, this is no victory for transit agencies or public transportation advocates. · (3)

waitinginline

Sometimes, the best story isn’t what happens at the MTA hearing. In fact, as one may surmise after reading my liveblog of last night’s Manhattan hearing, nothing too groundbreaking goes on during the comment period. It’s remarkable how MTA officials and board members can sit there maintaining self-control and composure as a half-informed public hurls insults their way, but beyond that, last night, the real story was right outside.

I arrived at the Hilton Hotel on Sixth Ave. between 53rd and 54th Sts. a little late last night. By the time I left the NYU area and trekked uptown, it was around 6:05 p.m. My first sign that something was about to go wrong arrived beforehand. In a bit of foreshadowing, the first train to show up on the Sixth Ave. tracks at W. 4th St. was a Queens-bound E running on the Sixth Ave. local line. This service change was an inauspicious beginning.

As I arrived upstairs at the Hilton, the line was a few hundred people long, and it moves slowly through the MTA’s airport-like security. At 6:25, the line stopped, and we didn’t know why. A few minutes later, word spread that the ballroom was full, and the Authority’s reps were scrambling to set up the back room with chairs and amplifiers. The amplifiers wouldn’t arrive for nearly two hours.

As the line stalled, I talked to a few of the people around me and overheard others. A retired teacher and self-proclaimed troublemaker was adamant about opposing the Doomsday measures. “We have to mobilize against these hikes,” she said. The Straphanging public is clearly not willing to take another round of fare hikes.

At 6:40, a conflict between those waiting on line and the Hilton security force nearly flared up. A group of people — led by the very vocal Save the M8 coalition — started chanting “Le us in,” and as the frustration grew, a security guard stepped in. “It’s a safety issue,” the guard said. “The bottom line is that you can’t protest in the building,” another guard said.

So far, people have been waiting online for a public meeting for over 40 minutes, and they’ve just been informed that they cannot protest. That’s a situation ripe for a conflict, but a few good people calmed the crowd. A few minutes later, Manhattan Borough President Steve Stringer emerged from the room. “It’s a disgrace. They’re idiots,” he said about those who would keep the public waiting outside a public meeting for nearly an hour. “I apologize on behalf of the city.”

As the clock ticked forward, more than a few people grow anxious. “It’s a public hearing,” said one. “A public hearing should be accessible to the public.”

At 7:04 p.m., the line starting moving again, and a few minutes later, we were in. Once in view of the hearing, I heard a lot of people talk about the problems of Access-A-Ride and a lot of people speak out against a fare hike and service cuts. But no one mentioned tolling the East River crossings, and even the politicians had few ideas about how they would specifically solve the MTA’s economic issues.

In that sense, I was disappointed. New York needs forward-thinking leaders, and while I heard a lot of criticism, much of it deserved, tossed at the MTA Board, no one offered real leadership. Programs — mass transit, bus lines, expansion — costs money, and paying for these services requires a cost.

As for the crowd inside, they were rowdy, raucous and, as The Times said, angry, but that was nothing compared to the feelings flowing through the line outside. With seven hearings left, things could grow very tense for the MTA and its not-so-adoring public.

Categories : MTA Economics
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The view from the back of the ballroom. This Board has a long night ahead of it. (Click the smaller images to enlarge.)

7:41 p.m.: After waiting outside a ballroom at the Hilton Hotel on Sixth Ave. for over an hour this evening, I’m live from the MTA hearings. It’s been a rowdy 100 minutes with a minor conflict between some antsy folks and hotel security, and the ballroom is packed. I’ll update as the hearings unfold.

Read More→

Categories : Fare Hikes
Comments (17)
  • Pols, not public, do not support bridge tolls · Streetsblog notes a recent Brooklyn Paper article in which the people on the street would rather see the East River bridges tolled than face a steep fare hike and service cuts. So far, we’ve seen studies that indicate how small of an impact the tolls would have on the vast majority of people and how no one wants a fare hike. Yet, the City Council still seems reluctant to the idea of guaranteeing this revenue stream for the MTA. I just hope this political stalemate ends well for the straphangers, but I’m not too optimistic. · (5)

With the ever-popular clock ticking its way toward March 25, MTA bigwigs boarded an Amtrak train yesterday morning to pay a lobbying call to Albany. While visiting our state’s illustrious capital, the MTA officials urged the state’s legislators to pick up the issue of the Ravitch Recommendations before the Board is forced to implement rampant service cuts and fare hikes.

“We represent the riders, and we’re here to make their case, not our case. Hopefully the legislators are listening very carefully because they are elected by those very same people,” MTA Chair Dale Hemmerdinger said.

While Sheldon Silver, the scourge of congestion pricing, feels his Assembly will take action before the end of March — can we please remember this on Election Day next time around? — he did manage to punt on the biggest issue. When the topic of the East River Bridge Tolls came up, Silver urged the city to act. NY1’s Bobby Cuza was on hand in Albany to report on the hearings:

One of the solutions recently proposed by the Ravitch Commission to help fund the system is proving to be a tough sell — the plan to put tolls on the East River and Harlem River bridges, which are owned by the city.

The state Assembly appears unlikely to address the issue, just as it didn’t vote on the mayor’s congestion pricing plan last year. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said if the city wants East River bridge tolls, it can simply transfer those bridges to the MTA.

“We can’t just go in and impose tolls as a state, but the city can transfer to the MTA, lease to the MTA. There’s no legislation required for it to be done and it should just get done by the city,” said Silver.

Silver said the Assembly is ready to implement a new payroll tax, as recommended by the Ravitch Commission. The Senate leadership has so far not taken a position.

So it seems to me that the Assembly is willing to shoulder its share of the deal. I’m not going to don my party hat, though, until the payroll tax bill clears the two legislative bodies in Albany and David Paterson affixes his name to it. They really better hurry up on that.

Meanwhile, if this trip can be considered a guarded success, the MTA ought to act quickly to lobby the City Council. New York’s governing body will, much to the chagrin of MTA supporters, have to approve a sale of the bridges from the City to the MTA so that the transit authority could implement a tolling plan. Considering the overwhelming opposition to a plan that would impact far fewer people than a fare hike, that sale is far from guaranteed.

Later tonight at 6 p.m., the MTA will host the first of its public hearings on the fare hike. It’s time for our voices to be heard. As Silver said, the city must act to save the MTA.

Categories : Ravitch Commission
Comments (8)
  • Bad grades · With the Second Rider Report Card grades trickling in, The New York Post examines the slew of mediocre marks the MTA has received this time around. I’ll have more on this in a few weeks once every line report is out, but for now, I can’t say I’m too surprised by the grades. It will take longer than a year for the subway to show any improvement, and with service cuts looming, those marks may very well go down before they head back up. · (3)

When the Blue Ribbon Commission on Sustainability and the MTA unveiled its 148-page draft recommendations last week, the news coverage was decidedly mixed. It’s no small feat to digest and present a report that William Neuman in The Times aptly described as being “filled with colorful, head-scratching, tongue-twisting gobbledygook.”

When both The Times and The Post opted to lead with the story about the Green MetroCard proposal, then, I wasn’t too surprised. William Neuman aptly summarizes this idea:

The authority said on Thursday that it was considering a “green MetroCard” program that would let riders make donations to help pay for making its operations more environmentally sustainable. The program would also apply to commuter rail tickets and E-ZPasses.

The idea was among dozens of proposals in a $1 million report by a commission appointed by the authority to recommend ways to lessen the adverse environmental impact of its operations.

Under the program, whose details are still being developed, riders buying MetroCards or commuter rail tickets at station vending machines could tack on an extra charge in the form of a tax-deductible contribution for green projects, said Ernest Tollerson, the authority’s policy director.

Now, as someone writing a news blog with a background in journalism, I can understand why a newspaper would latch onto this idea. At a time when the MTA is gearing up to raise fares by as much as 23 percent and cut service, even the simple idea of a voluntary contribution comes across as out of touch and just plain bad PR. But on the flip side, the suggestion is one sentence in a report of 149 pages, and it has garnered far more attention than it should have.

While the newspaper’s attention to this program is defensible, the latest news out of Staten Island is not. Lou Tabacco, a Republican from South Shore, has decided to attack the MTA for this innocuous if misguided one-sentence proposal in a document chock full of new ideas. Here’s the story from the Staten Island Advance:

Tobacco called the idea, which was among about 100 suggestions that came out of a $1 million sustainability report, “an insult to commuters and lawmakers who are being asked to bail out the MTA.”

“First, the MTA calls for higher fares and tolls on commuters during these difficult economic times. Now they’re contemplating asking for donations from the same people whose pockets they are already trying to pick,” said Tobacco. “Enough is enough.”

“Surely, environmental considerations are an important aspect of any transportation plan, but wasting taxpayer money on bogus commissions is the last thing commuters need.”

Come on, Assemblyman Tobacco. You’re making a mountain out of a mole hill, and while this may be a bad idea, it was put forth by a Blue Ribbon Commission tasked with identifying all potential sustainability programs. Furthermore, this is the first draft of their recommendations; it’s not even a finalized product. The odds of this Green MetroCard contribution program coming to fruition are slim to none.

In the end, this latest development out of Staten Island shows why the public is skeptical of the MTA, but it also shows why elected officials don’t fund the MTA. They just don’t get it, and it almost seems like an uphill battle just getting any of these officials to pay attention to transit in any way that makes sense.

Categories : MTA Absurdity
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