The last few weekends have been heavy on the service announcements. With the holidays behind us, the MTA has been stepping up the weekend work as it continues the seemingly endless Capital Rebuilding Program. Often, these weekend service changes lead to some very odd results.

Take, for example, the changes from two weeks ago. That weekend, service to Lower Manhattan resembled what it will be if the service cuts come to be: The stations along the Broadway line were shuttered as the N and R were running over the Manhattan Bridge.

At the Q stop at Seventh Ave. in Brooklyn, the station announcements were warning passengers of the changes. The instructions though were rather odd. To provide service to Lower Manhattan, went the announcement, passengers were encouraged to take the Q to DeKalb Ave., exit the system and board the 4 train a few blocks away at Nevins St. The walk is about 0.1 miles according to Google Maps and should take all of two minutes.

Now, that seems reasonable, right? The 4, after all, stops near enough to Whitehall St., Rector St. and City Hall to mirror the N and R. Well, of course, but take another look at the MTA’s directions. The authority was urging people to exit the system at DeKalb and reenter at Nevins St. when one stop earlier — at Atlantic Ave. — straphangers can take advantage of a free, in-system transfer between the Q and the 4.

I certainly understand that the MTA is facing a budget crisis of epic proportions, and I’d love to see them get out of this without cutting service or drastically raising fares. But it seems rather disingenuous to urge riders to transfer out of the system for a second fare when a free transfer between the train lines in question is in place just one stop down the line. That’s just not right.

Categories : MTA Absurdity
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A D train derailed near the 81st St./Museum of Natural History stop at 12:35 p.m. this afternoon. Two cars skipped a rail on the Coney Island-bound tracks. While no one was injured, riders should expect delays along both the 8th Ave. and 6th Ave. lines. Keep an eye out on the MTA service alerts for up-to-the-minute info about the delays.

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Speaking of things going offline, expect some downtime for Second Ave. Sagas this weekend. My web host is switching this site from one server to the other, and it may take a few hours for the DNS updates to make their ways across the Internet. It’s a three-day weekend though, and everything will be back online well before the end of the weekend.

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Don’t forget to check out the trailer for the remaking of The Taking of Pelham 123. And remember: Trains are running on a Saturday schedule on Monday.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, February 14 and Sunday, February 15, Manhattan-bound 1 trains skip 238th, 231st, and 225th Streets due to replacement of defective rail plates.

From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, February 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, February 16, uptown 1 and 2 trains skip 79th, 86th, and 96th Streets due to work on tunnel lighting and station rehabilitation at 96th Street.

From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, February 14 to 5 a.m. Tuesday, February 17, 2 trains run in two sections (due to switch renewal at Nostrand Avenue):

  • Between 241st Street and Franklin Avenue and
  • Between Franklin and Flatbush Avenues

From 11:30 p.m. Friday, February 13 to 5 a.m. Tuesday, February 17, free shuttle buses replace 3 trains between Franklin and Utica Avenues due to switch renewal at Nostrand Avenue.

From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, February 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, February 16, uptown 3 trains skip 96th Street due to station rehabilitation at 96th Street.

From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, February 14 to 5 a.m. Tuesday, February 17, shuttle trains run between Utica and New Lots Avenues due to switch renewal at Nostrand Avenue.

From 11:30 p.m. Friday, February 13 to 5 a.m. Tuesday, February 17, there is no 4 train service between Atlantic and Utica Avenues due to switch renewal at Nostrand Avenue. The 23 and shuttle buses provide alternative service.

From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, February 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, February 16, there is no 5 train service between Bowling Green and East 180th Street due to track panel installation north of Gun Hill Road and cable tray installation north of East 180th Street. Customers may take the 2 or 4 instead. 5 trains run every 30 minutes between Dyre Avenue and East 180th Street.

From 11:30 p.m. Friday, February 13 to 5 a.m. Tuesday, February 17 (and weekends through Feb 27-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 NQ and free shuttle buses provide alternate service. The 42nd Street Shuttle S operates overnight to replace 7 service between Times Square-42nd Street and Grand Central-42nd Street.

From 11:30 p.m. Friday, February 13 to 5 a.m. Tuesday, February 17, free shuttle buses replace A trains between 168th Street and 207th Street due to tunnel and lighting work. Customers may transfer between the Broadway or Ft. Washington Avenue shuttle buses and the A train at 168th Street.

From 10:30 p.m. Friday, February 13 to 5 a.m. Tuesday, February 17, free shuttle buses replace A trains between Beach 90th Street and Far Rockaway due to track panel work.

From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, February 14 to 5 a.m. Tuesday, February 17, Manhattan-bound A trains run local from Euclid Avenue to Canal Street, then express to 59th Street, then local to 168th Street. Queens-bound A trains run local from 168th to 125th Streets, then express to 59th Street, then local to Euclid Avenue. These changes are due to signal work at Chambers Street and a track chip-out north of 116th Street.

From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, February 14 to 5 a.m. Tuesday, February 17, there are no C trains running due to roadbed replacement work at 116th Street and signal work at Chambers Street. Customers should take the A instead.

From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, February 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, February 16, there are no D trains between Pacific Street and 34th Street due to security conduit and cable installation. The N train and free shuttle buses provide alternate service.

From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, February 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, February 16, D trains run express between 36th Street and Pacific Street due to security conduit and cable installation.

From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, February 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, February 16 (and weekends through February 21-23), there is no E train service between West 4th Street and World Trade Center due to signal work at Chambers Street.

From 12:01 a.m. to noon Saturday, February 14, Jamaica-bound F trains skip Van Wyck and Sutphin Blvds. due to installation of track drains.

From 8:30 p.m. Friday, February 13 to 5 a.m. Monday, February 16 (until further notice), there are no G trains between Forest Hills-71st Avenue and Court Square due to third rail work. Customers should take the E or R instead.

From 3:30 a.m. Saturday, February 14 to 10 p.m. Sunday, February 15, there are no J trains between Broadway Junction and Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer due to fiber optic cable installation. Free shuttle buses replace trains between Broadway Junction and the Jamaica Van Wyck E station.

From 11:30 p.m. Friday, February, 13 to 5 a.m. Monday, February 16, there are no L trains between 8th Avenue and Union Square due to installation of emergency lighting. Customers should use the M14 or shuttle bus instead.

From 11:30 p.m. Friday, February 13 to 5 a.m. Monday, February 16, L trains run in two sections (due to installation of emergency lighting):

  • 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.
*10 p.m. Sunday, February 15 to 5 a.m. Monday, trains run every 20 minutes.

From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, February 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, February 16, Manhattan-bound NR trains are rerouted over the Manhattan Bridge from DeKalb Avenue to Canal Street due to subway tunnel rehabilitation.

From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, February 14 to 5 a.m. Monday, February 16, Q trains are extended to Ditmars Boulevard N station 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, February 13 to 5 a.m. Monday, February 16, 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
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I’ve been waiting for this one for a while…

Categories : Subway Movies
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Things are not looking good for the MTA. With just 40 days left until the MTA Board is set to vote on a draconian package of service cuts and a fare hike, the prospects for a Richard Ravitch-inspired bailout are growing dimmer and dimmer.

The problems crept up on Monday when I noted how Westchester and Long Island pols were not embracing a 0.33 percent payroll tax. Today, the news gets worse. As William Neuman writes in The Times, no one is too thrilled with any of the possibilities. He writes:

When Richard Ravitch revealed his financial rescue plan for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in December, the harshest criticism focused on a proposal to place tolls on the East River and Harlem River Bridges.

That made the plan’s centerpiece, a proposed new tax on payrolls in the 12 counties served by the authority, seem painless by comparison.

But since then, resistance to the payroll tax, which would raise $1.5 billion a year, has been building, especially in areas farther from New York City with less access to mass transit.

And opposition is coming not just from businesses that would pay the tax but also from public officials worried about schools and health care. That is because the tax envisioned by Mr. Ravitch, 33 cents on every $100 in salaries and wages, would apply equally to private businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies, including school districts.

The quotes from public officials are what you would expect. “Opposed, opposed, opposed, opposed, absolutely,” Orange County rep Aileen Gunther said to Neuman. “It” — meaning the tax — “is going to be devastating.”

“The thing that irks us is we’re really paying for somebody else’s problem,” Ken Eastwood, an Orange County school superintendent, said. “It’d be nice if we could turn around and say to the M.T.A., ‘We’d like to tax each of your riders X amount of dollars for our school district.’ They’d freak out.”

The flip side to this, of course, is that the economy will suffer a far more drastic downturn without this tax than with it. Transit will become a problem rather than a integral part of a commute. The region — known for relatively speedy access from suburbs to the economic hub of New York City — will suffer. Property values will go down; wages will go down; productivity will go down. Those schools will lose a lot more as people’s tax burden drops than they will under the Ravitch plan.

It all sounds very doom-and-gloom, but that’s reality. Still, no one in the government is putting it that way. Gov. David Paterson keeps talking about an upcoming push to support the plan, and I hope that enough New York City representatives can garner the support needed to pass it. We can’t afford not to bail out the MTA, and no one knows that more than Richard Ravitch himself.

“Nobody likes taxes, nobody likes tolls, nobody likes fare increases, nobody likes service cuts,” he said to Neuman, “and everybody should be terrified by the idea of the system not continuing to be in a state of good repair and starting back on a slippery slope.”

Categories : Ravitch Commission
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While New York City was reveling in the humor of a 70-year-old misspelling yesterday, 99 miles to the south, Philadelphia’s SEPTA was having an identity crisis of its own.

As part of a promotion for the City of Brotherly Love’s upcoming Beer Week — why doesn’t New York have a beer week?? —the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority released a commemorative daily pass for public transit. The only problem was that the city skyline on the back of the card was New York City and not Philadelphia.

Philly’s news radio station 1060 AM KYW had a comment from a SEPTA official:

One problem: the skyline on the pass isn’t Philly — it’s New York, admits Septa spokeswoman Jerri Williams:

“It was designed in-house by one of our graphic artists. And I think people liked the look of the skyline but unfortunately didn’t take a really good look to see that it wasn’t Philadelphia. It’s a stock photo.”

Williams says that Septa is redesigning the pass, and new corrected ones are being printed at what she calls a “minimal” cost.

In a way, it’s comforting to know that the MTA isn’t the only making egregious errors on its signs and passes. It is cute how Philadelphia wants to be New York so badly that it is putting our skyline on the back of its MetroCard equivalent. Good try.

Meanwhile, in the never-ending world of subway typos, it seems that one can board the B at 125th St. and head to Brighten Beach. That’s just north of Darken Beach, right?

Read More→

Categories : MTA Absurdity
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For over a year now, I’ve slammed City Council member John Liu for his sheer lack of MTA acumen. As the head of the council’s transportation committee, he should get it. He should understand the dire financial straits in which the MTA finds itself and the city’s need for mass transit, but he just doesn’t.

Unsurprisingly, he’s at it again. This time, the City Council is going after the MTA for its proposed bus cuts, and Liu’s public statements again show that he is thinking only about his public image and not the transit authority’s long-term health. Reports The Post:

Six City Council members blasted the MTA yesterday over proposals to cut bus service in upper Manhattan. Councilwoman Inez Dickens (D-Harlem) said “the MTA wishes to strangle us” with its plan to eliminate the M10 line, which runs from Harlem to Penn Station along Seventh and Eighth avenues.

Cutting that line, she said, would force elderly riders to walk to Seventh Avenue and board a bus that takes them east of Central Park. “We don’t rely on fancy vehicles to take us places,” said Franc Perry, chair of the community board for Central Harlem.

The agency said the M10 is on the cutting block because the A, C, B and D subway lines duplicate its route. “The subway isn’t accessible for many elderly and disabled riders,” said Councilman John Liu (D-Queens). “The MTA doesn’t get it.”

The MTA gets it, John, but you don’t. The MTA is faced with a legal mandate to balance their budget, and until he and his fellow councilmembers decide to take the unpopular position of imposing bridge tolls or higher car registration fees or simply writing the authority a blank check, the agency will continue to do what is within its power to do. They will cut services; they will raise fares.

Now, I understand that Liu is a politician and wants to be re-elected. But at some, politicians are also responsible for the policy decisions they make and the areas of their expertise. Liu oversees transit for the City Council, and yet he refuses to take responsibility for finding a better solution to the city’s transit woes. In the end, he’s just as much a part of the problem as the MTA is, and until he accepts reality or vacates his position, I fear for the future of fully-funded transit in New York City.

Categories : MTA Politics
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brodaway It’s en vogue to dump on the MTA these days, and no one is letting actual reporting getting in the way of the fun. After all, the city’s transit agency is near-broke, suffers from inept management and is raising fares. Now, we learn that they can’t even spell the names of their own stations properly.

Ha! Right? Well, not quite. It turns out that this typo isn’t really a news story in the current sense of the word. It’s a seven-decade-old problem, but that hasn’t stopped the outrage from building. Let’s recap.

The fun started on Monday when Gothamist published a short post about the Broadway IND Crosstown stop. One of the station’s numerous tilings is out of order. Instead of saying “Broadway,” the letters read “Brodaway.”

Yesterday, The Daily News picked up this typo and reporting it as a serious news story. In doing so, Pete Donohue and Veronika Belenkaya brought this to the attention of New York City Transit officials. As we’ll soon learn, it would probably have been a better idea to let this sleeping dog lie.

Meanwhile, the madness spread with an over-the-top rant by WPIX’s Steven Bogart. He bashed the MTA for this misspelling:

When you’re riding the rails on the G line in Brooklyn, there’s a stop along the way that we New Yorkers like to call “Broadway.” The problem is the “we” doesn’t seem to include our beloved Metropolitan Transportation Authority. They’ve actually misspelled one of the most iconic street names in these United States, calling it “Brodaway” instead.

The grotesque error was spotted inside the Queens-bound G train tunnel in Williamsburg…With the MTA moving toward implementing a massive fare hike in order to plug a budget gap that they say has worsened by the global financial crisis, one could only hope some of that money will go toward spelling courses for the agency’s hundreds of employees.

People in the know were quick to debunk the News story. A lengthy Subchat thread delved into the history of this typo, and NY1 News acknowledged this history. People who grew up along the IND Crosstown line remember seeing this misspelling through the decades, and according to Kevin Walsh at Forgotten-NY, the typo has been in place since 1937.

Meanwhile, the MTA is primed to send someone to fix it. In the midst of a budget crisis, they are going to pay to fix a 72-year-old mistake that existed a good thirty years before the MTA made its ignoble debut in 1968. The cash-strapped authority is going to spend money on materials and man-hours to fix what many feel is one of the quirks of the subway system.

Talk about an overreaction. Perhaps we could let Mayor LaGuardia foot the bill for the replacement tiles. The IND Crosstown, typo and all, opened on his watch.

A photo of the misspelling in the late 1990s courtesy of Forgotten-NY.

Categories : MTA Absurdity
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If drivers win, riders lose,” says The New York Times editorial board. I couldn’t agree more. It’s an important message and one worth quoting at length:

Facing big deficits, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is threatening big fare increases — from $2 to $3 for a subway ride, for instance — for everyone who uses public transit. Gov. David Paterson and other politicians are trying to head this off, or reduce the pain. Here’s one suggestion: Ask drivers to start paying tolls on the bridges that cross the Harlem and East Rivers.

Just about every commuter pays a fee of some sort — except for drivers who use those bridges. This is manifestly unfair to millions of others who take the bus, subway or railroad in this area to get to work.

Charging drivers their fair share was an important part of proposals offered last year by a commission led by Richard Ravitch, who once ran the authority. To put the entire system on a stronger financial footing, and to avoid both drastic fare increases and service cuts, the commission’s plan required contributions from riders, businesses and people who drive cars.

Riders would endure a modest increase in the cost of their trips. Businesses, governments and unions in the 12-county area around New York City would do their part with a modest tax per employee. And drivers would start paying new bridge tolls.

The paper of record urges Mayor Bloomberg to voice unconditional support because the East River tolls can help him achieve his congestion-cutting goals. It also urges Sheldon Silver and David Paterson to throw their voices behind this plan.

In the end, though, it’s an issue of fairness to all, and The Times recognizes this as well. They conclude, “If everyone contributes, no one would have to suffer the drastic cuts in service and draconian increases in fares now proposed by the M.T.A.”

It may not be the most popular path, but it is the one the city as a whole needs to support both its economy and its mass transit system.

Categories : Ravitch Commission
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Generally, it costs around $20 to get into the Museum of Modern Art, but starting today and continuing on through the middle of March, savvy straphangers can visit replicas of MoMA’s most famous works for the cost of a MetroCard swipe.

As part of a rather ambitious advertising campaign, Brooklyn’s Atlantic Ave.-Pacific St. subway stop will host a full-station takeover by MoMA. The columns and turnstile arms will be adorned with museum logos, and the walls will feature true-to-life replicas of some of the museum’s iconic images. Art buffs can even download station-centric audio tours or call in to hear the guide from the nearest working payphone.

Randy Kennedy of The Times has more on what the MTA is calling a groundbreaking “station domination“:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and its advertising contractors routinely review the content of subway ads, keeping their eyes out for things that are too racy or rude. But they have never had an ad quite like one that came their way recently: an image of five naked women (probably prostitutes) vamping it up and staring down the viewer.

The fact that the frontal nudity is fully Cubist and was painted by Picasso more than a century ago undoubtedly made the decision a lot easier. And so on Monday, a glossy reproduction of that artwork, “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” took its place underground in the Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street subway stations in Brooklyn, with copies of 57 other works from the Museum of Modern Art that will briefly transform the cavernous stations into a kunsthalle.

The museum’s publicity campaign, one of the most ambitious it has ever undertaken in the city, will cover every ad space in the two connected stations, spaces normally given over to plugs for movies, beer and podiatry treatments. In their place will be reproductions of works drawn from all parts of the museum, both well-known and more contemporary, by artists like Matisse, Hopper, O’Keeffe, Marlene Dumas, Cindy Sherman and Martin Kippenberger.

“We’ve never done a large-scale ad campaign for New Yorkers focused just on the permanent collection,” said Kim Mitchell, the museum’s chief communications officer. She said the idea had grown out of a new marketing advisory committee’s feeling — confirmed by focus groups — that many New Yorkers view the museum as a tourist-saturated place that is no longer quite as welcoming to natives.

Unfortunately, Kennedy doesn’t have a cost figure for this campaign. I’d be quite curious to find out how much the MTA is raking in from this promo.

Around the Web, some anticipation is building for the noon opening of this subterranean makeshift gallery. The Gowanus Lounge seems intrigued by what it called a bizarre preview. A Flickr set of the installation in progress offers up some tantalizing glimpses of a fun event — including a well-placed version of Piet Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie right above the Broadway line train.

I, along with over 49,999 of my closest friends, pass through that station at least twice a day. I’ll have to take a few minutes and hop off the train once to check out this museum, and, hey, at least I’ll get to save $18 over the cost of a MoMA admissions ticket.

Categories : Subway Advertising
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