Home MTA Absurdity MTA to connect uptown IRT to the rest of the Bleecker St./Broadway-Lafayette St. station

MTA to connect uptown IRT to the rest of the Bleecker St./Broadway-Lafayette St. station

by Benjamin Kabak

An architectural rendering of the IRT platforms with a connection to the IND platforms below. (Courtesy of Lee Harris Pomeroy. Click for a bigger view.)

Is there a more annoying station than the Broadway-Lafayette St./Bleecker St. disaster? Because you can’t transfer from the uptown 6 platform to any other train in that station, you have to know which entrance you want well ahead of time. And good luck explaining to lost tourists on the IND lines that they can’t switch to an uptown 6 without leaving the station and paying the fare again.

Over two years ago, word came out that the MTA was preparing a station rehabilitation plan for this relic of the era of dual systems and competing, separate subway lines. At the time, these plans were to cost $50 million. Since that announcement, this great idea has gone nowhere. The station is a still an odd labyrinth sort of connecting two tunnels that used to be parts of competing corporations — one owned by the Interborough Rapid Transit company, the other by the City of New York.

But all of this may change soon. In a few weeks, the MTA will hold a public hearing on a whole slew of capital projects. Since the MTA is eligible to receive nearly $1 billion in federal funds for these projects, the list is rather extensive. Buried among the more mundane station rehabilitation plans however is a three-tiered request for the Bleecker St. station and the Broadway-Lafayette St. connector.

Here, in a nutshell, is what the MTA hopes to do with this station:

  • Extend the northbound platform on the IRT line 290 feet to the South.
  • Construct a new mezzanine under the IRT platforms that would provide a connection from the uptown and downtown platforms to the uptown and downtown IND lines.
  • Install five elevators and an escalator as part of the Authority’s need to fulfill the ADA requirements for this station complex.

The rest of the plans for this now-$60 million rehabilitation include the standard overhaul: Restored tile mosaics, new floors, a paint job, etc. It’s a shame that inflation and higher costs will lead to a $10 million price increase, but that seems to be business as usual for the MTA’s Capital Construction department.

Personally, I love this plan. This station — unique among all of the city’s transfer points — has long been an oddity in New York. At no other point can you transfer to or from a train heading in just one direction. The companies that oversaw the Union Square rehabilitation are — Weidlinger Associates and Lee Harris Pomeroy — in charge here, and it looks like they plan to produce a snazzy looking station for the East Village/SoHo area.

The New York City subways will once again be safe from dumbstruck and confused tourists. Or at least at Bleecker St.

The plans call for a wider platform for the southbound IRT. (Courtesy of Lee Harris Pomeroy. Click to enlarge.)

A new mezzanine will allow for a connection between the IND trains and the northbound IRT platform. Also, there will be see-thru people. (Courtesy of Lee Harris Pomeroy. Click to enlarge.)

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Marsha May 30, 2007 - 9:16 am


wayne's world May 30, 2007 - 10:13 am

I like the floor. I wish they’d hurry up, I’m not getting any younger.

Victoria May 30, 2007 - 11:00 am

I’m getting younger. Isn’t that amazing?

stepheneliot May 30, 2007 - 2:49 pm

Is it accessible to Sherman Oaks?

Ryan April 8, 2013 - 9:15 pm


Gary May 30, 2007 - 3:01 pm

It’s long overdue. How did you find the renderings? Nice score.

If you could post the info on the upcoming hearing, I’d appreciate it. Thanks.

Top Posts « WordPress.com May 30, 2007 - 8:03 pm

[…] MTA to connect uptown IRT to the rest of the Bleecker St./Broadway-Lafayette St. station [image] An architectural rendering of the IRT platforms with a connection to the IND platforms below. (Courtesy of Lee […] […]

Todd May 30, 2007 - 8:46 pm

I’ve never had to take that transfer, but that sounds like The MTA’s game.

Trish M. May 30, 2007 - 9:12 pm

To echo everyone else: FINALLY. To go from Chinatown/LES to the UES, you currently have to ride up Sixth Avenue. Ridiculous. I should be a straight shot and having that transfer at Bleeker/Broad/Laf is just common sense. And decades overdue.

JD May 30, 2007 - 11:14 pm

Only in New York would featherbedded trade unions cause a minor construction project that would cost under $10 million anywhere else to balloon to more than $60 million. When will people learn that union greed is not a victimless crime — we all pay for it in terms of increased real estate prices, taxes, poor service, etc. Makes me want to grab a shovel myself, but then the unions would stage a work stoppage for their six-figure, high-school-education jobs.

Marc Shepherd May 31, 2007 - 8:33 am

In fairness to the MTA, this is an extremely complicated project, involving excavations around existing structures, some of which are very old.

The difficulty is caused by the offset platforms at Bleecker Street. The decision to build them that peculiar way was made decades ago, by people who are long dead.

eric the beehivehairdresser May 31, 2007 - 9:41 am

Last fall I would take the walk outside to swipe my metrocard transfer to transfer from the uptown D to the uptown 6 (on Saturday mornings this was faster than the N to 6 transfer at Union Square).

Bless them for finally deciding to fix the walk outside transfer thing.

JE the local May 31, 2007 - 1:06 pm

This is great, and way overdue. Also, the importance of widening the southbound 6 platform cannot be understated. That thing is a death trap as it exists now.

And if the MTA were really ambitious, the BMT Broadway line (N/R/Q/W) runs directly over the west end of the IND (B/D/F/V) platforms, with Prince St station very close. This station could almost be a triple-transfer point.

Marc Shepherd May 31, 2007 - 5:44 pm

A Prince St. to Bleecker St. connector ain’t gonna happen. The transfer from Broadway-Lafayette to Bleecker is important, because there is nowhere else in Manhattan where those lines could interconnect.

But Broadway Line and Lexington Avenue Line riders can already transfer to the other at Canal Street or Union Square. Broadway and Sixth Avenue Line riders can already transfer at Herald Square.

ginger June 19, 2007 - 3:41 pm

This would be so fantastic! Not only are you saying they might make the F line run express again, but they might also make transerring uptown easier!? You’ve made my day by informing us.

any way we can put out our voices to help these things along?

Benjamin Kabak June 19, 2007 - 3:44 pm

Ginger: There sure is. You can find the F train express petition by clicking here. The B-way/Lafayette transfer should be approved in the next few weeks.

JS January 16, 2008 - 4:51 pm

Bleecker St Station Rehab should start by July 2008 and take approximately 40 months.

Second Ave. Sagas | Blogging the NYC Subways » Blog Archive » Inside the MTA’s $29.5 billion program February 28, 2008 - 12:03 am

[…] plans are the most visible aspect of any capital program. The flagship plan is probably the Bleecker St./Broadway & Lafayette renovation. The MTA will finally connect the uptown IRT stop to the rest of the complex. The agency also plans […]

Daniel Convissor February 28, 2008 - 1:30 pm

While this connection is a good idea and the plan shown above very nice, it seems very overblown. For example, the mezzanine at the south east end of the station is grandiose. The capital construction budget is tight. This project could be done in a more modest fashion to save significant dollars.

Anna December 9, 2008 - 12:35 am

“Also, there will be see-thru people.”

Did anyone catch this caption under the last photo?

Very amusing.

John V November 12, 2011 - 9:19 am

Just one of the many reasons we love SAS and Ben’s posts.

Janny February 18, 2009 - 2:38 am

It looks great! a bit like the east style.

Business owners bemoan start of Bleecker St. renovations :: Second Ave. Sagas | A New York City Subway Blog April 14, 2009 - 3:00 pm

[…] the B, D, F, V and 6 trains at the Broadway/Lafayette-Bleecker St. station on Houston St. I first highlighted the planned renovations nearly two years ago, and recently, the MTA has begun work that will finally connect the uptown 6 […]

Adam June 9, 2009 - 10:15 am

Great, so this will be completed in about 20 years.

Inside the Bleecker/Broadway-Lafayette construction :: Second Ave. Sagas | A New York City Subway Blog July 16, 2009 - 2:03 am

[…] A long, long time ago — May 30, 2007, to be exact — I unveiled architectural renderings of a station connection decades in the making. That day, we explored Lee Harris Pomeroy Architects’ plans for a complete renovation of the Bleecker St./Broadway-Lafayette complex. […]

A look at the Bleecker St. renovations :: Second Ave. Sagas | A New York City Subway Blog February 8, 2010 - 3:47 pm

[…] before the days of Second Ave. Sagas, the MTA proposed fixing this annoyance. The plans — which I explored in 2007 — include extending the uptown IRT platform southward by 300 feet so that it will align properly […]

A glimpse inside the Bleecker St. rehab :: Second Ave. Sagas April 12, 2011 - 5:12 pm

[…] at the station has moved relatively slowly. We glimpsed the first renderings in late May of 2007 and saw some cross-section diagrams in mid-2009. Last year, Transit went behind the blue fence and […]

susan January 7, 2012 - 11:26 am

The construction has been going on a long time. Is there ANY GUESS to when this will be completed? any word since this started? I cant find this work under mta capital projects.

Bleecker Street Update? January 26, 2012 - 4:42 pm

[…] Originally Posted by R160 It was supposed to open in November 2011 then got pushed to early January 2012, but according to a classmate who uses Bleecker Street as his home station, he says that it looks like they still have a lot of work to day. Does anyone know why it's taking so much longer than anticipated (other than the normal reasons for delays). Also, does anyone know of a new date for the opening between the and ? It's suppose to open somewhere along 2012, and the reason why it is taking so long is the Bleecker Street Station platforms are offset. They need to extend the northbound platform south and everything. That is why it is taking so long. Here is the article. MTA to connect uptown IRT to the rest of the Bleecker St./Broadway-Lafayette St. station :: Second A… […]

Bleecker St. rehab now set for June completion date :: Second Ave. Sagas February 6, 2012 - 5:04 pm

[…] the cost of a cool $50 million. By the time money materialized for the project in 2007, costs had reached $60 million, and and in 2009, the MTA said the $94 million station rehab would wrap in November of 2011. […]

Someone September 26, 2012 - 9:41 pm

I wish they’d install platform screen doors (PSDs) next.

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