Home MTA Construction A glimpse inside the Bleecker St. rehab

A glimpse inside the Bleecker St. rehab

by Benjamin Kabak

Photo by Benjamin Kabak. Click to enlarge.

I found myself this afternoon waiting for an uptown 6 train at Bleecker St. The blue construction door, hiding the southern extension of the uptown platform, was locked, but I could see through a hole in the fence. Using my cell phone camera, I snuck a photo in before the 6 train arrived.

The Broadway/Lafayette-Bleecker St. rehab is an extensive one. The station will soon be ADA-compliant, and the uptown 6 platform will be connected to the rest of the complex via a mezzanine that runs under the IRT tracks. Currently, straphangers can transfer from the 6th Ave. B/D/F/M trains only to the downtown 6. To accomplish this new crossover, the uptown platform is being extended a few hundred feet south, and that’s what you see above.

Work 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 sent out some official updates. The $94 million project is still set to wrap by November of this year.

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Alex C April 12, 2011 - 5:15 pm

The pace of this project is a bit annoying. Why do I get the feeling this would be finished in half the time in, say, Japan or Germany?

Benjamin Kabak April 12, 2011 - 5:16 pm

Probably because it would be.

Kid Twist April 12, 2011 - 5:57 pm

Yeah, but if they were building it in Japan or Germany you’d have a really long walk to change trains.

David April 12, 2011 - 6:03 pm

Another ADA compliant station will be a good thing given our rapidly aging nation.
Speaking of ADA, does anyone know why some platforms aren’t level with the train floor? I even found a station where you step up to leave the train.
Wouldn’t platform height above the rails be a constant standard on any given line?

Judge April 12, 2011 - 10:15 pm

Long overdue, but hopefully it can meet its November opening, unlike a certain station in Queens…

Judge April 12, 2011 - 10:16 pm

Uhh… I didn’t mean to reply to this post. Sorry!

Alex C April 13, 2011 - 12:25 am

MTA isn’t very good at this “infrastructure” thing. You should see the Sea Bach line platform heights and gaps. It’s like a third world railroad at some points.

Bolwerk April 13, 2011 - 6:14 am

Probably in theory, but in practice some stations are just plain old – and likely weren’t in the best of shape when the city took them over from the BMT (where I assume this is most common) in 1940. Fixing the height of a platform that has shifted is probably no trivial task.

Out of curiosity, which one had you stepping up? I see rather bad drops from the train at places like Myrtle-Broadway.

pete April 13, 2011 - 5:21 pm

The track gets “chipped out” and replaced. I guess the new ties and concrete and tie plates aren’t the same/got upgraded over the years. So now the top of the rail is at a different height than the platform.

R. Graham April 12, 2011 - 6:11 pm

My guess would be the extensive work above ground to relocate utilities might have had a lot to do with the slow pace of this project. You have the subway box and buildings on the top side.

I’m sure the businesses above could not be happy at all with the slow pace.

Clarke April 12, 2011 - 7:21 pm

Or the MASSIVE holes around Houston/Lafeyette streets. I remember they had some big ones back in Fall 2009, but they seemed to go away (probably were just covered, but I hadn’t seen them again until last weekend) and are now back and are humungous.

There was also a great shot last Fall that showed the original IRT (I believe) brickwork of the tunnel, revealed through tearing up the street.

They could also advertise this (probably not as great a feature, but one nonetheless) as a transfer between uptown and downtown 6 trains, which could relieve pressure on Canal or Union, depending on direction of travel.

Jerrold April 12, 2011 - 8:53 pm

Unless somebody has taken the wrong train by mistake, why would they want a transfer between uptown and downtown trains on the same line?

At present, some people do that if they got off the F or the D, let’s say, and they want to go uptown on the IRT.
They have to first go downtown on the #6.
But now, it will be possible to change from the F or the D at Broadway-Lafayette DIRECTLY to the Northbound IRT.

John-2 April 12, 2011 - 9:53 pm

The old garage/gas station that used to sit on the east side of Lafayette between Bleecker and Broadway, and any underground fuel storage tanks in that area, may also have played a role in slowing down the construction along with any utility relocation around a tunnel box that had been in place for 105 years when the project began.

Jerrold April 12, 2011 - 11:19 pm

I think you mean between Bleecker and Houston Sts.

JebO April 12, 2011 - 10:17 pm

The MTA is actually doing a pretty good job of creating free underground transfers between the three subway systems they inherited.

March 16, 2009: BMT & IRT at South Ferry-Whitehall (R with the 1)
Dec. 10, 2010: IND & BMT at Metrotech (A/C/F with the R)
Under construction: IND & IRT at Court Square (E/M & G with the 7)
Due Nov. 2011: IND & IRT at Broadway-Lafayette-Bleecker (B/D/F/M with the 6)
Before this recent slate of openings, I’m not sure what the prior opened inter-line connection was, but I think it was quite a while ago. Does anyone know?

Jerrold April 12, 2011 - 11:13 pm

I’m not sure what was the one before that, but I can even remember how it was back in the early 1960’s.
At Pacific St./Atlantic Ave., going from the BMT Sea Beach line to either the IRT lines or the BMT Brighton line meant paying another fare.
The same thing applied at 14th St./Sixth Ave. when transferring between the IND trains and the BMT 14th St.-Canarsie line.
At Lexington Ave. and 53rd St., transferring from the IND to the IRT meant going up to the street, walking two short blocks, and then paying another token at 51st St.

Bolwerk April 13, 2011 - 6:19 am

The E to the 6 may have been in the 1980s. I think the city offered a development some tax breaks in exchange for accommodating the transfer.

AlexB April 13, 2011 - 8:31 am

Yeah, and I think the transfer from the 7 to the BDFM at Bryant Park was around then too. A few more transfers that would be great:
– 7th ave BDE to 57th NRQ
– Bowery J to Grand St BD
– L & 3 trains at Junius/Livonia
– Hewes J to Broadway G
– Jay St Metrotech ACFR to Court St Boro Hall 2345R
– Bway/Layayette BDFM to Prince St NR

R. Graham April 14, 2011 - 2:47 pm

That L & 3 proposal should have happened years ago. Forcing anyone to walk out of system in Brownsville should be a crime in itself.

I guess it’s why the MTA never promoted that as an out of system transfer.

Joe Steindam April 13, 2011 - 8:35 am

It was opened in 1989. Around the same time, the passage connecting the E and the G at Court Square was completed, and the Archer Avenue extension opened, connecting the E and J/Z to each other and Jamaica station.

In the intervening years, the MTA undertook complete overhauls of a few transfer hubs. The connection between the Atlantic Ave and Pacific Street was widened and made ADA compliant. Stillwell Ave was totally rebuilt. Obviously, Fulton Street is also getting a rebuild. It’s good though that the MTA is building new transfers, not only are they making them ADA compliant, they are adding greater utility to the system.

Bruce April 13, 2011 - 3:06 pm

The Eighth Ave. IND at 42nd St. also used to be separated from the IRT & BMT at Times Square. The long tunnel connecting the two was there, but you had to pay an extra fare.

petey April 13, 2011 - 11:31 am

dweeb question: i noticed (from this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....r_embedded) that there are closed stairlwells (at 33 seconds in) to the uptown 6 which are to be re-opened. but if the platform is only now being extended in that direction, what were those stariwells for?

Jerrold April 13, 2011 - 11:51 am

Is it possible that those stairwells have only been built recently, as part of the current project?

Clarke April 13, 2011 - 4:17 pm

I believe those are closed entrances to the IND station that led to an east mezzanine and then down to the platform. Now that the uptown platform is being extended, it will be able to tap into this area, thus making it viable to be reopened. That’s my understanding of that diagram.

petey April 13, 2011 - 5:16 pm

that sounds right. the stars in question are on both sides of the IND.

Jason April 13, 2011 - 4:20 pm

I dug this up off of nycsubway.org website for the Bleecker station. Could be relevant:

“There is a closed off old exit gate on the southbound side across from the northbound fare control.”

petey April 13, 2011 - 5:14 pm

ah – but the square dots in that video are on the uptown side of the IRT.

pea-jay April 13, 2011 - 4:08 pm

Why no connection to the Prince St N R station which is not that far away?

Benjamin Kabak April 13, 2011 - 4:12 pm

Because you can connect from the N/R to the 6th Ave. trains at DeKalb, Atlantic Ave. or 34th St. and you can connect from the N/R to the Lexington Ave. IRT at 14th St. or Canal St. It’s a completely unnecessary transfer.

Clarke April 13, 2011 - 10:03 pm

And between Canal and 34th Street (59th, even) all three routes run fairly parallel and close to one another, making a transfer worth more hassle than its worth (for a passenger).

Jason April 14, 2011 - 8:57 am

This thread is probably dead at this point, but I wanted to ask whether any readers knew why the IRT off-set their platforms at Bleecker to begin with ( if they could extend SB to the south, why didnt they do the same with the NB platform)?

R. Graham April 14, 2011 - 2:51 pm

I would guess you have to ask the old IRT why. That section is all apart of the original IRT line built back in 1904. At some point down the line they extended platforms to meet the length of a 10 car train.

My guess ultimate is that in order to maintain even spacing between stations on each side they extended platforms in the opposite directions.


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