Home Manhattan Bleecker St. rehab now set for June completion date

Bleecker St. rehab now set for June completion date

by Benjamin Kabak

A cross-section of the new connection between Bleecker Street and Broadway-Lafayette.

Once upon a time back in 2005, the MTA announced an unfunded plan to move the uptown 6 platform at Bleecker Street south a few hundred feet, connect it to the IND station at Broadway-Lafayette and make the entire station ADA-accessible all for 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. November has come and gone with many signs of construction but none of the new transfer in place, and many straphangers have been wondering what exactly is happening there.

We now have an update and a revised overall price tag. According to MTA documents from the last board meeting, work is set to wrap at Bleecker St./Broadway-Lafayette by the end of this June, and the combined price tag for the entire project is now over $109 million. The price estimates come from the MTA’s capital dashboard (1 and 2). The increase — from $50 million in 2005 to $109 million in 2012 — isn’t as bad as it seems as the earlier figures were rough estimates based on conditions before any design or engineering work has begun. Still, this project is massively over budge and will be seven or eight months late.

The current delay is only three months. At some point within the last two years, the MTA had pushed back the expected completion date to March 2012. Now we’ll wait until June because the MTA has found that contingencies related to ADA accessibility have been expended. The work to relocate tunnel lighting equipment necessary for placement of the elevator has been slower and more expensive than anticipated. Furthermore, contractors ran into problems relocating a water main at Houston St. as well.

And so we wait. We’ve waited decades for this transfer to become a reality. Now we’ll wait some more. What’s three more months among friends anyway? After all, where would be if it didn’t take nearly as long to rehab one of the original IRT stations as it took to build an entire subway line from City Hall to 145th Street?

You may also like


Clarke February 6, 2012 - 5:40 pm

This could mean the end of legal rides via City Hall loop…

Jerrold February 6, 2012 - 6:04 pm

Why do you think so? The #6 will still end up at Brooklyn Bridge. Why would they bother to chase you off if you wanted to stay on for the ride around the loop?

Clarke February 7, 2012 - 9:25 am

I was under the impression that they began allowing loop rides in order to make up for no uptown transfers at Bleecker. Not true?

The Cobalt Devil February 7, 2012 - 9:39 am

No, not true. Who in their right mind would ride the local from Bleecker to B’klyn Bridge, go thru the City Hall turnaround, and wait at the uptown side of B’klyn Bridge or catch the uptown expess to go to UES or the Bronx? That’s a good 20 minute addition to any ride and totally not worth it. Especially when riders could just get off at B’klyn Bridge and cross to the uptown platform (no need to ride thru City Hall).

Jerrold February 7, 2012 - 10:25 am

Maybe you can call it the “lazy man’s” way of doing it, but I believe that many people are doing it like that. If somebody is not in any hurry, they find it easier to just get on a southbound #6 at Bleecker, and then just sit and ride to their uptown destination. ALSO,for some other people, an occasional ride through the old City Hall station is a historical sightseeing experience.

The Cobalt Devil February 7, 2012 - 10:52 am

Maybe, but that’s not the reason the MTA lets people stay on the local as it travels thru City Hall.

Jerrold February 7, 2012 - 3:21 pm

That’s right. I believe that their reason is the first thing I said, not the second thing.

George February 7, 2012 - 12:43 pm

They don’t have to go all the way down to Brooklyn Bridge though. They can cross over between downtown 6 and uptown 6 at Canal Street (though this isn’t that “lazy” and it assumes they need the 6 and not the 4/5 uptown).

JR February 6, 2012 - 6:21 pm

What does this have to do with the City Hall station or MTA policies?

Alfie February 14, 2012 - 8:32 pm

The reason they allow people to stay on the #6 at City Hall is simply because so many used to ask to stay on to see the old station that they decided to just let people stay on. Good for PR.

Bleecker Street Update? - Page 2 February 6, 2012 - 6:32 pm

[…] […]

Phantom February 6, 2012 - 6:58 pm

Since govt construction budgets are always vastly exceeded by actual coats, it sure looks like there is no allowance at all put in for the unforeseen.

And or they just put in false numbers intentionally

Jerrold February 6, 2012 - 7:32 pm

………….vastly exceeded by actual coats…..? You meant COSTS, right? Must be a hell of a fancy fur COAT to exceed the price of reconfiguring a subway station. Hey, watch out when you’re wearing it. Some fanatic might spray green paint on it.

HeezaHowza March 7, 2012 - 1:49 pm

Probabaly at least as much the latter, Phantom…if the true cost (or some realistic estimate thereof) of these projects was known in advance, most of them would never be approved. The idea is to get the thing approved, then definitely get a good start…after that it rarely matters if you have huge overruns, the project won’t be ditched because people won’t want to see the money already spent “wasted”.

John T February 6, 2012 - 10:20 pm

I see the south end of the #6 platform has a big area to go under the IRT tracks to the IND station. I remember from back in the 1970s that IND passageways already existed to the east side of Lafayette, but were closed off. I don’t understand why they didn’t just build a long ramp from the south end of the uptown #6 platorm and connect to those ramps. It would have been ADA compliant and far cheaper too.

Spendmore Wastemore February 7, 2012 - 3:30 pm

That would

make too much sense
not spend enough money
not generate enough contracts
and not allow the agency to further bloatify itself

Nathanael February 13, 2012 - 3:51 am

Slopes. ADA-compliant slopes have to be VERY SHALLOW.

The IND platforms weren’t wheelchair-accessible when the project started, either. And the entire complex had to made wheelchair-accessible anyway to satisfy key station requirements.

Alex C February 6, 2012 - 11:44 pm

Can they maybe clean up and repair the disgusting leaks at the east end of the southbound platform while they’re at it?

Jerrold February 7, 2012 - 3:27 pm

The EAST side of that station is the wall that is behind you as you wait for an uptown train. Are those leaks at the NORTH end or are they at the SOUTH end?

Alex C February 8, 2012 - 1:47 am

I’m referring to the Broadway-Lafayette IND station, where it’s the east end of the Brooklyn-bound platform.

HeezaHowza March 7, 2012 - 2:15 pm

Sure, just ante up another $10m and 3 years for that job and I’m sure it would be no problem. Nah, you know what? Make it $15m.

David Brown February 7, 2012 - 5:23 am

This project is another example of why MTA stands for Money Taken Away. When you build a station with connecting access in only one direction, it defies common sense. Then to rectify the problem, you decide to spend over $100m. It shows that these guys have not learned their lesson about basic economics: “The study of SCARCE resources and how best to allocate them.” The key word being scarce, not unlimited. We all agree there have to be major economic changes made, otherwise we will be turning into Greece, the only question is how to accomplish this. When I see the head of the TWU (The same guy who demands wage increases, and perhaps more importantly, opposes changes in work rules) crying over “Cuts” I want to puke. The fiscally irresponsible conduct of the MTA & TWU make it easy for their critics to justify cutting their budget. Guess what will happen going forward? The budgets will be cut in Albany & Washington. How will they do it? By not allocating money to start new projects until the old ones, like the Second Ave Subway & East River Access are completed (They have spent far too much to kill them outright). Exactly what is happening with the defense budget. Until the days when you waste $100m to build a platform 100 feet end, they cannot expect for taxpayers to bail them out

John-2 February 7, 2012 - 9:02 am

The problem goes back to the 1950s, when the TA decided for whatever reason, than when they expanded the uptown platform to handle five more cars, they would expand it north instead of south from the original five-car Bleecker station.

When the Board of Transportation expanded the downtown platform a decade earlier and extended it south, the only cost to connect the 6 with the IND was basically getting a sledgehammer and smashing a hole through the wall (and it definitely would be interesting to see the cost difference, even in inflation adjusted $$$, between the price of linking up the downtown 6 to the IND versus the cost to hook the uptown 6 up with the B/D/F/M trains).

BrooklynBus February 7, 2012 - 11:13 am

I wrote this before and have no idea if it is true or not but there was a rumor that an engineer held the drawings upside down and extended the platform in the wrong direction and no one caught on until it was too late. It would be great if this could be verified or dismissed.

Anyway, it seems that none of these projected ever get completed. It’s hard to believe that the Jay Street transfer was finally completed and one of the Cortlandt Streets were reopened. What is the estimated completion date for East Side Access. I’ve seen 2016 and now 2018. Has it been pushed forward again?

John-2 February 7, 2012 - 3:40 pm

I heard it might have been because of the underground fuel tanks at the old gas station that used to be on the triangular block between Lafayette, Mulberry and Houston streets, though assuming the tanks didn’t extend into the sidewalk line, the TA should still have had the room to extend the uptown side down to Houston. If nothing else, finally doing in 2012 what should have been done in 1958 means the IND’s mega-mezzanine under Houston St. at Lafayette will finally be fully utilized, especially since it figures to become a major uptown transfer point in the mornings for Brooklyn residents headed towards the Midtown east side from the Brighton, West End, Culver and B’way-Brooklyn lines.

Nick February 7, 2012 - 2:34 pm

I looked up the Bleeker Street IRT station on Wikipedia and noticed that the platforms originally had skylights letting in light through the sidewalk. Any idea why this feature was removed over the years?


Larry Littlefield February 7, 2012 - 3:38 pm

“According to MTA documents from the last board meeting, work is set to wrap at Bleecker St./Broadway-Lafayette by the end of this June, and the combined price tag for the entire project is now over $109 million.”

The project was conceived at a time the construction industry was booming, and completed at a time when the construction industry was desperate. There were certainly cost run ups during the boom. Why didn’t the MTA make the contractors eat cuts during the bust?

One way rachet, just like public employee pensions and CEO pay. I get what I got last time, and then some more, leaving you with less.

Nathanael February 13, 2012 - 3:53 am

They ran into a hell of a lot of unexpected stuff on this one. I don’t think this can be blamed on contractors, this is mostly the “unmapped utilities” nightmare.

Clarke February 7, 2012 - 7:21 pm

This was the coolest thing to come of this project. It’s like looking at a skinned animal!

Df February 9, 2012 - 11:31 am

I will not Bleecker St at all I still use the E train

Photo: At Bleecker St., an aligned uptown 6 :: Second Ave. Sagas March 27, 2012 - 9:44 am

[…] and a new escalator. Over the years, I’ve followed this project quite closely and have been critical of the costs and timeline. Costs have ballooned to $135 million, and when the station is ready in June, construction will […]

Little clarity into delays for the Bleecker St. transfer :: Second Ave. Sagas July 3, 2012 - 1:15 pm

[…] recently as February, the MTA had vowed to open the transfer by the end of June, but the end of June has come and gone. There is no transfer, and there is no real date yet of an […]


Leave a Comment