Home Brooklyn Why the Livonia-Junius transfer matters

Why the Livonia-Junius transfer matters

by Benjamin Kabak
The new transfer between the 3 and L in Brownsville shows that transit matters.

The new transfer between the 3 and L in Brownsville shows that transit matters.

In the MTA’s original 2015-2019 Capital Plan, New York City seemed oddly underrepresented. The Second Ave. Subway had a big pot of money coming its way, but while the investment in Transit was steep, the benefits were behind the scenes. Such is the nature of a system in need of modernization, but in the revised 2015-2019 Capital Plan, certain improvements are more obvious.

One of those upgrades comes to us on the border of East New York and Brownsville, where the 3 train and the L train cross. As a remnant of history, the L train at Livonia Ave. and the 3 train at Junius St. cross, but there’s no transfer. You can thank early-to-mid 1900s New York City politics for that quirk of the subway system, and this spot has long been one of the most obviously lacking transfer points. For years, East New York and Brownsville residents have clamored for the transfer, and early this year, politicians renewed their calls for the MTA to correct this oversight.

According to the capital plan documents, the transfer will be built out in 2018 and is part of the MTA’s accessibility efforts. The agency will spend $15 million on ADA upgrades and $30 million on an in-system transfer between the two stations. Perhaps a free out-of-system transfer would be cheaper, but $30 million is a rounding error in a $28 billion capital plan. It’s well worth the psychological impact of the work.

In another sense, though, even this minor move is an important one for the MTA and for the city. When was the last transit improvement geared toward East New York or Brownsville? As the city struggles to deal with the fallout from the decision to remove $1 billion from the funding request for Phase 2 of the Second Ave. Subway, the MTA is spending some money to upgrade transportation options in an area that often doesn’t see much attention. As Stephen Smith noted on Twitter, people are noticing:

By investing in areas that don’t often see transit improvements, the MTA can send a message that transit matters. This move can get New Yorkers out of their cars and onto the subway. It can lead to an embrace of transit as something responsive to people’s needs and as something that can improve lives. These aren’t the busiest of stations, but it’s a need that has long been obvious. It’s also something that city residents shouldn’t have to fight this hard to see become a reality.

Across New York, there are a few other obvious transfer points that could yield benefits in the form of conveniences for riders without a significant corresponding drop in revenue. I’m sure those who wish for a similarly obvious connection between the G and the J/M/Z in South Williamsburg are awfully jealous, and they have every reason to be. These minor but important upgrades simply shouldn’t take years to realize.

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Roger November 2, 2015 - 11:53 pm

From “Review of the G Line”



Not recommended: Providing out of system transfers at Broadway (G) – Lorimer St (J/Z) as it would “have revenue impacts beyond G line”

So basically $$$. But I am curious what the MTA bureaucrats means here. How will the revenue impact be? Do people actually transfer between these stations and pay $2.75 extra every time right now?

JJJJ November 3, 2015 - 12:14 am

Its right there on page 7.

2,300 riders per average weekday make transfer. Slightly over half of these riders use unlimited ride MetroCards…. an annual revenue loss of approximately $770,000

Andrew November 3, 2015 - 12:17 am

No, at least not in significant quantities. But people ride the subway to the area, do whatever they need to do, and then get back on the subway. The MetroCard back-end has no way of knowing whether that re-entry is for a transfer, so it gives the rider benefit of the doubt and doesn’t charge a fare.

The rider may not have even noticed, but he just got a free return trip.

From elsewhere in that same document: “Converting the pay-per-ride
fares to free transfers would result in an annual revenue loss of approximately $770,000, assuming reasonable restrictions to limit, though not eliminate, multiple trips for the price of one entry. Without these restrictions, annual revenue loss would increase to $1.1 million.” So there’s the rough price tag of implementing a free transfer here.

Change the policy to implement a free transfer here and there will be calls to implement free transfers all across the city, and pretty soon we’re talking real money.

I’d love to see it, but the cost isn’t negligible.

Roger November 3, 2015 - 12:46 am

If MTA can throw $1.4 billion into Fulton Center which provide zero benefits to the subway network, I don’t think a revenue loss of several million a year is that bad.

Andrew November 3, 2015 - 6:18 am

Whoa. While I’m highly critical of Fulton Center myself, and the benefits certainty didn’t justify anywhere near the high price tag, the benefits were greater than zero.

Fulton Center was justified as a giveback to Lower Manhattan after 9/11, under an MTA administration that seemed to value glitz above all. It was purely political, and it relied on finds four Lower Manhattan that couldn’t have been used in Williamsburg (or Brownsville) in any case.

It does ease transfers somewhat, and it spreads out the crowds transferring from the A/C to the 4/5 so that they no longer all pile up at the very front of the platform. And it provides full ADA, which it’s hard to argue is worth nothing.

I’m with you that it shouldn’t have been built, but you’re overstating your case and are falling to recognize the funding realities.

Chet November 3, 2015 - 7:03 am

I disagree with you to a point. Was Fulton Center too expensive? Yes, of course- like almost every other MTA project, there is just something wrong with the price paid.
However, a large part of that $1.4 billion was the cost of untangling the ungodly mess that was the Fulton station. From miserable connections, to the absolute rathole of halls and pedestrian tunnels, and that it was not ADA compliant. The building on top of it is far from the insane extravagance of the PATH Stegosaurus.
What the MTA should have done is built a much larger building on top of the station with offices, condos, and maybe a hotel to lease out. That is what would have been done in Hong Kong where their MTR makes more money (or almost) from their real estate portfolio then they do from train fares.

tacony November 3, 2015 - 10:50 am

The fact that the Fulton Center retail is still empty, along with scores of other retail spaces around the system (remember the “pop up” stores in Union Square? They’ve been empty ever since?!) should be proof that the MTA is too incompetent to be in the business of owning retail space. The idea that the MTR subsidizes train operations with real estate deals is a myth. They run the trains profitably themselves.

VLM November 3, 2015 - 11:06 am

To be fair (for some reason since I don’t totally disagree with you), there’s been a lot of leasing activity at Fulton St., and the spaces require substantial build-out. Plus, the MTA handed over the leasing reigns to Brookfield. A competent company is in charge, and the issue with CRE is that you can’t just lease space on Day 1 and have it move-in ready on Day 2. This takes a while.

Chet November 3, 2015 - 6:37 pm

Thanks.. I was going to reply with pretty much the same thing. Shake Shack is opening up on the second level next year. Why so long? The built out as you say takes time, and I’m sure the timing is up to Shake Shack.

News articles from the late summer say openings with begin this fall: http://newyorkyimby.com/2015/0.....-fall.html

It should also be noted that while Westfield isn’t paying the MTA rent just yet, they are paying for various operating costs that would otherwise fall to the MTA. All the more reason for Westfield to get stores in and open.

TimK November 3, 2015 - 1:00 pm

What the MTA should have done is built a much larger building on top of the station with offices, condos, and maybe a hotel to lease out. That is what would have been done in Hong Kong where their MTR makes more money (or almost) from their real estate portfolio then they do from train fares.

Can the MTA legally do that? It may be that New York law ties their hands in this area. I’d hope not, but I don’t know.

Note that constructing an entire building for this purpose is, or can be, a different animal from leasing out portions of an existing station.

Alon Levy November 3, 2015 - 10:24 pm

No. The MTR relies on shady giveaways to make money on real estate. Hong Kong sells it the land at cost instead of opening it to competitive bid.

Henry November 3, 2015 - 11:26 pm

The experience of PANYNJ and managing the World Trade Center shows that it’s a poorly exportable model at best, and just downright financially unsound at worst.

AG November 4, 2015 - 10:04 pm

Yeah – I find it very strange that people could possibly think the tangled mess that existed at Fulton previously was “no problem”. As you said – like every public works infrastructure project in this area (not just MTA) it was too expensive. It was absolutely a benefit though. I use it a few times a week. There is a big difference.

Andrew November 10, 2015 - 7:11 am

Except that it wasn’t untangled. Have you tried to get from the transit center building to the 2/3 platform?

ADA alone, plus the modest improvement in connections, wasn’t worth anywhere close to $1.4 billion. I’m not saying it wasn’t worth anything at all – it is undoubtedly an improvement – but most of that $1.4 billion could have been much better spent elsewhere.

Remember that most of the line items in the MTA’s capital program are much smaller items, to bring the system to a state of good repair or to make less extravagant improvements, in many cases behind the scenes. How many of those did this single $1.4 billion project push out?

AG November 10, 2015 - 5:17 pm

I go there several times a week… It’s certainly easier now. How do you quantify millions of trips per year shortened by a couple of minutes? I don’t have the equation for that. That said – of course it shouldn’t have cost $1.4 billion. What infrastructure project around here has rational costs??? In any event – the rent those retailers will be charged will be a lot of money too. Unless we stop building until costs get better – it’s a waste of time to talk about it. Making Fulton a better transit center was necessary though.
Plus – considering this had to do with 9/11 money – you couldn’t just spend it in Queens anyway. The money had to be spent in Lower Manhattan. So you could only argue between this and building that tunnel from Atlantic Terminal to connect down there.

Henry November 10, 2015 - 5:28 pm

I’m pretty sure the feds put their foot down when Pataki tried to get the JFK-WTC AirTrain federally funded. That’s part of the reason why the WTC Hub is so out of scale; it makes significantly more sense to be that size if it’s part of a massive commuter rail hub.

AG November 10, 2015 - 5:30 pm

Actually it was Schumer – who secured $2 billion… Later it was decided there wasn’t enough money to go around – so the Atlantic Terminal/Lower Manhattan tunnel was killed and the money diverted.

Herb Lehman November 3, 2015 - 10:04 am

The benefits of Fulton Center are zero except for the ADA aspects. $1.4 billion and the thing is just a giant advertisement for T-Mobile. The wider platforms for the uptown 4/5 and the marginally easier transfer between the 4/5 and the A/C are nice, but it doesn’t get anyone to their destinations any faster. Sorry.

Bolwerk November 3, 2015 - 11:54 am

They improve safety and capacity, probably helping loading and unloading at a busy station. It’s absolutely not “zero benefit” except for the ADA. Hell, the ADA is probably the smaller benefit in this mix; it’s mandatory (rightfully so) but it probably doesn’t help that many people.

Hell, Andrew even more or less said why the benefit was greater than zero. You can disagree with the station’s construction design, management, execution, etc. (I think we all do to some extent), but saying the benefits other than the ADA are zero is such a steaming crock of hyperbolic shit.

SEAN November 3, 2015 - 7:56 pm

You can disagree with the station’s construction design, management, execution, etc. (I think we all do to some extent), but saying the benefits other than the ADA are zero is such a steaming crock of hyperbolic shit.


Whow! That’s one hell of a phrase turn there – even coming from you!

Nathanael November 5, 2015 - 5:03 pm

Preventing people from falling onto the tracks or asphixiating when there are crushloads on the uptown 4/5 platform… is a good thing. The wider platforms were noted as a safety *requirement* in the original scoping documents — they really were worried people would die

Andrew November 10, 2015 - 7:17 am

Preventing people from falling onto the tracks or asphixiating when there are crushloads on the uptown 4/5 platform… is a good thing.

Wow, talk about hyperhyperbole. This was far from the most crowded platform in the system – there was no danger whatsoever of asphyxiation or of people falling onto the tracks due to supposed “crushloads.” The problem was that the transfer passageway dumped much of the crowd at the very front end of the platform, which led to delayed trains as people didn’t tend to spread out as much as they could have.

If you want to see a scary crowded platform, there’s one quite nearby, at Wall Street on the 2/3.

The wider platforms were noted as a safety *requirement* in the original scoping documents — they really were worried people would die

No they weren’t, not in the slightest. There were many design objectives. One of them was wider platforms.

smotri November 4, 2015 - 5:16 pm

This is precisely though why it is not overstating the case.

Eric November 3, 2015 - 7:30 am

Sorry, but this is nonsense. Wherever you want an out-of-system transfer between stations A and B, make people swipe on the way out of station A. Only if their next swipe-in is in station B, and takes place within 10 minutes, is it free. Do the same in the reverse direction. It would only cost a few thousand dollars per station (the cost of new swiping stations) to implement this, no more.

AMH November 3, 2015 - 9:41 am

Great idea!

nb November 3, 2015 - 11:33 am


JJJJ November 3, 2015 - 12:08 pm

Other option is have a machine that dispenses a paper ticket good for the next 15 minutes at the other station.

TimK November 3, 2015 - 1:01 pm

You’re recommending that the New York subway implement swipe-outs? Please, no.

Eric November 3, 2015 - 3:30 pm

Only to get a free out-of-system transfer.

Eric November 3, 2015 - 3:37 pm

To clarify: Anyone would be able to leave any station without swiping. But if they wanted the free transfer, they would have to swipe upon leaving station A. If they left station A without swiping, upon entering station B they would have to pay another fare, since the system doesn’t know where or when they are coming from.

Tower18 November 3, 2015 - 7:29 pm

I’m fairly certain I recall Chicago used to do this when they had their Metrocard-equivalent Transit Card, at the one station that had an out-of-system transfer: between State/Lake on the Loop elevated, and Lake on the State St subway. To go from one to another for free, you had to either pull a paper transfer, or swipe at a special turnstile before exiting.

Tower18 November 3, 2015 - 7:30 pm

I should add that you no longer need to do this, they just handle it on the backend, a la 63rd/Lex.

TimK November 4, 2015 - 12:57 pm

That makes sense. But it would require special swiping equipment at those stations, lots of passenger education, and reprogramming of entry faregates. (I’m not saying that’s a reason not to do it; I’m just pointing out the requirements.)

Fraser November 3, 2015 - 4:09 pm

He’s recommending it implement swipe-outs only for people who want a free transfer.

johndmuller November 4, 2015 - 5:43 pm

Maybe it’s time to get over it. Swiping out is not the end of the world; one might say that it’s just like swiping in. Probably people didn’t like it when they had to buy tokens and before that when they had to use the turnstiles instead of paying a conductor. Maybe just paying is the imposition.

Sure, there are places where there might be congestion and more equipment would probably be needed at those places, but if you want to have an integrated fare system including the commuter lines (or other special fare arrangements), you will probably need something like swiping out. One could hope that any new fare system would mitigate or eliminate the congestion or extra equipment needs.

Here we are only talking about swiping out in a limited number of places. This would be good practice and a cheap alpha test of the concept. As for learning to do it, saving an extra fare is a decent incentive.

Obviously anyone believing in the uniqueness of NYC would be unable to take any info from places where swiping out has worked (as in DC) or where this sort of thing apparently didn’t (as in Chicago).

Andrew November 10, 2015 - 7:20 am

Swiping out is not the end of the world; one might say that it’s just like swiping in.

Except that, at most stations, entries arrive at a roughly even pace, while exits arrive as a large surge with each train.

Think about when the turnstiles at your favorite station tend to be congested – it’s probably just after a train arrives, even though the people getting off the train don’t have to swipe.

Any sort of exit swipe requirement (even if only for a transfer) would need to be implemented very carefully.

Andrew November 3, 2015 - 12:20 am

How many people are projected to use the Junius-Livonia transfer, and how much time will it save each (on average)? It’s nice and all, but how does it do on a cost-benefit basis? I can’t imagine it’s going to be a terribly busy transfer.

Chet November 3, 2015 - 7:06 am

Build it and they will come?

Andrew November 10, 2015 - 7:37 am

Only if it provides a better option than already exists – which, I would argue, it probably does for very few origin-destination pairs.

Herb Lehman November 3, 2015 - 10:18 am

I work near the area and this transfer is going to be a lifesaver for a number of people. It’s been a no-brainer for many years. Keep in mind, this is about the poorest area of NYC. Quite honestly, many people were sneaking through the gate to make the transfer without paying anyway, so the loss of revenue for the MTA is probably going to be close to zero in the grand scheme of things. It’s too bad it couldn’t have just been as simple as an out-of-system transfer rather than a whole construction project, but I’m still glad to see it. Hopefully the no-brainer transfer between the J/Z and G is next, though I understand the reasoning given in the comments above.

Chris November 3, 2015 - 1:17 pm

Looking at the google earth view, this is a no-brainer. Either a out of system transfer should have been provided (which would have been the cheapest thing to do) or to build a form of concourse connecting the stations (which would cost a lot more). If Chicago can have out of system free transfers from its els to its underground lines inside the loop, why can’t NYC do it here?

Nick M November 3, 2015 - 5:45 pm

We do have it. 4/5/6/N/Q/R at 59th to the F at 63rd/Lex.

Andrew November 10, 2015 - 7:48 am

I work near the area and this transfer is going to be a lifesaver for a number of people.

A lifesaver? Do tell.

It’s been a no-brainer for many years. Keep in mind, this is about the poorest area of NYC.

Perhaps you’re answering somebody’s questions, but you certainly aren’t answering mine. As a reminder, here are my questions: “How many people are projected to use the Junius-Livonia transfer, and how much time will it save each (on average)? It’s nice and all, but how does it do on a cost-benefit basis?”

Quite honestly, many people were sneaking through the gate to make the transfer without paying anyway,

Are you seriously claiming that people sneak through the gate to make a transfer but not simply to enter the station without transferring? I had no idea that fare evaders were so discriminating in their fare evasion activities!

so the loss of revenue for the MTA is probably going to be close to zero in the grand scheme of things.

Loss of revenue? My concern isn’t that people who pay two fares to make an out-of-system transfer will only be paying one fare. (Virtually nobody pays two fares here on a regular basis – it isn’t that useful of a transfer, and the few who do make it regularly use unlimited cards.) My concern is that the thing costs $30 million!

It’s too bad it couldn’t have just been as simple as an out-of-system transfer rather than a whole construction project, but I’m still glad to see it.

This was obviously a political addition to the plan. If there had been a cost-benefit analysis, perhaps an out-of-system transfer would have been implemented instead, at far lower cost. Which is all I was asking for in the first place.

Bolwerk November 3, 2015 - 10:28 am

Agreed, but there might be some other cost-saving motive here. They might be able to eliminate one of the token booths if two stations become essentially one. They also need more ADA stations, and it might be easier to implement one ADA access point for both stations than convert both stations separately.

Nathanael November 5, 2015 - 5:15 pm

There are several advantages.

* First of all, BOTH of these stations have to be made ADA-accessible. Right now, neither one is.

* Second, it makes construction much simpler if they aren’t building on top of an active station.

So if they move the #3 station east, they can leave the “old” Junius station alone while they build the new one. (They’ll still have to build around the active Livonia station.)

* Third, you can do it with three elevator banks (one in the southwest corner, one in the northwest corner, one in the northeast corner) and a ground-level station house. If you keep the stations separate, I think it’s a minimum of three elevator banks for Junius *alone*.

Nathanael November 5, 2015 - 5:18 pm

Alternatively, if they leave the #3 station where it is… they have a complicated set of elevated walkways and a lot of elevators. But anyway.

Andrew November 10, 2015 - 7:52 am

ADA is already included as a second line item.

Are you seriously suggesting that the #3 station be moved above an active railroad, perhaps fouling an existing interlocking, and shifting the station further away from much of its current rider base? I highly doubt that’s what’s planned.

tacony November 3, 2015 - 10:52 am

There’s actually a good deal of new residential development going in along Livonia just east of this station, so I’d expect ridership to be increasing.

Andrew November 10, 2015 - 7:53 am

Ridership just east of the station doesn’t need a transfer! A transfer is useful for people who aren’t in walking distance of both lines.

Richard February 3, 2016 - 10:17 am

You seem to spend a lot of energy hating on the people of East New York and Brownsville. Why?

aestrivex November 3, 2015 - 10:58 am

It’s going to be far from the busiest transfer in the system but far from worthless.

I’ve taken this transfer (and just paid the two fares) before on trips starting from L in Ridgewood, and get to somewhere in Brooklyn. Say, along the D in Bensonhurst. The fastest way to do it is L->3->D.

Eric November 3, 2015 - 4:26 pm

You’re really asking for TriboroRX to be built.

Henry November 3, 2015 - 11:30 pm

Coincidentally, the Triboro RX would pass through Junius-Livonia if it were combined.

Nathanael November 5, 2015 - 5:16 pm

And could easily have platforms added to said station.

VLM November 3, 2015 - 11:04 am

I can’t tell if this serious or not. Is all transit planning just a cost-benefit analysis to you?

Bolwerk November 3, 2015 - 11:48 am

Cost-benefit analysis should absolutely be front and center in transit planning.

The benefits aren’t all just about money though. Neither are the costs.

Andrew November 10, 2015 - 7:54 am

No, but cost-benefit analysis certainly needs to be a major component in deciding which of many potentially worthwhile capital projects gets funded out of a limited pot of capital dollars.

Do you disagree? What would you use instead?

AG November 4, 2015 - 10:07 pm

I don’t know but it is completely stupid there is no transfer between the lines on 138th and the Grand Concourse and 138th and 3rd Ave. in the Bronx. Going to 125th to transfer is folly.

=+= November 3, 2015 - 2:50 am

What about integration with buildings near subway stations? Having lived in Montréal at one point I’ve always been surprised how poorly connected subway stations in NYC are with nearby offices, commerces and residential towers. The original WTC PATH station was pretty unique in that regard considering it was directly integrated with the original complex.

Eric November 3, 2015 - 7:51 am

Of course, Montreal is colder and needs the integration more.

=+= November 3, 2015 - 8:16 am

NYC can also get pretty unpleasant in the winter though.

SEAN November 3, 2015 - 9:36 am

True, but it’s not quite the same as Montreal. Toronto also has a network of passageways connecting downtown buildings & it’s transit facilities including Union Station. The Path system is lined with shopping, dining & services & has been growing over the decades. http://www.path.ca

SEAN November 3, 2015 - 9:47 am


tacony November 3, 2015 - 11:02 am

We once had a lot more building connections. For instance, if you look at the west end of the Times Square shuttle platform, there’s a door labeled “Knickerbocker,” that used to lead directly into a former hotel. Of course it’s not used anymore. (http://subwaynut.com/ct/times_.....sq_s20.jpg)

Today, we can’t even build the station entrances to be conveniently located at cross streets. Our stations must have grand, inconvenient mid-block canopies, so we have to trudge through the rain to get to our destinations. The new Hudson Yards station is labeled 11th Ave, but the entrances are a good hike from there. A direct entrance to the Javits Center? That’d be just too complicated.

Rob November 3, 2015 - 11:32 am

I know a station entrance in a building on the 2nd Ave subway was killed by residents of the adjacent building.

Crawdad November 3, 2015 - 12:10 pm

Javits won’t even be there in 10-15 years, so would be silly to add a subway entrance to Javits. No one even knows what will be built on that huge site.

=+= November 3, 2015 - 4:31 pm

That’s an interesting bit of trivia, thanks for sharing it.

I can (sort of) understand them not wanting to build a new entrance into an existing building but what really irks me about the new 7 terminal is that they completely missed the opportunity to integrate the subway station with the brand new towers that are under construction. There’s a massive real estate development project in the area and it would have been have probably been easy (considering the area is basically being built from the ground up) to add plans for some sort of indoor complex that would have connected the new towers with the subway station. A tiny bit of planning could have have allowed patrons to avoid having to cross the 4+ lane wide avenues that criss-cross the area and would also have provided them with a path that would have remained dry and pleasant no mater the weather.

Thanks to the lack of integration with the new development thousands of patrons are going to have to squeeze through two entry and exit points instead of flowing in from multiple points situated all over the complex. On top of that, the escalators are probably going to be out of service most of the time and that will only further complicate passenger flow at rush hour.

=+= November 3, 2015 - 5:09 pm

“it would have been have probably been”

I need to stop trying to type comments on my phone. Please pardon the gibberish.

Henry November 3, 2015 - 11:32 pm

The buildings are being built on top of an elevated platform above the train yard, so there’s no way to have built in-building connections to the subway without disrupting said train yard.

=+= November 4, 2015 - 9:58 am

True. Although they could have “bridged the gap” with elevated walkways with something like the West Street pedestrian bridges.

Joe Steindam November 3, 2015 - 11:09 am

While we may not have many underground entrances into buildings directly from subway stations, there are many access points to the subway that are maintained by building owners, although these mostly exist in places where sidewalk space is a premium and putting the entrance in a building footprint helps deal with narrow public spaces (think Wall Street or Fulton Street, but this is also the case at some entrances to Times Square and Grand Central). But the more modern version of this program isn’t without controversy. Many people are critical of this program, as some building owners are less responsive than the MTA to addressing the conditions in their entrances. The escalator entrance at the Zeckendorf Towers (14th Street and 4th Ave/Park Ave S) into Union Square is one that is frequently criticized for its condition, and is probably the most glaring example of the MTA partnership with building owners not working well.

=+= November 3, 2015 - 5:04 pm

Thanks for the details. I was aware that some entrances were maintained by building owners but I didn’t know they had issues with upkeep. That escalator story is an absolute farce.

I can not for the life of me understand why building developers seem so hostile at the idea of integrating the subway into developments. It’s one of the greatest assets to NYC and the thing is surprisingly isolated from real estate development. Are developers scared the riff-raff might loiter in the lobbies of their shiny towers?

BruceNY November 4, 2015 - 12:16 am

Same problem with an escalator that leads from the mezzanine level at the 3rd Avenue entrance at E53rd St.: it’s part of this office tower that has a direct entrance into its food court level, but the escalator has not worked in years.

Back in the day, there were direct entrances from the subway into Macy*s at 34th, and A&S in downtown Brooklyn (Hoyt St. now a Macy*s) but security concerns about shoplifting made those disappear over the years.

tacony November 4, 2015 - 9:44 am

There is still the direct entrance into the Kmart at Astor Place from the downtown 6 train platform. It was a Wanamaker’s department store when the station was built with the entrance. It’s very simple: the station is MTA property and there’s a revolving door into the underground level of the Kmart building, which is private property. But apparently this kind of arrangement is somehow too complex to build into any new stations.

eo November 3, 2015 - 9:44 am

Connecting the J/M/Z with the G is much more difficult than the 3 and the L. I doubt they have concrete plans yet how exactly it will be done, but building a covered walkway over some industrial property and rail right of way is unlikely to cause much fuss by the neighbours. It is all above ground, so the costs are relatively manageable and the project is easier than underground projects. The ADA part is also not as bad due to that.

The J/M/Z with the G is going to be at least 2 times the money if not even 3 die to the underground component. Any attempt to do the easiest and cheapest solution which is to have a walkway parallel to the above ground line is likely to be fought by the neighbours as adding blight to the street making it even darker. Also note how a transfer does not benefit the neighbours, so why would they care about it? A transfer benefits people who live and work elsewhere. The additional problem is that you need stairs and elevators enclosed in a building (the elevator has to be in a building, no way around that) in order to get from above the street to below the street level. I do not know the G station, but if it has two side platforms you need two buildings with elevators and stairs. If it is a center platform it is still difficult as you cannot just plop the building in the middle of the street. In other words, this is a nice thing to have but without a champion in the city hall the MTA is unlikely to want to get into it — for the expected benefit it is not worth the trouble of stirring the NYMBIs. I am sure if city hall asked for it now that the city is ponying some serious cash, it could and would be done, but the MTA needs the political cover to silence the NYMBIs before it would act.

aestrivex November 3, 2015 - 11:00 am

On the other hand, implementing an out of system transfer would satisfy 98% of people and cost approximately $0 in new construction expenditures, and cause 0 additional decibels of noise to annoy NIMBYs.

stan November 3, 2015 - 11:00 am

free transfer = software change. the logic is easy and has been done before. this is a sensible step 1.

Brian Power November 3, 2015 - 9:41 pm

To build a transfer at Lorimer St and Union Av would require the mta to build a brand new station on Union Av on the Broadway Elevated requiring the closing of Lorimer and Hewes St Stations, which the cost would be really high since the mta takes years to do anything because there famous for milking the clock, and that’s the real problem with future expansion and any project the mta undertakes, the city should take the subways from them just like they did to the IRT and BMT in the forties

Henry November 3, 2015 - 11:37 pm

The entire reason the MTA even exists is because the TA barely functioned under the City and hemorrhaged money. City control is really not the answer, and with how interconnected the lines are there isn’t really a way to contract out operations to private operators either. (This also isn’t necessarily a good idea, either; the London Underground was contracted out to private operators in an experiment that ended awfully and resulted in government reasserting itself.)

The issue is which option is the least bad. Putting it under City politics puts it under the whims of people who want to get reelected by keeping down the fare, promising huge pensions and deferring maintenance. Putting it under State control removes it from the electoral authority of those who want lower fares, but also removes any sort of responsibility elected officials have since Albany gives no crap about the MTA and is even more of a mess when it comes to politics. So who do we hand it off to?

adirondacker12800 November 4, 2015 - 12:20 am

The politicians in Albany don’t come from Mars. They come from the city or it’s suburbs.

smotri November 4, 2015 - 5:24 pm

Do they use public transit? No!

Brian Power November 3, 2015 - 9:47 pm

And on another subject, the Canarsie Line should be moved down to the open cut bay ridge branch and all the streets put through this section of Brooklyn,I grew up in Christopher av near both stations and the Canarsie and bay ridge branch separate the two neighborhoods of east new york and Brownsville

Frank B November 3, 2015 - 10:21 pm

Hot time this happened.

Mike June 24, 2017 - 12:11 pm

Building this transfer is a no-brainer. $30 million is not a lot of money when it comes to subway infrastructure. And the revenue loss will be minimal, I honestly doubt many people are spending an extra $2.75 to make this transfer. And for people who run errands in between, this is nothing new. I do this all the time when transferring from subway to bus. The reason this isn’t being built is simple. It’s in one of the poorest parts of the city and the city doesn’t care about poor people. it’s not complicated. They can spend $1.5 billion on the new Hudson Yards station, because of the money that’s going to be pouring into the area. The sad reality is the only way this transfer will ever be built is if East NY and/or Brownsville become the new Williamsburg, which I doubt will happen

W Broadway Local July 27, 2020 - 10:49 pm

I forgot how really complicated this connection is. We ain’t talking about a similar connection like the D/N New Utrecht Avenue/62nd Street where the platforms parallel each other. In this case there is no platform direction above the Livonia Station L. It is about two blocks down, which is why this connection did not occur for the longest time. So moving the station to this location will make the connection easier, since the “3” elevated is practically touching the Lower “L” station. It’s not like how the “N” connects the “D”. The “N” is in an embankment which the “D” is high up on an elevated trackway. The 3 is just on a higher elevated track versus the “L” on a lower elevated track. This tells me the “L” trackway was there first, before the 3 trackway. Anyway, there is one problem though, the 3 traffic is on it major street Junius. But that can simply be moved upwards to at least hug the very west end of the L train tracks.


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