The L train shutdown — a hot topic of conversation these days — isn’t going to arrive for a few more years, but already the MTA is putting the pieces in place to ensure the pain is minimized. Although we don’t yet know the details behind the shutdown, it will involve more M train service, and to that end, the MTA will have to first shut down some M train service to rehabilitate the Myrtle Viaduct. It’s going to be a preview of things to come.
After word leaked to the press late this week, the MTA announced on Friday that the M train shutdown will take place in two parts in 2017. During the first part, for two months, the MTA will repair a metal bridge between the Fresh Pond Rd and Middle Village-Metropolitan Av stations. Following that, the 100-year-old concrete viaduct that hosts the M between Myrtle and Central Aves. will be repaired. All told, part of the M line will close for ten months beginning in the summer of 2017.
“These temporary closures are vital to the long term viability of the M line in Brooklyn and Queens,” NYC Transit President Ronnie Hakim said in a statement. “Both of these structures have deteriorated to the point that there is simply no other option than complete replacement, and undergoing this step will ensure a safe, more reliable experience for customers for decades to come. We will work closely with the affected communities, their elected officials and other representatives to minimize the disruption and address their concerns, and we will do our utmost to complete this work as quickly as possible.”
Picking up on a theme we saw unfold in Washington DC this week, the MTA notes that this work simply cannot be postponed any longer as the structure is “severely deteriorated.” The work includes a rebuild of two sections of the elevated structure as well as replacing steel girders, track beds and the platforms that carry the tracks. Doing the work next year will allow the MTA to lean on the M once the L train shuts down in 2018.
During the first two months, M trains will not run between Myrtle Ave. and Middle Village-Metropolitan Ave. Shuttle bus routes will serve the closed stations. During the second phase — which will last eight additional months — the M will run between between Middle Village-Metropolitan Av and Myrtle-Wyckoff Avs, and M trains will run into Manhattan from Broadway Junction with peak-hour frequency reduced by 25 percent. The J and Z will not skip stops between Marcy Ave. and Broadway Junction, and the L will maintain peak frequencies throughout the day. This is the cost of deferred maintenance.
Meanwhile, after the jump, this weekend’s service advisories. As always, these come to me from the MTA. If anything looks wrong, take it up with them.
From 11:45 p.m. Friday, March 18 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, March 21, South Ferry-bound 1 trains run express from 14 St to Chambers St. For service to Christopher St, Houston St, Canal St, and Franklin St, take a downtown 1 or 2 to Chambers St and transfer to an uptown 1 or 2 local train. For service from these stations, take an uptown 1 or 2 to 14 St and transfer to a downtown 1 or 2 train.
From 11:45 p.m. Friday, March 18 to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, March 20, and from 11:45 p.m. Sunday, March 20 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, March 21, Flatbush Av-Brooklyn College bound 2 trains run express from 14 St to Chambers St.
From 11:45 p.m. Friday, March 18 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, March 21, 3 service operates to/from New Lots Av all weekend, replacing 4 service in Brooklyn.
From 11:45 p.m. Friday, March 18 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, March 21, 4 trains are suspended in both directions between New Lots Av/Crown Hts-Utica Av and Bowling Green. Take the 2 or 3 instead. For service between Borough Hall and Franklin Av, take the 23 instead.
From 11:45 p.m. Friday, March 18 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, March 21, 5 trains are suspended. Take the 24 and/or free shuttle buses. Free shuttle buses operate between Eastchester-Dyre Av and E 180 St, stopping at Baychester Av, Gun Hill Rd, Pelham Pkwy, and Morris Park. For service between E 180 St and 149 St-Grand Concourse, take the 2 and transfer between shuttle buses and 2 trains at E 180 St. For service between 149 St-Grand Concourse and Bowling Green, use the 4 and transfer between 2 and 4 trains at 149 St-Grand Concourse.
From 12:15 a.m. Saturday, March 19 to 4:30 a.m. Monday, March 21, 7 trains are suspended in both directions between Times Sq-42 St and Queensboro Plaza. EFNQRS trains and free shuttle buses provide alternate service. 7 trains will run between Flushing-Main St and Queensboro Plaza, and between Times Sq-42 St and 34 St-Hudson Yards, every 15-20 minutes. Free shuttle buses provide alternate service, making all stops between Vernon Blvd-Jackson Av and Queensboro Plaza.
From 12:15 a.m. Saturday, March 19 to 4:30 a.m. Monday, March 21, 7 trains run express between 74 St-Broadway to Queensboro Plaza.
From 11:45 p.m. Friday, March 18 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, March 21, A trains are rerouted via the F line in both directions between W 4 St-Wash Sq and Jay St-MetroTech.
From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 19 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, March 21, A trains run local in both directions between W 4 St-Wash Sq and 59 St-Columbus Circle.
From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 19 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, March 21, A trains run local in both directions between 125 St and 168 St.
From 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Saturday, March 19 and Sunday March 20, C trains are suspended in both directions between 145 St and 168 St. Take the A instead.
From 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Saturday, March 19 and Sunday March 20, C trains are rerouted via the F line in both directions between W 4 St-Wash Sq and Jay St-MetroTech.
From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 19 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, March 21, D trains will stop at 135 St in both directions.
From 11:45 p.m. Friday, March 18 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, March 21, Coney Island-Stillwell Av bound F trains run express from Smith-9 Sts to Church Av.
From 11:45 p.m. Friday, March 18 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, March 21, L trains are suspended in both directions between 8 Av and 14 St-Union Sq. M14 buses provide alternate service.
From 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Saturday, March 19, and from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sunday, March 20, Q service is extended to Astoria-Ditmars Blvd.
From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 19 to 6:00 a.m. Monday, March 21, the 42 St S Shuttle will operate overnight.
Since the M will be starting/terminating on the middle track at Broadway Junction, it makes sense from a logistical standpoint that if there’s going to be an express from there to Marcy, it would be the M, to create as few crossovers as possible (though they could reverse-peak the express run, so that AM inbound/PM outbound stations west of Myrtle still have the M train option, in anticipation of the L shutdown that’s to follow that will have a lot more people living north of Broadway using the line).
It would also explain the 25 percent cut in peak service, since the single track at B’way Junction won’t be able to handle as many TPH as the two-track terminal at Metropolitan Avenue.
The more I think about it, the more I think that the sorry state of our infrastructure has as much to do with nobody being willing to put up with any inconvenience as it does with corruption or chronic under-funding. But when Chicago needed to rebuild the red line, they shut it down for a few months which was inconvenient for a lot of people but construction was quick, on time, and on budget. Or the I35w bridge in Minneapolis. Or even the temporary WTC PATH station. When our backs are against the wall, the red tape falls away and stuff just happens and amazing stuff happens.
It would be wonderful if they could rebuild the junction at Broadway/Myrtle into a flying junction as part of this work, but I don’t see how the necessary ramp EB from Myrtle/Broadway station could fit.
One physically feasible way of accomplishing this:
– add a new switch from the center track to the EB local track around Hart St.
– move outbound the J/Z over onto the center track east of Myrtle, have them change back to the local track at the new switch
– take what’s currently the eastbound J/Z local track between those two points, remove it, and replace it with a new track that climbs up to a second level and then turns left on Suydam St
– the new single track el above Suydam St can then rejoin the existing Myrtle el in time to still stop at the Central Ave station.
In London, the Underground has sections where it is grade crossings, and they operate around 30 tph on those lines. Once the trains are timed correctly over the crossing (an M to Middle Village leaves as a Manhattan-bound M pulls in), there can be a frequency of 15 tph for the M. A flying junction is necessary yet.
This could be partially accomplished by reactivating the upper level track and platform over the Myrtle Ave station, and then adding a new 2 block long segment connecting it to the north over Lewis Ave to merge with the two southern tracks on the BMT Jamaica line.
Using this configuration all east-bound M trains would take the new tracks to the flyover, while west-bound M trains would continue to use the existing viaduct. This could significantly reduce the impact of trains crossing against oncoming trains.
Why is the opportunity not being taken to extend the platforms along Myrtle to 10 cars?
Can the Fresh Pond Yard handle 10 cars?
Judging by Google Maps, most of the tracks that can accommodate 8 cars can also accommodate 10. For what it’s worth, all of the switches in the yard are hand-operated, so the place is due for an overhaul in any event.
Seems tricky. Signals would have to be moved around to accommodate the longer trains, wouldn’t they? Also, don’t forget Metropolitan Avenue has a pair of switches right to the south of the station, so that interlocking would have to be moved south to fit the longer platform. Basically it seems more complicated than simply lengthening platforms. Also, like another user mentioned, I have no idea if the yard has a limit on the length of trains it can hold. Basically, lengthening platforms would add an extra layer of complexity and I’m guessing the MTA just wants to get in and get out before moving on to the main show – the L.
If a platform is extended then the signal directly before or after it will need to be moved; unless this makes a signal block less than the minimum length the rest of the signals should be fine. And yes, the crossover will most likely need to be moved, although on Google Earth it appears that a 600′ train would fit between the crossover and bumper block. Even so, a two month long continuous shutdown is more than enough time for all of this work. It’s better to get everything done during one shutdown than maintaining the status quo and then shutting it down later, never mind the 25% extra capacity this will give during the L shutdown.
Because every other stop in the bmt east is 8 cars. So from myrtle to marcy would you like 2 cars not platformed? And the cost will be too much. Then fresh pond and eny yards are set up for 8 cars trains.
Every stop on the IRT locals was five cars when it opened, and it was eventually extended to 10. Every stop on the BMT South was 8, and is now 10. Saying that all stations are currently short, so there’s no point in extending any of them, is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Myrtle to Marcy, plus Essex, is only six stops. The work will need to be done at some point, unless 8-car trains are to be kept, which costs extra money and restricts flexibility.
“Both of these structures have deteriorated to the point that there is simply no other option than complete replacement, ”
And there you have it. What would have the cost been to simply maintain these structures all along rather than having to shut down the line and replace them?
“… the 100-year-old concrete viaduct that hosts the M between Myrtle and Central Aves …”
This is about a 100 ft long section of viaduct. Why is it taking 8-months to replace?
Its actually longer. And it takes that long to rebuilt a platform. Factor in labor laws, bad weather provisions…. it took years for them to rebuild the one on the 7 along queens blvd and along the F and G along 9th st in brooklyn.
The 7 and F/G viaducts were done under service. Here they have the luxury of a complete shutdown. 8 months seems like an inflated timeline, although it’s about right by MTA standards…
I am wondering whether it would be easier to activate the upper level of Myrtle Avenue and instead run the M train as a shuttle train terminating at Myrtle Ave. This would be feasible during the shutdown since the rail yards are on the end of the M line and because the structure to hold the tracks are already there, all they would have to do is throw down some temporary tracks and open up the platforms. It might be easier than running shuttle buses, and provide a higher quality of service for customers.
That structure was built to handle wooden cars. The surrent fleets are too heavy. Plus its abandoned except for the tower. Itll take a year to rebuild the station alone.
And by longwr i meant the viaduct.
In theory, the MTA has been repairing the system with borrowed money since the early 80s, right? Then why has the M train reached the point where it’s so decayed it can’t be repaired, only replaced? Did the MTA just ignore this problem for 30 years?
I wonder if the most effective use of the Myrtle line might be as a shuttle from Middle Village to Myrtle. This shuttle train could be run at 4 minute intervals most of the day. The M from 6th Ave could run local on the Jamaica line and switch to the Canarsie line east/south of Broadway Junction. Some L trains would terminate at Myrtle/Wyckoff. This would allow the J/Z to use the third track from Broadway Junction to Marcy, improve the L by the M siphonign off riders east/south of Bway Junction, and increase capacity by avoiding the at grade track merge at Myrtle (the upper deck would have to be re-built). With the high frequency Myrtle shuttle and the increased frequency over the Williamsburg Bridge, travel from Myrtle, Jamaica, and Canarsie would all get faster and more convenient.
I think it would be smarter to turn the M back into the what the V was without relabeling it.
Have the M run between Forest Hills and 2nd Ave & it would keep the service more manageable. The one ride seat from Manhattan to Williamsburg would be lost, but it would avoid delays on the J
No reason to cut one-stop service to Williamsburg. But they could certainly short turn some peak-service trains at 2 Avenue to maintain current service in Manhattan and Queens since capacity at Broadway Junction is limited.
Perhaps I’m being a bit extreme here, but why didn’t MTA do this vital work years ago when ridership was relatively light? Again, it didn’t take a fortune teller back then to say what was going to happen in Williamsburg, Bushwick and even Ridgewood the past decade.