MTA Seeks Federal Funds For L Line

This past Friday, the MTA announced it is seeking approximately $300M in federal funds for the . The funds would go towards improvements such as adding a couple of trains per hour, installing new entrances at Bedford & 1st Avs respectively & more. Here is more via the official press release:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is seeking federal funding toward approximately $300 million in infrastructure improvements for the Canarsie L Line, which runs from Manhattan to the Canarsie section of Brooklyn through neighborhoods that have seen the largest increases in population in New York City.

More than 300,000 customers use the Canarsie L Line on an average weekday, an increase of 98% since 1998. Average weekday entries at the Bedford Av station, the busiest station on the line, have increased by 250%. The line has experienced a 27% increase in ridership since New York City Transit installed Communication-Based Train Control (CBTC) in 2007, a new signal system that increased NYCT’s ability to run more trains each hour.

Proposed infrastructure improvements include adding three power substations to allow for two additional trains per hour, a 10% increase in service, which could carry 2,200 additional customers per hour. Other elements include installing elevators at the 1 Av and Bedford Av stations to make them fully compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, and adding new street-level entrances at both stations to make it easier for customers to enter or exit the stations and alleviate platform crowding that can delay trains.

“More than 49,000 customers use the 1 Av and Bedford Av stations on an average weekday, and the stations experience overcrowding during peak periods. The area around the Bedford Av station has been rezoned to allow for almost 10,000 new residential units, and ridership is expected to continue to rise,” said New York City Transit President Carmen Bianco. “We have to increase capacity on the Canarsie Line and improve customer flow at stations to meet this increasing demand, and securing federal funding for a project of this magnitude will go a long way toward achieving that goal.”

At Bedford Av, plans call for two new 7-foot-wide street stairs on the east side of Bedford Avenue. This would be a 138% increase over current street stair capacity at the station, which currently consists of two 5-foot-wide street stairs. Platform stair capacity at Bedford Av would increase by 38%, with two 7-foot, 6-inch stairs replacing an existing single 12-foot-wide stair).

At the 1 Av station, new fare control areas at Avenue A would double capacity – a 100% increase – up to the street from each platform. The Avenue A entrances would serve 60% of the station’s ridership, thus eliminating a 500-foot walk (from First Avenue to Avenue A) for 31,000 weekday customers entering or exiting the station.

To advance the improvements, the MTA will be requesting funding through the Federal Transit Administration’s new Core Capacity grant program. Work on the Canarsie improvements is expected to take several years, with construction on the new station entrance at 1 Av to start first. Work on the infrastructure improvements will be coordinated with planned repairs to the Canarsie Tube, which was flooded during Superstorm Sandy. Those repairs include work on tracks, signals, tunnel lighting, cables, pump facilities, duct banks and other equipment required for reliable service through the tube. A schedule for Sandy-related repairs to the tunnel, which connects Manhattan and Brooklyn under the East River, will be determined at a later time.

Partial funding for the Canarsie improvements has been included in the MTA’s proposed 2015-2019 Capital Program. Fifty million dollars for the development of the project was previously included in the 2010-2014 Capital Program. The MTA’s request for Core Capacity funds is limited to power and vertical circulation improvements that will increase capacity on the L line. The application for federal funds is expected to take several years, and additional reviews will be needed from the Federal Transit Administration before a funding recommendation can be made.

Let me just say these proposed improvements would be huge for the line. As many of you know, I run an online radio station & music review site which has me at a lot of indie music shows throughout the city. Many of those shows lead me to Brooklyn so I frequent the often.

The 1st Av & Bedford stations are easily the biggest bottlenecks on the line & anything to increase service & ease facility access would be greatly appreciated. We can’t overlook at how huge a station entrance at Ave A would be for riders in Alphabet City.

In regards to Alphabet City, I really hope the agency can look into somehow creating a station at Ave C as the neighborhood needs one. Besides, it just makes common sense considering the rider population in & around the neighborhood which surprisingly is under serviced for Manhattan. We shall see what the future holds for that.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Report Exposes F Train Derailment Cause

Back in the beginning of May, the biggest transit story was the Brooklyn-bound train that derailed in Queens.

7 months after the derailment, the MTA issued a report this past Friday exposing the cause of the derailment which turned out to be unrepaired track defaults. Here is the official press release I received which I will follow with the link to the full report:

MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) today released the final report on its exhaustive investigation into the cause of the May 2014 F train derailment along the Queens Boulevard subway line. The report uses prior inspection reports to identify several minor defects in track components present at the point of derailment. Individually, none of them was capable of causing a derailment, but the combination of defects in one location was the most likely cause of the derailment. New York City Transit has changed its inspection protocols to ensure rail defects are appropriately identified and repaired.

“Nothing is more important than providing the safest transportation possible for our customers and employees, so determining the cause of this derailment was a top priority for us,” said New York City Transit President Carmen Bianco. “We immediately took corrective action to ensure we always focus on identifying and correcting track defects. This will minimize the risk of future derailments.”

The eight-car F train derailed shortly after 10 a.m. on May 2 as it traveled toward Manhattan on the express track south of the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Av station, under Broadway at 60th Street. A 7-foot, 11-inch section of a 19-foot, 6-inch-long rail fractured beneath the train as it traveled at approximately 40 miles per hour, causing six of the eight cars to derail. Approximately 1,000 people were safely evacuated by city rescue services. Thirty customers and two employees reported minor injuries, and the damage was valued at more than $2 million.

New York City Transit’s comprehensive track inspection program requires every inch of mainline track to be walked and inspected by trained personnel twice a week, and by supervisors twice a month. Automated inspection cars also traverse the system regularly to assess track geometry and to use ultrasonic technology to scan for rail defects invisible to the naked eye.

New York City Transit’s Office of System Safety reviewed video data from prior automated inspections where the derailment occurred. The videos showed that a metal plate and fasteners under the rail had been broken for at least one year before the derailment but were not replaced. The wooden tie under that plate was also in poor condition. Maintenance records also showed that in the eleven months before the derailment, two other broken rails had been reported and replaced in the same 19-foot, 6-inch section of rail.

The combination of the broken plate, broken fasteners and deteriorated tie should have been prioritized for repairs. The report concludes that Division of Track personnel did not identify, document and correct the track defect at that location, either during regular inspections or when the two prior broken rails were replaced. They also did not adequately investigate the underlying causes of the broken rails.

Additionally, the report found that the top of the rail that broke was installed with a 1/8-inch vertical mismatch where the new rail met the slightly worn existing rail. In addition, the metal joint bars used to fasten the two rails together were reused, and one of them had a sharp edge where the top of the joint bar met the underside of the rail head. In addition, one of the six bolts required to secure the joint bar was not present.

Investigators found no anomalies in the performance of the crew, the signal system, the subway cars or the manufacture of the rail itself. Disciplinary action is being pursued against three Maintenance Supervisors and a Track Inspector for their roles in this derailment.

The Division of Track has taken several steps to ensure rail defects are properly identified and repaired. A new Broken Rail Procedure ensures broken plates and fasteners are replaced as soon as possible. The Division of Track will add eight Maintenance Supervisors, and will increase the number of times supervisors inspect the five corridors with the highest number of broken rails. Those corridors are now inspected monthly by ultrasonic inspection cars, and new teams have been established to rapidly respond to and correct rail defects identified by ultrasonic testing. The Division of Track is also installing continuously welded rail and resilient fasteners in these five corridors, which eliminates as many bolted joints as possible.

New York City Transit spends approximately $180 million on track maintenance each year. The MTA invested $1.5 billion in track rehabilitation and construction in its 2010-2014 Capital Program, and is proposing to increase that investment to almost $2 billion in the 2015-2019 Capital Program.

“The magnitude of our investment in maintenance illustrates our strong commitment to the safety of our customers and employees,” said Joseph Leader, Senior Vice President, Department of Subways. “We appreciate this detailed analysis of why the derailment occurred. We have quickly taken corrective action, and we will continue to embrace new technologies and continuously improve our track maintenance activities.”

Click here for the complete report in .pdf format.

At the heat of the report, the MTA announced it will take disciplinary action against 3 maintenance supervisors & an inspector for leaving track defaults unrepaired for nearly a year. The only fair punishment would be for them to be fired as their negligence could have lead to death & that is inexcusable.

While the agency has changed their protocol in terms of fixing track defaults, it is good to know they are accepting their fault in the derailment & not hiding behind previous protocol issues. Hopefully the new protocols prevent this from ever happening again.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Honors 30 NYC Transit Workers

It is the holiday season so it is nice to share some good news from the MTA. The latest form of that comes from the agency honoring 30 NYC Transit workers for acts of bravery & excellence. Here is more via the official press release:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today recognized 30 New York City Transit employees for their acts of bravery and distinguished service that showed how they performed above and beyond their duties to help customers, their colleagues or the public.

The honorees, their families and co-workers, as well as top NYC Transit officials, attended the ceremony, which was held in downtown Brooklyn. Medals and commendations are awarded annually to NYC Transit employees for specific acts of bravery, quick thinking in potentially dangerous or fatal situations, and for excellent service in day-to-day operations.

“Every act we celebrate today shows us a glimpse of how we would like to be all the time – selfless, compassionate and courageous. I thank all our medalists for giving us that glimpse and inspiring us,” said NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco.

This year’s honorees include a train conductor and an operator working together to secure a train at a station and prevent the perpetrator of an assault from fleeing the scene; an off-duty special inspector who helped apprehend a man threatening subway customers with bodily harm; a bus operator whose immediate response to a co-worker’s heart attack helped save a life; two car cleaners who found an autistic boy reported missing from his home and notified authorities to reunite him with his family; and a Staten Island Railway conductor who helped calm a distressed woman and called for medical assistance.

Awards were presented in three areas:

• Heroism: For employees who perform specific acts of bravery, on or off duty, in the face of extremely dangerous circumstances that could have resulted in personal injury or death;

• Commendations: For job-related acts involving personal risk or requiring exceptional judgment. The employee’s decisions and actions indicate that, without quick thinking and corrective measures, highly undesirable and dire consequences could have resulted;

• Distinguished Service: For employees who have demonstrated outstanding efficiency that reflects the highest standards and ideals of a dedicated public employee.

“Today’s program is about showing our appreciation for your notable deeds – not only to Transit, but also to your coworkers and our customers. You have responded to all types of occurrences, while still providing unparalleled service,” said MTA Chief of Staff Catherine A. Rinaldi.

Honorees:

Heroism (6 awards; 6 recipients)

William Kennedy – train service supervisor – Restrained customer from touching live third rail

Ancy Kernizan – bus operator – Safely evacuated customers during bus fire

Carlos Padro – special inspector – Assisted in arrest of man threatening subway customers with bodily harm

Robert Sanders – bus operator – Safely evacuated customers during bus fire

George Smith – bus operator – Safely secured customers during bus shooting

Jennifer Worthy – bus operator – Secured safety of customers near street shooting

Commendation (14 awards; 23 recipients):

Luis Albino, David Soto, Stewart Azzato, Clyde Ferguson – power distribution maintainers, track workers – Rescued falling colleague who became unconscious while working on elevated tracks

Naomi Andino, Joaquin Lopez – conductor, train operator – Prevented perpetrator from fleeing scene of assault

Carol Goring, Deslyn Collins – car cleaners – Found autistic child reported missing

Robert J. Esposito – special inspector – Apprehended robbery suspect

Jamila Francois – bus operator – Safely evacuated customers during bus fire

Curtis Hall, Kevin O’Neill, David Rosa, Jose Salazar, Jose Valette – maintenance supervisor, track workers – Assisted customer who had fallen from platform onto tracks

Steven Hodovanec – train operator – Reported unsafe rail condition to avoid potentially dangerous situation

Nathaniel Jenkins – bus operator – Revived co-worker suffering heart attack

Luis Manrique – train operator – Found child reported missing from home

Victor Nicasio – bus operator – Alerted emergency workers to pedestrian suffering seizure

Brett Peace – bus operator – Prevented customer in wheelchair from falling

Jason Prashad – conductor – Reported robbery in progress and assisted police in arrest

James Thompson – conductor – Calming suicidal woman on platform

Stephen Ward – bus operator – Performed CPR on elderly customer who became ill on bus

Distinguished service (1 award; 1 recipient):

Frank Gurrera – machinist – MTA employee for nearly 45 years

Congratulations to all of the deserving recipients as your actions will never be forgotten!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Service Diversions 12-12-14

Get a head start on your weekend travel plans as I have just updated the Service Diversions through all of next week.

Make sure to follow @TransitBlogger on Twitter by clicking the button in the sidebar as I am using it more often. Also if you are into indie music make sure to follow @IndMusicReview & @SurgeFM!

Have a great weekend!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Awards South Ferry Repair Contract

Earlier today, the MTA announced the awarding of the $193.8 million dollar contract to Judlau Contracting, Inc for the rehabilitation of the South Ferry station. Here are more details via the official press release:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has awarded a $193.8 million contract to Judlau Contracting, Inc., to rehabilitate the new South Ferry station and include elements that would protect the station from flooding in the event of future damaging storms.

MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) had previously awarded a contract and work has been completed to remove all damaged finishes and equipment from the South Ferry station. NYC Transit has also implemented interim measures to protect the station from a storm surge, including emergency egress bulkheads at station entrances.

In October 2012, Superstorm Sandy sent 15 million gallons of salt water into the new South Ferry station, destroying all electrical and mechanical systems and components and filling the entire structure from the track level to the mezzanine, a depth of 80 feet. The flood water, a mix of seawater, sewerage, and debris, caused extensive damage to the station and critical equipment.

“While the old South Ferry Station has been brought back into operation as a temporary replacement, it is obsolete and is not ADA compliant,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “Reopening the new South Ferry station complex and protecting it against future storms is an MTA priority. It will improve access to Lower Manhattan for thousands of customers and is part of our commitment to ‘Build Back Better.’”

The 31-month contract awarded November 26 includes leak mitigation, replacement of track, mechanical, electrical, signal, and communications equipment, as well as ceiling and wall panels and other damaged assets. Other work to be performed under this contract consists of:

• architectural finishes; civil work; structural steel work;
• HVAC work; new ventilation system;
• new pumping equipment;
• refurbishment of two elevators and five escalators;
• fire protection;
• new traction power system and;
• miscellaneous electrical work at two circuit breaker houses and a ventilation plant.

The project will incorporate strategies to protect NYCT’s property, equipment and employees from future flooding. Resiliency measures will protect components of the underground station, including electrical and traction power equipment, mechanical systems, plumbing fixtures, communications equipment, and instrumentation/control devices and will include retractable flood doors at the station entrances. Other entry points for water such as vents, manholes and hatches, conduits, and ducts will also be hardened.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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