2013 Dominican Day Parade Service Advisory

Earlier today, MTA NYC Transit issued a special service advisory for this weekend’s 2013 Dominican Day Parade:

This year’s Dominican Day Parade will be held on Sunday, August 11, between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. The parade route is on The Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue) between 36th Street and 52nd Street.

Customers may use these recommended subway stations to reach the parade area: 34th Street-Herald Square D F N Q R, 42nd Street-Bryant Park D F, 47th-50th Streets D F and 5th Avenue 7.

Parade goers should be aware that there is a service change in effect on the F line. During the weekend, Coney Island-bound F trains are rerouted via the M line after 36th Street, Queens to 47th-50th Streets.

The following NYC Transit and MTA Buses will take customers to the parade area although they may be affected by reroutes: M1, M2, M3, M4, M5, M7, M16, M31, M34, M50, M57, M104, Q32, BxM2, QM2, QM4, QM5, QM6, X1, and X10.

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2013 Dragon Boat Festival Service Advisory

Earlier today, MTA NYC Transit issued a service advisory for this weekend’s 2013 Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival. Here it is:

The annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival will be held in Flushing Meadows Park in Queens on Saturday, August 10 and Sunday, August 11. And, similar to previous years, MTA New York City Transit will operate a fare paid Special Event Shuttle bus between Mets-Willets Point 7 subway station and the festival site in the park. Customers may also use the Q48 bus to Flushing Meadows Park and transfer to the Special shuttle bus on Roosevelt Avenue.

Riders pay the regular fare ($2.50) with exact change or their MetroCard or may use their subway-to-bus or bus-to-bus MetroCard transfer option to board the Special Event Shuttle bus. As the festival is some distance from the local bus and subway routes, these shuttle buses will operate non-stop between the Mets-Willets Point 7 subway station and the event site in Flushing Meadows Park about every 5 minutes from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Customers should note that Flushing-bound 7 service is express from Queensboro Plaza to 74th Street-Roosevelt Avenue, stopping only at Woodside-61st Street on Saturday. (Details in the Service Diversions)

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Service Diversions 08-02-13

Get an early start to your weekend travel plans as I have just updated the Service Diversions.

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 safe & wonderful weekend!

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Montague Tube To Close For 14 Months

Later tonight, the last R trains between Lower Manhattan & Brooklyn will be going through the Montague Tube for at least 14 months. This is because as of 11:30 tonight, the tube will be closed due to necessary Hurricane Sandy repairs. Here are the details via the press release I received:

MTA New York City Transit will commence Fix&Fortify work to the R Montague Tube beginning Friday, August 2 at 11:30 p.m. and lasting for 14 months. The MTA is well into the most extensive and wide-ranging reconstruction effort in its history after Superstorm Sandy decimated the subway system last fall.

Funding for Fix&Fortify has been secured through the efforts of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, the Federal Transit Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The project is designed to restore and rebuild damaged infrastructure while reducing the subway system’s vulnerability in the event of future severe weather events. Overall, the MTA has been allocated nearly $3.8 billion in funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for repair, resiliency, and disaster relief work for New York City Transit, Metro-North Railroad, Long Island Rail Road, and other MTA divisions. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has also allocated $3 million for MTA Bridges and Tunnels.

“The job that we have ahead of us is an enormous challenge and we are grateful for the support that we have received from Governor Cuomo and the Federal Government in securing the funds necessary to perform these vital tasks,” said Thomas F. Prendergast, Chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. “These investments in repairing and reinforcing the system’s infrastructure will help safeguard the most vulnerable areas of our subway system for decades to come.”

“The FTA continues to support New York’s ongoing recovery efforts following the greatest transit disaster in our nation’s history. To date, we have allocated more than $5.5 billion dollars in emergency relief funds to reimburse MTA and other affected transit agencies, and we stand ready to provide additional funding to strengthen transit infrastructure and protect against future disasters,” said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. “This vital work on the Montague Tube is necessary to make permanent repairs to the tunnel and ensure safe and reliable service for thousands of daily commuters between Brooklyn and Manhattan.”

The Greenpoint and Montague Tubes suffered extensive damage during the storm, when they were flooded with salt water along with seven other interborough subway tubes. While the MTA worked tirelessly to restore service as quickly as possible after the storm, it was immediately clear that future, more extensive work would be necessary.

The scope of work for the Montague Tubes is extensive, amounting to a near rebuilding of the link which connects Downtown Brooklyn with Lower Manhattan. The work will be completed in two contracts. The first; repair of all right-of-way components except signals. The second; repair of signal equipment. Work for both contracts will occur while the tube is shut down for a period of 14 months. Work on the Montague Tube is estimated to cost $308.6 million in total, with $220.6 million invested in the right-of-way component repairs.

“Our goal is to complete this work as quickly and efficiently as possible while exposing our customers to as little inconvenience as we possibly can,” said Acting NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco. “To that end, we are providing an extraordinary amount of customer information to help our riders get around the gaps in service.”
The customer information campaign for these projects include posters onboard trains and in stations, handy brochures and a web and poster-based effort to keep riders informed of the type and amount of work that has been completed.

The right-of-way component repairs inside the Montague Tube include significant work to tracks, tunnel lighting, circuit breaker houses, power substations, pump rooms, fan plant, power cable and ducts. The estimated cost for signal repairs and modification is $39.6 million. This work includes the modification of signal circuits at three nearby stations (Whitehall Street and Broad Street in Manhattan, as well as Brooklyn’s Court Street Station to allow for their temporary conversion into terminal stations in order to support train operation during the tube’s shutdown. Signal repair work in the tubes will see the replacement of damaged signal components.

On Friday night, the last Brooklyn-bound train is scheduled to depart Whitehall St at approximately 11:33 p.m. The last Manhattan-bound train is scheduled to leave Court St at approximately 11:32 p.m.

Work on the G Greenpoint Tube has been underway for three weekends and will continue over another nine weekends this year, though they will not be consecutive. Additionally, a five-weekend shutdown is planned for 2014.

The northernmost three stops, Greenpoint Av, 21 St and Court Square, are closed during these weekends with service replaced by two shuttle bus routes linking the Nassau Av station on the G Line with Court Sq and another from the Lorimer St L station to Court Sq.

In the Greenpoint Tube alone, workers began the replacement of thousands of feet of tunnel components, including tracks, track support components, the tunnel lighting system, power equipment, and the tube’s signaling system. Bounded by 21 St station and the Greenpoint Av station, track work includes replacement of 1,200 linear feet of rails, plates and tie blocks.

Tunnel lighting is being renewed and improved along approximately 1.8 miles of track. The new lighting will conform to the latest Federal and Transit Lighting Standards and will also include the installation of a four-hour battery back-up system.

The Montague and Greenpoint Tubes will also benefit from duct bank and cable replacement, including the cleaning of ducts and the replacement of power and communication cables. The opportunity will be taken to remove some signal system components outside the flood zones within the tubes.
In addition to the work inside the Montague and Greenpoint Tubes, the MTA’s Fix&Fortify campaign will also address issues in other under river tubes. Planning and design work is also underway for flood mitigation at NYC Transit facilities in low-lying areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens as well as similar flood prevention and mitigation work at the entrances to several stations in Lower Manhattan.

Online updates on the Montague work will be available at: http://web.mta.info/nyct/service/R_14monthMontagueTunnelClosure.htm.

Updates on the Greenpoint work will be available at:


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MTA Secures $200M Insurance Protection

With the costs of Hurricane Sandy repairs still being felt by many in the region including the MTA, the agency has announced that it has secured $200 million worth of insurance protection for future storms like Sandy. Here is more courtesy of the press release I received:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that it has secured $200 million of insurance protection that will help pay for future repairs for damage to its infrastructure in the event of a storm featuring destructive storm surges similar to those experienced during Superstorm Sandy. The insurance protection has been funded through the offering of “catastrophe bonds” by MetroCat Re Ltd., a special purpose insurer.

This is the first time that the MTA has accessed the capital markets to manage its property damage risks, and it is the first catastrophe bond ever issued to protect solely against storm surge. The MTA’s premium cost is well below quotes that MTA received this spring for traditional property coverage.

“In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the traditional avenues we use for insurance and reinsurance contracted dramatically, making it exceedingly difficult for the MTA to obtain insurance,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “But as a result of this savvy and novel reinsurance arrangement, we are now in a stronger position should our area, God forbid, face another large-scale storm-surge event within the next three years.”

The transaction provides protection in the unlikely event that the water level reaches designated heights in the New York City Metropolitan Region during any hurricane, tropical cyclone or tropical storm through August 5, 2016.

“This terrific outcome was the result of the creative thinking and hard work of MTA’s finance, strategic initiatives and insurance staff as well as the willingness of our Board to explore new risk transfer alternatives,” Prendergast continued. “It will substantially increase our coverage for property damage from storm surge for three years at a favorable price. This transaction also strengthens our position with regard to future interactions with the traditional reinsurance market. We anticipate that this deal represents the start of a long-term alternative reinsurance option that diversifies MTA’s risk management strategy.”

Assisting MTA on this transaction were:

• The First Mutual Transportation Assurance Company (FMTAC), the MTA’s in-house insurer, which entered into a reinsurance contract with MetroCat Re to provide this storm surge protection.

• Risk Management Solutions, Inc., a risk modeling firm.

• Raymond James and Associates, Inc., financial advisor to FMTAC on this transaction.

• GC Securities, a division of MMC Securities Corp and a member of Marsh and McLennan Companies, and Goldman, Sachs and Co., companies with substantial experience as advisors and/or underwriters of reinsurance through capital markets-based programs.

At first glance, the amount secured seems small considering the overall costs so far from Sandy.

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