Service Diversions Updated 07/18 (Revised)

The service diversions have been updated with the latest scheduled diversions for the coming weekend & following week. The scheduled diversions for the 1 Train train has been posted.

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MTA Arts For Transit Honored In Brooklyn

The MTA has just issued a press release highlighting an award received as part of its Arts For Transit Program. Here are the details:

Artwork in a Canarsie subway station received an Award at the 8th Annual Building Brooklyn Awards presentation, recently announced by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. The Awards are based on completed construction and renovation projects that enrich Brooklyn’s neighborhood and economy. MTA Arts for Transit and artist Michael Ingui received one of seventeen such awards.

Through MTA Arts for Transit’s Permanent Art Program, Michael Ingui designed Crescendo, bright, colorful glass panels, which are installed along the windows of the stairs within the new East 105th Street station, L line. Inspired by the architectural design and structure of the station, the artist created bold, sweeping black lines set within a fresh fields of green and blue colors. The work accentuates the geometry and directional quality of the station, emphasizing its structural elements. Just like the trains and passengers that travel by them every day, the lines reference continuous motion. To view the project, access our website at www.mta.info/mta/aft.

This year’s judges chose projects that represent some of Brooklyn best in design, architecture, creativity and sustainability according to the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
An independent, nine-member panel of Brooklyn-based architects, planners, economic development experts and city officials selected the winning projects. Projects were judged on a list of criteria, including overall aesthetic and design, positive economic impact, improving the quality of life, providing critical neighborhood services and amenities, demonstrating a commitment to quality design and pre-existing architectural character, and demonstrating an aesthetic sensitivity to the surrounding community.

Sandra Bloodworth, Director of MTA Arts for Transit said, “The project is an excellent example of the positive effect of artwork that complements the space and structure of a station while improving the daily transit experience for MTA customers.”

The Brooklyn-based Ingui, who is a practicing architect as well as artist, strove to capture the energy and create a harmonious, unified look for the newly renovated transit facility. In creating the work, he said, “It is my hope that the artwork will not only be enjoyed but will provide passengers with associations of the artistic qualities and elements of the station structures.”

Ingui worked with fabricator Franz Mayer of Munich and New York, to translate and fabricate the design into the glass medium using painting, laminating, sandblasting and other techniques. Ingui was selected for his proposal for the East 105th Street project from approximately 200 artists’ submissions.

Through MTA Arts for Transit’s Permanent Art Program, over 200 site specific artworks have been installed within station facilities. The Canarsie project at E. 105th Street on the L Line was commissioned along with other noteworthy art projects at New Lots Avenue, Sutter Avenue, and Livonia Avenue, which collectively have invigorated the rehabilitated transit stations at these locations, bringing color and brightness to the communities served.

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Upcoming 1 Train Service Suspension

Normally the MTA does not issue a standalone press release for a service diversion or suspension. So when they do, it must be considered major & that it is. This upcoming weekend, 1 Train service will be suspended in both directions between the 137th Street & 215th Street stations. Here are the complete details:

MTA NYC Transit announced today that due to necessary cable installation, survey and track work along the 1 Line, service will be suspended between 137th Street and 215th Street between 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 19 and 5 a.m. Monday, July 21. Customers are encouraged to take the A train as an alternative, where possible. In addition, free shuttle buses will be operating on two branches between 137th and 215th Streets: one via Broadway, Nagle Avenue and 10th Avenue to 215th Street and the other via Broadway and St. Nicholas Avenue to 191st Street. Buses will depart from their terminals every 1- 3 minutes.

Because trains will terminate at stations that are not ADA accessible, southbound 1 customers using wheelchairs who originate at 231st Street can board an Access-A-Ride vehicle to take them to the nearest accessible station at 135th Street-Lenox Avenue 23.

Northbound 1 customers in wheelchairs will be directed to switch to the 2 or 3 at 72nd Street or 96th Street and ride to 135th Street-Lenox Avenue 23 for paratransit service to the 231st Street 1 station. There is no charge for this service. Transit employees will be on hand at both stations from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. to provide assistance. For assistance at other times, customers in wheelchairs may call Access-A-Ride directly at 718-393-4338. Customers do not have to be Access-A-Ride members in order to ride.

To make the most of this suspension, Transit employees will be working on three projects. The major project will be the installation of antenna communication cables between 168th and Dyckman Streets. We will also be doing survey work at the Dyckman Station prior to station rehabilitation and our Maintenance of Way staff will be doing track and structural maintenance work on the elevated structure between Dyckman and 215th Streets.

For further information, customers may call NYC Transit’s Travel Information Center at 718 330 1234 or log on to www.mta.info for weekend service diversions.

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MTA Cutting Its Budget By $61M

The MTA is in a major hole financially. This is not news to any of us who keep tabs with all the happenings in & around the MTA. In keeping with the bad financial news theme comes a report about the MTA’s New York City Transit division cutting its budget by $61 million dollars. This comes as the MTA is looking at any & all ways to save money as noted recently when they announced a slash of budgets for travel, food, phones, & Blackberries along with new hires. Matthew Sweeney of AMNY has more on this story:

NYC Transit is chopping its budget next year by $61 million, much of it through the reduction of bus and subway maintenance jobs.

The search for savings is part of an overall Metropolitan Transportation Authority goal of reducing costs by 6 percent over the next four years as the agency faces a financial crisis. For its part, NYC Transit has projected saving $251.3 million from 2009 through 2012. The bulk of the savings in 2009 — $39.4 million — will come from reductions to maintenance.

The cuts come at a time when subway service has been on a gradual but steady decline and when talk has started again about another possible fare hike next year.

Transit officials worked to reassure straphangers yesterday, saying in a statement that none of the proposed savings “will have an impact on safety, security or customer service levels.”

The MTA board will meet Wednesday to go over a preliminary budget for 2009.

Some of the cuts to transit include:

– Fewer buses will get 12-year maintenance upgrades

– Reduction in the number of platform controllers

– Fewer resources to maintain scratch-free glass on 1 and L lines.

According to NY1’s report on this issue, the amount of jobs being lost with these cuts will total over 500.

I must say it is concerning that one of the cuts would be the reduction in maintaining scratchiti free glass on the subway cars itself. While it is not the most important feature in the world, riding a scratchiti free train is a nice surprise when one comes across it. As a straphanger, I feel it is not too much to ask for to ride an aesthetically pleasing while safe train from point A to point B.

Overall my main concern is the MTA not falling back into the pitfalls of the 1970’s which saw our system in shambles after it fell out of a state of good repair. While the MTA has been doing what it can to take care of the most important repair related issues in maintaining our system, it is vital that we do not get to a level where our system has deteriorated to a state of needing enormous amounts of money to repair it. Considering the current state of finances, this is something the MTA can not afford to have happen.

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LIRR Third Rail Project Battle

The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) has many projects that are important to its operations. While many would say the East Side Access project is the most important, I will respectfully disagree. I feel the most important project for the Long Island Rail Road is the creation of a third track on the main line. The third track is needed as it would help ease the burden on the 10 mile stretch for the Main Line between Floral Park & Hicksville.

Two MTA Board members spoke out about the importance of this project being completed on time as they strongly disagreed with LIRR President Helena Williams who feels the East Side Access project is of higher priority. Steve Ritea of Newsday has more on this story:

A third track will be constructed on schedule “come hell or high water” along the Long Island Rail Road’s Main Line, MTA board member Mitch Pally said Wednesday, a week after LIRR President Helena Williams suggested the effort probably will be delayed.

“It’s a project that must happen,” agreed board member James McGovern of Manhasset. “If you’ll forgive the analogy, the island has, basically, a clogged artery and Third Track is the angioplasty.”

With the project estimated at $1.5 billion and the LIRR’s link to Grand Central Terminal still needing an additional $3 billion, Williams last week said a financial crunch at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has forced “a reordering of priorities.” That puts third track behind the Grand Central link, also known as East Side Access.

“We are recognizing that we aren’t going to get another mega-project funded on Long Island,” she said after the meeting, referring to funding for projects other than East Side Access in the MTA’s next five-year capital plan, which begins in 2010.

Pally, of Stony Brook, disagreed, calling third track “the highest priority that we have” and equal in importance to East Side Access.

“My opinion … is that the third track project is on schedule and will remain on schedule, and we will do everything possible to make sure the necessary funds are earmarked by MTA,” he said.

While the third track project never had a defined start date, construction along 10 heavily traveled miles of the Main Line between Hicksville and Floral Park was slated for completion by 2018 or 2019. East Side Access is scheduled to debut in 2015.

The additional track would provide a “passing lane” for express trains and around disabled trains. After the Grand Central connection is complete, LIRR officials say they plan to run up to 24 additional trains during peak hours.

But the project has fueled anxiety and opposition in communities along those 10 miles, where the LIRR has said up to 91 commercial and residential properties could be affected. The railroad has not identified those properties.

On Wednesday, Pally and three other committee members in attendance voted to allot $100,000 for a study of less costly measures that can help with capacity until a third track is constructed. Pally cautioned that those measures should not delay a third track and should “complement rather than substitute” for it.

McGovern added: “We don’t want to spend a dollar on something along that corridor that we’ll have to tear up in two years.”

Williams said the study would look at tracks, trains, platforms and signals, but declined to speculate on the changes.

After the meeting, a group calling itself the Long Island Transit Coalition — including the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, the Long Island Federation of Labor and the LIRR Commuters Council — said it will fight for funding to complete the third track project on schedule.

I strongly agree with those who feel this project is as important if not more so than East Side Access. The people who would benefit from East Side Access will see those benefits increase tenfold if this project could be completed. If you factor in the third rail project along with the current Queens Interlocking project, this would become a dream commute for riders of the LIRR regardless of their Manhattan terminal destination. The LIRR needs to find a way to get both projects done & if one has to take a back seat, it should be East Side Access. The third rail project benefits all LIRR riders as compared to some.

Lets hope the LIRR does not back down to the ridiculous NIMBY’s & elected officials who are showing no concern for Long Island’s railroad infrastructure evidenced by comments in this article.

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