One of the biggest complaints from riders (and there are many) is how it seems like construction is always occurring on their line which causes inconvenience. There is truth to that as the MTA always has some sort of work being done throughout the system.
This should come as no surprise considering our system runs 24×7 & it is impossible to not impact the commute of some percentage of riders. The agency has tried cramming as much work as possible during the overnight hours & weekend when ridership is at its lowest technically. However with the amount of work that needs to be done, full weekends & overnight weeknight time periods are not enough time to get work done. This has caused the agency to endure trouble with keeping on schedule & budget.
Going back to former MTA CEO & Executive Director Jay Walder, the transit agency has been toying with the idea of having full line shutdowns at certain times to wrap up work faster. The idea did not get much traction publicly until recently when a Daily News story came out on the heels of a regularly scheduled Transit Committee meeting. Let us first take a quick look at that story courtesy of Pete Donohue:
Starting early next year, the MTA plans to periodically shut down a subway line through much of Manhattan for massive blitzes by workers inspecting, fixing and replacing equipment like signals and switches, the Daily News has learned.
Every three months, a line segment — possibly stretching from midtown all the way to the southern tip of Manhattan or even downtown Brooklyn — would be closed for three or four consecutive weeknights, sources said.
The new strategy likely will be tested first on the Lexington Ave. line between 42nd St. to the north and either Bowling Green in lower Manhattan or Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn, to the south, sources said.
Trains would stop running at about 10 p.m. each night and wouldn’t start up again until about 5 a.m. the next morning.
That would allow the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to get many projects and tasks done at once rather than piecemeal throughout the year. It’s a worthwhile tradeoff, one transit source familiar with the plan said.
“For a few nights, you won’t have service on a segment of a line but contrast that with work being done over far more nights and weekends with all the service diversions and train slowdowns.”
Commuters backed the all-at-once plan, but were anxious the service outages would be extended.
“I’d rather it be done quickly. I’m tired of construction on the tracks — if they could get it done quickly, that would be great,” said Kelly Murphy, 34, a customer service rep from Murray Hill.
The shutdowns will largely be limited to Manhattan below 42nd St. because there are parallel subway lines. A rider wouldn’t have to walk very far for alternate service.
Click here for the complete report.
During the meeting which occurred the next day, the agency noted how it could no longer cram as much work as possible into the weekends due to ridership during off peak & weekends rising by 82%. The first part of the plan calls for partial line segment closures which will take place over four consecutive weeknights between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m:
January 9 – 13: – , & Grand Central-42nd St to Atlantic Ave
February 13 – 17: , & 34 St-Penn Station to Atlantic Ave
February 20 – 24: , , & 59th St. to W. 4th St.
March 12 – 16: , & 59th St to Jay St.
The second part of the plan calls for a continuous 24 hour shutdown of line segments over a series of days which are to be announced:
9 Days: Brooklyn-bound trains between Parsons Blvd. & Forest Hills-71st Ave.
9 Days: Express train service between Norwood-205th St. & 145th St.
16 Days: All Brooklyn-bound service will terminate at Bay Parkway. No service between Bay Parkway & Coney Island-Stillwell Ave.
16 Days: No train service between 241 St-Wakefield & Nereid Ave.
In my opinion, the second part of the plan has not received as much media attention as it should. This comes as no surprise considering the media sheep like to portray Manhattan as being the only place in NYC that matters. However these plans for the outer boroughs are pretty significant, especially in Queens where ridership on the E & F is pretty heavy. This will only add to the crowds on the E during those times.
In terms of the overall plan, I actually support it. Surprisingly not as much negative feedback as expected has come from the riding public which for the most part is usually misguided on their understandings of the system & its inner workings. However maybe the concept of dealing with inconvenience for the greater good is finally sinking in.
As far as overall numbers are concerned, if all goes well with these plans, the agency will not only attack issues with delays but with their budget as well. For example, shutting down the F in that portion of Queens will starve off 8 weekend & 20 weeknight shutdowns along with saving the agency $1.3 million (21%).
That sounds all good & fine in my book but only under the notion that work will be completed on time. Considering the agency’s track record of screwing things up on projects, are these savings really going to be realized? Only time will tell on that.
If you are interested in reading more about the MTA’s plans in terms of this project, click here to read the PDF. It is definitely worth checking out.
xoxo Transit Blogger