Photo via Dan Phiffer on Flickr
Within 10 years, the subway system will feature a state-of-the-art signal system, become more accessible, have a new fare payment system and boast thousands of new subway cars and buses. These ambitious improvements are all part of a plan released Wednesday by New York City Transit Chief Andy Byford and the MTA, called “Fast Forward: The Plan to Modernize New York City Transit.” And the plan does intend to move very quickly. Byford expects work previously estimated to take nearly 50 years to be completed within the next decade. The top-to-bottom modernization of the system will no doubt inconvenience commuters, with possible changes to bus stop locations, as well as station closures and service disruptions. “Fast Forward” breaks down into two five-year plans, with the first half estimated to cost $19 billion and the next five years to cost $18 billion according to the New York Times. However, a cost estimate of the plan has not yet been officially released by the MTA. Find out more
The latest fear to raise its ugly head in what will admittedly be a major inconvenience–that is, the 15-month shutdown of the L line starting in April of 2019–is the very limited number of trains that will be able to pick up the slack heading across the Williamsburg bridge. The topic surfaced at last night’s Town Hall meeting, when, according to the Village Voice, a concerned citizen by the name of Sunny Ng voiced his concerns about how many more trains could fit on the bridge.
Can of worms: Open!
Photo via Richard Yeh / WNYC
Queens native and Metropolitan Transportation Authority Rail Control Center announcer Velina Mitchell is the new official voice of the transit authority. The 25-year MTA “insider” was chosen when Sarah Meyer, the NYC Transit chief customer officer, first heard Mitchell read a public service announcement. Little did Mitchell know she was auditioning for a much bigger role. Meyer told the Daily News: “She sounded like a New Yorker, but she was also warm and she enunciated very well.” The MTA is making an effort to improve communications with their riders by playing Mitchell’s announcements in stations as well as in four new train cars.
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Photo via Tim Adams on Flickr
Another day, another missed deadline for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The plan to modernize the 7-line’s ancient signals has been delayed yet again, according to the Wall Street Journal. The MTA said the new system would be implemented by June 30, but the contractor installing the signals, Thales Transport and Security, told officials they won’t be able to finish until November. Andy Byford, the new chief of NYC Transit, said he refuses to accept the rescheduled deadline and has hinted at more outages on the 7, as a way to accelerate installation of the system. “I think customers would prefer to rip the band aid off and get on with it rather than have this slow creeping limp to the finish line,” Byford said on Wednesday.
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Photo of the L-train via Wiki Commons
If you’ve got some choice words to say about the impending L train shutdown, you’ll soon get a chance to make them public. The MTA and the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) have announced two town hall meetings that will be held this month to discuss the Canarsie Tunnel Reconstruction project–aka the L train shutdown–with members of the community who will be affected by the April 2019 service interruption that will knock the line out of commission for 15 months. The meetings, which will be held in Manhattan and Brooklyn, are the latest in a series of public meetings and workshops intended to quell public trepidation about the impending shutdown.
When, where, what to expect
Photo via Wikimedia
Mayor Bill de Blasio agreed earlier this month to fund half of the MTA’s $836 million emergency rescue plan for the subway, leading many to believe the feud between the mayor and Gov. Andrew Cuomo about the funding had simmered. But on Wednesday, de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson penned a joint letter to MTA chair, Joe Lhota, laying out terms of the funding agreement, with plenty of subtle insults to the MTA included. While the city’s commitment of $418 million came with a “lock box” arrangement, to ensure the money goes to repairs and nothing else, the mayor and speaker are calling on Lhota and the MTA for even further transparency, better measurements of progress and frequent briefings about the plan.
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Also damaged in 9/11, the R-line at Cortlandt reopened in 2011; photo via Wikimedia
Nearly 17 years after it was severely damaged in the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, and then temporarily shuttered, the Cortlandt Street station is set to open this October. Running on the 1-line, the new station, expected to serve thousands of workers and tourists visiting the site, will boast Ann Hamilton’s artwork, featuring words from the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Declaration of Independence (h/t Daily News). Cortlandt Street station was meant to open in 2014, but funding disputes between the Port Authority and the MTA delayed its completion until this year.
More this way
Starting Wednesday, about 250,000 lucky commuters will be able to fly away with “Tickets to Mars,” a keepsake MetroCard released by Spotify as part of its David Bowie subway takeover. The limited-edition cards feature five iconic images of the music legend from the new exhibit honoring Bowie’s life at the Brooklyn Museum. The MTA stocked booths and vending machines only at Broadway-Lafayette and Bleecker Street with the special cards, and they will be randomly dispersed. Additionally, Spotify is giving New Yorkers an immersive, underground subway experience with lots of wall-sized Bowie-inspired art and special codes to listen to Bowie through the streaming service.
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo oversees an MTA worker testing a magnetic wand at the 9th Ave subway station in Sunset Park; photo via the governor’s Flickr
The Metropolitan Transporation Authority will deploy 700 additional “magnetic wands” to clean hundreds of pounds of steel dust from insulated joints on tracks, which accumulates when the brakes are applied. When dust builds up on joints, it can trip the circuit on the joint and cause red signals, sending a ripple of delays throughout the system. Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday tested out the wands at a Sunset Park subway station and announced a plan to buy additional wands to clean all 11,000 insulated joints deemed a priority, using funds from the recently funded-in-full emergency subway action plan.
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Grand Central Terminal; image via Wikimedia
Last year, when Amtrak first announced eight weeks of infrastructure repairs at Penn Station, all hell broke loose. Gov. Andrew Cuomo predicted the planned work would cause a “summer of hell” for commuters and even asked President Donald Trump for emergency federal funds. But, to the surprise of many, the disruption proved to be mild and the repairs even finished ahead of schedule. Promising another painless process, Amtrak announced on Tuesday plans for track work at Penn Station again this summer. From May 26 to Sept. 4, trains that run along the Hudson River will be routed from Penn Station to Grand Central. Schedules for Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North trains will remain unaffected.
More details here