Showing posts with label L-train shutdown. Show all posts
Showing posts with label L-train shutdown. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

North side L-train entrance opens at Avenue A on Monday

The L train's new Avenue A north entrance — for Eighth Avenue-bound commuters — will debut on Monday (Feb. 10). The Brooklyn-bound side arrived this past Nov. 4.

MTA officials note that the entrance is opening with "temporary finishes" ...

With this debut, the MTA will close the north-side entrance on First Avenue on Feb. 17 for renovations.

Here's the full schedule of what to expect from The L Project e-newsletter:

• Starting on Friday night (around 10), Feb. 15, you'll use the Avenue A north entrance to access trains in both directions on weekends and weeknights.

• On Monday, Feb. 17, the First Avenue north entrance will close for reconstruction. Like the other side, this will take about three months, so we're estimating a May 2020 completion. While this work is happening, both entrances to the First Avenue Station will be located at Avenue A.

• Once we complete the First Avenue entrances, the ones at Avenue A will close again for a bit so we can do the final finishes.

When all the construction is wrapped up, the revamped 14th Street First Avenue station will have four entrances — including the two on either side of 14th Street at Avenue A as well as two new platform-to-street ADA elevators that will be ready for use this summer. (Find more details on this MTA advisory.)

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

14th Street busway free to roll on, judge says

The city may now turn parts of 14th Street into a busway with vehicle restrictions after a judge today lifted a restraining order on the redesign, according to published reports.

In late June, a coalition of Manhattan landowners used state environmental law tried to permanently stop the busway plans with a lawsuit.

West Village resident Arthur Schwartz, arguing on behalf of several block associations, claimed that the Department of Transportation’s proposed busway violated state environmental law because the agency didn’t conduct a serious assessment of the impact that banning cars from 14th Street would have on neighboring residential streets. The suit also demanded the removal of the bike lanes on 12th Street and 13th Street.

As Gothamist reported today, New York State Supreme Court Judge Eileen Rakower gave the city the OK to move forward. (And the bike lanes are staying put.)

According to Rakower, the Department of Transportation "went to great lengths to describe the consideration that went into the analysis, considering pedestrian deaths, dangerous intersections and not just the speed of the bus that is going to traverse 14th Street."

Reaction via Streetsblog:

“Today’s court decision is a huge victory for New York’s two million daily bus riders,” said Danny Pearlstein, policy and communications director for the Riders Alliance. “The 14th Street busway will provide faster and more reliable bus trips, saving precious time for tens of thousands of people who badly need it. The judge’s ruling also sets the stage for future victories and better bus service citywide.”

Analysis from Transportation Alternatives and Riders Alliance had found that rush-hour M14 bus riders spent a combined 8,654 additional hours commuting over the last month than would have been the case under the city’s plan to transform 14th Street into a busway, as amNY reported.

The busway aims to help move people during the L-train slowdown. Private through-traffic will be banned between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. on 14th Street between Third Avenue and Ninth Avenue. Buses, trucks and emergency vehicles will be given priority in the center lanes between Third Avenue and Ninth Avenue. Cars will be allowed to make pickups and drop-offs as well as access local garages.

No word yet when the DOT will launch the busway.

Monday, June 24, 2019

14th Street busway markings arrive; so does a lawsuit to try to stop it

The bus/truck markings have arrived on 14th Street ... where the busway launches on July 1...

A quickie recap of this "experimental new transit improvement" ... to help move people during the L-train slowdown, private through-traffic will be banned between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. on 14th Street between Third Avenue and Ninth Avenue. Buses, trucks and emergency vehicles will be given priority in the center lanes between Third Avenue and Ninth Avenue. Cars will be allowed to make pickups and drop-offs as well as access local garages.

The busway also harkens the arrival of the new M14 Select Bus Service, which features off-board fare payments and all-door boarding, starting on July 1. To also help speed up travel times, the MTA is eliminating 16 stops (down from a proposed 22) along the M14A and M14D routes.

As you may have read back on Friday (Streetsblog had it first), a coalition of Manhattan landowners is using state environmental law is trying to stop the busway plans from moving forward with a lawsuit:

The 14th Street Coalition — which comprises property-owner groups in Tony Chelsea, the West Village and the Flatiron District — says that the Department of Transportation’s proposed “busway” violates state environmental law because the agency didn’t conduct a serious assessment of the impact that banning cars from 14th Street would have on neighboring residential streets.

“Closing 14th Street to vehicular traffic would not only cause horrific traffic jams on 12th Street, 13th Street, 15th Street, 16th Street, 17th Street, 18th Street (a street with an MTA bus depot at the corner of Sixth Avenue), 19th Street, and 20th Street, it would also cause traffic on north-south avenues including Eighth, Seventh, Sixth, Fifth, Fourth, and Third Avenue, and Broadway, and Park Avenue,” the suit, filed by lawyer Arthur Schwartz. “The traffic will bring with it air pollution and noise pollution.”

A spokesperson with the city's law department said that the claims don't have any merit.

"I think it’s pretty clear that this is bluster," Ben Fried with TransitCenter told Curbed. "It’s absurd to file a lawsuit on environmental grounds for a project that’s going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make transit more efficient."

Read the full story at Streetsblog here.

The Villager has a recap of the lawsuit too.

Monday, April 29, 2019

1 weekend down: L-train slowdown recap

We are now officially in L-train slowdown mode for the next 15-18 months.

On Friday evening, the MTA started its service reduction to repair the Sandy-damaged tubes between Manhattan and Brooklyn, ramping down L times to 20-minute waits starting at 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. during the week and around the clock on weekends. (Here's the MTA press release on it.)

The slowdown's debut on Friday received so-so to negative reviews, based on various published reports and social media accounts.

Jake Offenhartz has a nice recap of the first night — featuring broken arrival clocks and hour-long waits for trains — over at Gothamist.

Here's a quick overview:

For many of the city's regular L riders — a group that numbers 400,000 on a normal day — the reality underground was a far cry from the governor's description of "service that would still work." In Union Square, crowds were penned in along barricades on the mezzanine level, in some cases waiting to board an open train that wouldn't arrive for close to an hour. Transit workers, stationed across the system in large numbers, practically begged customers to make use of the increased service on the M, G, and 7 lines, or the free transfers on the M14A/D and Williamsburg Link buses.

Those who did stay encountered extended waits not only inside stations, but on unmoving trains as well. The dwell times seemed especially bad at Union Square, where the MTA's interlocking system means that Brooklyn-bound service must wait for a passing train to arrive before switching over to the shared track, in order to avoid the construction area between 3rd Avenue and Bedford.

"It's worse than I thought," said Alfredo Fernando, a dish-washer at a restaurant near Union Square.

Transit reporter Vin Barone has his recap for amNY here. As he notes, the MTA's biggest challenge might be happening as you read this: making sure there isn't any lingering construction left to disrupt this morning's‬ commute.

“[We] are aware of how critically important it is to have that smooth transition so that ‪at 5 a.m. we can start back in service,” said Ronnie Hakim, the MTA’s managing director, during a trip along the L line on Sunday. “We do this. We know how to do it. It’s a function of working out all the kinks.”

You can also find coverage at the Times, who was more sympathetic in its tone with a headline: "First Weekend Disruption Is Frustrating, but Not Disastrous."

By Saturday, the L-train situation had mostly righted itself. Christopher Robbins at Gothamist explored one of the alternative methods touted by the MTA to get around — the M14 — on Saturday afternoon. "And while there were definitely more M14 buses, there is nothing to save them from getting stuck in the miserable traffic that clogs 14th Street. It took us 47 minutes to get from Grand Street on the Lower East Side to 8th Avenue and 14th Street."

Help may be on the way. In June, the city plans to convert 14th Street into a busway from Third Avenue to Ninth Avenue with very limited access to car traffic.

Now to a few other observations related to the slowdown...

The MTA is stockpiling extra M14s on the east side of Avenue A between 11th Street and 13th Street ...

This means no parking/or standing along here for the foreseeable future... from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Friday, and all weekend long...

The MTA also has extra buses at the ready on the east side of Third Avenue between 12th Street and 14th Street...

This also means no parking on this side of the Avenue ...

Meanwhile, the SBS bus services starts in June... and more ticketing machines have been unveiled... on the north side of 14th Street between Second Avenue and Third Avenue...

... and the east side of Avenue A between Fifth Street and Sixth Street...

Anyone have any L-train stories to share from this past weekend?

Thursday, April 25, 2019

More about the return of the 14th Street busway; 12th and 13th street bike lanes now permanent

As you probably heard, Mayor de Blasio announced yesterday that the city will try an "experimental new transit improvement" on 14th Street starting in June as a way to keep people moving during the starts-tomorrow-evening L-train slowdown.

Beginning in June, there will be four lanes of traffic (two in each direction) along with a new M14 Select Bus Service. Buses, trucks and emergency vehicles will be given priority in the center lanes on 14th Street from Third Avenue to Ninth Avenue. There won't be any through traffic for cars, private vehicles will still be able to use 14th Street, but only for pick-ups and drop-offs — or for accessing garages along the six-block stretch.

This restriction is expected to last for 18 months during the repairs on the Sandy-damaged L tubes.

[Click on image to go big]

City agencies had already taken the first steps to make 14th Street a car-free busway. However, with the full L-train shutdown called off by Gov. Cuomo in early January, those plans were put on hold.

In addition, the city announced yesterday that the bike lanes on 12th Street and 13th Street, which arrived last fall in anticipation of a full L-train shutdown, will be made permanent.

Here's some of the more relevant information for East Village residents via the city's news release:

• 14th Street Transit/Truck Priority (TTP) – The MTA and DOT announced earlier this year that M14 SBS would be coming to the 14th Street corridor in 2019; the corridor carries one of the most intensely used bus routes in the city, with the M14A/D carrying 27,000 daily riders and providing a critical connection from the Lower East Side to Union Square and the Meatpacking District.

To make sure these buses move quickly and reliably, DOT studied international best practice for busy transit corridors, including along King Street in downtown Toronto, where in 2017, new regulations that prioritized transit and pedestrian uses were piloted along a major streetcar route. The Toronto changes, popular with transit riders, dramatically reduced travel times and increased safety along the corridor — and have been since made permanent.

Working with MTA, DOT will pilot a similar arrangement on 14th Street. Starting later this spring, the new TTP changes will include:

-Only buses, trucks and emergency vehicles will be able to use 14th Street between 3rd and 9th Avenues as a through route.

-Local traffic will still be permitted to make pickups and drop-offs along the corridor and access garages, but cars will always need to turn right at the next possible location. Left turns will not be allowed.

-New curbside regulations will prioritize short-term loading and passenger pickup activity.

-Intersections along 14th Street will be designed with new turn lanes where appropriate to ensure that bus lanes will remain clear. Intersections will also receive Vision Zero treatments, including painted curb extensions that enhance pedestrian safety.

The new design builds on proposals made during the original L train planning process, but also incorporates key feedback from local residents to ensure that curb access remained available, and that through truck traffic not be diverted to local streets.

Construction will begin this spring for completion in time for the launch of the M14 SBS in June. During that time, DOT will conduct significant outreach to stakeholders, including the five different community boards served by 14th Street. This will be accompanied by educational campaigns for the people who use 14th Street.

DOT expects to enforce the new TTP lanes through automated cameras along 14th Street. The agency will publicly announce the commencement of camera enforcement, which will not begin until at least 60 days after the new SBS route is established.

[Early-morning look at the 12th Street bike lane before it's a loading zone]

In other news...

12th Street/13th Street Protected Bike Lanes – DOT will also pursue permanently retaining bike lanes it had installed in 2018 along 12th and 13th Streets. Since being painted last fall, cyclist usage of the nearly three miles of new protected lanes over the winter has outpaced bike counts from last summer. The new lanes have become a part of the agency’s crosstown protected bicycle lane strategy ... In response to community concerns, more delineators and loading zones will be added.

We'll have more about these bike lanes in another (future) post.

For some analysis and reaction to yesterday's announcement, you can read this piece by Vin Barone, who first broke this story, over at amNY. There's more reaction at Streetsblog.

Meanwhile, there's no word yet about which M14A/D stops along Avenue A and Avenue D might be eliminated to speed up the notoriously slow bus routes. There is opposition to the MTA's plan to cut back on local bus stops.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Prepping for the new protected bike lanes on 12th and 13th streets

Bike lane line work continues on 12th Street

DOT puts down the green paint on the new 13th Street bike lane (except for one mysterious spot)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

[Updated] M14 mystery abounds as SBS ticket vending machines arrive

Perhaps we'll have a little more clarity later today — two days before the L-train slowdown starts — on the status moving forward of a) the dedicated busway originally slated for 14th Street and b) the SBS stops for the M14A and M14D.

Transit watchers expect Mayor de Blasio and the city to disclose its plans for 14th Street today.


UPDATED 6 a.m.

Vin Barone at amNewYork has this scoop:

The de Blasio administration will ban private through-traffic on 14th Street between Third and Ninth avenues as part of a new pilot street design to help speed up buses during the L train’s Canarsie tunnel reconstruction, according to a draft release of the plans obtained by amNewYork.

But the changes won’t come until June...

UPDATED noon: Read the city's press release here.


City agencies had already taken the first steps to make 14th Street a car-free busway for most of the day. However, with the full L-train shutdown called off by Gov. Cuomo in early January, those plans were put on hold.

In a series of tweets yesterday, one local transit authority made the case for how important buses will be to help people get around in the next 15-18 months...

And seizing on this moment...

Meanwhile, it's still a big mystery what the MTA intends to do with the M14A/D. As previously reported, proposals to eliminate a handful of stops on Avenue A and Avenue D to accommodate express service have been met with opposition from residents and local elected officials.

In a Daily News article published yesterday, CB3 District Manager Susan Stetzger "accused the DOT and MTA of a lack of transparency." As of the paper's deadline, neither agency had informed her of a final plan.

Local City Councilmember Carlina Rivera has suggested an M14 SBS with supplemental local service similar to the M15.

As several EVG readers have noted, the MTA has already been installing SBS ticketing machines along the M14A/D routes with a goal of beginning service by June.

[Photo from April 11 on Avenue C by Shawn Chittle]

[14th Street at 1st Avenue]

[14th Street at Avenue B]

We spoke with several residents who expressed their annoyance that the SBS machines started arriving just two days after the MTA and DOT held a meeting at the 14th Street Y to gather community feedback on the proposed changes to the M14A and M14D bus routes. "I guess they had their minds made up already," said one reader in an email.

For their part, the MTA has this to say about the route:

If you ride an M14 bus, you’ve likely experienced a longer than expected wait at your stop, a longer than expected trip once you’re on your bus, buses that arrive in bunches and off-schedule, or some combination of the three. During the busiest travel times, M14 A/D buses spend about 60% of their trips stopped at bus stops or stopped in traffic. We’ve got a plan to fix this and keep buses moving — we’re partnering with the New York City Department of Transportation to launch Select Bus Service on the M14 A/D.

Select Bus Service (SBS) is a package of improvements designed to target and correct the situations that slow buses down and make service unreliable. Citywide, customers tell us they are more satisfied with their SBS bus than their local or LTD (limited) bus. We’re committed to bringing these improvements to the M14 A/D and the 27,000 customers who use these buses by June 2019.

For further reading:

M14 Select Bus Service, Busway Needed at Start of L Train Reconstruction, Manhattan BP Says (amNY)

• City Drags Feet on Plan to Move Riders on 14th St. During L Train Slowdown (Daily News)

• MTA Says Buses Are The Best Bet on 14th St. During the L Slowdown — But Busway Remains In Flux (Streetsblog)

• Never Stop Stopping: Removing Bus Stops Isn’t Easy — In New York City or Anywhere Else (Streetsblog)

• As L Hell Begins, Some Aren’t On Board With the MTA’s Plan For Buses (Bedford + Bowery)

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

What to expect (on paper) when the partial L-train shutdown begins April 26

The partial L-train shutdown begins in less than 10 days... and the MTA is finally starting to dribble out a few details for commuters who depend on the line to get around.

Per the MTA:

Service During the L Project

With the revised approach [closing one tube at a time between Manhattan and Brooklyn], the L will continue as normal during peak and midday weekday times. Service on the L will be reduced nights and weekends. We’ll be enhancing M, G, 7, and bus service to provide alternatives in addition to the L. This service plan will be in effect on nights and weekends, starting at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 26, through summer 2020.


With the revised approach, L customers will have normal service during the highest ridership times.

Weeknights: 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. L trains run every 20 minutes between Brooklyn and Manhattan and every 10 minutes within Brooklyn. Service will ramp down starting at 8 p.m. to make room for work trains. Overnight, between 1:30 a.m. and 5 a.m., the service runs at its normal frequency, with L trains running every 20 minutes.

Weekends: 8 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday, L trains run 20 minutes between Brooklyn and Manhattan, and every 10 minutes within Brooklyn. Overnight, between 1:30 a.m and 5 a.m., service runs at its normal frequency, with L trains running every 20 minutes.

Enhanced M14A regular bus service

We’re planning additional M14A bus service to connect customers to the subway lines where we are enhancing service.

The extra M14A route service will extend to connect with Delancey/Essex St FJM Station. On weekends the M14A/D buses, combined, run every 3 to 5 minutes for the majority of the day along 14 St.

On weeknights, buses will run every 4 to 5 minutes between 8 p.m. and midnight, in both directions across 14th Street for connection to the M train at 6th Avenue, or to the 6 train at Union Square for transfer to the M train at the Broadway-Lafayette station. The M14A will connect to the Delancey-Essex J/M Station every 7 to 10 minutes (as compared to every 12 to 20 minutes currently).

Sounds like a well-oiled machine? Heh. There are important details to be worked out, as amNY reported last evening:

There still is not an official timeline for the new project. The MTA continues to hammer out the new contract with the companies doing the work: Judlau and TC Electric. Janno Lieber, the MTA’s construction chief, said that the new project will take between 15 and 18 months, and she expects it to be less expensive than the $477 million contract for the original, full 15-month closure.

Meanwhile, the MTA is playing cute with all this...

[Via Ohhleary]

For more on the latest with the L train ... Christoper Robbins filed a post at Gothamist ... and Curbed has an explainer here. And at amNY, Vincent Barone talks with some anxious L-train regulars about what might happen starting April 26.

There isn't any mention in the media reports or on the MTA site about the stations at First Avenue and Third Avenue being reconfigured to exit-only on weekends. (That idea was mentioned as a possibility back in January courtesy of some leaked MTA documents.)

Also in L-train news: Overnight L-train service has been suspended weeknights starting this past Monday.

Per media reports, there aren't any trains from Manhattan to Lorimer Street in Brooklyn operating from 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. This will take place every weeknight until April 26.

And in case you've been away this year... back on Jan. 3, Gov. Cuomo made a surprise announcement with news that the L-train wouldn't be completely shut down between Brooklyn and Manhattan for Sandy-related repairs after all.

Previously on EV Grieve:
To L and back: Reactions and questions over Gov. Cuomo's surprise subway announcement

Report: MTA commits to a shorter work day for the 14th Street L-train rehab

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

In the L-Zone: The Little Tree That Could

The following is via the residents of 542 E. 14th St.

Among the many egregious acts the MTA has foisted upon our area is the chainsawing down of all of our old growth trees in the median from the mid block (between Avenues A and B) to Avenue B — except for one tree.

This lone tree survived the chainsawing but is now in peril because its protective fencing is damaged, and the MTA workers are using the space around its trunk to pile brick, pipes, stones, debris and garbage.

After 19 months of work (with no end in sight), this tree has managed to survive the diesel fumes, bulldozing, chainsawing and pollution from this project. It's the Little Tree That Could.

We think the tree deserves to survive and thought it is also a good metaphor for the damage that's been inflicted on our few blocks. The tree, and our neighborhood, deserve better.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Nightmare scenario for residents who learn that 14th Street and Avenue A will be the main staging area for the L-train reconstruction

Friday, March 15, 2019

Report: MTA commits to a shorter work day for the 14th Street L-train rehab

[EVG file photo]

Residents along 14th Street between Avenue B and First Avenue may now have less evening L-train construction noise to endure.

As Town & Village reports, the MTA has agreed to reduce the hours of operation as it continues to prep for the L-train slowdown next month.

Per their report:

Neighbors have said work often ends at 11 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays, although the MTA has said it tries to stop any noisy work by 10 p.m. But on Tuesday night, the MTA’s chief development officer overseeing the project, Janno Lieber, committed to stopping work by 7 p.m. at a meeting held by Community Board 3’s Transportation Committee.

“We’re constantly looking for ways to minimalize the impact of our work on neighbors, and they understandably have been asking for shorter hours,” Shams Tarek, a spokesperson for the MTA, told Town & Village.

Tarek added that the MTA wanted to first consult the contractor to make sure doing this wouldn’t lengthen the duration of the project, which includes the creation of an Avenue A entrance to the First Avenue L station. The new schedule of 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday to Friday, with possibly shorter hours on Saturday is effective immediately.

Other L-train details are still being decided, such as the possibility of exit-only stations at First and Third Avenues once the L-train slowdown officially starts later next month.

Meanwhile, on the topic of the L-train work along this corridor... a resident who lives adjacent to the construction zone, recently shared these videos from 8 p.m., showing that not everyone on the site may be all that busy after hours ...

In the first one, the operator of this diesel hydraulic excavator attempts to right a tipped rubber trash can...

...and here's the excavator trying to be a broom...

... and not sure what's happening here...

Previously on EV Grieve:
Nightmare scenario for residents who learn that 14th Street and Avenue A will be the main staging area for the L-train reconstruction

From bad to pretty bad: MTA releases more details on the new L-train rehab plan

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Open house! MTA officials will explain what's happening during the L-train non-shutdown

Tomorrow night marks the first of four MTA open houses organized to provide subway riders with details on the upcoming L-train repairs.

Per the MTA L-train website:

Starting in March, customers can meet with MTA team members at any of four open houses, or on subway platforms and in train cars. There, customers can get information on:

• Updates on the proposed construction approach and progress on other elements staying the same, such as the new elevators at Bedford Avenue, First Avenue and 14 Street/Sixth Avenue (L platform) Stations
• The new proposed service plan
• One-on-one trip planning help with MTA team members
• Other service elements to help navigate the changes, such as how to know which train to board. Additionally, NYC DOT will be present at the open houses to review planned street treatments.

And the four open houses are scheduled in Brooklyn and Manhattan:

• March 7 — Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, 328 W. 14 St. between Eighth Avenue and Ninth Avenue
• March 13 — Williamsburg Northside School, 299 N. Seventh St. at Meeker Avenue
• March 19 — Grand Street Campus High School, 850 Grand St. between Bushwick Avenue and Waterbury
• April 8 — 14th Street Y, 344 E. 14 St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue

The open houses are scheduled between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

While Gov. Cuomo helped avoid a full shutdown, the repairs to the Sandy-damaged L tubes between Manhattan and Brooklyn will still be a major disruption.

During the rehab starting in late April, the MTA will reduce L-train service to 20-minute waits on weeknights and weekends — from Bedford Avenue through Manhattan — with reductions in service beginning as early as 8 p.m. on weeknights.

And there's still no word if the First Avenue and Third Avenue stops will be "exit-only" stations.

The MTA posted the latest L-train rehab proposal at this link (PDF!).

Thursday, February 21, 2019

The foot race to beat the M14 along 14th Street

Transit advocates, out to show how slow city buses are, organized a contest yesterday morning in which pedestrians power-walked on the sidewalk as they followed an M14 on 14th Street from Avenue A to the west side of Union Square.

In the end, the bus won the race — by five seconds.

Per Gothamist:

"For New York City in 2019 to have a bus going walking speed on a good day is really nothing to celebrate," said Tom DeVito, senior director of advocacy at Transportation Alternatives, which organized the contest. He noted that that car traffic was less paralyzing than usual, likely due to school being out this week.

The M14 has been found to be the city's third slowest, as well as one of its busiest, with a daily ridership of 30,000.

With the L-train slowdown coming, the buses along 14th Street could get even slower.

The MTA/DOT have already taken the first steps to make 14th Street a car-free busway for most of the day. However, with the shutdown called off, the MTA said last week that a busway along this stretch isn't necessary.

You can find more coverage at Newsradio 880 ... NBC 4 ... Metro New York ... and NY1.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

From bad to pretty bad: MTA releases more details on the new L-train rehab plan

MTA managing director Ronnie Hakim briefed selected reporters yesterday on the latest L-train rehabilitation plan. While Gov. Cuomo helped avoid a full shutdown, the repairs to the Sandy-damaged L tubes between Manhattan and Brooklyn will still be a major disruption, Hakim admitted.

We'll go to David Meyer at Streetsblog for details of particular interest to this neighborhood...

On weeknights, service between Manhattan and Brooklyn will begin to slow just after the evening rush, at 8 p.m. Headways will grow to every 20 minutes after 10 p.m. — the current arrangement between 1:30 and 5 a.m. Weekend service will be significantly diminished, with 20 minute headways — up from as little as four minutes now.


Only one bus service improvement is certain: Hakim said 14th Street buses will run every three minutes on weekends, up from the current range of four-and-a-half minutes to seven-and-a-half minutes between buses. But the previously planned dedicated busway is no longer in the works, and the launch of M14 Select Bus Service, originally scheduled for April, has been delayed.


Hakim did not confirm whether stations at First and Third avenue will become “exit-only” due to large crowds that are expected to gather on the platforms because of the extended headways. She said only that the MTA “may” make those stations exit only.

And amNY has more from City Hall...

Mayoral spokesman Eric Phillips said the administration is still undecided on the busway and other street changes planned for the original shutdown — despite the MTA's belief that the bus priority wouldn't be necessary.

"As we learn more and more detail every day from the MTA about its closure of the L train, we’ll continue to design efforts and review existing plans to help affected riders," Phillips said in a statement.

Gothamist has a nice recap here... reactions include this statement from Transportation Alternatives ... and...

Finally, here's a statement from Sen. Brad Hoylman:

"Today the MTA confirmed our fears that the new L Train plan will bring little to no alternate service enhancements, the loss of the 14th Street busway, possible exit only stations at 1st and 3rd Avenues, delayed subways, and historic overcrowding. I'm extremely concerned. So far, this is not a plan that will avert a shutdown. It’s an effort to steamroll a quick fix over the public.

The MTA has promised to take community input into account as it moves forward. I'm pleased to see that they are planning to expand M14A service, and I hope to see much more done to help riders. I know they will be hearing from many constituents in my district, who are being left without real options."

The MTA hopes to start the L-train rehabilitation work during the last weekend of April, as previously planned. Hakim said that they'd be public outreach sessions in the weeks ahead.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

A rally this morning to keep the busway and bike lanes added for the L-train shutdown

[Photo from January by Steven]

This morning at 10, Transportation Alternatives is hosting a "Stay, Bus & Bikeway!" rally on 14th Street at First Avenue.

Here are details, via the Facebook invite:

The L Train bus and bike lanes are halfway done. Join Transportation Alternatives and commuters everywhere to demand that the NYC Mayor commit to the best versions of Manhattan's 14th Street and North Brooklyn's Grand Street

Rally for L Train Bus and Bike Lanes
Feb 6th @ 10 a.m.

The transit advocacy group has said it would be a mistake for the city to reverse course on the 14th Street bus lane additions and the 12th Street and 13th Street bike lanes now that L service between Manhattan and Brooklyn will only be shut down on nights and weekends. You can read more at this Streetsblog post from Jan. 28.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Report: The L-train's weekend repair plans would mean exit-only stations on 1st and 3rd avenues

L-train non-shutdown fallout: Bike lane battle shaping up along 12th and 13th streets

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Report: The L-train's weekend repair plans would mean exit-only stations on 1st and 3rd avenues

In case you missed this Streetsblog scoop yesterday... the Streetsbloggers got a draft MTA memo that reveals some of the potential pain behind Gov. Cuomo's miracle L-train cure.

A few items of interest to residents and retailers around here...

On weekends:

• "Stations at First and Third avenues will likely be reconfigured to exit-only." ("That’s just abysmal for the East Village," said Jon Orcutt, the spokesman for TransitCenter.)

Overnight, there will be 20-minute gaps in train service (like on weekends) .. plus!

• "There will be the aforementioned need for 'metering' at L platforms at Union Square, Third Avenue, First Avenue and Bedford Avenue. If the monitoring of station crowds reveals a danger, the MTA would temporarily restrict access to the platforms."

MTA officials weren't pleased by the leak.

“The alternative service plan for the L train hasn’t been completed yet, so citing draft and outdated reports is not only irresponsible but it does a disservice to New Yorkers and our customers who need reliable, official information,” the agency said in a statement. “The MTA will work with the community to provide the service they need while keeping the L train open in both directions 24/7 and providing full, unaltered weekday service for 275,000 riders a day.”

You can read the full Streetsblog post here.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Morning reports: The MTA apparently cool with Cuomo's revised L-train rehab plan

The MTA says that it's onboard with Gov. Cuomo's plan to do away with a full shutdown of the L train between Bedford Avenue and Eighth Avenue.

This announcement came yesterday, just two days after board members called for an independent review of the new proposal.

You can read quickie recaps at the Daily News ... amNY ... and the Post, who noted that "[a]n MTA insider said the announcement had Cuomo’s fingerprints all over it."

As for that announcement, here's the official MTA news release issued last night:

As you know the MTA had previously scheduled a complete shutdown of the L Subway train beginning April 27. The disruption of service was to allow reconstruction of the two tubes between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Late last year a design review team of international experts was brought in to review the final plan, and they proposed new construction alternatives and technology which have been used effectively in other countries and industries. The new methods and means include laser light technology to determine structural defects, smart fiber optic sensor technology, and carbon fiber wrapping to reinforce components. Some of these alternatives have not been used by the MTA before and the design integration would be an innovation for the MTA.

The design firm managing the L Subway train project from the beginning has been Parsons Brinckerhoff (now called WSP). WSP has done extensive work studying the new design alternatives and has informed the MTA (and discussed at a public meeting on January 15) that the proposed construction design alternatives are indeed applicable to the L Subway train and can significantly reduce construction time and thus the inconvenience to our riders. Therefore, the total shutdown of both tunnels and all service scheduled for April 27 will not be necessary. We do anticipate a shutdown of one tube on nights and weekends, however service both ways (between Manhattan and Brooklyn) would be scheduled 24/7.

This project is a major priority for the MTA and reconstruction will be supervised by MTA Capital Construction and overseen by MTA Managing Director Veronique Hakim. The MTA will also hire an independent consultant to oversee safety operations that will report directly to the Board. The MTA is now working with the various contractors on a new final construction schedule and contracts which delete some elements of the initial construction plan and add the new design alternatives. We do not believe the cost of reconstruction will increase, and given the tremendous benefits to the riding public, reduction in the volume of traffic and savings from the traffic mitigation efforts, it is a clear positive alternative and in the public interest.

We expect the formulation of the final construction schedule and contract completions to take several weeks. The current construction estimate is 15 to 20 months. As soon as we have more definitive information we will provide it to our customers and the public.

So no word yet on cost or the new construction schedule and other aspects of the L-tube work, such as its impact on residents who live along 14th Street between First Avenue and Avenue B. Cuomo's new plan calls for repairs to occur on nights and weekends, when workers will close one tube at a time with trains running every about 20 minutes or so.

At the MTA board meeting Tuesday, Manhattan Borough President "seemed exasperated over the many unanswered questions." Per the Times: "This is better than ‘Law & Order,’ which we all watch on a daily basis, in terms of intrigue," she said.

So who know what will happen next. As amNY reported:

The MTA appears to be confidently moving ahead with the plans, even though the MTA board will have to approve any material changes to the contract for the work, which has long been set with contractors Judlau and TC Electric. During a public hearing earlier this week, board members expressed discomfort about voting on any redrafted contract before an independent review of the proposal was competed.

Previously on EV Grieve:
L-train non-shutdown fallout: Bike lane battle shaping up along 12th and 13th streets (54 comments)

Monday, January 14, 2019

L-train non-shutdown fallout: Bike lane battle shaping up along 12th and 13th streets

[Photo on 13th Street near 4th Avenue from early January]

The newish unprotected bike lanes on 12th Street and 13th Street have become a battleground following Gov. Cuomo's sudden cancellation of the L-train shutdown.

The lanes arrived back in late October and early November, part of the city's plans to help move people when the L-train was to shut down in April 2019 for 15 months for Sandy-related repairs between Eighth Avenue and Bedford Avenue.

Now, though, the 14th Street Coalition is asking the city to remove the bike lanes and the newly painted dedicated bus lanes on 14th Street. (The Coalition also sued to stop the bike lanes and busways in October.)

Streetsblog was first to report this past Thursday that someone spread broken glass along parts of the bike lanes on 12th Street and 13th Street on the west side. Per Streetsblog: "[C]yclist Jonathan Warner noticed that the lanes on 12th and 13th streets were covered in patches of broken glass, which he believed was an intentional attack on cyclists."

Gothamist has a good recap at this link. Read Streetsblog's follow-up report here.

At the same time, Transportation Alternatives launched a petition drive to retain the bike lanes (as well as the 14th Street bus lanes). Per the petition:

With M14 buses traveling at barely above walking speed, 14th street sidewalks fill to the brim with pedestrians, 12th and 13th street bike lanes adding a safe way for people to bike crosstown and upcoming infill expansion of Citi Bike, these improvements were needed before the announcement of the shutdown, are going to be needed during the partial shutdown, and will be needed after the repairs are finalized.

These improvements will help provide faster, safer and more efficient modes of transportation for New Yorkers to travel crosstown and alleviate congestion in our streets.

There were also signs up along the bike lanes... an EVG reader shared this photo from Thursday night on 12th Street between Fifth Avenue and University Place...

Per the EVG reader: "Funny thing is, the NYPD does a shit job of policing the lane so there were, as usual, many cars parked right in the green stripe on several other blocks, rendering the bike lane unusable. But that’s normal, whereas broken glass and nasty NIMBY notes are a little more novel."

The arrival of the broken glass and signs drew a strong response from city officials...

In a statement to Streetsblog, the 14th Street Coalition said they "had no involvement in, nor condoned, the defacing of bike lanes."

Meanwhile, also on Thursday, someone painted "Bring back our parking" on 13th Street just east of Avenue A...

The DOT painted over the message on Friday morning, as these photos via Steven show...

Last Tuesday, Andy Byford, CEO of the New York City Transit Authority, told attendees of CB3's Transportation, Public Safety, & Environment Committee meeting that the fate of the bike lanes is up to the Department of Transportation while the future of the 14th Street Select Bus Service will be a joint decision.

In other post-L-train-shutdown developments... residents are asking what impact Cuomo's new plan might have on the construction on 14th Street between Avenue B and First Avenue.

One longtime 14th Street resident, who has spoken out on the numerous quality-of-life issues the construction has created in the past year, told me this:

"We're not sure if this will affect us at all much. We do hope, however, that the pols will call for an immediate stop to the night time and weekend work. There is no need to subject our neighborhood to these hours now.

Also, the MTA needs to be pressured to finish [the new entrances on] Avenue A. There is no reason it can't be finished now. They were just stalling the use it as the entry/exit for their infrastructure. An exit doesn't take three years to build."

Town & Village has more on this story here.

T&V also noted that workers removed some of the L-train renderings from 14th Street after Cuomo's announcement. A few remain for good measure, though...

The MTA is now holding an emergency public meeting tomorrow to discuss the L-train's reconstruction future.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Report: Andy Byford talks L-train changes and next steps at CB3 committee meeting

Andy Byford, CEO of the New York City Transit Authority, attended CB3's Transportation, Public Safety, & Environment Committee meeting last night for an L-train update.

As transportation reporter Aaron Gordon noted at Gothamist:

Byford only attends higher profile events like town halls and dispatches underlings to small community board meetings. But he told the roughly three dozen residents of CB3, which encompasses the Lower East Side from 14th Street to the Brooklyn Bridge, that he came in person because “I owe it to the community to come out and explain to you as best I can what we know about what has changed and to go through what hasn't changed.”

He outlined what Gov. Cuomo's new plan is... then went on to other topics, such as:

On the safety front, Byford is convening an engineering team, which he promises will be independent not just of the MTA but of New York politics, to review the new plan and ensure it does not jeopardize anyone’s safety. But he has not yet determined who will be the independent reviewers or when their report — which he promises to publicly release — will be done.

At the same time, his team at Transit will review how often the MTA can run L trains on nights and weekends when one of the two tubes is closed, what alternate service should be provided, and how best to communicate those changes to riders.

He reiterating throughout his talk that he will "not be steamrolled" by Cuomo's L-train desires.

About three dozen people were in attendance (there were rumors of Byford's appearance in the hours leading up the meeting). A few people asked questions:

Most of the questions focused on what would happen to the new bike lanes and 14th Street busway that had planned to ease commutes during a full L train shutdown. The bike lanes are entirely up to the Department of Transportation, said Byford, while the future of the 14th Street Select Bus Service will be a joint decision.

Read Gordon's full post at Gothamist via this link.

Saturday, January 5, 2019


[The L-train construction zone along 14th Street this a.m.]

Details continue to emerge from Gov. Cuomo's L-train bombshell from Thursday ... like this one today via the Post on Cuomo's untested approach:

The engineering team behind Gov. Cuomo’s miracle L-train cure has little experience working on transit projects — and spent a grand total of an hour evaluating the damage firsthand in the subway line’s tunnel, The Post has learned.

But, in a stunning piece of spin, the governor’s office defended that lack of expertise as innovative thinking.

“We’re breaking the box by ­using the expertise of engineers who don’t usually work on subways in order to improve it,” Cuomo spokesman Patrick Muncie told The Post.

Friday, January 4, 2019

To L and back: Reactions and questions over Gov. Cuomo's surprise subway announcement

In a surprise move yesterday, Gov. Cuomo announced that the L-train won't be completely shut down between Brooklyn and Manhattan for Sandy-related repairs in April after all.

With this new plan, workers will repair the Canarsie tunnel one tube at a time on nights and weekends, with one track remaining open for service... all over the course of 15 to 20 months.

According to Cuomo, crews will install cables on racks along the inside of the tunnels, and leave the old cables where they are. Per various published reports, the workaround relies on the use of a fiber reinforced plastic, which hasn’t been used in the United States for this type of tunnel repair.

There are questions about all this...


Gersh Kuntzman at Streetsblog has the best post (link here) on answering some questions raised following yesterday's presser.

Meanwhile, here's reaction from two local elected officials...

Sen. Brad Hoylman:

“As the State Senator who represents the entire stretch of the L train in Manhattan, I welcome any alternative to the L-train tunnel shutdown that repairs the tunnel within the current project timeline and maintains train service, while eliminating the need for hundreds of additional dirty diesel buses in our neighborhoods and traffic on side streets.

That said, after three years of planning and community input, my constituents have reason to be circumspect about the details. It’ll be the job of the new Senate Democratic majority along with our Assembly colleagues to provide sufficient oversight of the MTA and this plan.

In addition, we must continue to push for more reliable train and bus service, planned upgrades to our station and bike infrastructure, and work toward the ultimate goal of reducing car traffic through congestion pricing.”

District 2 City Councilmember Carlina Rivera:

“While I believe that the State and MTA are committed to providing the best L train plan for New Yorkers, I am disappointed that today’s news was announced without warning and with nowhere near enough detail, after years of careful planning by our communities.

Residents in my District are now in the dark about how they will be impacted by this new plan, and I am worried that many New Yorkers unnecessarily moved from affected areas and local small businesses suffered preparing for the expected shutdown.

In my discussions with MTA officials [yesterday] afternoon, I did hear some encouraging information, including potentially less noise and construction along 14th Street between 1st Avenue and Avenue B. But I am still left with more questions than answers.

As we learn more and weigh the dramatic impact this plan will have on our city, I am calling on the City Council to hold hearings this month on this plan so we and the public can have our questions fully answered from State and agency officials well ahead of the plan’s commencement.

In addition, the city Department of Transportation must stay the course with that the current L Train Alternative Service Plan, including new bike lanes, bus routes, and protected bus corridors, until the public and advocates are able to process and comment on this new plan.

But regardless of how the L Train Tunnel repair goes, our State and City agencies must deeply evaluate how the mishandling of these announcements continues to erode public trust in our most important institutions, and work to redouble their efforts with our communities.”

At an unrelated event yesterday, Mayor de Blasio said that "anything that avoids disruption I favor obviously and a lot of people in Brooklyn, a lot of people in Manhattan have been really worried about the L train shutdown," as reported by the Associated Press. "So, if there is a plan that can be better for the people of our neighborhoods, that's great, but I want to reserve any further judgment until I hear more."

The immediate impact this might have on the construction along 14th Street between First Avenue and Avenue B isn't known just yet. There are many questions, such as what does Cuomo's new plan mean for the power substation slated for 14th Street and Avenue B?

The Times had more on East Village impacts:

Construction and congestion on side streets in the East Village could be abated, sparing neighbors fumes from supplemental buses and asbestos in the debris removed from the tunnel.

Andy Byford, who oversees New York City’s subways and buses, said there would likely not be a high-occupancy vehicle lane over the Williamsburg Bridge, as had been planned. Additional ferry service from Brooklyn to Manhattan will also not be needed.

No decision has been made regarding shutting down 14th Street in Manhattan for bus service...

Previously on EV Grieve:
Town Hall provides a few more details on the 24/7 construction at 14th and A

Renderings reveal the MTA's plans for the Avenue A L station; why does everyone look so happy?

Nightmare scenario for residents who learn that 14th Street and Avenue A will be the main staging area for the L-train reconstruction

What the L: Cuomo calls off full L-train shutdown

Prepping for the new bike lanes on 12th and 13th streets

Bike lane line work continues on 12th Street

DOT puts down the green paint on the new 13th Street bike lane (except for one mysterious spot)

Thursday, January 3, 2019

What the L: Cuomo calls off full L-train shutdown

Gov. Cuomo announced today that the 15-month L-train shutdown that was to start in April to repair Sandy-damaged tubes is no longer necessary.

During an early-afternoon press conference, Cuomo, joined by a team of Cuomo-appointed tunnel experts (engineering academics with unknown insights into MTA project management), unveiled a new renovation method using a different design for repairs that would require night and weekend closures of one tube at a time.

Details of the plan have yet to be released.

Per ABC 7:

"It uses many new innovations that are new, frankly, to the rail industry in this country ... With this design, it will not be necessary to close the L train tunnel at all, which would be a phenomenal benefit to the people of New York City," he said.

Cuomo said he does not believe this design has been used in the United States before, though it has been implemented in Europe.

The governor said that commuters should not worry about the integrity of the tunnel: Major structural elements were not compromised. The MTA needs to fix the circuit breaker house and power cables that were damaged after the tubes flooded and were therefore exposed to salt water.

Per The Wall Street Journal:

Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials spent years weighing repair options, including shutting down one track at a time to maintain some service between Brooklyn and Manhattan.

In 2016, they opted for a full shutdown, reasoning that it could be completed in half the time and at less expense than a partial shutdown. Initially, they said that a full shutdown would be needed for 18 months, but that timeline was later shortened to 15 months.

Judlau Contracting Inc., which won a $477 million contract to repair the tunnel, was offered incentives to finish the work ahead of schedule and penalties of $400,000 for every day beyond the deadline that the project was delayed.

Mr. Cuomo’s decision to alter the project raises questions about how the contractor can now finish the work on time. It also raises questions about contingency plans that were being put in place by the MTA and New York City following years of planning.

The L-train prep work started in July 2017 on 14th Street between First Avenue and Avenue B. This past summer, residents learned that this corridor was not only the main construction zone leading up to the L-train closure, but also during the 15 months the MTA expected the trains to be offline between Bedford Avenue and Eight Avenue.

Meanwhile, some quickie reaction via Twitter...

Previously on EV Grieve:
Town Hall provides a few more details on the 24/7 construction at 14th and A

Renderings reveal the MTA's plans for the Avenue A L station; why does everyone look so happy?

Nightmare scenario for residents who learn that 14th Street and Avenue A will be the main staging area for the L-train reconstruction