In the ongoing debate over the future of the Port Authority, Wednesday looms as a potential turning point as the PA’s board gathers to vote on the fate of a loan for 3 World Trade Center. With leasing at a near standstill in his 4 WTC (and in the PA’s 1 WTC), Larry Silverstein has once again come to the Port Authority for a multi-billion-dollar loan guarantee for an office building, and for once the Port Authority board is showing signs of fighting back. With politicians, transit advocates and Port Authority reformists watching, Wednesday’s vote could be a monumental one; it will definitely be newsworthy.

The immediate controversy at Ground Zero has come about due to Silverstein’s desire to keep building up. It’s not currently an easy one to fulfill as, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal, the other two WTC buildings — both constructed either with PA money or with PA loans — aren’t exactly filling up. “Neither One World Trade nor 4 World Trade has signed a lease with a private office tenant in nearly three years,” Eliot Brown reported. “Between them, that leaves more than 2.5 million square feet of unleased space—double the size of the Chrysler Building—at a time of contraction of the big banks that are among such buildings’ likelier prospective tenants.”

With an increased attention on the desire to refocus the Port Authority on its transportation mission, Kenneth Lipper, an investment banker on the PA board, has led the charge against another tax giveaway to Silverstein. “We can’t have these peripheral distractions,” he said, calling the construction projects “an inappropriate investment” for the Port Authority.

In a column in yesterday’s Times, Joe Nocera expanded on this concept:

Whether or not building commercial skyscrapers was the right way to rebuild Ground Zero, what can be said for sure is that the Port Authority has shown, yet again, that it doesn’t belong in the real estate business. One World Trade Center is the most expensive high-rise building ever built in America, and it is costing the Port Authority a fortune. Only 55 percent of its 2.6 million square feet has been leased, and most of that is at a significant loss. Meanwhile, 4 World Trade Center, which was developed by Silverstein, has only 60 percent of its space leased. As The Wall Street Journal pointed out recently, between the two buildings, there is more than 2.5 million square feet of unleased space at Ground Zero.

So why in the world would the Port Authority be willing to back another $1.2 billion in loans to help Silverstein build 3 World Trade Center? Yet on Wednesday, that is exactly what the Port Authority board is supposed to vote on. Silverstein needs the loan guarantee for a simple reason: The market is saying that, with all that empty office space, this is not the time to be building another skyscraper downtown…This time, somebody on the board has finally stood up and said, “Enough.” That person is Kenneth Lipper, an investment banker and a former deputy mayor of New York, who was appointed to the Port Authority board last year by Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York.

“There is simply no reason for the Port Authority to step in,” he told me on Monday. “The private sector is appropriately saying, ‘Not now.’ ” But he also had another objection, one that heralds back to the original purpose of the Port Authority. “Our role is to develop the transportation infrastructure of this region. We have more infrastructure needs than we can finance through our revenue base. As a result, we are triaging necessary transportation improvements to finance what will be an empty building.”

How this ends is anyone’s guess. While Lipper is leading the opposition, some PA board members seem willing to hand over a blank check to Silverstein, and Sheldon Silver, for one, is putting pressure on the board to approve the funding request. Silverstein and his team believe the loan will eventually be paid back down the line when the PA can realize revenues from these new office buildings, but between Ground Zero, Hudson Yards and a potential East Side rezoning effort, it’s not yet clear that all the square footage flooding the market over the next few years will go quickly.

Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the George Washington Bridge scandal, an independent panel has urged the PA to shed its shackles of governor control. PA doings should be public and books transparent. One way to start would be, as Lipper suggests, to refocus on transit and transportation at the expense of another World Trade Center building that may not be all that necessary.

Categories : PANYNJ
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In my write-up of Michael Kimmelman’s Times column on the Brooklyn-Queens streetcar route, I posed a question that would be answered by any study examining this proposal: What problem does this light rail/streetcar line solve? Intuitively, it seemed as though the biggest problems were at either ends of the line — Red Hook and Astoria — and the idea of an interconnected waterfront was otherwise a developer’s dream masquerading as a solution to something that isn’t actually a problem.

One of the bigger issues with The Times’ proposal is how the routing doesn’t connect to subways. While Alex Garvin’s original plan brought the streetcar through Downtown Brooklyn, Kimmelman swung west, away from badly needed subway connections and instead tightly hugging the waterfront. The Times scribe claims this will help serve areas that are “inaccessible” or served “barely” by the G train, referred to in the article as “the city’s sorriest little railroad.” It’s not clear how a low-capacity streetcar running at slower speeds will be better than even the much-maligned G train, but that’s besides the point for these so-called “desire lines.”

One of the biggest issues though with Kimmelman’s argument is that most of the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront isn’t really that far away from the nearest subway (let alone feeder bus routes). I did some radius mapping tonight of the waterfront and various other areas in Brooklyn and Queens, and the resulting images are instructive. I cannot unfortunately embed the map so you’re stuck with some images. Take a look at what happens when you chart areas that are more than half a mile away from the nearest subway.

In Brooklyn, Red Hook and Navy Yards are far from the subway.

In Queens, parts of Astoria are a trek away from the nearest subway stop.

If we’re truly concerned about getting people from transit deserts to jobs, then there are three discrete problems: The Navy Yards, an actual job center, isn’t close to transit while Red Hook, where low income housing dominates, is physically and psychologically isolated. Finally, in Astoria, parts of the waterfront are far from the N and Q trains, but there is an area where a ferry would make more sense as a lesser cost option.

The truth is the waterfront is not, by and large, without access to transit, and the G train, as scorned as it is, provides an adequate crosstown connection. A shorter streetcar route could help solve Red Hook’s problems and make the Navy Yards more attractive; a long streetcar that snakes past luxury developments that are a 10-minute walk from the nearest subway seems like more of a bonus for developers than a solution to a problem. But it’s still worth studying, objectively and thoroughly, and then when we have cost estimates and ridership projections, we can talk. As an object of desire though, it leaves much to be desired.

* * *

For fun (?), I have two more screenshots of the radius maps. Take a look at South Brooklyn and Eastern Queens. Forget desire lines and the developing waterfront; these are massive areas of the two most populous boroughs where the nearest subway connections are miles away. No one seems interested in solving that problem though.

Lots of highways but no subways for eastern Queens.

Forget about catching the train in South Brooklyn (or East New York for that matter).

Categories : Brooklyn, Queens
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The waterfront streetcar would make for a torturously long ride from Astoria to Red Hook, especially in mixed traffic. (Via Next New York)

As 2013 unfolded and the promise of a new mayor came into view, the Forum for Urban Design hosted a series of meetings on urban development. As part of the forum, a variety of planners and designers submitted ideas for the Next New York. I highlighted one of those ideas — Alex Garvin’s waterfront light rail — in a September post on light rail for Red Hook. It is, of course, an old idea that won’t fade away and could make sense as a speedier connection to the jobs, shops, restaurants and subways in Downtown Brooklyn if the costs are right.

Today, that idea — and the rest of Garvin’s impractical line all the way to Astoria — is back in the news as The New York Times has discovered it. It’s always dangerous when The Times latches onto an element of urban planning as they tend to push real estate interests over transit needs, and their coverage of this idea as a mixed-traffic streetcar connecting waterfront areas that don’t need to be connected to each other follows a similar pattern. This is a Big Idea for the sake of Big Ideas and not to solve a discrete problem.

The presentation comes to us in a Michael Kimmelman column. I’ll excerpt:

There’s a wonderful term for the dirt trails that people leave behind in parks: desire lines. Cities also have desire lines, marked by economic development and evolving patterns of travel. In New York, Manhattan was once the destination for nearly all such paths, expressed by subway tracks that linked Midtown with what Manhattanites liked to call the outer boroughs.

But there is a new desire line, which avoids Manhattan altogether. It hugs the waterfronts of Brooklyn and Queens, stretching from Sunset Park past the piers of Red Hook, to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, through Greenpoint and across Newtown Creek, which separates the two boroughs, running all the way up to the Triborough Bridge in Astoria. The desire line is now poorly served by public transit, even as millennials are colonizing Astoria, working in Red Hook, then going out in Williamsburg and Bushwick — or working at the Navy Yard, visiting friends in Long Island City and sleeping in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

They have helped drive housing developments approved or built along the Brooklyn waterfront, like the one by Two Trees at the former Domino Sugar Refinery. But this corridor isn’t only for millennials. It’s also home to thousands of less affluent New Yorkers struggling to get to jobs and join the work force. So here’s an idea: bring back the streetcar.

The idea of a “desire line” is a literary device; it doesn’t mirror reality. Furthermore, the rest of Kimmelman’s column is replete with contradictions about this streetcar’s plan. Kimmelman opts for streetcars over buses because of “romance,” but and while there’s something to be said about the psychological impact of a streetcar, we’re talking about a half a billion dollars and massive upfront infrastructure needs for a mixed-traffic line that won’t do what Kimmelman wants it to do.

Here’s the question that needs to be asked first: Will the “thousands of less affluent New Yorkers struggling to get to jobs and join the work force” benefit from this streetcar route? What problem is a line near the waterfront from Red Hook to Astoria trying to solve? One Twitter follower put together a Google Map of the proposed routing, and you’ll see that the best it does is provide direct access to the Navy Yard, a decent sized job center in Brooklyn. As passé as it may be, jobs are in Manhattan or generally along subway lines, and this route doesn’t help improve access to subway lines. (It’s also a mess operationally with tight turns along narrow streets that would limit rolling stock length. It also parallels some bus routes, raising even more questions of need and cost.)

While Cap’n Transit believes that any area that could support light rail would be prime for a subway, if costs are lower and ridership falls in between buses and a subway, light could work. As I mentioned, we can’t dismiss the psychological edge they hold over buses, and with the right routing — dedicated lanes that run, say, from Red Hook to the Navy Yards via subway stations in Downtown Brooklyn rather than via the waterfront — they could solve the gaps in transit deserts. But we shouldn’t, as Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen does, love this idea simply because it’s new, romantic or big. Will the ridership justify the costs? Will the service connect to job centers and destinations or provide a faster way to get to New York’s developed subway network? Can we identify a need and support that need based on a thorough study? “Desire” isn’t enough considering how much this will cost.

Categories : Brooklyn, Queens
Comments (87)

Not too much work this weekend…


From 3:30 a.m. Saturday, April 19 to 10:00 p.m. Sunday, April 20, 4 trains are not running due to track panel installation at Bedford Park Boulevard and 161 St Yankee Stadium. 5 trains replace 4 service in Brooklyn and Manhattan. D trains and free shuttle buses provide alternate service in the Bronx.


From 3:30 a.m. Saturday, April 19 to 10:00 p.m. Sunday, April 20, 5 service is extended to Crown Hts Utica Av and New Lots Av, making all 4 station stops in Manhattan and Brooklyn due to track panel installation at Bedford Park Boulevard and 161 St.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, April 18 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 21, A trains are suspended in both directions between Jay St-MetroTech and Utica Av due to track tie renewal north of Hoyt-Schermerhorn. Transfer between A trains and free shuttle buses at Jay Street-MetroTech or Utica Av.


From 6:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, April 19, and Sunday, April 20, C trains are suspended in both directions between W 4 St Wash Sq and Euclid Av due to track tie renewal north of Hoyt-Schermerhorn.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, April 18 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 21, Jamaica Center-bound E trains are rerouted via the F line from W 4 St Wash Sq to 21 St-Queensbridge due to Sandy recovery related work. Free shuttle buses run between Court Sq-23 St and 21 St-Queensbridge, stopping at Queens Plaza.


From 3:45 a.m. Saturday, April 19 to 10:00 p.m. Sunday, April 20, Jamaica Center Parsons/Archer-bound J trains run express from Marcy Av to Broadway Junction due to track work from Flushing Av to Myrtle Av, and track repairs near Broadway Junction.


From 4:00 a.m. Saturday, April 19 to 10:00 p.m. Sunday, April 20, M trains run every 20 minutes due to track work from Flushing Av to Myrtle Av, and track repairs near Broadway Junction.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, April 19 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 21, Brooklyn-bound N trains stop at 45 St and 53 St due to track tie renewal south of 36 St.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, April 18 to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, April 20, and from 11:30 p.m. Sunday, April 20, to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 21, R trains run are suspended between 59 St and 36 St in Brooklyn due to track tie renewal work south of 36 St. Take N trains instead.

Categories : Service Advisories
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  • MTA/TWU contract announcement raises more questions than it answers · Gov. Andrew Cuomo, MTA CEO and Chairman Tom Prendergast and TWU Local 100 President John Samuelson just wrapped up a press conference during which the MTA and TWU announced a tentative agreement on a new labor deal. It’s a five-year deal with raises in all five years — 1 percent retroactively for the first two and 2 percent for each of the last three years. There are no work rule reforms, but TWU healthcare contributions will increase from 1.5 percent to 2 percent. And the MTA does not expect this deal to impact its planned fare hikes or razor-thin operations margins in the out-years in its financial plan. You may be wondering how; I know I am.

    We don’t yet have any of the details behind the math, but estimates are that this deal could add around $150-$200 million per year to the MTA’s operations budget. The MTA has continually noted that need to secure net-zero wage increases in order to avoid jeopardizing its capital plan, but this deal contains none of that. So where does that leave us? It leaves me concerned that the riders will bear the brunt of the costs either through more deferred maintenance, no real capital expansion plans, higher fare hikes down the road, service cuts or a combination of everything. I hope I’m wrong, but this is an election year we’re in. These are the transit politics coming from up high in Albany. · (24)

After over two years of negotiating (or barely negotiating) with various Chairmen, the MTA and TWU Local 100, its largest union, are nearing agreement on a contract, the Daily News reports today. According to Pete Donohue and Ginger Adams Otis, the new agreement grants raises to MTA workers, but it’s unclear if the MTA has moved away from the net-zero position or has wrested other concessions from the union.

Here’s the News’ take. Details are, so far, sparse:

The MTA and the union representing subway and bus workers in the city are close to reaching an agreement on a new contract that would grant workers an 8% raise over five years, according to sources familiar with the talks. Under the package now on the table, new hires would have to work for five years before reaching the top pay rate, an increase of two years, and worker contributions to health care costs would rise to 2% of base pay, from 1.5%, the sources said.

The progress in negotiations appeared to signal a break in the two-year contract stalemate, but sources said, however, that significant issues need to be overcome to produce a deal. The stumbling blocks led Transport Workers Local 100 President John Samuelsen to ask Gov. Cuomo in a letter late Tuesday to intervene and help seal the deal for the 34,000 transit workers in the union.“Absent your intervention, I do not see a path to resolving a number of difficult issues,” Samuelsen wrote to Cuomo.

Steve Greenhouse of The Times adds more color on the union’s request that Cuomo intervene to see these negotiations through. TWU officials say that finalizing their contract will give the MTA a baseline for their contentious negotiations with the LIRR and will help Cuomo avert a costly railroad strike set to begin four months before Election Day. I worry that such an impetus for a contract involves putting the short-term election cart before the long-term horse of the MTA’s fiscal stability. Already, the governor has shown that he is more than willing to sacrifice MTA finances for electoral gains.

Still, until we know the details and understand what, if any, concessions the MTA secured, it’s too early to speculate both on how this deal will impact the MTA’s ledger sheet and what this means for future fare hikes. Still, with promised raises of eight percent over five years, I’m wary. Already, the MTA has scaled back next year’s fare hikes from around eight percent to four percent, and funds are tight. The riders may have to pay more as, in flush times, everyone else is getting more of the economic pie.

Categories : TWU
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It’s hard to say which transit agency has had a worse go of it lately. New Jersey Transit had some banner years in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy knocked out hundreds of millions of dollars of rolling stock and followed that up by being unable to cope with greater-than-expected crowds during the 2014 Super Bowl. Meanwhile, Metro-North has been plagued by derailments, collisions and deaths over the past 16 months. It’s not been a good look for either.

So it should come as no surprise then that a New Jersey Transit official who was given the boot, in part, over the agency’s response to Sandy has found a new home at Metro-North. Karen Rouse of The Record had the story:

NJ Transit’s former railroad chief, who was pushed out in March following two tumultuous years that included the flooding of nearly 400 rail cars and locomotives during Superstorm Sandy, has landed a job within New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Kevin O’Connor, the former vice-president of rail at NJ Transit, started April 10 as Metro-North Railroad’s new chief transportation officer, according to Aaron Donovan, spokesman for Metro-North, a division of the MTA that provides rail service in suburban New York and Connecticut…

O’Connor came under intense public scrutiny in 2012 after Superstorm Sandy flooded hundreds of NJ Transit rail cars and locomotives that had been left to sit in low-lying, flood prone rail yards. Documents and emails revealed that NJ Transit did not follow a plan to move the equipment to higher ground, and instead left the rail cars and locomotives in the vulnerable yards in Kearny and Hoboken as Sandy approached. The damage to the equipment was upwards of $120 million.

In February, the Christie Administration shook up NJ Transit, replacing former executive director Jim Weinstein with Ronnie Hakim – herself a onetime former special counsel at the MTA. Hakim dismissed O’Connor and Joyce Gallagher, NJ Transit’s former vice-president for bus operations, within weeks…

Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti, in a written statement, expressed confidence in O’Connor. “I have known Kevin for decades and like many in the railroad industry, I have the utmost respect for his operational skills, his leadership and his management abilities,” said Giuletti, who took leadership of Metro-North in January. “He has 37 years of experience with Amtrak and NJ Transit, both of which are partners with Metro-North, and we will benefit from his long experience.”

O’Connor, according to Rouse, will replace John McNulty, a vice president at Metro-North, who is retiring this year.

Over the past year and a half, we’ve seen O’Connor’s name pop up in the ongoing coverage of New Jersey Transit’s response to Sandy. He repeatedly excused planning that left expensive rolling stock in flood zones and shortly after Sandy, got into a war of words with some of the agency’s critics over NJ Transit’s seemingly inept response to the storm. Yet, transit is incestuous in the northeast, and O’Connor, a few weeks after getting ousted from the Garden State, has landed with New York’s troubled agency. Maybe it’s a fit for both, but it’s certainly reasonable to eye this development skeptically right now.

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It’s been over 15 months since the MTA turned off the flashing blue lights for its SBS vehicles with no compromise in sight. (Photo by flickr user Stephen Rees)

One of the lowest moments in recent transit history arrived last June when Tom Prendergast faced his confirmation hearing at the hands of the New York State Senate. Instead of offering up anything substantial, Senator Andrew Lanza too up a full ten minutes of Prendergast’s time, barely asking a question. Instead, he ranted and raved against bus lanes, Select Bus Service, and flashing blue lights. Supposedly, even after years of successful service in Manhattan and the Bronx, Staten Island drivers thought that SBS buses, with their flashing blue lights, were emergency vehicles.

After a review of the relevant New York State laws, Lanza — who has fought every transit improvement for Staten Island with a vengeance — determined that the MTA’s blue lights violated the law. He lectured Prendergast about the issue even though the MTA had turned off the lights in early 2013, over four years after using them initially and after countless law enforcement officials expressed ignorance at the blue light law. Bus users throughout the city have since complained about the difficulties in discerning Select Bus Service vehicles from the distance as the visual signifiers are no longer obvious.

Over the past year, various groups — including Manhattan’s CB 6 — have tried to find a solution. After an extensive review of the law, it appeared as though purple lights would be the only ones that didn’t require some sort of exemption, and for a while it looked like a bill to secure Albany’s stamp would pass. But Lanza started his whining about last summer, and as Streetsblog noted last week, the effort is stalled in committee. CB 6 passed another resolution [pdf] urging Albany to allow for purple lights or the MTA to do something else entirely.

Meanwhile, in another update, Stephen Miller at Streetsblog noted that even some supporters in Albany have lost the enthusiasm for the fight. Here’s the update:

[Sen. Jeff] Klein’s office indicated that the SBS bill isn’t on his agenda at this time. “Senator Klein wants to see Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan come to fruition this year and that will be his transportation focus this session,” said spokesperson Anna Durrett….Meanwhile, [Assemblyman Micha] Kellner said he would push hard this session to pass the bill in the Assembly and put pressure on the Senate. “I’m going to sit down and talk to Senator Klein, I’m going to talk to Senator Lanza, and see if we can come to an agreement,” Kellner said. “The nice thing about both Senator Klein and Senator Lanza is that they are very reasonable people…If not, we’ll seek another Senate sponsor.”

Kellner added that he has filed a “Form 99? to push the Assembly’s transportation committee chair to act on the bill during this legislative session, which ends this year. An NYU review of Albany procedure called this tactic “ineffective” because it does not force the bill to be reported out of committee. The push to pass the bill is also complicated by Kellner himself, who has been sanctioned by the Assembly ethics committee for sexual harassment violations and is not seeking reelection this year….

Kellner’s constituents rely heavily on SBS along First and Second Avenues, and Manhattan Community Board 6 passed a resolution this week asking Albany to bring the lights back. “My constituents call on a daily basis wondering why the lights are turned off,” Kellner said, adding that he has never received a complaint from a motorist who thought “two simultaneously flashing lights that flash very slowly” on a bus looked anything like an emergency vehicle. Kellner expressed frustration that the issue has languished. “Our bill specifically exempts Staten Island,” he said. ”This should not be a controversial thing.”

Kellner’s statement speaks volumes about this whole fight. It should not be controversial. Everyone is willing to accommodate a bunch of obstructionist politicians from Staten Island who both complain about a lack of transit options and throw up as many roadblocks as possible over improvements as incremental as Select Bus Service. Meanwhile, the rest of the city’s bus riders are held hostage to the whims of the few on something that is not, again, controversial. How utterly frustrating.

Categories : Buses, MTA Politics
Comments (44)

Coming next week: A half-hearted effort to bring flashing lights back to Select Bus Service vehicles that seems doomed to fail in Albany and how it underscores how inept New York can be when it comes to very easy and obvious fixes.

Coming soon: Changes to those weekend 7 train shutdowns. A bunch of those shutdowns have been pared back. I’m not going to post the full details here because they’re chock full o’ boring minutiae. Check ‘em out right here.

Now, onto this weekend’s changes.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, April 12 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 14, 2 trains run local in both directions between 96 St and Times Sq-42 St due to MOW dig out at Times Sq-42 St.


From 11:45 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Friday to Sunday, April 11 to April 13, and from 11:45 p.m. Sunday, April 13, to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 14, 3 service is suspended due to MOW dig out at Times Sq-42 St. Take the 2 and free shuttle buses. Free shuttle buses serve 135 St, 145 St, and 148 St. Transfer between 2 trains and shuttle buses at 135 St.


From 6:00 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. Saturday, April 12 and Sunday, April 13, 3 trains run local in both directions between 96 St and Times Sq-42 St due to MOW dig out at Times Sq-42 St.


From 11:45 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Friday to Sunday, April 11 to April 13, and from 11:45 p.m. Sunday, April 13, to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 14, Bronx-bound 4 trains run express from Grand Central-42 St to 125 St due to track tie renewal north of Grand Central-42 St.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, April 12 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 14, Brooklyn-bound 4 trains run local from 125 St to Grand Central-42 St due to cable work south of 125 St.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, April 11 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 14, 5 trains are suspended between Dyre Av and E 180 St, due to signal modernization on the Dyre Avenue Line. Free shuttle buses make all stops between Dyre Av and E 180 St. 5 service operates between E 180 St and Bowling Green, every 20 minutes.


From 5:45 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Saturday, April 12, and from 7:45 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Sunday, April 13, Bowling Green-bound 5 trains run local from 125 St to Grand Central-42 St due to cable work south of 125 St.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, April 11 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 14, Pelham Bay Park-bound 6 trains run express from Grand Central-42 St to 125 St due to track tie renewal north of Grand Central-42 St.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, April 11 to 4:00 a.m. Monday, April 14, Brooklyn Bridge-bound 6 trains run express from Pelham Bay Park to Parkchester due to station renewal work at Castle Hill Av and Middletown Rd.


From 2:00 a.m. Saturday, April 12 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 14, 7 trains are suspended between Times Sq-42 St and Queensboro Plaza due to CBTC signal work and hurricane-related repair work in the Steinway tunnel, and track tie replacement work at Queensboro Plaza. Use E FNQ trains for service between Manhattan and Queens. Free shuttle buses make all subway station stops between Vernon Blvd-Jackson Av and Queensboro Plaza. The 42 Street Shuttle operates overnight.


From 11:45 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Friday to Sunday, April 11 to April 13, and from 11:45 p.m. Sunday, April 13, to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 14, A trains run express in both directions between 59 St-Columbus Circle and Canal St due to Mulry Square vent plant upgrade, and rail and plate repair work south of W 4 St-Wash Sq.


From 6:30 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. Saturday, April 12, and Sunday, April 13, C trains run express in both directions between 59 St-Columbus Circle and Canal St due to Mulry Square vent plant upgrade, and rail and plate repair work south of W 4 St-Wash Sq.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, April 11 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 14, Queens-bound E trains run express from Canal St to 34 St-Penn Station due to Mulry Square vent plant upgrade.


From 12:15 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. Saturday, April 12, and Sunday, April 13, and from 12:15 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 14, Queens-bound E trains run express from Queens Plaza to Forest Hills-71 Av due to tunnel lighting installation south of Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Av.


From 12:15 a.m. Saturday, April 12 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 14 Queens-bound E trains skip 75 Av and Briarwood-Van Wyck Blvd due to CPM signal modernization at Forest Hills-71 Av.


From 11:15 p.m. Friday, April 11 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 14, Coney Island-bound F trains are rerouted via the E from Jackson Hts-Roosevelt Av to 5 Av/53 St due to Second Avenue Subway Project.


From 11:45 p.m. Friday, April 11 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 14, Brooklyn-bound F trains are rerouted via the A from W 4 St-Wash Sq to Jay St-MetroTech due to rail and plate work south of W 4 St Wash Sq.


From 12:15 a.m. Saturday, April 12 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 14, Queens-bound F trains skip 75 Av, Briarwood-Van Wyck Blvd, and Sutphin Blvd, due to CPM signal modernization at Forest Hills-71 Av and Kew Gardens-Union Tpke.


From 3:45 a.m. Saturday, April 12 to 10:00 p.m. Sunday, April 13, Jamaica Center Parsons/Archer-bound J trains run express from Marcy Av to Broadway Junction due to track work from Flushing Av to Myrtle Av, and track repairs near Broadway Junction.


From 10:45 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., Saturday to Monday, April 12 to April 14, L trains run every 24 minutes between Canarsie-Rockaway Pkwy and Broadway Junction due to CBTC testing.


From 4:00 a.m. Saturday, April 12 to 10:00 p.m. Sunday, April 13, M trains run every 20 minutes due to track work from Flushing Av to Myrtle Av, and track repairs near Broadway Junction.


From 6:45 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Saturday, April 12 and Sunday, April 13, Queens-bound N trains are rerouted via the D (express) from Coney Island-Stillwell Av to 36 St due to CPM survey work near 20 Av.


From 12:01 a.m. Saturday, April 12 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 14, Brooklyn-bound N trains stop at 45 St and 53 St due to track tie renewal south of 36 St.


From 10:45 p.m. Friday, April 11 to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 14, Brooklyn-bound Q trains run express from Newkirk Av to Sheepshead Bay due to track panel work from Church Av to Newkirk Av.


From 11:30 p.m. Friday, April 11 to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, April 13, and from 11:30 p.m. Sunday, April 13, to 5:00 a.m. Monday, April 14, R trains are suspended between 59 St and 36 St in Brooklyn due to track tie renewal work south of 36 St. Take N trains instead.


From 6:30 a.m. Saturday, April 12 to 12:15 p.m. and Monday, April 14, Queens-bound R trains run express from Queens Plaza to Jackson Hts-Roosevelt Av due tunnel lighting installation south of Jackson Hts-Roosevelt Av.

Categories : Service Advisories
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A map I don’t much like. (Click to enlarge)

As far as creative takes on New York City subway maps go, I’m a pretty accepting guy. I don’t hate the current map, though I find it a bit overrun with information, and I’ve always enjoyed attempts at reimagining the map. The Vignelli map, of course, remains the standard for artistic design trumping usefulness, and the KICK Map seems to meld something easy to read with something useful. Lately, we’ve seen New York’s system with a DC twist, a regional transit map and even a circular map. But now I’ve found one I don’t like.

Over the past few days, Jug Cerovic’s project to standardize the world’s subway maps has been making the rounds. As The Atlantic Cities’ Jenny Xie explained, Cerovic has tried to come up with a design that can be applied across the world and is both easy to read and easy to memorize. It otherwise fails as a useful navigating tool.

Here’s a little summary of what passes for Cerovic’s design philosophy:

Underlying all of this is INAT, a set of guidelines Cerovic developed to help him design maps that are easy to read and memorize. Key rules? Enlarging city centers to accommodate the crowd of lines and stations, and using a uniform set of colors, symbols, and labeling. He also kept all the lines vertical, horizontal, or 45 degrees inclined, and limited most of them to no more than five bends on their entire lengths.

Some might argue that uniformity wipes out the cities’ unique identities. But Cerovic says he tried to make each map very different through overarching symbolic shapes. For example, the Moscow design follows the form of a circle, while the Beijing design is more rectangular.

Cerovic compares his maps to road signs. “They’re not the same in the whole world but they’re very similar — so if you go to another place, you’ll seem to recognize the meaning of the signs,” he says in a phone interview.

That’s all well and good, but take a look at New York City on top. What is going on there? Bay Ridge and Coney Island appear to be due east of each other and of Lower Manhattan; Central Park is a puny rectangle toward the northern part of Manhattan; and the G train terminates north of Atlantic Ave. near both 7th Ave. and Prospect Park on the BMT Brighton Line. It violates the basic tenets of cardinal directions and map making. Even the best subway schematics have some bearing on reality; this one has none.

I appreciate what Cerovic is trying to do. I see why you might want to pick a universal design for subway maps, but if you’re going to try to produce a quasi-geographic schematic, it must have some relation to reality. It cannot be so divorced from the city layout to be useless as a map and as a navigation tool. But I’m not one to pass up an opportunity to share a new map with the world. So there you go. I don’t like it, but it’s a twist.

Categories : Subway Maps
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