Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Overnight Work Program, FASTRACK, Returns To The IND Eighth Avenue (A)(C)(E) Lines

By N Miller

NEW YORK, NY – The overnight line closure program, FASTRACK, will make its return to the IND Eighth Avenue Line next month. If you are an overnight (until 1 AM) (A) and (E) train customer, your ride will be along the Sixth Avenue Line. This is not the first time this particular line got the FASTRACK treatment. It has been getting this overnight work since the start of the program back in 2012. Also, take into mind that the IND Eighth Avenue Line will one of the five lines to equipped with Communications Based Train Control (CBTC).

The TA agency will be performing work on the (A), (C), and (E) line in Manhattan on the weeks of November 2nd-6th, 9th-13th, and the 17th-20th .  The work is being done during a period of low subway ridership, and during the ongoing overnight subway shutdown between 1 and 5 a.m., minimizing disruption and impacting as few riders as possible. While crews from MTA New York City Transit perform track maintenance, repair and cleaning in the corridor, MTA Construction & Development will use the track access created during this time to continue installing a modern computer-based signaling system and other upgrades on the Eighth Avenue line, which connects Manhattan’s West Side with Brooklyn and Queens and lines that interface with nearly every other subway line throughout the system.

Employees work their very best to get this line up to both speed and date. The agency at this time will still begging for that $12B funding from Congress. Track – remove debris and repair or replace tie blocks and running rails. FASTRACK work includes Third Rail Operations (clean and remove debris from under and around the third rail), Signals (perform general maintenance on signals and switches), Infrastructure (repair or replace handrails, signs, and tunnel lighting. Clean track drains and repair water damage/leaks), Electronic Maintenance (optimize performance of closed-circuit television monitors and cameras. Inspect and test public address system equipment), and Station Environment (perform high-intensity station cleaning and painting as well as perform elevator and escalator repair work. Clean vents and drains).

During those dates mentioned above, there is no service between 59th St/5th Av-53rd St, Manhattan and Jay Street-MetroTech (Brooklyn)/World Trade Center (Manhattan). So, the service changes will go as follow; (A) train service will operate local between 207th Street, Manhattan and Queens. Trains will run via the (D) line between 59 St and 34 St-Herald Square, then via (F) line between 34 St-Herald Square and Jay St-MetroTech in Brooklyn. (B) and (C) service will end early each night. (D) trains will run local in both directions between 59 St and 125 St. (E) train service will run via the (F) line in both directions between 47-50 Streets Rockefeller Center and 2 Av, which will be the last stop. For alternate service, you can use other lines which also serves the West Side of Manhattan.

In other news, a survey from New York University in conjunction with the TWU (Transit Workers Union) has stated that 1 in 4 transit employees have come in contact with the coronavirus. This week, NYCT has launched Groundbreaking Live Subway Map, Creating Next Generation Map Following Iconic Hertz and Vignelli Designs. I like the concept but the designs could be better. Volunteers go around the subways and hands out mask to people who needs them. Lastly, when you are using mass transit, please wear a mask. Its mandatory by the CDC and it will help save lives.


Friday, October 16, 2020

Service Changes For The IRT Eastern Parkway (Brooklyn) And IND Queens Boulevard Lines: What New Yorkers Need To Know

 By N Miller

*NOTE: This will be a double post since there was no post from last week. 

BROOKLYN, NY – The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will be performing major structural repair work along the IRT Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. Riders along the (2), (3), (4), and (5) lines are going to experience 33 months of service disruptions. This is all of part Governor Cuomo’s plan to accelerate construction on $2B in capital projects during low ridership caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which shocked our world. Preliminary work began in August during previously-planned outages for switch replacement on the IRT Lexington Avenue Line.

This comes during a time of peril. The MTA is facing a $12B deficit that needs to be covered by receiving funding from Washington D.C. If funding is not received, then we would be faced with service cuts, job layoffs, and fare/toll hikes. The agency is working with their contractors, organized labor and dedicated staff to complete projects at an unprecedented pace. Repairs are being done along the (4) line in Brooklyn between Borough Hall and Franklin Avenue-Medgar Evers College. Like any major piece of infrastructure, subway tunnels are periodically in need of repairs. Time, water damage, shifting earth, and normal wear and tear can cause structural issues. Repairs will incorporate upgrades such as installation of drip pans and guardrails using 33,500 square feet of concrete and 12,500 tons of steel. Defects being addressed include concrete conditions, structural columns, roof beams repairs and water intrusion. This requires some weekend suspension of (4) train service between Brooklyn and Manhattan and rerouted (2), (3), and (4) line service on Eastern Parkway. (5) trains do not operate to/from Brooklyn on weekends.

The repair work will continue on weekends until 2023. Elected local officials and community members have all been notified about these changes. For the remainder of this month and all of next month, (4) service would either not operate in Brooklyn, operate regular weekend service, and operate local between Franklin and Atlantic Avenues. (2) & (3) train service will operate via express in either indicated direction between Atlantic and Franklin Avenues. (3) train service will provide coverage whenever weekend (4) service is suspended in Brooklyn. All tracks will be worked on as per order of the planned service changes for that weekend.

QUEENS, NY – Last Friday, the MTA announced it is advancing the installation of a modern signaling system and track maintenance work along the Queens Boulevard Line, as well as other coordinated capital improvements to the power, lighting, and pumping systems. Just like with IRT Brooklyn, the agency is taking advantage of lower-than-normal ridership due to the ongoing pandemic to accelerate work to improve the reliability of the 53rd St Tube pump system, while also advancing with the signal modernization effort, power system upgrades and lighting improvements. Bolstering the readiness of the pump system will help ensure the effectiveness of the pumping system in a key tunnel under the East River during major storms. The pump system project was originally scheduled to start in mid-2021 and is now projected to finish a year ahead of schedule.

This portion of the overarching project to modernize the line is being funded with federal dollars allotted as part of Superstorm Sandy-related improvements. Eventually, the broader signal modernization and resiliency work along the line will allow more trains to operate per hour, increasing customer capacity and enhancing the reliability of train service on the line. MTA officials have conducted outreach to impacted communities and to local elected officials. Work in the 53rd St Tube under the East River is set to begin late Friday evening. This work will require changes in subway service on select weeknights beginning at 9:45 p.m. and ending the following weekday at 1 a.m. and weekends beginning at 9:45 p.m. on Fridays and ending each Monday at approximately 1 a.m.*. *Please note that overnight subway service remains suspended until further notice between 1 am and 5 am every night to facilitate system disinfecting. Also, this line is still in the process of signal modernization, better known as CBTC (Communications Based Train Control).

Weekends and weeknights from now until mid-November, all (E) trains will be running over the (F) line between Roosevelt Ave, Queens and West 4th Street in Manhattan. During the Thanksgiving weekend and the end-of-December holiday period, the 53rd St tube connector (which carries the E and M trains) will be closed. During that closure, the (E) will operate via the (F) line between West 4th St, Manhattan and Roosevelt Ave, Queens. (M) trains will operate between Metropolitan Av and Delancey-Essex Streets, then via the (J) line to/from Chambers Street, the last stop. On the following weeknights (Dec. 7-11, Dec. 14-18, Dec. 21-24, & Jan. 4-8), there will be no service between 50th Street (8th Avenue) in Manhattan and Roosevelt Avenue in Queens. (E) trains will run between Jamaica Center and Roosevelt Av. (F) trains will run in two sections; 179 St to Roosevelt Av, and 21 St-Queensbridge to Coney Island. (R) and (W) services will end early in Queens and Manhattan, replaced by the (N) train via Lower Manhattan. Shuttle Buses to serve closed stations in Queens: Roosevelt Av to Queensboro Plaza; 21 St-Queensbridge-Queensboro Plaza - Court Square. (7) and (N) trains will be available to provide alternate service.

In other news, the (E) Jamaica Reconstruction Project has completed critical track work. The Bronx Redesign Bus Network is on its final draft and has been released. 2.7 miles of bus lanes have been implemented on the 149th Street bus corridor in the Bronx. Elevators are now available on the Bedford Park Boulevard on the IND Concourse Line out in the Bronx. Lastly, the agency is testing State-Of-The-Air Filtration and Purification System on Commuter Rails.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

New York City’s Transit Network Is At Low Risk For Coronavirus Transmission

 By N Miller

NEW YORK, NY – New Yorkers should have nothing to worry about. Or do they? A report was recently released based on the recent research on the COVID-19 transmissions. No correlation was found between the coronavirus spread and the mass transit system. There was some controversy about whether the cause of the virus earlier in the year had anything to do with the subway and bus operations. The more people follow this protocol, the less transmission rate that New York will have.

An American transportation engineer, known as Sam Schwartz, conducted this research. He stated that risks are low on trains and buses because people spend short amounts of time on them, they don't talk during in transit and masks catch droplets and aerosols. He also argued airplanes, on which people spend long period of time, pose much higher risks to travelers and people face much greater risks in their workplaces than during their commute to work.  In the report, researchers looked at COVID-19 cases in New York City and ridership on the city's transit system between June 1 and August 18, 2020. Over that time period, the number of subway and bus rides increased from 1.25 million per day to 2.25 million per day.

Subway ridership is down about 70%. Bus and commuter rail ridership has also decreased by 50% and 75% respectively. Officials have taken several steps to ensure the public that it is safe to ride again. Millions of dollars have been spent cleaning and disinfecting trains, bused and high-touch point surfaces such as kiosks and turnstiles, and a $50 fine has been implemented for those who refuses to wear a mask during their ride. As if things cannot get financially worse, Mayor Bill DeBalsio has implemented a $1,000 fine for people who are caught without wearing a mask. This comes after reports of a spike of COVID-19 cases in various Brooklyn and Queens neighborhood.

The MTA ridership data also showed that traffic at bridges and tunnels is just 20 percent lower than 2019 averages, almost back to pre-pandemic levels. This implies that commuters have shunned subways, trains and buses. They have switched to using cars and taxi cabs. The report warns of 'long-term health consequences' if the public begins riding in cars rather than on transit systems. He added that cars contribute to air pollution and the acceleration of climate change more than transit. Lastly, he said that people consume more calories when they travel via automobile compared to subways or buses, walk to and from a station burns more calories. We should all heed advice from health officials or we would end up with a second wave of this horrid disease.

In other news, today is the first day of school for all city middle and high school students. Service on these following routes were increased on these routes. OMNY (One Metro New York) has surpassed 21 million taps-a new milestone to be proud of. This past Sunday, MTA Bridges and Tunnels officials have joined the late FDNY Stephen Stiller's family and Tunnel to Towers foundation in retracing the hero's last steps going through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel (now the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel) with a walk due to the race being cancelled this year because of the pandemic. Lastly, two Brooklyn (President St and Franklin Ave/Eastern Parkway) subway stations have been co-named in honor Medgar Evers, which is a CUNY school located in Crown Heights.

 MTA NYCT Podcast: Andy Byford & Sally Librera's Resignations And Its Impact On NYCT

QUESTION: I felt like this video was too long. Do you guys think that I should start a podcast series? And if so, would you guys listen? 

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