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.

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