UPDATE (11.18.2020): Post updated to reflect a revision to the enhanced NYC Subway in The Bronx.
Welcome back to my ongoing series on the New York Transportation Improvement Plan (NYTIP)! When I introduced NYTIP, I outlined a three-point plan for fixing the NYC Subway system: enhance, extend, and expand. This post summarizes the last five posts, which addressed the first point – enhance.
Note 1: Click any image to enlarge.
Note 2: This post includes both the recommended enhancements from previous posts and the “low-hanging fruit” enhancements discussed here.
I. The Bronx
[Fig. 1] The enhanced NYC Subway in The Bronx.
NYTIP enables significant service increases throughout The Bronx, as follows:
Concourse Line Enhancements
As part of the Central Park West de-interlining, the C becomes an 8th Avenue express train and runs to Norwood – 205th Street. This de-interlining enables significant service increases on the C, which would run full-length trains (600′) instead of 480′ trains. It also gives Bronxites direct service to several major transit hubs – namely, Port Authority Bus Terminal, Penn Station, World Trade Center, and Fulton Center. D local service serves The Bronx all day with increased service, preserving connectivity to 6th Avenue, encouraging ridership, and discouraging driving on the Grand Concourse.
As an additional enhancement, NYTIP recommends converting the lower level of 161st Street – Yankee Stadium station to an express stop to improve service and connectivity.
[Fig. 2] 161st Street – Yankee Stadium lower level conversion.
2/5 Service in The Bronx
NYTIP recommends sending all 5 trains to Dyre Avenue, eliminating the rush hour branching that led to infrequent service on the Dyre Avenue branch. This change does not affect 2 service. To encourage ridership, the 5 peak express will run with expanded hours (i.e. beyond rush hours).
[Figs. 3, 4] The enhanced NYC Subway in Manhattan.
Central Park West
Under NYTIP, the 8th Avenue services (A and C trains) run express and the 6th Avenue services (B and D trains) run local, eliminating merging delays at 59th Street – Columbus Circle. A consequence of this change is that A/C trains also run express on 8th Avenue, leaving the E as the sole 8th Avenue local service. I will explore options for increasing 8th Avenue local service in a future post.
NYTIP simplifies service on Broadway by sending Broadway express service (N and Q trains) via 63rd Street and 2nd Avenue, and sending all Broadway local service (R train) via 60th Street. This gives the Second Avenue Subway (SAS) a major service increase. Under NYTIP, all W trains become R trains, enabling significant local service increases. N express trains no longer stop at 49th Street to avoid switching delays; however, the beefed-up R service results in a net service increase to the station.
As part of the Queens Boulevard partial de-interlining, the F runs via 53rd Street and the M runs via 63rd Street. This change eliminates some conflicts with the E in Queens. On 63rd Street, service increases on the M offset the capacity reduction from the M’s shorter (480′) trains.
10th Avenue – 41st Street station
NYTIP provides an infill station at 10th Avenue and 41st Street on the 7 line – a station that NYC should’ve built when extending this line. The Hell’s Kitchen area is very active and would benefit from such a station.
Bowery – Grand Street transfer
An in-system transfer between the Bowery (J/Z) and Grand Street (B/D) stations enhances connectivity by giving J/Z riders direct access to trains serving Upper Manhattan and The Bronx. This investment is optional at this phase of NYTIP, but it has great potential since Grand Street is a future SAS stop.
[Figs. 5, 6] The enhanced NYC Subway in Brooklyn.
Through the South Brooklyn de-interlining, the B and D trains run express on 4th Avenue and skip DeKalb Avenue; N, Q, and R trains all stop at DeKalb Avenue. Using an existing switch provision south of 36th Street, the B runs local from 36th Street to Bay Ridge, while the D runs express to 59th Street and then takes the Sea Beach line to Coney Island. The R runs via 4th Avenue local and West End to Coney Island. Service increases on the R allow the option for peak express service on the West End line between 9th Avenue and Bay Parkway stations, if warranted.
On the Brighton line, the N runs express to Brighton Beach and the Q runs local to Coney Island. Although these changes make the N and Q trains fully contiguous, NYTIP keeps the separate designations due to provisions for both the Cross-Harlem and Bronx branches of the SAS.
3/5 Swap and Junius – Livonia Transfer
NYTIP recommends a capital investment to fix the Nostrand Junction with short track connections. These connections, combined with the 3/5 swap, reduce conflicts and enable service increases on the 2, 3, 4, and 5 lines. Under NYTIP, the 7th Avenue services (2 and 3 trains) serve Nostrand Avenue and the Lexington Avenue services (4 and 5 trains) serve Eastern Parkway and Livonia Avenue east of Franklin Avenue station.
To enhance service, NYTIP provides an in-system transfer between the 5 and L trains at Junius Street – Livonia Avenue, as well as an infill station within the Livonia Yard. The station, located at Linden Boulevard, includes a provision for further extension to the Gateway Center mall, less than one mile from Livonia Yard.
Pitkin Yard (Linden Boulevard) Station
To close a gap in subway coverage using existing tracks, NYTIP provides an infill station within the Pitkin Yard, extending the Fulton Street local service (C train) one stop further east.
Union Avenue – Broadway Station
[Fig. 7] Proposed Union Avenue – Broadway station.
NYTIP prescribes a new Union Avenue – Broadway station that replaces both Hewes Street and Lorimer Street stations on the Broadway El (J/M/Z line). The new station includes an in-system transfer to the G train and additional entrances at Middleton Street, just one block from Lorimer Street. This investment improves subway connectivity and results in slightly faster trips on the J, M, and Z trains.
An optional enhancement is converting Marcy Avenue station to a proper express stop with island platforms. Such a conversion offers a slight improvement to J/Z express service and significant improvement to passenger circulation.
[Fig. 8] Optional Marcy Avenue island platform conversion.
Lafayette Avenue – Fulton Street transfer
While some may argue that this transfer is redundant to the existing one at Hoyt – Schermerhorn Streets (A/C/G) station, consider that the westbound Lafayette Avenue (C) platform and the eastbound Fulton Street (G) platforms are literally next to each other on the same level. Connecting these two platforms requires minimal capital investment. However, connecting the other platforms requires a longer passageway. This is an optional investment at this phase of NYTIP; however, future investments may increase this transfer’s viability.
[Figs. 9, 10] The enhanced NYC Subway in Queens.
Astoria and Queens Boulevard
Under NYTIP, all R trains serve Astoria, giving Astoria riders a major service increase. To preserve service levels at Queens Boulevard local stations, NYTIP extends the G to replace the R; the G would use full-length (600′) trains instead of its current 300′ trains. In addition, NYTIP contemplates an infill terminal for the extended G train within the Jamaica Yard serving Kew Gardens Hills.
North of Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard station, NYTIP contemplates a new storage yard for R trains within the Con Edison property; in the absence of this yard, however, the R reroute to Coney Island provides direct access to Coney Island Yard. To preserve connectivity between the Queens Boulevard and Broadway lines, NYTIP proposes an in-system transfer connecting the Queens Plaza and Queensboro Plaza stations. (Note that Queens Boulevard riders also have the option of taking the M to Lexington Avenue – 63rd Street station for connecting Broadway service.)
On Queens Boulevard, the E and F trains run express and the G and M trains run local. As an additional enhancement, NYTIP recommends extending the M train to Jamaica – 179th Street to allow F trains to run express from there.
Aqueduct Racetrack Station
[Fig. 11] Improvements at Aqueduct Racetrack station.
To improve service on the Rockaway branch of the A line, NYTIP recommends a new southbound platform at Aqueduct Racetrack, along with new entrances at both the north and south ends of the station. This allows for abandonment of the North Conduit Avenue station, which is in very close proximity to Aqueduct Racetrack station.
Taken together, these changes will enable service increases that help achieve the initial baseline service levels contemplated by NYTIP on every line – peak service every 4 minutes or better and off-peak service every 8 minutes or better.
In my next post, I will discuss overnight service on the enhanced NYC Subway. Until next time!