UPDATE (05.19.2021): Post revised to include the M train extension to Kew Gardens Hills in the enhanced NYC subway.
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: Click any image to enlarge.
I. Upper Manhattan and The Bronx
[Fig. 1] The enhanced NYC Subway in Upper Manhattan and The Bronx. Created using Brand New Subway.
Concourse and Inwood Line Enhancements
The Central Park West de-interlining removes several sources of delay, allowing service increases on the A, B, C, and D lines.
On the Concourse line in The Bronx, the C local runs to Bedford Park Boulevard all day with full-length (600-foot) trains and frequent service. This gives Bronxites direct service to several major hubs – namely, Port Authority Bus Terminal, Penn Station, and the World Trade Center. The D runs with more frequent service and expanded peak-directional express service, encouraging transit ridership and discouraging driving on the Grand Concourse.
On the Inwood line in Upper Manhattan, the B replaces the A to Inwood-207th Street station and runs express. The A replaces the C as the CPW/8th Avenue local. With the A retaining high-frequency service and the B running more often, these changes should result in substantial improvements for all riders on these corridors.
2/5 Service in The Bronx
Due to complications presented by current de-interlining options, I am only considering a route simplification at this stage of NYTIP. 2 service remains unchanged, while all 5 trains serve the Dyre Avenue branch. To encourage ridership, the 5 peak-directional express service in The Bronx would run with expanded hours (i.e. beyond rush hours).
Several stations on the 2/5 line south of East 180th Street station sit on tight curves; as such, the enhanced NYC Subway includes several platform straightening projects described here.
[Figs. 2, 3] The enhanced NYC Subway in Manhattan.
Central Park West and 8th Avenue Line Enhancements
On the Central Park West trunk line, the 8th Avenue services (A and C trains) run local and the 6th Avenue services (B and D trains) run express, eliminating merging delays at 59th Street – Columbus Circle. South of Columbus Circle on the 8th Avenue trunk line, the A and C run local, while the E runs express. To preserve regularity on 8th Avenue, the C terminates at the World Trade Center station, while the A and E trains continue to Brooklyn.
The Broadway Improvement removes merging conflicts on the Broadway line by sending N and Q express trains via 63rd Street and 2nd Avenue, and sending R and W local trains via 60th Street. N express trains no longer stop at 49th Street to avoid switching delays; however, beefed-up R and W service results in a net service increase to the station. Owing to capacity limitations south of City Hall station, the W terminates at City Hall on the lower level, while the R continues to Brooklyn.
As part of the Queens Boulevard partial de-interlining, the F runs via 53rd Street and the M runs via 63rd Street. This change removes some conflicts with the E in Queens. On the 63rd Street corridor, service increases on the M offset the capacity reduction from the M’s shorter (480-foot) trains.
10th Avenue – 41st Street Station
To encourage ridership on Manhattan’s west side, the enhanced NYC Subway includes an infill station at 10th Avenue – 41st Street on the 7 line using an existing provision. The Hell’s Kitchen area is very active and would benefit from such a station.
[Figs. 4, 5] The enhanced NYC Subway in Brooklyn.
The South Brooklyn de-interlining removes the chief source of delay on the B, D, N, Q, and R lines. B and D trains skip DeKalb Avenue, while N, Q, and R trains stop at DeKalb Avenue. On the 4th Avenue trunk line, the B and D run express and the R runs local. The R runs via the West End line to Coney Island; service increases on the R allow the option for limited peak-directional express service between 9th Avenue and Bay Parkway stations. Using existing switch provisions south of 36th Street station, the B runs local from 36th Street to Bay Ridge, while the D runs express to 59th Street and takes the Sea Beach line to Coney Island.
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 maintains separate designations due to provisions for SAS extensions to Harlem and The Bronx.
Eastern Parkway Line Enhancements
The Eastern Parkway de-interlining allows service increases on the 2, 3, 4, and 5 lines by fixing the infamous Nostrand Junction and the inefficient Flatbush Avenue – Brooklyn College terminal. 2 and 3 trains serve the Nostrand Avenue branch to Brooklyn College, while 4 and 5 trains continue eastward on Eastern Parkway. East of Franklin Avenue, the 4 runs express to Crown Heights – Utica Avenue, while the 5 runs local to a new infill terminal inside the Livonia Yard between Linden Boulevard and Stanley Avenue.
Fulton Street Line Enhancements
On the Fulton Street trunk line, the A runs local and the E runs express. A trains run to a new infill terminal inside the Pitkin Yard at Linden Boulevard, while E trains split between the Lefferts Boulevard and Far Rockaway branches; this plan retains limited reverse peak-directional rush hour service from Rockaway Park. These changes complement the Central Park West de-interlining discussed above, minimizing potential rider confusion and allowing significant service increases.
Note: If Brooklyn and Queens riders prefer, the A could run express to Lefferts Boulevard and the Rockaways as it currently does, and the E could run local to Linden Boulevard. This wouldn’t interfere with the Central Park West de-interlining. For long-term planning purposes, I will assume A local and E express in Brooklyn.
Hewes Street – Broadway Transfer
The enhanced NYC Subway includes an in-system transfer between the Hewes Street (J/M) station and the Broadway (G) station, enhancing connectivity.
[Fig. 6] Conceptual layout of the Hewes Street – Broadway transfer. Not to scale – the actual passage may be wider than the lines imply.
[Figs. 7, 8] The enhanced NYC Subway in Queens.
Queens Boulevard Line Enhancements
Through the Queens Boulevard partial de-interlining, the E and F run express and the M and W run local. E and F trains run together via 53rd Street, eliminating a merging conflict. M trains extend to an infill station at Kew Gardens Hills within Jamaica Yard, while W trains extend to Jamaica – 179th Street on weekdays; this reduces congestion at Forest Hills and allows F express service on the Hillside Avenue corridor.
Astoria Line Service
R trains serve Astoria with frequent service. This investment includes a new storage yard for R trains within the Con Edison property north of Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard station, freeing up space in other yards for additional subway cars.
G Train Enhancement
While not shown in the figures above, the enhanced NYC Subway includes full-length (600-foot) trains for the G instead of its current 300-foot trains to encourage ridership.
Aqueduct Racetrack Station
[Fig. 9] Improvements at Aqueduct Racetrack station.
To improve service on the Rockaway branch of the E line, the enhanced NYC Subway abandons the Aqueduct – North Conduit Avenue station and replaces it with an infill southbound platform at Aqueduct Racetrack station; the latter includes new entrances at both the north and south ends of the station.
The suite of investments comprising the enhanced NYC Subway are as follows:
- Operational Investments
- Central Park West de-interlining
- South Brooklyn de-interlining
- Broadway Improvement
- Eastern Parkway de-interlining
- Queens Boulevard partial de-interlining
- Crew and subway car reassignments, as needed, to support new service patterns
- Capital Investments
- New switches south of 36th Street station in Brooklyn
- Completed lower level terminal at City Hall (Broadway)
- Platform straightening at 4 stations in The Bronx
- New Nostrand Junction and Flatbush Avenue – Brooklyn College improvement
- Astoria/Con Edison storage yard
- Hewes Street – Broadway transfer
- Infill stations
- 10th Avenue – 41st Street
- Linden Boulevard (Livonia Yard)
- Linden Boulevard (Pitkin Yard)
- Kew Gardens Hills (Jamaica Yard)
- Aqueduct Racetrack (southbound only)
- New subway cars and power substations, as needed, to support service increases
- Other investments, such as ADA upgrades, to encourage ridership
Taken together, these investments should accomplish a key goal of NYTIP – peak service at least every 4 minutes and off-peak service at least every 8 minutes on every line, with more frequent service dictated by ridership.
In my next post, I will discuss overnight service on the enhanced NYC Subway. Until next time!