NYTIP: enhancing the nyc subway, part 8: the low-hanging fruit

Welcome to my ongoing NYTIP series! Recall my three-point plan to fix the NYC Subway – enhance, extend, and expand. Though I started talking about subway extensions recently, I’m circling back to point one – enhance – to address some low-hanging fruit.

Point one – enhance – addresses subway improvements using existing infrastructure; hence, I focused on de-interlining. However, there is another way to use existing infrastructure to improve subway service.

Consider the Harlem – 148th Street terminal on the 3 line. This is an example of a line extension using existing tracks (in this case, tracks inside a train yard). As it turns out, there are several other yards amenable to similar enhancements – with a few minor modifications, of course.

I. Concourse Yard

In 2016, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. proposed decking over the Concourse Yard to spur development. However, nothing has come of it. Of course, there’s low-hanging fruit here that could catalyze development, so under NYTIP:

Extend the B train to a new station inside the Concourse Yard.

[Fig. 1] B extension to Concourse Yard.

Any development at the 19-acre Concourse Yards site should be transit-oriented development – and what better way to catalyze such development than the B extension? Based on the track layout, one could site the Concourse Yards station as follows:

[Fig. 2] Conceptual layout of the Concourse Yards station.

NYTIP recommends building this station before any development – if you build it, they will come, as they say.

II. Livonia and Pitkin Yards

Several subway lines serve the East New York neighborhood in Brooklyn. Under NYTIP, these are the 5, A, C, J, L, and Z trains. However, opportunities exist to provide greater coverage, so under NYTIP:

Extend the 5 train to Livonia Yard, and extend the C train to Pitkin Yard.

[Fig. 3] 5 and C train extensions to their respective yards on Linden Boulevard.

On the 5 line, the Livonia Yard is elevated between Hegeman and Stanley Avenues. NYTIP contemplates a station on the far west side of the yard between Linden Blvd and Stanley Ave. The proposed station design includes a provision for further extension to the Gateway Center mall, less than a mile from the yard. One could build the extension as part of the same project that adds a station at Livonia Yard, as follows:

[Fig. 4] 5 train extension to Gateway Center.

NYTIP recommends the infill station at Livonia Yard and the Gateway Center extension.

On the Fulton Street line (A/C trains), NYTIP contemplates a C train extension to Pitkin Yard. This yard is already decked over – the Linden Plaza apartments sit atop the yard – and there are other housing complexes in close proximity. NYTIP recommends this extension.

III. Jamaica Yard

Under NYTIP, the M extends to Jamaica – 179th Street on weekdays. To mitigate congestion at Forest Hills – 71st Avenue station and increase subway coverage:

Extend the G train to Kew Gardens Hills.

[Fig. 5] G train extension to Kew Gardens Hills.

This extension is tricky because Jamaica Yard is surrounded by highways and not easily accessible. Thus, NYTIP contemplates a station on the yard’s east side, as follows:

[Fig. 6] Conceptual layout of the Kew Gardens Hills station inside Jamaica Yard.

This station requires several elements – an overpass over the Van Wyck Asthmaway, new crosswalks at 77th Avenue and Park Drive East, and a new entrance area where no sidewalks currently exist. Thankfully, existing traffic-calming measures make this arrangement possible with minimal disruption.

Taken together, these yard extensions are the low-hanging fruit of subway extension in NYC. These four extensions – all using existing trackage – would improve travel for tens of thousands of people.

In my next post, I’ll return to point two – extend – and discuss the 7 train. Until next time!

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