MTA to reduce L train shutdown by three months

Straphangers waiting for the L at First Ave.

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The MTA announced at the end of last week that the L train tunnel will likely be closed for 15 months instead of the originally-proposed 18 for Hurricane Sandy-related repairs and the shutdown will begin in April 2019 instead of that January.

Transportation blog Second Ave. Subway first noticed the changes to the plan in the board’s materials last Friday and MTA spokesperson Beth DeFalco confirmed via Twitter that the timeline had changed.

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Police arrest subway groping suspect

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Groping suspect, identified as David Cruz

By Sabina Mollot

A homeless man was arrested Wednesday night for allegedly groping two women on the subway in Flatiron.

The man, identified as 33-year-old David Cruz, wore a Santa hat and rose colored glasses during the incidents, which both took place around the same time.

Cops say Cruz has a lengthy rap sheet with 17 arrests, running from minor crimes like turnstile hopping and petty larceny to more serious ones like assault, burglary, sale of marijuana and tampering with evidence.

On the evening of February 8, police said Cruz grabbed a 32-year-old woman’s butt as she waited on the platform at the 23rd Street R/W station. Then he allegedly hung around before doing the same thing to a 34-year-old woman on his way up the stairs to the street. The victims reported the incidents separately at later times.

Cruz has been charged with two counts of forcible touching.

Bus lane violations will now be issued along M23 SBS route

 (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The violations are an attempt to speed up service along the route. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Monday, the city began issuing violations to keep the bus lane clear along the M23 Select Bus Service route on 23d Street.

Doing so, the Department of Transportation said in a press release, is aimed at making the famously pokey route less so.

Each corridor has signage indicating the hours that the bus lanes are operable, and that the lanes are camera enforced. DOT will be letting drivers off with a warning for the first 60 days the cameras are first operated. After that, however, the penalty for driving in a camera-enforced bus lane will be $115. Additionally, since violations are issued against the vehicle, not the driver, points are not deducted from motorists’ licenses.

According to a spokesperson for the department, cameras, bus lanes and other SBS elements, like pre-paid boarding, have already improved bus speeds by up to 30 percent while also increasing ridership and even customer satisfaction.

So far, according to DOT data, 667,859 bus lane cameras violations have been issued and there are nine camera-enforced SBS routes.

Local ones are the M15, along First Avenue and Second Avenue and the M34 along 34th Street. Others in the city are M60, Bx12, Bx41, B44, B46, S79 and Q44.

Hoylman warns Vision Zero could face some opposition from Albany

By Sabina Mollot

Vision Zero, the mayor’s traffic safety initiative, was the subject of a discussion between the mayor and local seniors at the Stein Center on Monday.

The mayor made a last minute appearance at the center, alongside State Senator Brad Hoylman.

Hoylman is also trying to push the agenda in Albany, where many of the city’s traffic regulations are ultimately decided.

However, prior to the discussion (which was closed to press) Hoylman noted there is the chance the mayor could face some political pushback in Albany on traffic safety from Senate Republicans. This would be keeping in tradition with some political payback for the mayor’s effort in 2014 to flip the Republican-controlled Senate.

“We shouldn’t have to go to Albany every time we want to change the speed limits,” said Hoylman. Meanwhile, he added, “More people are killed by (traffic accidents) than a gun.”

The senator said he is trying to get more speed cameras and lower speed limits in more areas, in particular in front of more schools. Another goal is to get large trucks to install side guards to protect pedestrians.

Former city councilwoman: London buses better than SBS

Workers stand by a newly built bus stop for the M23, which now has Select Bus Service, at 23rd Street and Broadway. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Workers stand by a newly built bus stop for the M23, which now has Select Bus Service, at 23rd Street and Broadway. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Carol Greitzer, a former City Council member representing Peter Cooper Village, reached out to T&V this week to respond to the story, “Select Bus Services arrives along M23 route,” in T&V, November 10.
The article cited city data claiming SBS has sped up service on participating routes by 10-30 percent. Its launch on 23rd Street was cheered by local officials, who pointed out the M23 crosstown’s infamous pokiness.

However, in Greitzer’s view, the city came up short in its response, and would have done better if it had followed a fare payment system similar to one in London.

There, she noted, there are two ways to pay a fare, one with a pre-paid card called an “oyster,” bought ahead of time, while another option is paying with a credit card, as long as the card has a readable chip in it, and getting billed monthly.

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Select Bus Service arrives along M23 route

Workers stand by a newly built bus stop for the M23, which now has Select Bus Service, at 23rd Street and Broadway. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Workers stand by a newly built bus stop for the M23, which now has Select Bus Service, at 23rd Street and Broadway. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

After months of planning — and a canceled plan to remove a Stuyvesant Town bus stop — Select Bus Service has come to 23rd Street.

SBS buses have sped up service by 10-30 percent, according to the mayor who made the announcement via a press release on Monday. The news was cheered by local elected officials, who pointed out that the M23 has been one of the city’s slowest buses, even twice winning the annual Straphangers Campaign’s Pokey Award for the slowest route.

“My constituents agree: the M23 is one of the slowest bus routes in the city and it’s often faster to walk than take the bus,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman.

State Senator Liz Krueger said the SBS couldn’t come at a more needed time: ahead of the dreaded L-pocalypse.

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Local pols, Rick Hayduk will speak at Oct. 22 ST-PCV Tenants Association meeting

ST/PCV General Manager Rick Hayduk

ST/PCV General Manager Rick Hayduk

The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association will hold an open tenants meeting on Saturday, October 22, at 1 p.m. in the auditorium of IS 104, 20th Street between First and Second Avenues.Speakers will include: President of the ST-PCV Tenants Association Susan Steinberg, City Council Member Dan Garodnick, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Rick Hayduk, CEO/General Manager of StuyTown Property Services. The general theme will be the state of the community. Each speaker will briefly address issues as they directly relate to and affect Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, from the L train shutdown to the telephone scams targeting the community, from MCIs to rent-freeze month. An open-mic question-and-answer period will follow.

“Tenants will want to hear from our own elected representatives as to what they have been doing on our behalf,” said Steinberg. “We also plan to provide a summary of TA activities during the year. This is an important meeting, and we hope to see a packed auditorium.”

Man fatally struck by L train at Union Square

Feb26 L Train

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A man was hit by a train and killed at the Union Square station on Wednesday afternoon, causing the MTA to suspend service along the L line from Eighth Avenue to Bedford Avenue just before the evening rush. The FDNY received a call at 4:03 p.m. and a spokesperson for the department said that the victim was dead by the time they arrived. The man was hit by a Brooklyn-bound train but service was suspended in both directions.

The investigation is ongoing but a spokesperson for the NYPD said preliminary information shows that the victim jumped onto the tracks. As of 5 p.m., trains were still not running between Manhattan and Brooklyn but service was restored by 5:20 p.m. with residual delays. Commuters were advised to use M14A and M14D local bus service as an alternative in Manhattan and the A, C, J and M for service into Brooklyn.

This is the second time in two days that a person has been struck by a train, although the man who jumped onto the tracks at the Fulton Street A/C station yesterday morning survived.

Man comes close to to hurling boy off 4 train

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Police sketch of suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a man who who pulled an 11-year-old boy off a 4 train last Wednesday into the area between the cars where he then picked him and shook him as if he was going to throw him off the train.

The boy bumped his head on the side of the train while this was happening. At some point, a 26-year-old female passenger intervened, and managed to pull the victim back into the train car. The good samaritan and the boy got off the southbound train at Union Square while the suspect remained on the train. This happened at around 3:30 p.m.

According to a police officer, the incident began with play fighting that was going on aboard the train and it escalated to a point where the victim’s involvement or lack of it was enough motivation for the suspect to pull him outside. The victim and the suspect did not know each other beforehand and the woman didn’t know either of the individuals. There were also other passengers aboard the train car though it was unclear how many.

The suspect of the crime, which went from being classified as reckless endangerment to assault by police, is described as black, in his 30s and 6’0 tall. He was last seen wearing black sweater and a multi-colored baseball cap.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Straphangers weigh in on ways to deal with L train shutdown

Paul Steely-White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Paul Steely-White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A transit-focused nonprofit has enlisted the public to come up with ideas to help make the looming L train shutdown less painful, and the first of three workshops on the subject took place on Monday night at Town and Village Synagogue.

There didn’t seem to be any new ideas but rather people stressing options brought up previously, such as the street being shut down to car traffic and beefing up the supply of buses.

Paul Steely-White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, said that regardless of the overall plan, the public feedback process could be a good opportunity to improve bus transit in the city.

Meanwhile, he added that the imminent shutdown will be a serious problem if it’s not met with proactive solutions beforehand.

“We’re trying to get our heads around the thought of what happens if there’s no contingency,” he said. “I don’t think anyone thinks it’ll just be ok if we do nothing.”

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MTA will conduct study on a traffic-free 14th Street during L train shutdown

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State Senator Brad Hoylman (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The MTA will be conducting a study on a plan to close 14th Street to traffic for the duration of the planned 18-month L train shutdown.

The feasibility study was announced by State Senator Brad Hoylman on Wednesday, who, along with quite a few other elected officials, had requested the study.

“More than 50,000 people cross Manhattan daily on the L train below 14th Street,” Hoylman said. “It’s crucial that we have a plan in place to accommodate these riders given the L train will be closed for 18 months starting in January, 2019.”

He added that the study includes a proposal for a dedicated bus lane and expanded cyclist and pedestrian access.

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ST service roads getting repaved

Sept1 Service road crosswalk edit

The service road along East 14th Street (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

As Town & Village reported last month, the service roads around Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village will be getting repaved as will any curb cuts in need of smoothing out.

That project, a result of ongoing complaints from residents to Council Member Dan Garodnick’s office, is set to begin this Friday with milling. The actual paving will be done from September 12-16.

The repaving is being funded by the Department of Transportation separately from related work being done this summer to make the islands around the complex more user-friendly to the disabled by widening the walkways. That project had a price tag of $200 thousand, which was allocated by the City Council.

Both projects have come after years of wear and tear.

“For too long, the city has neglected these crucial arteries serving the residents of ST/PCV,” Garodnick said, “and residents constantly navigate the bumps, pools of still water and general unevenness of these streets.”

He added, “I am very pleased that these upgrades are finally moving forward.”

The work will be done on the Avenue C, First Avenue, 14th Street, 20th Street and 23rd Street service roads.

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L train will close for 18 months in Manhattan in 2019, MTA says

Straphangers waiting for the L at First Ave. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Straphangers waiting for the L at First Ave.

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The MTA announced this morning that the L train will be completely shut down between Brooklyn and Manhattan for 18 months beginning in January, 2019.

According to social media, email surveys and testimony from public meetings, 77 percent of respondents were in favor of the 18-month full shutdown, the MTA said.

The 11 community boards in the affected areas along the L, which hosted meetings about the two options prior to the decision, were also more in favor of a full closure than of a partial shutdown. In the joint meeting hosted by Community Boards 3 and 6 at the end of last month, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney expressed her strong support of the full closure, basing her decision on a number of meetings with the community that she had attended previously.

“During this process, it quickly became clear to many in affected communities that a shorter, full closure will be less painful than a longer period with minimal service, as long as there are broad and varied alternative ways to get to work while the line is closed,” Maloney said following the announcement. “I’ve argued that most people will accept full closure, as long as it takes them no more than 20 extra minutes to reach their destinations, and I look forward to working with the MTA to make sure this happens.”

The New York Times first reported the news on Monday morning, noting that officials hope to finish the repairs, made necessary because of damage from Hurricane Sandy, as quickly as possible to limit the impact on riders.

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More buses promised during L train shutdown

For Stuyvesant Town and East Village residents, a bright spot of the looming L train shutdown is a new subway entrance on Avenue A, as pictured here in a newly released rendering.

For Stuyvesant Town and East Village residents, a bright spot of the looming L train shutdown is a new subway entrance on Avenue A, as pictured here in a newly released rendering.

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Residents affected by the imminent L train closure got a visit from New York City Transit officials last Wednesday in a meeting organized by Community Board 3 and 6, held at Mount Sinai Beth Israel.

At the meeting, NYC Transit reps promised a beefed up bus fleet around Stuyvesant Town to deal with the planned L train shutdown.

Agency Operations Planning Chief Peter Cafiero said, “If there is no service in Manhattan, then we need to build up the bus fleet. We could be implementing what I’m calling the M14 SBS. It would serve Stuyvesant Town more directly by looping up to East 20th Street.”

This was the second of what the agency has said would be a number of meetings to both get feedback and inform the community about the planned shutdown, which won’t start until 2019. The agency also said at this recent meeting that they will be hosting a meeting some time in the fall just for Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village residents.

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Cops looking for man who exposed himself on 4 train

June23 public lewdness

public lewdness suspect

Police are on the lookout for a man who allegedly let it all hang out on a 4 train.

According to a witness, on Sunday, June 12 at around 7 p.m., as the southbound train approached 14th Street and Union Square, the man had his privates exposed.

The suspect is described as white and 55 to 65 years-old.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

All calls are strictly confidential.