L train construction site on East 14th Street (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
With preparations for the L train shutdown already months in progress, 14th Street residents are now seeing changes to create the incoming busway, increased pedestrian spaces and accommodations for bicyclists.
Residents and local business owners have also expressed concern about the shrinking sidewalk space on the south side of 14th Street right by the First Avenue station and the loss of parking in the same area due to the preliminary work by the MTA.
However, Kaitlin McCready with NYC Transit said at a recent Community Board 6 transportation committee meeting that the agency is aiming to reopen the south side of East 14th Street by the end of this month, and restore parking there in the next several months, ideally by next January.
The Union Square Partnership also sent out updates at the beginning of November, noting that implementation for a shared street on University Place will begin this month. Shared streets are roads where pedestrians and cyclists share space with slow-moving vehicles, and the shared street on University will be between East 13th and 14th Streets. The additions will include creating curb extensions on University Place and East 14th at the southeast and southwest corners, as well as at the northwest and southeast corners of East 13th Street.
The schedule changes add up to over 1,000 additional roundtrips each week. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
Last Monday, the MTA New York City Transit announced details about planned increases in subway service to help commuters who’d normally be riding the L train during the upcoming shutdown.
The additional subway service that will run during the 15-month-long shutdown for repairs and restorations will add up to over 1,000 roundtrips each week across seven subway lines, including additional service on the 7 train that was announced in September.
During weekdays, changes include:
On the G: 66 additional roundtrips; some peak trips extend to 18th Avenue, and some peak trips run between Court Sq-23rd Street and Bedford-Nostrand Avenue
On the M: 62 additional roundtrips, increased peak-hour service and overnight service extends to 96th St to Second Avenue
Orange garbage bags used by the MTA (Photo by Hermann Reiner)
As if the L train construction zone on East 14th Street wasn’t already cluttered enough, over the weekend, Stuyvesant Town resident Hermann Reiner found oversized orange construction bags left at the bus stop, and, he noted, “not for the first time.”
Asked about their purpose, a spokesperson for the MTA told us that the bags were being used to discard debris from “routine” track maintenance unrelated to the ongoing construction to build the Avenue A entrance of the First Avenue L station, and that that there were no hazardous materials being collected.
In response, Reiner said it still didn’t explain why bags were left on the street.
“So why are they dumped at the bus station? It blocked the front door of the 14th Street buses,” said Reiner. “About five weeks ago the bags were on the sidewalk for about 10 days. I had called 311 to clean up; do they need a special cleanup crew?”
Police are looking for a man who grabbed a woman’s purse and attacked her when she tried to get it back.
On Monday, October 8 about 12:30 p.m., the mugger approached the 23-year-old victim as she sat, riding the L train at Sixth Avenue on Monday, October 8. He then forcefully took her purse as the train entered the station. The woman got up and chased the mugger who darted out of the train. When the victim came close to getting bag her bag, the man punched her in the face and she let the purse go.
The man then fled in an unknown direction and the victim, police said, was uninjured and refused medical attention at the scene. The purse contained roughly $60.
The suspect is described as black, in his 20s or 30s; 6’0″ tall and 180 lbs., and was last seen wearing all dark clothing.
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 CrimeStoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com, on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.
Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
A man died after being struck by an L train as it barreled into First Avenue on Tuesday afternoon.
The victim, whose name wasn’t released, had been leaning over the tracks just after noon, police said, before the Eighth Avenue-bound train struck him. According to one source, the man jumped, but police said the investigation is ongoing. The Daily News said the victim was a New York University student.
L train service was canceled in both directions after the incident, resuming a couple of hours later with delays.
Suspects sought for grand larceny
By Sabina Mollot
Police are on the lookout for a pair of teenagers who a fellow straphanger said suddenly stashed a gun into his backpack and then tried to steal his bag to get it back.
On Wednesday, June 27 at about 8:30 p.m., the victim, a 33-year-old man, was walking along the L train platform at the Union Square subway station when he felt something drop into his backpack.
When the victim checked his bag as he walked up the stairs, he found the gun inside. At that point, two men, described as being about 18 years old, suddenly appeared and forcibly tried to take his backpack before they fled on a Brooklyn-bound L train. However, the victim was able to keep his bag and brought the weapon to police.
One of the suspects is described as being black, about six feet tall, 170 lbs. and was wearing a black sweatshirt, black pants and black shoes. The second suspect is described as Hispanic with a light complexion, 5 ft. 8 ins., and 150 lbs. He was wearing a white t-shirt, gray sweatpants and gray shoes. Photos of the two men were recovered from MTA surveillance footage.
Attorney Arthur Schwartz (pictured with Edith Prentiss, a disabled rights activist) says disabled commuters aren’t being considered, nor are the neighborhoods that will be dealing with chaotic traffic. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
- By Sabina Mollot
On Tuesday morning, a coalition of neighborhood groups sued in a Manhattan Federal Court in an attempt to stop the planned L train shutdown starting a year from now. The suit accuses the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the city Department of Transportation and the Federal Transportation Administration of ignoring the needs of disabled riders along the L line, and disregarding the communities who’ll be dealing with constant congestion from diesel-spewing buses.
According to the attorney representing the groups, dubbed “the 14th Street Coalition,” Arthur Schwartz, the FTA “has failed to enforce compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) even though the nearly $1 billion project is being federally funded.” The MTA and DOT meanwhile, he said have failed to prepare a required Environmental Impact Statement, which he said would have compelled the agencies to be more responsive to community input.
The suit aims to halt the work as well as its federal funding until the plans do something about the lack of elevators in each L station and about the expected environmental impacts from substituting the L train with significantly expanded above ground mass transit.
The plan calls for creating a 14th Street “busway” between Third and Eighth Avenues going west and from Ninth to Third Avenues going east. Car traffic will not be able to cross anywhere along the busway. Access-A-Ride will be included along with emergency vehicles. The plan is to enforce these rules during “peak” hours. A constant fleet of shuttle buses will be traveling from Brooklyn to Manhattan over the Williamsburg Bridge and there will also be a protected bike lane on East 13th Street.
Posted in L train shutdown, Transportation
- Tagged 14th street, Arthur Schwartz, buses, discrimination, DOT, East 14th Street, East Village, Greenwich Village, L train, L train shutdown, mass transit, MTA, Stuyvesant Town, transportation
The Union Square Partnership proposed a few technological enhacements for the subway station at a Community Board 5 meeting. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
The neighborhood BID for Union Square wants to help make the chaotic station more navigable for commuters and tourists alike and this week offered some suggestions to Community Board 5. Union Square Partnership director of economic development Monica Munn said that the impetus for the plan is partially due to the changes the neighborhood will be undergoing with the upcoming L train shutdown but also is a push to generally modernize the station.
“(The L train shutdown) is not just about changes happening above ground,” she said, referring to the planning related to bus and street improvements to mitigate the 15 months without the L train. “We’re thinking about what needs to be done to mitigate that as much as possible but we also want to think about modernizing as much as possible.”
Representatives from the Partnership presented the suggestions to members of Community Board 5’s transportation and environment committee this past Monday.
Council Member Carlina Rivera outside her district office in the East Village (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Newly-elected City Council Member Carlina Rivera spoke with members of the community media in a round-table discussion this week, covering affordable housing, the plight of small businesses and the transit woes affecting District 2.
Rivera, who took over the seat from Rosie Mendez, who was term-limited after 12 years in office, previously worked with Mendez as her legislative director and is a long-time community activist working in the East Village and the Lower East Side.
One of the subjects she brought up was the new “tech hub” the city is planning on East 14th Street, and Rivera said she wants to make sure affordable housing is factored into the plan.
“In terms of the zoning, it’s going to be important to look at how we can incentivize affordable housing,” she said. “People are worried that this tech hub is going to be a purely commercial development and one of the most important things we need is affordable housing.”
Police are looking for a man who exposed himself and then began masturbating in front of a woman on the L train on Thursday, January 25.
The 45-year-old victim said it happened at about 9:40 a.m. as the L headed towards 14th Street and Third Avenue. She snapped a photo of the suspect before he fled the train station.
He is described as Hispanic, about 25 years old, 5’11” and was last seen wearing a large backpack with all dark clothing.
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 nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
Stuyvesant Town resident AJ Miller expresses her concerns to transit officials at an open house at the 14th Street Y. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
The MTA and DOT released details on the “Busway” coming to 14th Street during the expected L train shutdown at Community Board 6’s transportation committee meeting on Monday. The agencies also gathered feedback on the plans during an open house at the 14th Street Y last Wednesday.
The new Busway will be on 14th from Third to Eighth Avenues going westbound and from Ninth to Third Avenues going east.
In both directions between Third and First Avenues, there will be a painted bus lane on the street but traffic will not be restricted and cars will be able to head across 14th Street, whereas traffic will not be allowed to cross anywhere along the Busway.
Meeting attendees asked DOT representatives why the Busway was not extended all the way to First Avenue or Avenue C and DOT representative Aaron Sugiura explained that it wasn’t ideal, but that the negatives outweighed the positives.
Posted in Hurricane Sandy, L train shutdown, Transportation
- Tagged 14th street, 14th Street Busway, 14th Street Y, Community Board 6, DOT, First Avenue, L train, L train shutdown, MTA, NYCTransit
By Sabina Mollot
The MTA temporarily suspended L train service between Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenue in Brooklyn and First Avenue in Manhattan after a woman either jumped or fell into the tracks.
Police said the victim was seen jumping into the tracks and that no crime is suspected at this time, although an MTA spokesperson said the woman fell into the tracks. The FDNY said she was hit by a train. The Post reported she was pulled out from underneath a train where she was trapped.
Her age is unknown. The victim, who the MTA said was injured at the Bedford Avenue stop at 11:20 a.m., was taken to Bellevue Hospital. Responders do not yet have information on her condition.
At 12:17 p.m., NYCTransit tweeted that train service had resumed. An emailed advisory noted passengers should expect delays. Shortly prior to that service had resumed, bypassing the Bedford stop in both directions.
Nightmare on East 14th Street
We were all aware of the closing down of the L train in 2019 due to repairs required in the tunnel damaged in superstorm Sandy. This was a known fact to our community and the entire city. However, we were not aware of the construction that would start a few months back building an entrance to the L First Avenue station on Avenue A, as it was almost impossible to find room on the platform.
In any event, about 4-6 months ago, we noticed bus stops were being moved and a lot of fencing was being put up. Then we realized, this is it; the construction would start on a subway entrance to the L train on 14th Street and Avenue A. Instead of being good news, it became difficult to get past the construction site, the noise, the dust, the trucks the workmen standing around, causing causing smoke, litter, clutter as even if our neighborhood is not crowded enough.
The new shelter at the northeast corner of East 14th Street and Avenue B (Photo by Lawrence Scheyer)
By Sabina Mollot
On Saturday, a temporary bus stop shelter was installed on the northeast corner of East 14th Street and Avenue B as preliminary work continues along 14th Street for the looming L train reconstruction.
A rep for City Council Member Dan Garodnick told Town & Village the shelter’s installation is unusual for a couple of reasons. First, because the city had initially said that temporary shelters aren’t normally installed at stops that get relocated due to construction. However, Garodnick was able to convince the city to install this one as well as another at a different stop on Avenue A over the summer.
The new shelter is also unusual because it had to fit alongside the L train construction site and still have an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant sidewalk.
State Senator Brad Hoylman (pictured at right) spoke about the need for transit improvements at a recent meeting of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)
State Senator Brad Hoylman, who’s been an outspoken critic of the bus used by many of his constituents, the M23 a.k.a. the turtle, is now setting his sights on the MTA as a whole, saying he’s sick of seeing funds intended for mass transit get steered elsewhere.
Hoylman brought up the subject on Sunday, November 19 at a public meeting held by the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association during a Q&A period.
The topic was first brought up by a woman who, during a Q&A period, said she didn’t like that a fleet of 200 diesel buses have been announced as a solution to the looming L-Pocalypse in 2019, rather than hybrid buses.
At this, Hoylman said he agreed and wanted to help “wean Albany off of Diesel,” despite the pollution-spewing option being cheaper.
Posted in Hurricane Sandy, L train shutdown, Politics, Transportation
- Tagged albany, congestion pricing, diesel buses, Hurricane Sandy, L train, L train shutdown, mass transit, MTA, State Senator Brad Hoylman