Politicos Visit East Broadway Station; Urge MTA to Fix MetroCard Machines

City Council member Margaret Chin showed her colleagues in government some of the trouble spots in the East Broadway station.

City Council member Margaret Chin showed her colleagues in government some of the trouble spots in the East Broadway station.

If you were passing through the East Broadway station at around noon today, you probably came across a swarm of local elected officials and reporters.

It was part of the, “Riders Respond Transit Tour,” a two-day, 22 station journey to learn about commuters’ biggest subway service concerns. It’s meant to lay the groundwork for a City Council oversight heating next week. As the “summer of hell” continues throughout the transit system, Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo are, of course, squabbling like children over who’s going to pay for the MTA’s $800 million emergency rescue plan. One of today’s messages: the city and state must work together.

This station is, of course, plagued by subway swipe scammers who vandalize the vending machines on a regular basis, and then sell discounted fares to commuters.

During the lunchtime gaggle, a rep from City Council member Margaret Chin’s office passed out a letter sent this week to MTA Chair Joe Lhota. It was co-signed by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Sen. Daniel Squadron and Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou. They wrote:

We are writing about unacceptable conditions at a major gateway to transportation in a primarily low-income neighborhood with few other transit options. For weeks, many, if not all, of the MetroCard vending machines have been out of service at the East Broadway F line station… We request that New York City Transit make the necessary repairs to the (vending machines) immediately so that this station can again provide reliable service to thousands of area riders. We also request the re-installation of the service booth and staffing at the East Broadway and Rutgers entrance. Furthermore, we request that the station be evaluated for other necessary improvements, including correcting a water condition that has left stairwell landings flooded from heavy rainfall in recent weeks.

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In an interview, Assembly member Niou said, “I think the most important thing is that people know about the lack of accessibility for our East Broadway station.” While escalator service was finally restored after a lengthy outage, seniors are forced to lug carts or navigate walkers down stairwells. “Since we have a rapidly aging community right around this area, they really need the access.”

While we were standing near the subway turnstyle, a man opened the emergency door and let a large number of people through. Niou pointed out that, oftentimes, commuters have few options when they can’t buy or refill a MetroCard. “Machines are broken,” explained Niou. “They’re constantly out of service. You’re not able to get in, so this guy is the only option.”

When asked about the city/state feud regarding funding, Niou said, “Our government needs to work together.” While acknowledging that the city should do its part, she added, “I think the state is very much responsible and needs to make sure we have the money to fund the MTA.”

In 2014, at the urging of the SPaCE Block Association, Sen. Squadron leaned on the MTA to make some repairs at the East Broadway station. With huge residential developments in-the-works and thousands of residents flooding into the Two Bridges area in the next several years, there’s obviously a lot more work to be done.

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Sen. Squadron Asks For Full Review of 14a and 14d Bus Lines

14a bus on Grand Street. File photo.

14a bus on Grand Street. File photo.

State Sen. Daniel Squadron is taking another run at improving service on the 14a and 14d bus routes.

In response to persistent complaints from constituents, he has written a letter to the MTA asking for a “full line review” of the routes and ridership information.  In the past, Squadron has requested full reviews of subway lines as a way of focusing the transit authority on critical service issues.

In the letter to Veronique Hakim, president of New York City Transit, he explained, “M14A and M14D bus service is critical to the Lower East Side community. These lines provide much needed public transportation to a transit-starved area. My office receives complaints about long wait times for buses, bus bunching, and unexpected scheduling of the two lines.”

In 2014, the MTA rejected pleas from residents for more frequent 14A service. A transit official said that regular ridership surveys are conducted and schedules adjusted as needed.

Man Struck, Killed By F Train in East Broadway Station (Updated)

File photo.

File photo.

A man was struck and killed this morning by a northbound F train in the East Broadway station. It happened at about 9:30 a.m.

The victim, who has not yet been identified, was declared dead on the scene.

The MTA rerouted F trains over the A line between West Fourth Street-Washington Square and Jay Street-MetroTech.

Delays should be expected on the A, C, E, F and G lines.

We’ll have more detail as they become available.

UPDATE 4:10 p.m. Police sources told the Post that the victim might have been a “passenger who was between two train cars.”  The operator of the train didn’t see what happened and police said there were no witnesses. NY1 reported the man was 38 years old.

 

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Update: Escalator at East Broadway Station is Once Again Out of Commission (Updated 1:39 p.m.)

This morning at the East Broadway station. Photo via Vinny M's twitter feed.

This morning at the East Broadway station. Photo via Vinny M’s twitter feed.

As we reported earlier, the escalator at the East Broadway station isn’t working this morning.  After being closed for a year-and-a-half, the new escalator began rolling late yesterday. But commuters this morning have been telling us that it’s now stopped, forcing people to walk up to street level. Here’s some photographic evidence, via Vinny M’s twitter feed.

UPDATED 1:34 P.M.

East Broadway near Rutgers Street; Con Ed crews are on the scene.

East Broadway near Rutgers Street; Con Ed crews are on the scene.

Allan Drury, a spokesperson for Con Ed, says the utility has crews on the scene, where they’re trying to repair a problem with an electrical cable leading to the East Broadway subway station. The outage is impacting the escalator, as well as lighting in the station.

 

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Escalator in East Broadway Subway Station to Be Replaced

The escalator at the East Broadway station on the F line will soon be demolished.

Over the past few days, commuters at the East Broadway station on the F line learned they’d be climbing more stairs in the next 10 months. According to signs posted throughout the station, the escalator that runs up from the platform to the mezzanine level will be out of service until June 2013. In fact, the MTA plans to demolish the escalator and install a new, more reliable and convenient one in its place.

M9 Bus Route to Expand in 2013

The M9 bus. Photo via batteryparkcity.com.

Good news for those who take the bus downtown: the M9, which travels through the Lower East Side and Chinatown before terminating at City Hall, may be moving even further south in 2013. According to a press release today from State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, the bus line will be extended to Battery Park City in January, reversing budget cuts which curtailed the route in 2010. The bus line will also stretch further north, going as far uptown as 29th Street to provide accessibility to Bellevue Hospital and NYU Medical Center, Silver’s office said today.

In the release, the Speaker said he had approached MTA Chair Joseph Lhota about extending the M9 line because his Lower Manhattan constituents had suffered commuting difficulties since it was shortened in 2010. He noted that the extended service would greatly help children traveling to Battery Park area schools and elderly people visiting hospitals uptown.

A spokesman for the MTA could “neither confirm nor deny” any plans to extend the M9 bus route before July 25th, when the MTA Board will meet to discuss the matter. More specific information about the bus route’s future will be available after the board convenes.

 

MTA Seeks Proposals For Seven Sites, But Not the “Low Line”

19 East Houston Street. Image via Google Maps.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority and the NYC Economic Development Corp. have issued a “request for proposals” (RFP’s) for seven sites that the “MTA no longer requires for the transit network.”  The properties include 19 East Houston Street in Soho, which is a 6,000 square foot lot available for “purchase and possible redevelopment.”

Not on the list: the Essex Street Trolley Terminal, better known these days as “The Low Line.”   By the end of the year, the MTA is expected to issue an RFP for the 60,000 square foot space under Delancey Street, which is being eyed as a grand subterranean park.  The site is featured on a list of MTA real estate holdings it hopes to sell (that list was made public last fall).  Like many other MTA holdings, the Lower East Side trolley terminal is actually owned by New York City Transit (the MTA possesses a master lease.)

“Delancey Underground’s” 2012 Goal: “Submit a Winning Bid” to the MTA

There’s been a lot of talk this year about “The Delancey Underground,” the subterranean park James Ramsey and Dan Barasch want to build in the old trolley station below Delancey Street.  Recently, Barasch joined the founders of The High Line (a project that, in part, inspired their idea) on CUNY-TV.

Not a lot we haven’t heard before. But a couple of points Barasch made are worth highlighting. First, the Delancey Underground team fully expects the MTA (which manages the abandoned terminal) to issue a “request for proposals” sometime soon.  Barasch said, “our goal in 2012 is to submit the winning bid.”

Second, he said a big emphasis right now is demonstrating that “economic value” can be derived from a public space.  There’s no doubt the MTA (and the city) will be tempted to choose among the most lucrative proposals, which presumably would involve commercial real estate development in the 60,000 sq. ft. space.  The High Line has, of course, triggered a real estate boom on the West Side (something not everyone welcomes).  Barasch made it clear he and Ramsey hope to have Community Board 3 and the community-at-large on their side — demonstrating to the MTA that there’s broad support on the Lower East Side for a park rather than, say a subterranean Wal-Mart.