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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, March 21, 2020 2:44 PM
 
Hi there. How are you doing? While we miss seeing you on the trains and buses, THANK YOU to those who've been heeding our COVID-19 guidance and staying home if you can. It's your actions that make for a healthier system for our real heroes—healthcare workers, first responders, transit workers and more. And for those of you who do HAVE to travel this weekend, remember there's no L between 8 Av in Manhattan and Broadway Junction in Brooklyn. Use these alternatives.

So how are we doing? Across our whole system, we are focused on ensuring we can deliver reliable service for those who need it (see above) in light of COVID-19. Finishing the L Project will help us do that. And as we make progress, we're doing a few things differently to keep our construction and engineering teams as safe as possible. Read on for more details. 

Stay home, and stay safe this weekend.
 
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Keeping our distance. Working with our contractors, we've implemented additional safety measures to protect the health of our construction project teams because of COVID-19.

Photo: Trent Reeves  / MTA / March 14, 2020

Proceed with (even more) caution: Our new coronavirus construction protocols

As you've learned from the L Project, our construction jobs require a diverse team of project managers, field inspectors, engineers, electricians, site managers, designers and more. This means that we have teams both in the field and in offices.

We've taken proactive measures to protect these workers in light of coronavirus, specifically named "COVID-19." As part of the MTA's efforts, we're closely monitoring the situation and are making changes as things shift. Here is an inside look at how we're managing the L Project differently right now:

Changes for all projects
  • Any non-essential team members are working remotely
  • Regular communications are sent from MTA Construction & Development team to all contractors with specific construction industry-related information from the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), New York State and New York City Departments of Health on protections from coronavirus and reminders about OSHA compliance
  • Dedicated MTA hotline was created and is available for contractors, staffed 24/7
  • Smaller work teams were created
  • Project teams now submit daily safety report focused on coronavirus safety compliance
Changes within field offices
  • On-call cleaning services were set up in addition to regular office cleaning
  • Physical distancing was put in place between desks for remaining essential staff
  • Team meetings have been shifted to conference calls
Changes to worksites
  • Daily safety inspections now take place for coronavirus protocol compliance
  • Shift start times are staggered to limit and maintain worker distancing
  • New personal protective equipment (PPE) has been issued, including gloves and eyewear
  • Sanitizers are stocked on each worksite
  • New portable wash stations were added with soap and disposable towels
  • Additional trash removal and cleaning of portable restrooms has been scheduled
  • Coronavirus is a daily discussion item for all "toolbox talks" (team meetings at the beginning or end of shifts)
 

Coronavirus: Our latest

We're updating our dedicated coronavirus and COVID-19 webpage daily with updates on service status, planned construction changes, our customer service facilities and more.

Click the button below to get the latest.
Read our coronavirus latest here→
 

L Project service calendar

 The no-L-service-weekend is here. If you have to travel this weekend—thank you grocery store workers, home healthcare aides, police officers, doctors and more—remember that there is no L service between 8 Av and Broadway Junction. Plan your trip with these alternative subway and bus options.

More technical details are in the construction rundown below, but here's the big picture of what we're doing:
  • Connect negative and positive feeder cables from the new Avenue B substation to the circuit breaker house to both Q1 and Q2 tracks
  • Connect power cables from the new Maspeth Avenue and Harrison Place substations in Brooklyn to the tracks, following the prior successful energization of low tension electric service
  • Restore the contact rail section gap at Bedford Av on both Q1 and Q2 tracks
  • Install negative equalizers between Q1 and Q2 tracks
  • Cutover the radio antenna cables to the new system on both Q1 and Q2 tracks
  • Complete the new emergency alarm and telephone system cutover from the old system for both Q1 and Q2 tracks
  • Complete final inspections for Bushwick Av-Aberdeen St, Halsey St, Morgan Av and DeKalb Av Stations for accessibility and station platform renewal project
Made it all the way through this list? Feeling hopeful that we're getting to that light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel moment? Us, too. 
Find your alternate service options here→
 

Glamour shot of the week: Zooming out

We haven't had a shameless tunnel shot in awhile. Rails, walls, fiber-optic monitoring, racks and cables, all done or in final testing.
 
Photo: Trent Reeves  / MTA / March 14, 2020
 

Construction look-ahead: Week of 3/21/2020

Big weekend for L Project progress as noted above. Here are some details on what we'll be doing:
  • Review and act on the final checklist through the tunnel and 1 Av, and at the two fan plants
  • Continue progress at Bedford Av: install new turnstiles, relocate MetroCard machines, repair steel columns, repair mosaic, make fixes on the platform and powerwash it, pour concrete for one of the new stairs
  • Chop and pour for a new discharge pipe connection near Avenue A north side
  • Install pump room door lock
  • Pull negative cable at N 7th St and Avenue D
  • Terminate the old cross-track negative equalizer and the old positive return cables
  • Remove the temporary power gap jumper and communications cables
  • Install final devices, plates and covers at the pump room
  • Continue working on the negative equalizer and prepare to connect both tubes: chop for the negative cables and the equalizer crossover
  • Pour new concrete in chopped areas
  • Install new flood doors and planks
  • Install conduit for fiber, fare machines at Bedford Av and fire alarms at 1 Av
  • Cutover for the new radio antenna
  • Cutover for the traction power
See our full construction plan→
 

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  • Member since
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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, March 28, 2020 2:15 PM
Hello. As we mentioned last week, providing reliable subway service for our essential workers is our top priority right now. That includes the L Project, and that's why we're really pushing to finish the tunnel part of the job—the reason we are running L trains on a single-track—now more than ever. We sat down (virtually!) with Project CEO Shawn Kildare to hear how we were able to gain ground last weekend with full access to both tubes in the tunnel.

Plus, an update on our environmental monitoring protocols and a look-ahead on the work that's coming up.

Thank you for staying home if you can this weekend.
 
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The L tunnel. Even more important to getting right and getting done now—so we can deliver the most reliable service for essential workers under the COVID-19 guidance.

Photo: Trent Reeves  / MTA / March 14, 2020

Why finishing the tunnel is a big deal—especially now

We know you're all staying home and off trains and buses if you can. Thank you. And we made some changes of our own this week. Our focus is on delivering reliable service for those essential workers among you, while balancing major reductions in ridership and the safety of our transit workers.

So we implemented our NY Essential Service Plan this week. The plan is all about reliable service—it keeps the peak AM and PM service to get first responders and other essential personnel where they need to go.

We're also thinking about service reliability when it comes to our construction projects. So one thing that hasn't changed, but has become even more top of mind for us, is completing the tunnel part of the L Project. We need as much flexibility in our subway system as possible right now, from crew availability to tracks to run service on. Finishing the tunnel work will give us more flexibility.

We talk with Shawn Kildare, Project CEO, about how he's managing the job with this in mind and what progress we made last weekend.

L Project Weekly: Shawn, so last weekend was a huge opportunity to get work done in the tunnel. How'd it go?

Shawn Kildare: That's right. We had access to both tubes in the tunnel. This is so key at this stage of the project. There are many systems we're replacing that have pieces in both tubes, but for them to work, they have to be connected. 

LPW: Like the power? 

SK: Yes, cutting over the traction power was a major item on our list this weekend. We got that done. This also allowed us to remove the temporary power systems we had in place. Things like the temporary positive jumpers and hand switch could be removed now that we have the permanent equipment in place and connected.

LPW: Got it. Any other connections like this happen?

SK: Another big one in the power category. To power the trains, we have to power the facilities that make that happen! We have a whole new circuit breaker house, in addition to the existing one. And of course, there's the new substation near 1 Av Station. We used this past weekend to cutover the traction power to all three of these facilities. 

LPW: Quick note to readers: We covered these kinds of systems we had to "cutover" in L Project Weekly issue #61—check it out here

Okay, so what else got done this weekend?

 
SK: One thing before I dive in. This project is totally unique because of the inventive way we're running service, quite literally, around the construction work. Yeah, it's definitely better than running no service between Manhattan and Brooklyn like the original approach. But it's still a service disruption. The coronavirus situation makes it even more important that we preserve as much flexibility in our system as possible, and that means the fewer disruptions the better, both for the essential workers who need us and our transit workers making it all possible. 

LPW: It's definitely a balance of working and keeping service going.

SK: Correct, but it's more than that. The goal here is all about building in flexibility to maximize reliability. That's how I'm looking at this job. And while the whole job is critical, this makes the tunnel work in particular even more important to get done. We did a whole bunch of work this past weekend, in the tunnel, at the substations and at stations, and I was especially mindful of the tunnel work. 

LPW: Right so we covered the system cutover work. What else got done in the two tubes?

SK: If you can believe it, more cables. We pulled and activated what are called "500kcmil cross-track negative equalizers." These were installed in prep for the traction power cutover. We also completed pulling the new cellular service 12-strand ribbon fiber cable and strapping it onto the messenger cable. Then there was the conduit. We continued installing 3/4 conduit to power the cellular service.

LPW: I know you've said you're doing a ton of testing in the tunnel at this stage, too, in parallel with installing the new stuff. What did that look like this weekend?

SK: We've been inspecting as we go, but the discharge system requires a phased approach to test. This includes the pump room, of which we've basically done a complete overhaul. All the pumps are installed, and we've been testing these as the pieces get installed. Now we've started doing the actual pressure and power testing, making sure it can all run even under the most extreme conditions. This has to happen in phases before we can fully commission it into operation. So far, we've checked the insulation for leaks and the general operation of the discharge pipe. We've also gone through our whole checklist in the pump room and put the finishing touches on it, like closing up the exterior wall on the side of the Brooklyn-bound track. 

LPW: Great progress, then?

SK: Yes, and there was a ton of work at Bedford Av and 1 Av, too. There's a lot for customers to look forward to when they return.

LPW: Always the optimist. Thanks, Shawn, to you and the whole team for pushing the job forward, all with an eye toward reliable service during these tough times.
 

Coronavirus: Our latest

 We're running the NY Essential Service Plan in response to COVID-19.

Real-time data in apps may not be fully accurate, so use our website for the most up-to-date information.

Click the button below for the full details on our protocols and service, or the map image to the left for the current map.
See service information and more→
 

FYI on environmental monitoring: Continuing, just differently

Remember how we've been monitoring for both dust and silica since the project started, and posting the reports every week here for you? Well, at this point in the project, all of our demolition activities are completed. This was the work that could have potentially produced silica. Great news, for sure. (Note: if you haven't had time to go through all of our reports, the summary is that there have been no exceedances of the public health standards at any point in the project.)

We're going to keep monitoring and testing for any dust, using the fixed monitors throughout the job site, and reporting the data online weekly. This also means that we'll still get automatic alerts if the levels reach a certain point so we can take real-time action. Going forward, we're going to pause our silica monitoring.

Making this change also aligns with our construction policies under COVID-19. The silica testing requires staff to go on-site several times during construction shifts, and as we mentioned last week, we're limiting staff on the job site to only essential personnel.

If anything changes about our work and we have to do some kind of demolition activity, we can and will reinstate the silica testing. In the meantime, you can continue to get those weekly environmental monitoring reports from us. Click the button below.

Get all our environmental monitoring reports→
 

Glamour shot of the week: The end of the tunnel

Near one of our fan plants at the end of the tunnel, a crew member inspects the installed systems. All new or replaced items in the tunnel go through their own testing process before being commissioned into action.
 
Photo: Trent Reeves  / MTA / March 14, 2020
 

Construction look-ahead: Week of 3/28/2020

More testing, removing the temporary systems and progress at the two stations. Here's what we're working on:
  • Review and act on the final checklist through the tunnel between Bedford Av to 1 Av Stations
  • Install new station markers at Bedford Av and 1 Av
  • Remove the temporary lighting and Wi-Fi systems
  • Remove the old Con Edison feeder cables at 1 Av
  • Install new fiber, conduit and wire at 1 Av
  • Install and test the emergency lights and horn system at Bedford Av
  • Troubleshoot the 15 horsepower pumps in the pump room and pressure test the discharge line between both fan plants
  • Remove the third rail gap jumpers
  • Splice the new cellular service cable in 17 places
  • Conduct the 3D tunnel scan survey
See our full construction plan→
 

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, April 5, 2020 5:59 AM
Hi there. We've been pretty reflective lately. Example: Last year at this time, our teams were working around the clock to get this L Project thing off the ground, and some of you were worried it couldn't be done. Not sure about you, but we'd prefer that challenge over this any day.

But just like the start of the L Project, we'll get through this by working together. Thank you again to the many of you who've stayed off the subways and buses. And thank you to our essential workers for whom we're operating. 

In the meantime, we're here to give you what you need. Updates to the L Project service alternatives if you still need to ride with us. Or for those at home, some new tidbits we uncovered about the fiber-reinforced polymer panels to satisfy your transit trivia needs.

Hang in there. See you soon, and do these things in the meantime.
 
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We're running the MTA Essential Service Plan. That includes changes to frequencies for your L Project service options. 

Photo: Trent Reeves  / MTA / March 18, 2019

Plan ahead: L Project service changes in effect with MTA Essential Service

Able to stay home? Great. Need to ride the subway? We're here for you, too. 

We implemented our MTA Essential Service Plan last week, and continue to make changes as the situation warrants. This includes changes to the L Project-related service, so we wanted to highlight the details here for you.

 Here's what you need to know if your travel is essential:

Right now, the routes are still the same. So the M is still going up to 96 St-2 Av on nights (until 1:30 a.m.) and weekends.

You'll see trains and buses running less frequently, as is the case with other changes in the MTA Essential Service Plan. Details:
 
  • Extra L service in Brooklyn on nights and weekends is suspended. This means that L trains will continue to run through Manhattan and Brooklyn while we're working, but there are not the extra trains between Lorimer St and Canarsie Rockaway Pkwy as had been there before.
  • Extra trips on the G and 7 lines as well as the M14 SBS are suspended.
  • M trains are still running the special route up to 2 Av-96 St on nights and weekends, but with less frequency.
Get full service details here→
 

Transit trivia: FRP edition

Want to impress dad on your next video chat? Need fresh material for your transit trivia Houseparty? 

For those of you who’ve been reading this newsletter from the beginning, you know we've covered a lot of wonky ground already. So we turned to the people who love the technical details more than anyone we know—our engineers and designers. 

Here are three fresh facts about the structural fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) we're using in the tunnel to create the new walls between the tube and the tracks:

1. The new FRP structures can support a load of 150 pounds per square foot—about the same strength as a half-inch thick steel plate. This level of strength means that if the entire concrete mass behind it were to collapse vertically and horizontally at the exact same time, the FRP would withstand it.

2. There are five different styles of FRP structures used in both tubes. For example, the structures that are used near a manhole are different than the ones used to go behind the new discharge pipes.

3. The structures are made of a combination of phenolic resin and glass fiber material. In addition to creating its strength, these materials are also what makes it fire resistant and meet National Fire Protection Agency code requirements for non-combustible materials.
 

Glamour shot of the week: Looking down to look ahead

It may not look like much. But this dizzying view shows a completed elevator infrastructure. Putting in place the machinery and finishing touches is the easy part. This is one of the two elevators at 1 Av Station—more to look forward to when you return.
 
Photo: Trent Reeves  / MTA / February17, 2020
 

Construction look-ahead: Week of 4/4/2020

More of our time is focused on checking and double-checking our new systems. This is what we're up to in the week ahead:
  • Review and act on the final checklist through the tunnel between Bedford Av to 1 Av Stations
  • Work on checklist items for the racking system and antenna
  • Continue installing station markers between Bedford Av and 1 Av
  • Install structural FRP at Avenue D and N 7 fan plants
  • Continue working on conduit and cabling for: communications systems, lighting, exhaust fan in the tunnel lighting room, firm alarm at 1 Av
  • Install new cellular system equipment between Bedford Av and 1 Av
See our full construction plan→
 

Stay connected

Learn more→
 
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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, April 11, 2020 1:13 PM
Hello. Recently, it feels like talking about the L Project isn't the most important thing, given everything going on. But then we remembered what this project is all aboutresiliency. And resiliencythe ability to flex under pressure and bounce back afterward—is more important than ever in times of crises.

So what can the L Project teach us about resiliency? We share a short-list of our favorite stories to inspire you.

Plus, staying on the resilience theme, we talk cables and cable racks in another edition of L Project transit trivia. 

Stay safe and stay home if you can.
 
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Creating resiliency takes fresh perspectives. For the L Project, that meant rethinking cable management, among other things.

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA / November 18, 2019

What the L Project can teach us about resiliency

Resiliency and the L Project. What do you think of first? Preventing another Superstorm Sandy-type of impact? 

Us, too. That's why we're here in the first place. But in thinking more about what it means to be resilient in the face of a crisis like the one we're in now, we came across many other L Project examples that tell a bigger story. Individuals across a big organization working to collaborate as a new kind of team. Women overcoming the challenge of working in a male-dominated industry. A new approach to managing cables so they can be upgraded more easily.

Here are five qualities of resiliency and some reading recommendations to keep you going during this tough time:

SYSTEMS-THINKING
Flood prevention takes following the water...all the way to the fan plants.

Resiliency means thinking not just about the one thing you're trying to protect, but rather about the whole system. It's why as many of us as possible are staying home now to #StoptheSpread. It's also why our L Project flood-prevention plan extended to...fan plants?

DECENTRALIZATION
The Slack channel that saved the L Project.

People on station platforms. In the Rail Control Center. At MTA HQ. All of these teams needed to work as one unit to make the L Project go smoothly. Their story about using a new communications tool is a case study in turning a decentralized team into an advantage during a crisis.

REDUNDANCY
Trains need power. Power needs a back up plan. Substations step in.
Planning for the worst is a balance. We're all living it now. How do we expend our limited resources in a way that makes sense for keeping things moving now AND in case something goes wrong in the future? For the L Project, we chose to invest in a long-term safety net: more substations. Yes, they mean we can run more trains on the L line. But they are also our key to redundancy in a complicated power system.

DIVERSITY
Women are working in construction. Their fresh perspectives changed the L Project.

Managing crises takes thinking of everything. And diversity in experiences and knowledge makes that possible. Our women working on the L Project share their stories on how they brought this diversity.

FLEXIBILITY
Technology changes. Cable racking systems make it easier to upgrade.
Resiliency means not being locked into one thing. That's what inspired us as we looked to mount our cables into cable racking systems instead of permanently encasing them in concrete. Read below!
Get more stories→
 

Transit trivia: Cables and cable racks edition

We got a lot of positive feedback on last week's FRP fresh facts. Keeping with the resiliency theme and doing a deeper dive into some elements as we approach the tunnel completion, here are three new tidbits about our cable racking system:

1. The new cable racking system is stainless steel and is 20 inches high. We customized it with what are called "open-pocket" style arms—having them means we can quickly take cables off of the racks for maintenance, or upgrade them with new technology in the future. Now that's resilient.

2. The cable racking system is made up of several 12 ft-long sections. Each piece is bonded together using a special material designed to reduce what's called "stray current." This protective measure is important because stray current can cause corrosion.

3. To be compliant with fire protection codes, we used fire-resistive metal clad cables. Each cable has a cover on it called a "low-smoke zero-halogen jacket." Additionally, where the cables are spliced and connected, the material used to connect them is designed to withstand total water submersion
 

Glamour shot of the week: Lighting the way to resiliency

Still looking for more uplifting examples of resiliency? One more then: our greener, easier to maintain lighting system. It automatically tells us if one of the lights is out, which means less time wasted by our crews on unnecessary inspections, and less time disrupting trains to do it.
 
Photo: Trent Reeves  / MTA / September 9, 2019
 

Construction look-ahead: Week of 4/11/2020

Finishing touches on the drainage system, more work on the Bedford Av station expansion and lots of testing:
  • Review and work on the final checklist items between Bedford Av and 1 Av Stations
  • Work on checklist items for the electrical system
  • Pour concrete for the remaining new drains near Bedford Av
  • Remove the temporary tunnel lighting and power system in the current tube
  • Advance the mezzanine expansion at Bedford Av: Install conduit and wire, new firm alarm cables and smoke detectors and cellular fiber cable
  • Continue testing the new pumps in the pump room
  • Continue installing the new cellular equipment from Bedford Av to 1 Av Stations
See our full construction plan→
 

Stay connected

Learn more→
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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, April 18, 2020 1:26 PM
Hi there. While we miss seeing your faces, it's been nice continuing to connect virtually. Your kindthoughtful, sometimes hilarious, and always creative tweets have kept us going. Thanks for staying in touch.

Now, here's one more way you can connect with us—we want your opinion on how we communicated with you before and during the L Project. Your feedback will help us do better for future big projects. More below. 


Plus, a few things to look forward to when you're back with us. A rundown of our remaining checklist for the tunnel rehabilitation part of the L Project (our work expanding stations and adding accessibility is still ongoing). And another round of L Project trivia—scroll to learn what kind of rail the L now has that no other part of our subway system does. 

Be well, stay home if you can, and remember to wear your mask or face covering if you must go out.
 
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A preview of the (almost) finished product. Here you can see the new discharge pipe, cable racking system and cables, wireless and energy-efficient lighting system, FRP, fiber optic monitoring system (all left), and more cables, FRP and fiber optic monitoring system (all right). And of course in the middle, new continuous welded rail. 

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA / March 8, 2020

Progress report: What's left to do in the tunnel?

We're still on track to complete the part of the L Project that's in the tunnel—the work that requires us to run L service on just one track on nights and weekends between Manhattan and Brooklyn, limiting service.

We checked in with our project team to see what big items we have left. Here's their list, and our translation of what it means:
In the Brooklyn-bound tube (Q1):

1. Close the temporary third rail gap.
Translation: Completing the temporary power set up we have while we're working toward the permanent state. 

2. Pump room: Small pump testing and commissioning.
Translation: We are doubling our capacity to pump water out of the tunnel with our new pumping system, and this includes installing two new small pumps. Each one can drain 275 gallons per minute. We're in the final stages of testing them now, and handing them over to MTA NYCT for operation.

3. Radio antenna testing and commissioning.
Translation: This antenna is the backbone of our emergency communications systems. We have an existing one in place now, and will remove it once we confirm that the new one is up and working with the right signal level.

4. Final 6” no clearance sign installation.
Translation: These are the red and white striped signs that mean there isn't enough room between the wall and the train for a worker to be there safely. We have temporary no clearance signs up now while we wait for the manufacturer to send us the permanent ones (this manufacturer shut down operations for a time due to COVID-19).
 
In the Manhattan-bound tube (Q2):

1. Radio antenna testing and commissioning.
Translation: See Q1.

2. Remove temporary feeder for pumps from Ave D to pump room.
Translation: We use temporary power sources to mimic the level of power we need for the pumps to work effectively. We're ready to remove these temporary power cables now that the test was completed.

3. Seal remaining minor crack locations as identified on the observation log.
Translation: We do regular inspections for minor cracks in our system, and we're making sure we take this opportunity to do the same in the L tunnel. We're looking for and sealing any small cracks that could be a source of water leakage. 
Get our full construction plan→
 

Take 2 minutes, help improve our communications

 You've been listening to us through this whole project, and now during this tough time (thank you for staying home to those who can). 

So let's hear from you. Specifically, we want to know what you think about our communications with you before and during the L Project so far. Did you like this newsletter? Were the open houses more your style? What about the pink?

Your input will help us better communicate with you in future big projects. Thank you!
Tell us what you think→
 

Transit trivia: Meet "the fourth rail"

 Yes, you read that right. The fourth rail. We now have one in the L tunnel. Let's back up and review how we got here:

Subways run on two rails. The energized third rail supplies power to the train. 

When Superstorm Sandy happened and we made our plan for repairs, we originally were going to completely replace the existing third rail with a new low resistance composite rail, AND replace the negative return cables. Expensive? Time-consuming? Yes and yes. 

So we reevaluated our plan, and found a solution that had never been tried before. Reuse the existing third rail to supplement the negative return power system. Or in other words, create a fourth rail.

Here are some additional facts about this fourth rail innovation and how it works:

1. Each tube in the L tunnel has a third-rail, weighing 150 lbs each. It was replaced with 84C (C = current) low-resistance contact rail, which is more efficient in how it manages power. 

2. The new fourth rail, made up of the old third rail, is installed in between the running rails using new resilient track fasteners. These fasteners help to isolate the power current, reducing the potential that power current strays away from the rails. (Since the fourth rail is below the train, you can't see it in person, so check out the photo here for the next best thing.)

3. So what about the old negative side feeder cables that complete this power loop that were in the concrete before? That's exactly what we replaced here by using the old third rail and installing it between the tracks. No more need to bury cables in concrete.
 

Glamour shot of the week: We've come a long way

The "before" shot. Water where it wasn't supposed to be. Cables stuck in concrete. Inefficient lighting. See our top photo this week for the "after."
 
Photo: Trent Reeves  / MTA / May 4, 2019
 

Construction look-ahead: Week of 4/18/2020

Pump testing and continued progress at Bedford Av and 1 Av Stations:
  • Review and work on the final checklist items between Bedford Av and 1 Av Stations
  • Work on checklist items for the electrical system
  • Do final cleaning in the pump room pit
  • Install conduit for the negative equalizer
  • Install new antenna cable and test it
  • Continue progress at 1 Av Station: Relocate lighting fixtures at the Ave A staircases, install conduit for security system, and install conduit wire and lighting fixtures at Ave A South
  • Continue work at Bedford Av Station: Install new fire alarm devices and PA speaker system, install new stair guardrail at the Driggs Ave end of the platform for the one platform-to-mezzanine stair
  • Install sealant at Avenue B-area substation
  • Continue testing the pumps at the pump room
See our full construction plan→
 

Stay connected

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, April 27, 2020 9:28 AM
Hi. Big news. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the L Project's tunnel rehabilitation phase will be completed today, months ahead of schedule and under budget. Get all the details about it, and the continuing station and accessibility work, here

We can't say it enough—thank you. This was hard. But we're New Yorkers. We started the L Project because of a crisis with Superstorm Sandy. Now we're finishing the toughest part of it during another one. And we did it by working together.

Now let's get you where you need to go, if you're an essential worker. Read on to re-learn how service will work once L service resumes its normal schedule (with adjustments for MTA Essential Service), starting tomorrow (Monday) night.

Not an essential worker but know one who has been impacted by the L Project? Please help us get the word out about service info and forward this along.
 
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A behind-the-scenes look at one of the finished tubes. Now that the tunnel rehabilitation phase of the project is complete, L service schedules (with modifications under MTA Essential Service) go back to the way they were before starting Monday (tomorrow) night.

Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA / March 8, 2020

Trip tips: How to travel now that the L Project tunnel rehab phase is done as of tonight

Tonight is our final working shift on the L Project tunnel rehabilitation phase. That also means it's the final night for the L Project alternate service plan.

If you've been using these L Project service alternatives (hi, M train converts), and you're still traveling with us now, let's get you prepared with how service will work. This goes into effect starting tomorrow evening, Monday, April 27, 2020.

But first: remember that we're running MTA Essential Service. This means that "normal" subway and bus service frequencies won't be the same as you're used to, so use our website for the latest info.
L service
Frequency: We'll be running as much service as we can with our limited crews. As of today, this is more than the every-20-minute intervals on nights and weekends.
Route: Trains will resume running on both tracks. This means if you're at:
| A station with a platform in the middle (like Bedford Av): Trains will arrive on both tracks, going in the direction as indicated on our signs
A station with different entrances depending on the direction you're heading (like 1 Av or 3 Av): Trains will arrive on both tracks, so head to the entrance that aligns with the direction you're going (i.e. if you're at 1 Av and want to head toward 8 Av, go to the entrance for 8 Av-bound service)

M service
Frequency: M trains were running as frequently as every 10 minutes on weekends before the L Project. Right now, we're running as much service as we can with our available resources, so check our website for the latest service information.
Route
The M no longer serves the Second Avenue Line. The Q continues to provide service to/from 96 St-2 Av.
| M service along the 6 Av Line ends earlier on weekday evenings. The last M train to Brooklyn along 6 Av departs 34 St-Herald Sq at approximately 9 PM; the last M train to Forest Hills-71 Av departs Delancey-Essex Sts at approximately 9 PM
Between approximately 9 PM and approximately 11 PM on weekdays, and between 6:30 AM (Saturdays) or 8:30 AM (Sundays) and 11 PM on weekends, M service operates between Metropolitan Av and Delancey-Essex Sts. The F continues to provide 6 Av local service.
| After 11 PM, service operates only as a shuttle between Metropolitan Av and Myrtle Av-Broadway.
G service
Frequency: G trains were running as frequently as every 10 minutes on weekends before the L Project. Right now, same as the M train—we're running as much service as we can with our available resources, so check our website for the latest service information.
Route: No change for the L Project tunnel rehabilitation phase, so nothing to change back.

7 service
Frequency: We were running extra weeknight trips on the 7 during the L Project. Since we implemented MTA Essential Service, those had ended, and going forward, we'll continue running as much service as we can with our available resources. Again, check the website for the latest info.
Route: No change for the L Project tunnel rehabilitation phase, so nothing to change back.

M14 SBS
Frequency: We were running extra M14A service to connect to Delancey-Essex Sts Station, and going forward, that will end permanently. Since we implemented MTA Essential Service, those extra buses had paused, and going forward, we'll continue running as much service as we can with our available resources. 
Route: We implemented SBS on the M14 during the L Project, and that will remain in effect.

Free transfers
| Between Livonia St on the L and Junius St on the 3: We officially made this a permanent free transfer back in February.
| Connecting from Broadway on the G to either Hewes St or Lorimer St on the J and M: We're giving some flexibility as you get used to using the L again. As of now, this free transfer is planned to remain through May 31, 2020.
See this service info on our website→
 

Reminder: Take our 2-minute survey

 Thanks to the many of you who took our survey last week.

ICYMI: We want to hear your take on what information and communication worked for you, so we can do better going forward. The survey will take approximately 2 minutes.


The deadline to submit is Thursday, April 30, at 11:59 p.m. Check it out!
Tell us what you think→
 

Transit trivia: Sensors, fibers and rodent protection are all part of the fiber optic monitoring system

 As you know, having a truly resilient L tunnel means both installing new infrastructure AND ways to proactively monitor it.

We've talked about how this monitoring system—specifically,  "fiber optic monitoring system"—works. Here are more facts about what goes into it (yes, including rodent prevention):

1. The fiber optic monitoring system is made up of cables and sensors, and covers the entire length of the under-river L tunnel, defined as the distance between the fan plants in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The system is attached to both sides of the walls in each tube.

2. The cables have 6 strains of fibers inside, including ones that sense temperature and ones that sense strain, or movement. The cables are further protected when they're attached to the wall: a layer of waterproofing and a layer of rodent protection cover the cables.

3. The sensors are a type called "distributed fiber optic sensors." This means they are uniquely able to continuously monitor and report on any strain or temperature changes. 
 

Customer question of the week

 In last week’s issue, we introduced you to our new “fourth rail” in the L tunnel. We mentioned that this fourth rail is a first for us at New York City Transit. 

But is it a first for transit systems around the globe? A few transit aficionados asked:

Q: I thought the fourth rail was used in other parts of the world. Is it?

A: Very astute, and yes. There is, in fact, one large-scale, long-time user of the fourth rail for negative returns in the rail transit industry—the London Underground. All Underground lines make use of the fourth rail. (h/t to our rail planning expert Glenn Lunden for the fact check and info.)
 

Glamour shot of the week: There is nothing more glamourous than courage and dedication

Two parts of our essential workforce in NYC coming together to keep our system moving. Here, medically-trained personnel check temperatures of our transit employees at the Grand Av Depot in Queens. This is one of 22 locations where temperature checks for staff are happening.
 
Photo: Andrew Cashin / 
  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 17,711 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Monday, May 4, 2020 10:58 AM

 
Hello there. We are overwhelmed. Since last week's announcement that we completed the L Project tunnel work early, so many of you wrote us saying thank you.

Now it's our turn. From our thousands of MTA employees who worked on this project, to the thousands of you who made this possible, THANK YOU. We can't say it enough. And words don't do it justice. So we made you a video. We hope it will be a little bright spot in your day.

Plus, there is a lot of continuing L Project stations, capacity and accessibility work as we mentioned last week. To those who asked, YES we're going to keep this newsletter going as long as the L Project is still going. But we are going to switch to a monthly schedule, starting next week. More below.

Stay safe.
 
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  • Member since
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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, June 7, 2020 6:51 AM
Hi there. We know you have a lot on your mind right now. Here's one thing we thought of so you don't have tomaking the best use of space inside stations. We ask two of our station planning experts how they are thinking about stations in light of COVID-19 and why the work underway now at Bedford Av and 1 Av will help. 

Plus, new trees are here, and elevator work, station expansions and more continue in the month ahead.

Remember to wear a mask and check our schedules before you leave, if you must travel. And check out our new action plan for helping you travel safely when you return.
 
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Look closely. Can you see the countdown clock behind the stairs? This see-through stair was designed intentionally. It makes it easier for people to navigate around and behind stairs, safely.
 
Photo: Trent Reeves / MTA  / February 17, 2020

Making space: The designs behind Bedford Av and 1 Av Stations

The L Project continues, and much of the work now is at two stations: Bedford Av and 1 Av. We've highlighted what the improvements are (more stairs and new entrances, to name a few). But how did these plans come to be? And what's the logic behind it?

We sat down with two of our station planning experts—David Haase, who led the original station plans for the L Project (and came out of retirement to talk with us!) and Christine Orthmeyer, who has been overseeing the implementation—to find out why it's less about station space and more about circulation and how they applied that thinking to Bedford Av and 1 Av.

L Project Monthly: L Project aside, we're getting ready for more customers to come back and station space is one of those hot topics. What's your take on that?

Christine Orthmeyer: It's actually more about how people move in the station environment—i.e. circulation—than just a pure measurement of space. Every inch isn't equal when we think about people dimensions. So we focus on how people access the station. How people move to get in and out and board and exit a train. And we look for the "peak passenger demand," which is the volume of passengers exiting a platform after train(s) arrive, combined with the counterflow of customers to judge how to make changes. 

David Haase: That's right. And as planners, we're of course driven by data. But we also know people all have their unique personal preferences when they travel. Like many of us, I know exactly where to stand on the platform to get out of my home station as fast as possible once I get off the train. But that's not everyone's priority. Other folks want to get a seat. So they look for the empty spots on the platform and travel at less busy times. This is the kind of thing we just can't fully plan for, especially as things like the pandemic can shift these kinds of priorities for our customers.

LPM: Were these factors considered by the original subway station planners?

DH: Not sure about that specific item, but they did actually think ahead in many cases. For example, you'll see in the original station blueprints where there would be a double-wide flight of stairs that merged into a single-wide flight that had the real estate to be expanded if needed. 

LPM: Was that the case at either 1 Av or Bedford Av?

CO: At Bedford, you could see how they had to get creative. The entrances were planned for the east side of Bedford Avenue not because it matched with the need—there's a major sewer line that runs under the west side of the street. So after the waterfront rezoning in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, of course it would have made sense for us to add entrances on the west side, but it's just not practical.
 
DH: I actually used to live between Avenue C and D and 1 Av was my home station. It's definitely not a case where they thought ahead! When us planners look at station entrances, we talk about the "catchment" area, which is the distance between one entrance and another. We then collect data on the area like residential, commercial, etc. Even before the Lower East Side really started growing, it didn't make sense that there were five blocks to the east and just two between the First Ave and Third Ave entrances. It was a no brainer to add the entrances at Avenue A.

LPM: I mean, it does seem pretty obvious. Did they put in place anything in the original construction to make the expansion easy, at least?

DH: Um, no. A lot of times, you'll see a "knockout" wall to allow for easier expansion. That wasn't the case here...

LPM: Well, despite working against the odds, it seems like the plan you put in place for both of these stations is pretty efficient.

CO: Glad you brought that up. The Avenue A entrances at 1 Av are a great example of good planning, if we do say so ourselves! We were able to construct the entrances largely behind the platform wall, which is important because it means we could keep the station open. On top of that, we also designed the elevators to go straight from the street to the platform. It's not always possible at all stations, but we made it happen here. Good for customers and good for our budget. Win-win.

LPM: Let's go back to the original topic here of how we're maximizing space for our customers. Did that influence either of the designs for these stations?

CO: The Bedford Av platform is the perfect case study for this topic. Like I said before, every inch of space isn't equal. And there's a trade-off when you create space for platform circulation, because you're giving up "vertical circulation," i.e. ways to get out of or into the station. Before we started working, there were two stairs going down to the platform—and one was located towards the middle, facing the middle of the platform. Naturally, not that many people would go down the stair, go around the stair, and walk to the back of the platform, even though that was oftentimes the least crowded area! In other words, those inches on the platform weren't being well-used because of the poor design. 

DH: Yeah, so we reevaluated the whole configuration, again focusing on improving circulation first and foremost. Our solution was to add a stair to the platform and actually make the existing two narrower. We still add more stair capacity overall, AND maximized platform space for people's movement. 

CO: Oh, and we made it so people could more easily see around the stairs, too. Another design feature to help people spread out on a platform.

LPM: Seems like super smart planning, and good design features to help customers use our stations safely once they start traveling with us again. Thanks for what you do.
 

Customer question of the week

 Q: Was the free transfer between the Broadway G stop and Lorimer St for the J and the M part of the alternate service stuff? I heard it was over and assume that's why.

A. One answer and one clarification: Yes it was part of the alternate service plan, which ended when we reopened both tunnels on nights and weekends back at the end of April. 

We did extend the date of this free transfer to May 31 to help folks transition back to using the L, but that's when it ended. 

And the clarification: The free transfer was between the Broadway G and both the Lorimer AND Hewes St stops on the J and M (since depending on which direction you're traveling, it might make more sense to go to one or the other). 

More info has been up on the website since the tunnel was completed; you can find it here
 

Glamour shot of the week: Something you can enjoy now

When we do construction, sometimes trees have to be removed because they overlap with utilities or areas where we have to work. We partner with NYC Parks to minimize tree removal—and to create a plan to replace them. So far, we've installed 12 new trees in Manhattan and seven in Brooklyn. Some of the types you'll see in Brooklyn and Manhattan (like in this photo) are Ginkgos, Sweetgum, Swamp White Oak, Japanese Zelkova, Hardy Rubber tree and New Horizon elm. The varieties are chosen by our arborists and NYC Parks based on what has the best chance to succeed in the NYC environment.
 
Photo:  MTA  / May 18, 2020
 

Construction look-ahead: June to July

Manhattan
1 Av Station:

| First Ave North: To be opened with temporary finishes. All other entrances will remain open for the time being. In the future, we will alternate closing them down to do final finishes

| New Ave A entrances: Tile and mosaic work on columns will be underway

Communications and security systems will continue to be installed

| Two street-to-platform elevators at Ave A on the north and south sides of 14th St: Glass installation is scheduled for both platform and street-level, followed by testing

Street restoration along 14th St: Lane striping and NYC DOT signage will be completed between First Ave and Ave B; new cobblestone will be installed in the median between Ave A and Ave B; part of the worksite will be consolidated in the median between Ave A and Ave B; traffic signal and street lights will be installed along 14th St

Avenue B-area substation: Water and sewer taps will be installed, and the roadway there will be repaired

Tree planting along 14th St: All completed

New escalator at 14th St-Union Sq: Estimated completion is now scheduled for summer 2020 following contractor delays due to COVID-19
Brooklyn
Bedford Av Station:

| Bedford South original entrance: Tile installation and painting will continue and be completed; granite and totem installation will begin

| Bedford South new entrance: Granite and totem installation will begin

| Driggs North (two stairs): Granite and totem installation will begin

| Platform stairs: Driggs staircase railing will begin installation

| Mezzanine extension: Continued progress with tile installation and mosaic work

| Elevators from street-to-mezzanine and mezzanine-to-platform: Canopy and glass work will begin installation and continue, along with elevator mechanical work

Street restoration near Bedford Av Station: Southeast corner of Bedford curb and sidewalk, southeast corner of Driggs curb and sidewalk, and northeast corner of Driggs curb and sidewalk is completed. Northwest corner of Driggs curb and sidewalk will be underway and completed this month and the southwest corner of Driggs is in progress

Tree planting near Bedford Av Station: All completed
  • Member since
    June 2002
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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, September 13, 2020 8:18 AM


September 12, 2020
MTA Installs New Escalator for L Customers at Union Square
Escalator Will Enable Faster and Easier Transfers and Station
Departures From Station For Thousands Of Customers Leaving the L
Platform

Work Was Associated With Broader L Train Project That Rehabilitated
Tunnel Damaged During Sandy

See Photos and Video of the Escalator


MTA officials today announced the completion of work to install a
platform-to-mezzanine escalator on the L platform at Union Square.
Part of the broader L Project, the the addition of the new escalator
is expected to reduce crowding and improve circulation at the Union
Square Station once ridership levels return to pre-COVID levels.

“This new escalator is another achievement for the larger L project
team that, delivered that huge project early and below budget," said
MTA Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber.  "Even in the midst of the
COVID-19 pandemic we're using innovative strategies to deliver
customer improvements faster and at lower cost than ever before."

When ridership is at normal, pre-pandemic levels, the L platform at
Union Square is among the most congested in the system. Nearly 20,000
customers use the platform hourly during the morning peak hour. A
platform-to-mezzanine escalator helps expedite egress times, clearing
the platform of customers more quickly so that the next train can
enter the station safely and more quickly as well. Those upgrades,
along with improvements that were made to the transfer stairs between
the L platform and the N, Q and R lines, will ensure customers can
seamlessly transfer or exit from the station. Previous station designs
included the space and structural elements for the escalator, but it
took the L Project to actually get it built.

There are now 231 escalators in the subway system.

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