M riders prepare for lengthy shutdown
by Patrick Kearns
Jul 02, 2017 | 2769 views | 1 1 comments | 74 74 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The lengthy shutdown of parts of the M train through Middle Village, Ridgewood and Bushwick is underway, leaving straphangers frustrated with the nearly year-long disruption.

The first phase of the shutdown will close the M train from the Metropolitan-Middle Village stop to Myrtle-Broadway to repair the Fresh Pond Road Bridge.

While repairs are underway, the MTA will offer three shuttles routes.

The first shuttle will run from Fresh Pond Road to Myrtle-Broadway to service riders at the stops in between.

Another bus will run from the Metropolitan-Middle Village stop, make a stop at the intersection of Fresh Pond Road and Metropolitan Avenue, and continue down Forest Avenue to Myrtle-Broadway.

The final bus will start at the Metropolitan-Middle Village stop, make a stop at Fresh Pond Road and Metropolitan Avenue, then continue to the L train stop at Jefferson Street, before terminating at Flushing Avenue and Broadway near the JMZ trains.

The second phase of work will begin the same time as the first phase, but is expected to last until April 2018. It will repair the viaduct that connects the M train to the J and Z lines.

The MTA will run shuttle train service from Metropolitan-Middle Village to Myrtle-Wyckoff, where riders will be connected to the M train. It will be one train running back and forth on each track, which means 10-minute wait times.

Riders in Ridgewood are already expressing dismay over how the shutdown will impact their daily lives.

Lauren Klenow, a member of the transportation advocacy group Rider’s Alliance, has lived off the M train for four years and in Ridgewood for the past three. Just two months ago, she got a job off the M train in Brooklyn.

“I finally got a job that’s on one train line and short trip away and now the train is closing,” Klenow said.

For the time being, she can ride her bike to work, but when the weather gets too hot and humid or when winter comes, she’ll need to find a different way to commute.

Some work has caused closures on the weekends leading up to the full shutdown, and that’s given the MTA a chance to test out the shuttle buses. Klenow hasn’t tried the service yet, but it doesn’t matter because her dream of a non-transfer commute is gone for now.

“Overall, my experience with MTA shuttle buses is that they’re as efficient as they can be,” she said. “But the thing that I was looking for was that commute that doesn’t require a transfer. That’s the golden ticket.”

She also blasted the MTA for its lack of notification over the closures.

“It was just maybe ten days ago that I went to catch the M train and I saw the sign,” she said. “I knew there was work that was going to be done, but that long of a closure was definitely news to me.”

Caitlin Shann, who lives near the Fresh Pond Road M stop, echoed criticisms over the lack of transparency.

“Just as usual, the MTA has done a terrible job communicating what’s happening to the community,” she said. “I still speak to people on the street who don’t know what’s happening.”

Shann said she only knew about the shutdowns because she attends community board meetings. There’s never been a flier at any of the M stations other than Myrtle-Wyckoff, where riders transfer to the L train, she said.

Shann rides the M train about six times a week, so she’s had an experience with the shuttle and it hasn’t been good.

“With the experience we have over the last three weekends that they’ve had shutdowns, we have literally vowed to ourselves we are not taking the shuttle if we possibly can avoid it,” she said of the experience she’s had with friends and family.

They’ve waited up to 45 minutes for buses, and she’s never had a wait less than 15 minutes. One time, they got caught in a loop, walking to Forest Avenue from Fresh Pond Road to catch a bus, but the driver didn’t know the route so he took them back to Fresh Pond Road.

“It's really been a struggle for the MTA to make the buses run in a way that is appropriate for the number of riders they have,” she said.
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July 07, 2017
A dangerous combination of several decades of fixing deferred maintainence in the existing public transportation we already have, bureaucracy, corruption, dysfunction, mismanagement, underinvestment and waste by our own elected officials, public transit agencies and unionized bosses, contractors and subcontractors have been resulted in which us taxpayers and straphangers to pay the increasing operating and capital costs.