Award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is Senior Editor for Politics & Policy for WNYC News. She has previously served as Metro Editor, Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
The NY MTA will be temporarily closing some subway lines from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on consecutive weekday nights beginning in January. The move represents a break for the transit agency, which has otherwise tried to do work while trains are running, or on weekends. The transit agency is billing the closures as "a faster, less disruptive way to do subway work."
The MTA also plans to shut some track segments 24/7 for up to 16 days.
First up for closure is the Lexington Avenue line. The 4, 5, and 6 trains won't run overnight between Grand Central Station and Atlantic Avenue the week of January 9th, 2012. Other lines slated for weeknight closures include the Eighth Avenue Line (A, C, and E), the Seventh Avenue line (1, 2 and 3) and the Sixth Avenue Lines (B, D, F and M).
No other transit system in the nation, and few in the world, keep hours like New York's. Most close overnight, when the majority of track work is done.
"Finding adequate time to perform track and signal work remains a daunting challenge while running a system that operates 24/7," the MTA said in a press release. "Inspecting, repairing and replacing tracks, signals, power supply and infrastructure is necessary work vital to the safety our customers and employees, often requiring a series of service suspensions or slowdowns in order to be performed."
Subway maintenance work, particularly on weekends, has driven riders to distraction of late, and caused some local politicians to get restive.
The MTA promises: "Performing work in this manner is expected to shorten the overall duration of projects, minimizing customer inconvenience, and maximizing worker safety."