Thursday’s Headlines: Slow the F Down Edition

Thursday is like Super Bowl Sunday for Streetsblog, as DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and elusive NYPD Transportation Chief Thomas Chan will made a big not so big announcement this morning in Times Square urging drivers to drive better (press release here). And Mayor de Blasio will have a rare press avail at 11 a.m. So we’ll be on hand at both events to grill the officials about such things as Wild West private carters, FedEx trucks in bike lanes, why the final phase of the Queens Boulevard bike lane appears to be stalled and, yes, why cops insist on parking illegally. In short, a great morning.

Now, the news:

  • Gothamist and WPIX added some value to our first draft of history report of a man killed by a speeding driver on W. 23rd Street. Turns out, he wasn’t a pedestrian but an Uber driver who was opening a door for a customer.
  • Darn it! We missed the L Train Shutdown Nightmare, an “immersive haunted house and club” in Bushwick, but were glad that Lucas Riccardi got to experience it all for us. (City Lab)
  • Politico’s Dana Rubinstein shows that no one has adopted a subway station yet.
  • The Daily News reported that a lawyer is suing the city for not properly securing the West Side Greenway before last year’s terror attack — but here’s a reminder: the last thing we need in this city is more security restrictions that create unsafe bike paths that no one feels safe using. (And that’s an op-ed our editor Gersh Kuntzman would be happy to write for Daily News Editorial Page Editor Josh Greenman. Hint.)
  • Meanwhile, Mayor de Blasio really botched the memorial for the greenway victims. (NY Post)
  • Who doesn’t love old subway maps … or Sam Roberts? (NY Times)
  • sbauman

    The old 1904 subway timetable provides an opportunity to measure today’s performance with what was documented in the past. Here’s a comparison with what’s scheduled for today vs. what was promised in 1904.

    The express from Brooklyn Bridge to 14th St (Union Sq) shows 4 minutes in 1904. Today that same trip, over the same express tracks, is scheduled to take an average of 5:08, with a standard deviation of 40 seconds. The longest and shortest express trips are scheduled to take 6:30 and 4:30, respectively. The median trip duration is 5 minutes. Score one for our great-grandfathers.

    A comparison from Brooklyn Bridge to points further uptown is difficult because the routes are not the same. The original subway turned west on 42nd St, whereas today’s route continues uptown on Lexington Ave. However, the 42nd St (Grand Central) stations are sufficiently close to make such a comparison.

    The 1904 express from Brooklyn Bridge to today’s Grand Central stop on what’s now the Shuttle, was scheduled to take 8 minutes flat. The average duration for today’s expresses from the same Brooklyn Bridge station to today’s Grand Central stop is scheduled to average 9:20. That’s an additional 18 seconds longer than in 1904, when the longer trip to Union Square is taken into account. Score two for William Barclay Parsons.

    The situation changes when the venue shifts to the Westside. The express run from 72nd to 96th Streets is the same as in 1904. That run took 3 minutes in 1904. The same run is scheduled to average 3:09 today. It’s was still faster in 1904 but the difference is reduced.

    The run between 103rd and 145th Streets is the same as today’s Broadway #1 local. That run was scheduled to take 8 1/2 minutes in 1904. Today’s run is scheduled to average 8:10. That’s a win for Andy Byford’s team.

    Running time isn’t the entire story, when evaluating travel time. There’s also headway which translates to wait time. Wannamaker’s doesn’t include that important parameter. There’s ample recorded evidence to conclude that our great-grandfathers spent far less time waiting for a train. In a paper delivered at the International Engineering Congress, in San Francisco in 1914, the IRT’s Assistant Engineer reported service intervals between 1:30 and 2:55 for the subway.

  • Maggie

    What a facepalm for BDB, to forget to invite victims’ families to his memorial for their loss. I don’t want to pile on to this horribly insensitive oversight, I just want to observe that it’s been obvious for a long time he’s not connecting enough to the city and its needs. This stuff shouldn’t be hard. No matter how many times he slathers on the sanctimony and calls people “friend”, the photo-op visits to campaign for out-of-state politicians just drive home how much we need a mayor to be laser-focused on getting the local priorities right. And, not just for the placard class.

  • Josef Szende

    Isn’t the F going slow enough as it is?

  • Larry Littlefield

    The last few times I’ve taken the subway to work, there have been three F trains one minute apart at Prospect Park – 15th Street.

    That can’t be good. There must have been a long wait time before and/or after.

  • Joe R.

    The differential is even worse when you consider that the equipment the MTA is running now is much faster than what the IRT was running in 1904. If I remember correctly, the initial acceleration rate of the trains was only 1.5 mph/sec (compared to 2.5 mph/sec now). The top speed of the old equipment was high 30s to low 40s (compared to 55+ mph now). In theory every run should be faster now, even taking into account the fact there are some curves where you can’t go any faster now than in 1904. A combination of excessive use of timers, plus overly cautious, perhaps not well trained, operators are contributing to this.

    While average wait times are somewhat more important than trip times, both matter if you want to retain ridership. Unfortunately, we’re falling behind in the average wait time metric as well.

  • sbauman

    Can you be a bit more specific regarding date and time?