Train service was restored Monday morning more than two hours after a track fire at the 145th Street station in Harlem shut down C and B trains and partially suspended A and D trains, the MTA and FDNY said.
Trash on the southbound A train tracks caught fire at about 7:25 a.m., an FDNY spokeswoman said.
Service resumed with extensive delays on A, B, C and D trains at about 9:50 a.m., the MTA said.
As someone who works at a transit advocacy organization, it’s especially exciting (for lack of a better term) when these transit meltdowns hit you personally. As I was walking to the A train, my wife, who left home shortly before I did, texted to say there were no A trains. This happened at 8:22 a.m.
She decided to take her chances with the 1 train. That didn’t exactly work out.
— Natalie Brito (@NatalieHBrito) July 17, 2017
A train suspended due to track fire. No. 1 station so crowded we can't even get to platform. pic.twitter.com/zS0tJAO92D
— Emma G. Fitzsimmons (@emmagf) July 17, 2017
Packed 1 train passes right through packed 1 train station at 125th with A, B, C, D lines scrambled pic.twitter.com/5eQVNY4H6V
— Dan Rivoli (@danrivoli) July 17, 2017
So she took the M4 bus, which travels at 5.1 mph on average, to 125th Street. By 10:30 a.m. she was still in transit — on a D train at 42nd Street.
I decided to bike to work (which I should’ve just done in the first place, but I had a busy weekend, didn’t feel like packing a change of clothes and had the nerve to think that maybe I’d get a seat on the A and have a relaxing subway commute).
Me: I'm kind of tired. Think I'll take the A train today.
MTA: LOL pic.twitter.com/yhxCQk09pK
— Joseph Cutrufo (@joseapie) July 17, 2017
There are two things on my mind after this morning’s commute:
First: Riding a bike needs to be an option for more New Yorkers. It’s easy for me to bike to work because I live and work within a mile of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, which makes for a fast, car-free, and rather pleasant (though often windy) commute along the Hudson. But many New Yorkers don’t have such easy access to a safe, attractive bike route. Obviously biking to work isn’t a solution for everyone, but it would be an option for more people if we had a comprehensive network of protected bicycle facilities. That’s not to say we aren’t making progress: the New York City Department of Transportation has installed over 40 miles of protected bike lanes, which “has correlated with a massive increase in ridership, from 91.3 million in 2010 to 164.3 million in 2015.” To see that growth continue — and to ensure commuters have an alternative to a subway that seems to grow less reliable every week — the city’s cycling network needs to expand even faster.
Second: This can’t be good for the city and the region. Think about it. If you’re an upwardly-mobile twenty-something with a graduate degree, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to want to live in a place that offers solid career prospects and a high quality of life without needing to own a car. Employers who want to hire people in this demographic group want to be in these places too. New York certainly fits the bill, but it’s not alone. Plenty of other cities are making investments in their transit systems and building out bike networks. As TSTC’s Vincent Pellecchia wrote last month,
A vast, well-functioning mass transit network should be what sets New York apart from other major metro areas. But with the deteriorating conditions we’ve seen across the system in the last several months, is our transportation infrastructure as likely to repel people and investment as much as it attracts?
This is not a hypothetical; the problems with the region’s transit system are already playing a role in where people are choosing to live, both within and outside of the city. Moreover, people around the country are already making the move to these more affordable cities.
This morning’s subway delays were caused by a fire. Tomorrow it will be signal problems. Or a derailment. Or more signal problems. New Yorkers can handle a good deal of discomfort, but at some point it starts to wear you down. Eventually we decide that paying $3,475 for rent each month isn’t worth it if we can’t get to work on time, or if, say, your ride to the airport costs more than your flight because someone threw trash on the subway tracks.
Thought I was off the hook because I'm flying out today. But a fucking track fire means this is how much it costs to get to JFK pic.twitter.com/fgegR8EZUf
— Erin 🎶Gloria🎶 Ryan (@morninggloria) July 17, 2017