M train will be shut down between Middle Village and Brooklyn for 11 weekends starting March 4

Queens M train
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Middle Village and Ridgewood residents already dreading the two-month closure of the M train this summer are going to get a taste of life without the line starting this weekend.

The MTA has announced that the M train will be out of service between Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village and Myrtle Avenue-Broadway in Bushwick for 11 weekends between March 3 and June 26, causing disruptions for thousands of riders.

The closures will take place on the following weekends: March 4-6; March 11-13; March 18-20; April 8-10; April 22-24; April 29-May 1; May 13-15; May 20-22; June 3-5; June 17-19; and June 24-26. The schedule is weather permitting and subject to last-minute changes.

In lieu of M train service, the MTA will operate free shuttle buses that will be making all stops between Metropolitan Avenue and Myrtle Avenue-Broadway starting at 11:45 p.m. on Fridays to 5 a.m. on Mondays of the weekend closures.

The shuttle buses will be making stops at the following locations:

  • Metropolitan Avenue at Rentar Plaza;
  • Putnam Avenue at Fresh Pond Road (to Myrtle Avenue), with a connection to the B20, and Fresh Pond Road at Putnam Avenue (to Metropolitan Avenue), with connection to the Q58;
  • Putnam Avenue at Fairview Avenue (to Myrtle Avenue), with a B20 connection, and Fairview Avenue at Putnam Avenue (to Metropolitan Avenue), with a connection to the Q58;
  • Seneca Avenue at Palmetto Street with a B38 connection;
  • Gates Avenue at Wyckoff Avenue (to Myrtle Avenue) with connection to the B13, and Palmetto Street at Myrtle Avenue (to Metropolitan Avenue) with connection to the Q58, both a short walk to the ADA-accessible Myrtle-Wyckoff avenues station;
  • Myrtle Avenue at Knickerbocker Avenue with connection to the B54;
  • Myrtle Avenue at Cedar Street (to Myrtle Avenue), and Myrtle Avenue at DeKalb Avenue (to Metropolitan Avenue) with a B54 connection; and
  • Broadway at Myrtle Avenue, with connection to the J and M trains.

During each weekend shutdown, M train will operate a shuttle via the J line between Broadway Junction and Essex Street on days and evenings; on late nights, the shuttle will operate between Myrtle Avenue-Broadway and Essex Street.

According to the MTA, the weekend shut downs are due to preliminary work replacing tracks panels prior to the full closure of the M line later this year.

What has Community Board 5’s (CB 5) Transportation and Public Transit Services Committees most concerned with the weekend shutdowns is that the shuttle buses are expected to make a prohibited turn at the intersection at Metropolitan Avenue and Fresh Pond Road where traffic is already tied up due to construction of the bridge deck that started at the end of January.

“I think originally somebody said to divert [shuttle buses] up to Eliot [Avenue], but then it was explained that Eliot is a terrible mess as it is normally, plus now it’s in worse shape,” said Vincent Arcuri, chair of CB 5, during Tuesday night’s joint meeting. “So what else do you do?”

A solution that John Maier, co-chair of the committees, suggested is to have shuttle buses start at two separate locations to avoid the congested intersection and the prohibited turn.

“One thing that we could ask them to do is to examine starting shuttles at two different places: one at Fresh Pond and running the route south from Fresh Pond, and the other one running a route from Metro to where they were proposing with their Phase 1 going to Jefferson [Street] on the L and Flushing [Avenue] on the J,” Maier said. “Just pass straight through and not use any illegal turns at Fresh Pond and Metro.”

The MTA, however, has said that the shuttle buses will avoid the construction on Metropolitan Avenue and Fresh Pond Road. QNS is awaiting response on the route the shuttle buses will take.

The M train was originally scheduled to close for two months — starting July 1 — between the Middle Village and Bushwick stops in order to replace the bridge that goes over the Long Island Rail Road’s (LIRR) Montauk Line between Fresh Pond Road and Metropolitan Avenue for Phase 1 of their M train rehabilitation plan. During Phase 2 of the project, the MTA will reconstruct the viaduct connecting the M line with the J/Z lines in Bushwick, which is expected to take 10 more months.

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