The MTA wants you to get a head start on your 2012 subway anxiety: according to the Daily News, the agency plans to periodically shut down a subway line through much of Manhattan so workers can inspect, fix and replace equipment like signals and switches. A line segment will stop running at about 10 p.m. each night until about 5 a.m. the next morning, and be closed for three or four consecutive weeknights!

According to their transit sources, the new strategy will probably be tested first on the Lexington Ave. line between 42nd St. to the north and either Bowling Green in lower Manhattan or Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn, to the south. One official said the tradeoff will be better for commuters in the long run: “For a few nights, you won’t have service on a segment of a line but contrast that with work being done over far more nights and weekends with all the service diversions and train slowdowns.”

The MTA thinks this strategy will increase safety, save money, and avoid needing more "flaggers"—people who alert approaching motormen they’re approaching a work zone and need to slow down. The shutdowns will largely be limited to Manhattan below 42nd St. because there are parallel subway lines, although they may also end up stretching into Brooklyn too.

And the agency has one more trick up their sleeve they're considering for major construction work in eastern Queens between the Forest Hills/71st Ave. and Parsons Blvd. stations: instead of closing the Manhattan-bound track for eight weekends, the Manhattan-bound F-line track would be closed for nine straight days day and night.