It's 82 degrees and Tuesday, and right on cue, the MTA is here to turn your morning commute into a intestinal squeeze through damp bodies and claustrophobic platforms and rotting infrastructure. This morning's chaos comes courtesy of a stalled train at Bowery, which ground J service to a halt in both directions, and forced at least one train to dump its wet contents—er, people—onto the very narrow platforms of Marcy Avenue. As a result, J/M/Z passengers hoping to board a Manhattan-bound rush hour train in Williamsburg were, to borrow a harrowing phrase used in the transit authority's private documents, crush-loaded.
— Eric Maxwell (@elephanteric) August 7, 2018
see that you eventually made it work by alternatives means and we do apologize for the rough commute this morning and we hope for a smoother ride back home. ^SL (2/2)
— NYCT Subway (@NYCTSubway) August 7, 2018
You can't even access the platform at Marcy avenue.....smh pic.twitter.com/xrRjI4fK9s
— Lorelei (@loriverse1) August 7, 2018
Clearly not. pic.twitter.com/lyJ45Nf5S2
— Norman Angelo 🍕 (@kleptic) August 7, 2018
So now my train is letting everyone off at Marcy. Why? This is just causing more congestion of people on narrow platforms.
— Kaycie Hall (@kaycie_hall) August 7, 2018
— Andrew Coleburn (@ARColeburn) August 7, 2018
Those who took the M train instead of the J—as the MTA recommended—fared only slightly better. Gothamist writer Claire Lampen's journey from Bushwick to Soho took over an hour and included several lengthy stops, with little information made available to passengers. The M train did eventually make it into Manhattan—a success story, really—but, according to Lampen, "no one could really get on at Hewes or Marcy because the train was pretty full by the time we got there."
If your L train shutdown alarm bells aren't going off by now, well, they should be. Transit planners are already gravely concerned about saturated platforms at L-adjacent subway lines, which, come April, are expected to somehow absorb around three-quarters of the 225,000 displaced L train riders. For Southside Williamsburg's J/M/Z stops, it's not hard to imagine how the combination of aging tracks, narrow platforms, and fleeing L train refugees could make mornings like today the new normal.
“There’s a real concern that the platforms will be saturated,” Annie Weinstock, a transportation planner and President of BRT Planning International, recently warned us. According to Weinstock’s modeling, around 800 passengers will be unable to access trains at the Marcy J/M/Z stop during the peak commuting hour due to platform bottleneck. And that's when things are running smoothly.
To wit: the coming transit chaos is almost definitely going to be worse than we realize, and much sooner than we previously thought. With the exception of the ambitious vulture capitalist who manages to create and sell a VIP MetroCard, or the security firm who gets the MTA contract to station beefy security guards at the Marcy Avenue entrance, that's bad new for just about everyone.
Line to board the Manhattan-bound J/M at Marcy Ave literally going out past the turnstiles. L shutdown gonna go great!
— Park MacDougald 💅 (@hpmacd) August 7, 2018
You want to be the greatest city in the world, fix this regular occurrence without raising fares again. This is a regular move on mornings making people incredibly late for work pic.twitter.com/jgiTOQcgtm
— Justin D. Joffe (@joffaloff) August 7, 2018