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Mayor Wants to Expand Subway on Utica Ave to Serve 'Outer Borough' City

By Jeff Mays | April 22, 2015 7:00pm
 Passengers on an overloaded B46 bus on Utica Avenue. Mayor Bill de Blasio wants the Metropolitan Transit Authority to study a Utica Avenue extension of the 3 and 4 trains.
Passengers on an overloaded B46 bus on Utica Avenue. Mayor Bill de Blasio wants the Metropolitan Transit Authority to study a Utica Avenue extension of the 3 and 4 trains.
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DNAinfo/Rachel Holliday Smith

THE BRONX—Mayor Bill de Blasio wants the MTA to study an extension of the subway in Central Brooklyn, one of the densest areas in the "outer borough" city not directly served by trains.

The request for the extensions of the 3 and 4 lines along Utica Avenue came Wednesday as part of the mayor's mandated OneNYC plan, formally known as PlaNYC under the Bloomberg administration. The plan proposes solutions to the environmental, social and economic crises facing the city.

The area, served by the busy B46 bus, is ripe for expansion because of its density and the mayor believes that addressing it will help solve income inequality.

Currently, the 4 train terminates at Utica Avenue on Eastern Parkway, where it runs alongside the 3 train.

No futher details were immediately available.

"The Utica Venue proposal is one we think needs to be studied because It's a part of our city that is very underserved by mass transit," de Blasio said in Hunts Point.

"We are obviously an outer borough city and yet there are huge swaths of the outer boroughs that don't get enough service."

The state-run MTA was non-committal about the proposal.

Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the MTA, said the agency and "the city of New York are aligned on the importance of mass transit to keep the city thriving."

Ortiz declined to answer questions about whether the MTA was interested in studying the proposal.

Other portions of de Blasio's proposal include creating new transfers, such as between the L and 3 trains at Livonia Avenue and to expand subway entrances at stops seeing ridership growth.

According to data from the MTA, subway ridership is growing at a rapid clip.

Last year 1.75 billion took the subway, a 2.6 percent increase from the year before. An average of 5.6 million riders used the train on the weekdays and 6 million on the weekends, the highest ridership in 65 years.

More than 20 percent of trains are late and the system suffers from regular breakdowns due to old tracks and signals that cause massive delays on multiple lines some days.

De Blasio's report also calls for fully funding the MTA's $32 billion capital plan which is currently $15 billion short.

The proposals in that plan would help the system handle increased ridership by making repairs and upgrades to equipment while installing a system that allows the MTA to run more trains closer together.

"Improvements like Communications-Based Train Control and Bus Rapid Transit offer the potential to carry more customers and bring more robust service throughout New York. We look forward to working with the city as we seek full funding for our 2015-19 Capital Program," said Ortiz.

The MTA has called on more funding from both the city and the state to fully fund its capital plan. De Blasio's proposal lacked information about what the city's financial commitment would be to the MTA's capital plan.

"There is a reckoning that has to happen in terms of where we are going with the MTA and that's going to involve the state, that's going to involve us, that's going to involve a lot of other partners in the region to make sense of it," said de Blasio.