A notorious subway bottleneck in Brooklyn that consistently slows down commuters has a new moniker — as well as a push from state lawmakers to fix it.
The intersection of rails dubbed the “Crown Heights Cluster” is where the 2 and 5 trains turn south and cross the 3 and 4 trains headed east. The crisscross forces trains to wait up to two minutes for a signal to clear.
The delay occurs hundreds of times daily and inconveniences any passenger caught at Nostrand Junction, which sits beneath Nostrand Avenue and Eastern Parkway, as Gothamist reported last month.
“If you’re trying to get medical treatment, if you’re trying to pick up your kid after school, you’re trying to make it to your job, and all of these delays happen with regularity, you have to question why is it that we’re subject to this type of dysfunction,” state Sen. Zellnor Myrie of Brooklyn said at a press conference on Friday. “We’re here today to say no more.”
The MTA has estimated it would cost $410 million to build a new set of tracks so the express and local trains would not have to cross at the junction. Myrie and state Assemblymember Phara Souffrant Forrest, also of Brooklyn, said Gov. Kathy Hochul should include at least a down payment on the project in this year’s state budget.
The junction’s issues have been on the MTA’s radar for decades.
A plan to fix the rail cluster was revived last year in the MTA’s 20-year needs assessment. Of all the “potential enhancement and expansion projects” on the list, Nostrand Junction was estimated to affect the most daily riders — 319,900 — by 2045.
MTA spokesperson Ray Raimundi did not respond directly to Myrie’s call for initial funding to fix the junction.
Myrie said he does not want to wait for the transit authority to approve its next four-year capital plan later this year, and instead wants funding included in the state budget due in April.
“I think at minimum, we should be making a down payment on this project,” he said. “[Hochul] has put some down payments on some other projects throughout the city and I think that this is a project that merits that same type of investment.”
Hochul spokesperson John Lindsay said the governor’s budget proposal “invests billions to support transit riders” and that she will work with the Legislature to finalize an agreement.