The MTA identified the next batch of subway lines in Queens and Manhattan that will get an upgrade to run more trains, but the long-term gain will mean short-term pain for riders.
The E, F, M and R trains on the Queens Boulevard line and the B, D and F trains in Manhattan will get a new high-tech signal system that MTA says makes the lines safer and moves more people an hour, officials said Thursday.
The system is in place on the L line but the installation being done on the No. 7 now has caused multiple weekend closures that bring transit pain for riders and local businesses.
"It means shutdowns," MTA chief Tom Prendergast told reporters. "To the extent that we can limit the number of shutdowns or do them at night that we do that."
Prendergast said the Queens Boulevard line carries the second highest volume of passengers in the country behind the packed Lexington Avenue line that runs through Manhattan's east side.
"We get more trains running per hour and get people to their destinations, a greater number of them, from Queens into Manhattan," Prendergast said.
Queens and Manhattan residents have time to brace for the weekend disruptions, the MTA plans to start design work on the two new lines toward the end of the signal upgrade on the No. 7, which is expected to finish in 2017.