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MTA wants to speed up its pokey subway trains

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Plus, one of Keith Haring’s most famous murals is back—and more intel in today’s New York Minute news roundup

A subway train speeding through a tunnel. Max Touhey

Good morning, and welcome to New York Minute, a new roundup of the New York City news you need to know about today. Send stories you think should be included to

Your subway train may start going faster

No, really: The glacial speeds of some subway lines (R train, we’re looking at you) could be a thing of the past. The MTA’s Train Speed and Safety Task Force released its preliminary report, prepared by engineering firm STV, which found that in some sections of the subway system, train speeds could be increased by as much as 50 percent.

“Yes, the trains do in fact move at slower speeds than they did 20 years ago,” outgoing MTA managing director Ronnie Hakim said during a press conference announcing the results of the study. “Yes, there are other systems around the world that move trains at higher speeds than ours, and yes, it is possible to safely increase the speeds to higher limits in certain sections of track.”

“When you get down to the basic function of the MTA it is moving people from one place to another and the speed of the train is probably the most determinative factor in that process,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during the same presser. “If we can improve this, people will fell it immediately and dramatically. So, it is a very important function and something we are excited about.”

But one thing could potentially hamper the MTA’s efforts to speed things up system-wide: the subway’s outdated signals. According to a copy of the full report obtained by the New York Daily News, “[s]ome of the signal timers operate on a two-second delay, and the report states that delay cannot be reduced without causing a safety risk.”

This task force and its findings are separate from—but, the MTA says, “build off of”—New York City Transit’s Save Safe Seconds campaign, which has been working to increase speeds by IDing and fixing signals that are keeping trains from going faster.

And in other news…

  • Demolition is nearing the finish line at the site where Brooklyn’s contested 80 Flatbush skyscraper will rise.
  • Just two days after four homeless men were killed in Chinatown in a brutal attack, residents of Glendale shouted down a plan to build a new shelter in their neighborhood.
  • This is why cities should not make bets during playoff series.
  • The restoration of Keith Haring’s iconic “Crack Is Wack” mural in Harlem is close to being finished.
  • Streetsblog checked in on 14th Street businesses on day four of the busway, and found the lack of cars on the thoroughfare hasn’t negatively impacted things.
  • And finally, legendary musician John Lennon would have been 79 today—prepare for throngs of people around the Strawberry Fields tribute in Central Park.