The Utica Avenue subway extension is an idea that’s been tossed around for many, many years—as in, going back to the turn of the 20th century, just a few years after the first subway lines opened—but has never come to fruition, or anything close to it.
But that could soon change: NY1 reports that the MTA is working with city agencies to once again study the feasibility of extending the 4 line along Utica Avenue, creating more transit accessibility in an area that’s sorely lacking in that regard. But the subway isn’t the only option being considered: The Utica Avenue Transit Improvement Study will “examine a range of transportation options from adding faster buses, to building a subway line, to even adding a light rail line,” according to NY1.
For reference, the Crown Heights-Utica Avenue stop, the current end of the 4 line, was the 34th busiest station in the subway system in 2017; the B46 bus, which runs along Utica Avenue, was the third busiest route in the entire city, and the busiest route in Brooklyn, that same year.
But previous efforts to look at the possibility of a Utica Avenue extension haven’t exactly gone well: Most recently, in 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio called for a study of a new subway line along the thoroughfare, earmarking $5 million for such an investigation. But that money was never spent, according to NY1, and previous reporting on the study found that very little progress had been made, even as other transit projects—the NYC Ferry system, the waterfront streetcar connecting Brooklyn and Queens—were championed by the de Blasio administration.
According to NY1, the $5 million that was set aside in 2015 will now be used for the new study. But as Second Ave. Sagas noted in 2017, what the project likely needs more than money is someone to push it forward—because “no one in power seems to care enough.”
“It needs someone who will make the case for the project start to finish and more important, it needs someone who deliver all of the dollars for the project and not just a token amount of pocket change to burnish those bona fides,” he wrote at the time.