| 11 Nov 2014 | 02:13

    The Lexington Avenue subways are so crowded that Erin Sullivan once hurt her elbow while trying to get on a No. 6 train. For Sullivan, who takes the 6 to work every day, commuting has become a daily battle with other New Yorkers. â??The 6 is so overcrowded sometimes, I see people pushing people in so they can fit, she said. With a daily average of 1.3 million passengers, the Lexington Avenue subway line is the city"s busiest. But a new study by Council Member Dan Garodnick released last week found that overcrowding on the 4, 5 and 6 trains has gotten so bad that dozens of commuters are routinely left stranded on the platform. The study, which reviewed the downtown local train at 77th Street, the Uptown local train at 51st Street and both express trains at 59th Street, found that hundreds of passengers were stuck waiting on the platform during rush hour. â??The numbers were astounding, Garodnick said. â??We saw one instance when 506 people were left on the platform. On average, 25 riders were left stranded by every train during the morning and evening rush hours at the observed stations, but that figure ended up in the hundreds when there were delays. According to Garodnick, who initiated the study after receiving numerous complaints from constituents, this can occur even when subways travel on time. â??The timeliness of a train does not equate to the timeliness of a person"s commute if they can"t fit into the first or second or third train that comes, Garodnick said. The study had several key recommendations, including timely implementation of the Select Bus Service system, also known as Bus Rapid Transit, and completion of the Second Avenue Subway line. Select Bus Service uses dedicated bus lanes and pre-paid fares, among other innovations, to speed bus times. The program could cut travel time by as much as 25 percent on the M15 bus line on First and Second avenues and is expected to be completed in 2009, according to New York City Transit. Garodnick also asked for more Metropolitan Transportation Authority employees on platforms to help direct passengers to available cars and expanding communications programs, such as commuter text messages and emails. Aaron Donovan, a spokesperson for the MTA said that the transit authority is working on expanding its communications programs. Garodnick, who has shared his study with the MTA, said the transit authority"s response so far has been positive. In a statement released on the same day as the study, the MTA acknowledged the problem and also pointed to the Second Avenue Subway as a potential solution. â??With only two minutes between trains, the line is operating at its capacity, meaning that during the height of the rush period, no more trains can be added, the authority said in the statement. â??However, work is currently underway on the construction of the Second Avenue Subway. When opened, this state-of-the-art rapid transit line will add significant capacity to the east side of Manhattan. Still, the first segment of the Second Avenue subway line is not expected to be completed until 2015. The MTA is also undergoing a financial crisis and proposed service cuts and fare hikes last week. Donovan said the Second Avenue subway is under the transit authority"s capital funding program and should not be affected by the budget problems. The line has gotten 75 percent of required funding under the current capital program, which expires at the end of 2009, he explained. â??We expect to include the remaining 25 percent or so in our next capital program, Donovan said. â??Over the course of the next year, we will prepare the 2010 to 2014 capital plan program and submit it to Albany for approval. Gene Russianoff, staff attorney for the transit riders group Staphangers Campaign, said Second Avenue subway funding is something New Yorkers should keep a â??watchful eye on. â??There are really huge financial problems up ahead, Russianoff said. â??At some point, it may be competition between buying new subway cars and the expansion project. He also worried that the service cuts proposed by the MTA could be problematic for the Lexington Avenue line, which is still crowded during certain off-peak times. â??It"s not as packed as in the morning, Russianoff said, â??but it"s very, very busy and the idea of providing fewer trains to me is incredible. Garodnick hopes the study will help the MTA make smart choices as it decides how to manage its budget problems. â??We wanted to make this point now because they are going to have to make some difficult decisions, but this one should not be difficult in any way, Garodnick said. â??If you were to cut service on the Lexington line or not progress with the Second Avenue subway, the result for East Side commuters would be disastrous. Until the proposed solutions are completed, however, Lexington line riders like Sullivan will have to continue pushing their way into subway cars's or in the case of Upper East Sider Justin Pandolfino, just be patient. â??You just put in your headphones and time out.