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Image courtesy of the MTA
Image courtesy of the MTA
A rendering of what's to come for at least 31 stations citywide, including Bay Ridge Avenue on the R line.

The R train’s Bay Ridge Avenue, 53rd Street and Prospect Avenue stations will be the first three of 31 stops citywide to see major renovations starting as soon as a contractor is selected.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the coming overhaul on Monday, July 18 at a press conference during which he also unveiled the design features of 1,025 new and reimagined subway cars, which will include vital enhancements to the exteriors and interiors of regular cars, while also reducing wait times and increasing capacity.

“New York deserves a world-class transportation network, worthy of its role as the heartbeat of the 21st century economy,” Cuomo said from the Transit Museum in Brooklyn. “The MTA design team developed a bold and visionary reimagining of the quintessential commuter experience, incorporating best practices from global transit systems, and focusing on our core mission to renew, enhance and expand. We are going to do more than renovate – we are bringing subway stations to a higher standard than ever before, and the new vision for subway cars will increase capacity and reduce overcrowding and delays.”

The MTA anticipates that, of the 1,025 new cars, up to 750 will feature an “Open Car End” design, replacing the door between cars with an accordion-like connector in order to create longer open spaces, and allowing for better passenger flow. In addition, new cars are said to include wider doors and heightened security features.

The revamped stations will feature enhanced lighting throughout, as well as improved signage to make it easier for straphangers to navigate their stops. They will also include countdown clocks, improved cell service, Wi-Fi, new art and real-time navigation systems.

“The governor gave the MTA a mandate to implement new, world-class designs as quickly as possible for all new subway cars and that’s what you’re seeing today – innovation making the lives and commutes of all New Yorkers easier,” MTA Chairperson and CEO Thomas Prendergast said. “Coupled with new methods for redeveloping our stations at the governor’s direction, customers will see us get in, get done, and return new and improved stations to them in the most efficient way possible.”

Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for construction on the first three stations, as well as the new-and-improved subway cars, will be issued later this week. The MTA is using design-build contracts to expedite the process – part of the $27 billion, five-year MTA Capital Program – and ensure the shortest time frame for project completion.

According to the MTA, RFPs for the remainder of the 31 stations will be released over the next 12 months, and will be distributed across the five boroughs. Additionally, the first contract is expected to be awarded in the fall, and station closures will be limited to a six-month period.

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