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A look at the construction on the 53rd Street station.

As a variety of train station closings and power outages have caused headaches for local straphangers, Sunset Park residents got a chance to have their voices heard as well as receive updates and information.

Representatives from the MTA made a surprise presentation to Community Board 7’s monthly meeting on Wednesday, May 17 to discuss the closed 53rd Street station, future closures and admitted mistakes that were made.

Willam Montanile, program manager for the Enhanced Station Initiative of the MTA, said that the renovated 53rd Street station is slated to open this September. “We promised less than six months closure and we will meet that promise,” he said. “Our demolition is almost complete at the station and by now you should be seeing deliveries of our new granite and stair treads. Work is ongoing day and night to get ready for the September opening.”

Montanile admitted to mistakes made with the first station closure. “With 53rd Street, we stumbled out of the block with the communication of how we were closing the station,” he said. “We learned our lesson. At Bay Ridge Avenue, before the station was closed, and it’s happening at Prospect Avenue also, we put official New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) signs when we’re taking up portions of the street. We will also be putting a large vinyl sign inside the station at Prospect before it closes, showing what it will look like, why we’re closing and when it will close.”

He mentioned to Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, who attended the meeting, that it’s sometimes good to be the first and to receive enhanced stations, but also with being the first comes lessons that are learned.

“There is a lot of stuff happening with the MTA, not just the signal breakdowns and a lot of you have experienced that on the R line,” said Menchaca. “A lot of us are also incredibly furious about the lack of information.

“So much that we’re asking for is clear,” he added. “We want and deserve shuttle buses on Fourth Avenue that connect the three stations out of seven that are connecting us on Fourth Avenue.”

Other demands included information in multiple languages to serve the diverse community and more timely updates on closures in front of CB 7; in addition, MTA reps were question as to how the MTA plans to resolve issues of other stations having heavier usage because of the closings.

Once updates were given, board members were allowed to discuss their frustration.

“I’ve had every single bad experience you could imagine,” noted Melissa Del Valle Ortiz. “I got stuck in the Con Edison signal situation and the token booth clerk was no help whatsoever. She wasn’t getting information out or communicating to the people that were there. They were speaking to them in several languages and all she said was take the Third Avenue bus. There was nothing being said about what was wrong.”

“We need a public hearing to go over again the multiple projects the MTA is doing on Fourth Avenue,” said CB 7 Chair Dan Murphy. “Working on the stations within CB 7, you could’ve had a workshop with the public instead of just saying this is what we’re doing.”

The Prospect Avenue station is slated to close on Monday, June 5.


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Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. May 28, 2017 / 01:00PM
Bureaucracy, corruption, dysfunction and neglect reigns supreme by the MTA towards the local community.

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