Are R-train riders about to encounter future nightmarish commutes? Some locals fear so.
Governor Andrew Cuomo made several announcements on Friday, January 8 regarding major changes to the subway system, including a massive closure of 30 subway stations designed to revamp and modernize each stop, both aesthetically and technologically.
“These cleaner, brighter stations will be easier to navigate, with better and more intuitive way finding, as well as a modernized look and feel,” the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) stated in a press release.
Three stops along the R line in Brooklyn will be affected, one of them being Bay Ridge Avenue.
According to the MTA, closures to the stations could last from six months to a year, splitting local straphangers on the plan.
“The closings will be an inconvenience for me because Bay Ridge [Avenue] is the closest stop to my house, but if it means we will ultimately have better train service, then I’m all for it,” said Bay Ridge resident Matthew Guadagno. “Wi-Fi and cell service additions are nice, but I think I speak for most riders when I say we just want more trains and for them to run on time.”
Some Brooklynites understand the need for upgrades, as tech has quickly become an integral part of our lives, but worry about the financial aspect.
“Due to the fact that so many commuters rarely look up from their phones, the updates seem to be necessary, but the cost is pretty high,” said Brooklynite Nancy DiCostanzo. “Without other options, commuting will become a nightmare for those who use those particular stations.”
Most riders, although they appreciate the idea of modernized and cleaner stations, prefer a higher volume of trains.
“At first, I was excited about the plan, but when I read of closures, I realized that what we really need is more trains and buses, not Wi-Fi and USB ports,” said rider Larry M.
“I think they should just be increasing service, not shutting down lines. I’m against it,” added Isabella R. “It’s only going to make a slow line go slower. I also think it would probably take longer than expected.”
Kevin Ortiz, a spokesperson for the MTA, said there are no tentative dates as to when the closures would begin. “[It’s] still too early in the process,” he told this paper.
“On direction from Governor Cuomo, we will reenvision 30 subway stations across Brooklyn, Manhattan, Bronx and Queens and two in Staten Island, said MTA Chairperson and CEO Tom Prendergast. “It will completely change the customers’ experience, making these stations brighter, cleaner, safer, more modern and more customer friendly. In return for the state’s historic investment, Governor Cuomo has asked us to deliver this vital work faster, less expensively, more efficiently and that’s what we’re committed to do.”
The MTA stated that work on the majority of these 30 stations will be completed by 2018.