At the end of April, the second busiest train station in Bay Ridge is slated to close for six months for major MTA station renovations. But in the meantime, neighbors have unanswered concerns about how the MTA will step up bus service during that construction.
In February, Bay Ridge neighbor Andrew Gounardes launched a petition to get the MTA to increase bus service for the B9, B37, and B63 while the Bay Ridge Avenue R station closes for six months.
However, the petition, which garnered 556 signatures, remains unanswered by the MTA or Governor Cuomo, neighbors told BKLYNER today.
While Gounardes said he appreciates the long-overdue station upgrades, he’s concerned that thousands of Bay Ridge riders will be left with no options at this major transit hub.
“To completely shut down the station for six months and basically tell seniors and parents pushing strollers to fend for themselves (not to mention the thousands of commuters who use that subway each day) just isn’t right,” writes Gounardes to BKLYNER
“Bay Ridge commuters already have enough issues with service on the R train (or, as we like to call it, the Rarely train). I started this petition because I believe the only way we are going to get better service from the MTA is if we start demanding it.”
We reached out to the MTA for comment and they responded: “The B9 runs between Bay Ridge Ave and 59th Street. We will monitor the B9 to see if additional service is needed,” said MTA spokesperson Beth DeFalco in an email to BKLYNER.
Community Board 10, whose members widely supported the petition, also sent their own letter to the MTA. “The closing of the station leaves over 8,000 daily riders without service, plus 7,500 riders who use 53rd Street,” said Josephine Beckmann, CB 10 District Manager.
“We were surprised that additional bus service wasn’t included in the MTA’s presentation,” she said, noting that the densely populated section of northern Bay Ridge is also facing closures on the N line.
Those passengers would also rely on the same bus services that will bear the overflow from the Bay Ridge Avenue R closure. “Having more service or being prepared for increased service is imperative,” said Beckmann. The community board also hasn’t received a response to their letter, sent on February 21, she said.
Two stations up the R line, neighbors in Sunset Park expressed similar feelings of neglect after the 53rd Street stop closed for renovations on March 27 without giving the community proper notice, according to local pols, advocates, and residents.
“The MTA has failed Sunset Park….Lack of service disruptions notices in multiple languages is unacceptable. This community demands appropriate communication and viable alternate travel options during extended station closures,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca at a rally outside the station in March.
How is the closure at 53rd Street impacting your commute so far? Are you concerned about the Bay Ridge Avenue station closure?