MTA Changes 71st Street Closure From One Week To Ten, Forgets To Tell Anyone About It (Updated)

The MTA's D-train platform closure notices: wrong in almost every important aspect.

This poster has been a familiar sight along the D-line the past few weeks. It alerts riders to week-long closures of four platforms at three Bensonhurst subway stations:

  • The Coney Island-bound platform at 71st Street, from August 15 through August 19 (four days)
  • Both platforms at 20th Avenue, from August 20 through August 29 (nine days)
  • The Coney Island-bound platform at 79th Street, from August 22 through August 26 (four days)

Unfortunately for riders, it appears this poster is wrong in almost every respect. We now have word that the Coney-bound platform at 71st Street will be closed not for four days, but for more than 10 weeks – until October 28. As a result, it also appears that the work at 79th Street has been postponed indefinitely.

Yet you wouldn’t know it from what the MTA has told us – the sign you see here is still posted at D-train stations throughout Brooklyn, and the Authority has done little to call unsuspecting passengers’ attention to the drastic change.

How could this happen, you ask? Well, that’s what we wanted to know. So we asked our contact at the MTA Media Relations office a few questions… questions we thought were direct but fair, given the failure to properly inform riders of the new changes or remove false information from the stations. And we didn’t think they would be that difficult to answer, but as of press time, we are still awaiting a response to our e-mail.

We think our questions are also your questions. We have reprinted them below.

  • There is signage in D-train stations throughout Brooklyn alerting riders to a four-day closure. Now we are told the closure will be more than 10 weeks. How did this happen? Was the poster wrong from the start, or did something change during the construction work? How did the mistake happen?
  • The signage with the incorrect dates is still posted in the stations. Why hasn’t the signage been replaced with accurate posters? What is the agency’s plan for following through on this now?
  • The in-station signage also alerted riders to two other closures – at 20th Avenue (both directions, August 20 through August 29) and 79th Street (Coney Island-bound, August 22 through August 26). The 79th Street notice no longer appears on the website. Does that mean that work has been postponed or cancelled?
  • If the 71st Street work can suddenly be extended from one week to 10, what confidence should passengers place in the agency’s assertion that the 20th Avenue work will wrap up on time?

[UPDATE August 26, 8:10pm]This morning, we received this reply from the Media Relations office:

The 71st Street station was scheduled to be bypassed from Saturday, August 13 to Friday, August 19 to replace the mezzanine stair (P1/P2).  However, after demolishing the old stairs, it was discovered that the structural supports underneath were extremely deteriorated.  The increased time period of the closure to October 28 will allow us to address this issue.   It’s unfortunate, but sometimes during a relatively simple project you can uncover a much bigger problem that needs to be addressed.
While the work is being done at 71st Street, we have postponed the work at 79th Street because we don’t want to bypass two consecutive stations.  That bypass at 79th Street will take place at a later date.  The 20th Avenue station was scheduled to reopen on Monday, August 29 at 5 a.m.  However, this may change due to the impact of the impending hurricane.   (All weekend work has been cancelled.)  We are working with our Marketing and Stations units to make sure that all signage is up-to-date.