To all Sunset Parkers: your daily commute is set to change starting on Monday. And Bay Ridge — you’re next.
Three subway stations on the R line will close for up to 6 months for a massive revamp that includes Wi-Fi, digital real-time info screens, and other renovations. But the first closure, for 53rd Street in Sunset Park, will start on Monday, March 27, to the shock of many residents.
Though the project was announced last July, the MTA released an official press release about the station closures on Wednesday — five days before the 53rd Street station will close in both directions.
And many Sunset Parkers are upset over the short and incomplete notice for the station closures, said City Councilman Carlos Menchaca. In addition, he said the and lack of communications in multiple languages left the many who speak Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese dialects hung out to dry.
The first three stations — 53rd street, Prospect Avenue, and Bay Ridge Avenue — are the first to be closed and modernized in a 30-station upgrade. The renovations will shutter each station for no more than 6 consecutive months, say MTA officials, who have high hopes for the Enhanced Station Initiative.
For the first time, the MTA will use a design-build renovation model, which officials say will speed up the process. Previous renovations relied on piecemeal repairs in order to keep limited service running but then stretched the construction timeline.
“By using the design-build method, we are putting the onus on one contractor to get the work done seamlessly and on time,” said MTA Interim Executive Director Ronnie Hakim. “The emphasis is on giving them complete access to the stations and the ability to get in, get done and get out as quickly as possible.”
Closures of each station are limited to six months at a time, and all stations are expected to be complete by 2020.
Here’s what’s coming:
- Everywhere: Stations will have Wi-Fi and cell service.
- Station entrances: Expect to see new handrails, stair treads, wall tiles, canopies, and digital screens with real-time service info at street level.
- Turnstile areas: Repaired walls and ceilings, new granite flooring, information dashboards, and glass barriers.
- Platforms: LED light fixtures, security cameras, and Help Points. Digital screens with real-time arrival info (and of course, ads), electronics charging stations, new platform edges, and new benches.
Closure details by station:
- The 53rd St Station will close for service in both directions starting on Monday, March 27.
- The Bay Ridge Av station is scheduled to close on April 29 for six months.
- The Prospect Av station is scheduled to close on June 5 for six months.
- The MTA encourages riders to use nearby subway stations — the nearest R trains stops at 45th and 59th Streets.
- Straphangers can also take the B37 bus route or the B63 route, which run on 3rd and 5th Avenues parallel to the R Subway line, says the MTA.