Governor Andrew Cuomo recently dropped some major transportation news on New Yorkers, announcing a series of dramatic revamps to 30 subway stations throughout the city. Depending on your neighborhood, though, the governor’s statement might inspire more anxiety than excitement.
If all goes according to MTA plans—which, considering how many times the Second Avenue Subway line construction has been pushed back, may seem an unlikely prospect—straphangers will enjoy a number of technological leaps forward over the next five years. The intended improvements include countdown clocks on the lettered train lines, so no more precariously leaning forward into subway tunnels, searching for the welcome beam of approaching headlights.
There are also plenty of smartphone-centric developments, like USB charging ports on trains and buses, wi-fi expanded across the entire system, phone service in all underground stations, and mobile payment and ticketing, with the eventual goal of eliminating MetroCards completely. (No word, though, on options for customers with old-school flip phones.)
The governor said that the changes are about “thinking bigger and better and building the 21st century transit system New Yorkers deserve. We are modernizing the MTA like never before and improving it for years to come.”
While such modernizations would be welcomed by most passengers, implementing them will require closing down stations entirely, for between six months and a year at a time. According to the proposal, the shutdowns will take place over the next several years, with renovation on the 30 stations completed by 2020.
A look at a map released by the Governor’s office of the affected stations reveals that some neighborhoods will be harder hit than others. Astorians should brace for four of the six N/Q line stops in their neighborhood to be out of service at some point; south Brooklynites don’t have it much easier, with 53rd Street and Bay Ridge Avenue going offline, and Bed-Stuy residents won’t be pleased at the temporary loss of the Classon Avenue and Kingston-Throop Avenue stations.
In Manhattan, Upper West Side residents will need to bid farewell to the B/C stations at 72nd, 86th, and 110th Street. And in the Bronx, the 167th Street and 174th Street B/D stations will close, along with four stops along the 6 line.
MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz says it’s too early to lay out the exact schedule of shutdowns, with the scope of the project yet to be determined. Here’s hoping the closures will be staggered, so as to mitigate crowding at the nearest stations that remain open, and that the MTA provides ample transportation alternatives in the form of shuttles and increased bus service.