Stairways to heaven they ain’t.
A pair of long-closed subway entrances at the Hewes Street J and M train station are a constant annoyance to Williamsburg commuters, who say the locked gates force them to walk blocks out of their way — and often miss their trains.
Both of the above-ground station’s entrances near the corner of Montrose Avenue and Broadway have been shuttered for years, forcing straphangers to shuffle more than a block to either of the operable entrances near the corner of Hooper Street and Broadway.
Though the closures add just a few hundred feet to commutes, they can cause big delays for straphangers.
“It is an inconvenience because you have to walk down all that way if you’re coming from [the east],” said Williamsburg resident Ariel Garcia, who told The Brooklyn Paper that he misses the train “all the time” as he hustles the extra block.
Williamsburg resident Michael Roma echoed his sentiment.
“I live the opposite way, so I have to walk a lot more when I’m getting on and when I’m getting off,” he said. “I don’t get why it’s not open.”
Unfortunately for straphangers, New York City Transit has no plans to reopen the staircases, according to spokesman James Anyansi, who said that the egress and exits were closed to keep commuters safe during more dangerous times decades ago.
“At that time, we went around the system and shut down some part-time entrances because of crime,” said Anyansi, who noted that the shuttered entrances are equipped with electromagnetic sensors allowing station agents to unlock them in case of emergencies.
This isn’t the first time that commuters have called on the MTA to re-open obstructed subway entrances. Park Slope straphangers sparred with the agency over closed entrances to the Seventh Avenue B and Q train station near the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Sterling Place.
Last fall, the MTA nixed a similar proposal to unlock a long-closed staircase in the Fourth Avenue and Ninth Street station of the F, R and M trains, despite claims from neighbors that unsealing the entrance could improve passenger safety by allowing straphangers to enter the subway stop without crossing the bustling boulevard.
— with Jared Foretek and Shannon Geis
©2009 Community News Group
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