The Metropolitan Transportation Authority kicked off a renovation project to reopen two long shuttered entrances to the Nostrand Avenue subway station.
The two entranceways, located on the southeast and northeast corners of Bedford and Fulton Streets, have been closed to the public for more than 30 years, leaving commuters with only two staircases leading to the A and C station, and creating intense crowding that becomes dangerous during rush hour, according to a local elected official.
“It is a backlog going up and down the staircase,” said Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright (D–Bedford-Stuyvesant). “When the trains come in and everyone is exiting, there can be no two-way traffic along those stairwells, if there is, it is single file.”
Work on the station is starting immediately and is scheduled, optimistically, to finish by the end of the year. Work will be done in house by Metropolitan Transportation Authority workers, who will repaint the closed-off dusty mezzanine of the station, install a new row of turnstiles, and a new electrical conduit, at an estimated cost of $2 Million.
The station currently serves 17,500 straphangers every weekday according to the MTA, and the population of Bedford-Stuyvesant is only growing, with two large new developments underway right above the station that will add between three and four hundred new housing units to the area. Ridership at Nostrand Avenue has increased 15 percent in the last decade, according to MTA bigwig Sally Librera.
“It’s something that’s sorely needed,” said Community Board 3 Chair Richard Flateau. “Community Board 3 is one of the fastest-growing community boards in the city in terms of population.”
The station is also one of the dozens of stations in Brooklyn slated to become accessible to disabled commuters by 2024 through the installation of new elevators — which will be added via a completely separate project.
The Nostrand Avenue entrances are just one out of 111 subway entrances that were bolted shut during the last 50 years, mainly during the 1970s as an attempt to save money amidst falling ridership, Gothamist reported.
Comptroller Scott Stringer demanded the state-run authority in January to develop a “comprehensive roadmap” to reopening the shuttered stations by Feb. 15.
“At a time when many subway stations are severely overcrowded and commute times are creeping upward—particularly for low-income New Yorkers—the abundance of unavailable entryways is problematic and ill-advised,” the city’s top bean-counter wrote in a letter to then city transit czar Andy Byford.