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Can’t stop, hammer time! Subway construction could mean months-long closures for R, G, C stations

The honeymoon is over: Revamped R train panned for poor service
Blast from the past: Riders are reporting seeing more 1970s-era R trains now that service has resumed to Manhattan. Older announcement and climate-control systems make these cars a major pain.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

R they kidding?

The Metropolitan Transit Authority will shut eight subway stations across the borough — including the Bay Ridge Avenue, 53rd Street, and Prospect Avenue stations along Bay Ridge’s beloved R train — for up to two months over the next few years while it gives them facelifts, officials announced recently. The news left one Ridge straphanger with mixed emotions.

“My husband takes the train there a lot, so we’ll have either the 59th street station or 77th — a big inconvenience for us,” said Catherine Hannoosh. “We’re annoyed. We wish that just one side could be closed, but we’re really, really happy they’re going to do some improvements to the station.”

The transit authority last Friday announced its plan to gussy up 30 stations citywide through a series of marathon construction sessions that will last between six and 12 months and will, at some point, close individual stations entirely for stretches of time ranging between six and eight weeks, according to a transit authority spokesman.

The agency has not yet decided whether it will run buses to and from the closed stations, a rep said.

Three C stations — including Clinton-Washington avenues in Fort Greene and Kingston-Throop avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant — and two G stops — Classon Avenue in Clinton Hill and Flushing Avenue in Williamsburg — are also on the hit list.

The planned improvements are still only vaguely defined — the agency says the work will “modernize” the stations, leaving them “cleaner, brighter” and “easier to navigate,” but a rep was unable to specify exactly what the improvements will entail and when they will take place at each station.

Gov. Cuomo and the transit body simultaneously announced plans to roll out more wifi and cellphone services and mobile ticketing to subway stations across the borough, but these lofty goals are not necessarily related to the station scrub-downs.

The transit agency says the lengthy lockdowns will allow it to get repairs done more quickly — contractors will be able to get all the work done in one fell swoop, rather than doing it piecemeal on weekends or nights for shorter stints of construction over longer periods.

The majority of the stations will be totally revamped by 2018, but some will take until 2020, the body said.

State Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights) recently joined Councilman Vincent Gentile’s (D–Bay Ridge) ongoing push for a full-line audit of the R train.

Straphangers are already making plans for alternative transportation, one rider said.

“I’ll be riding my bike a lot more,” said David Cariddi, who lives off the C train’s Clinton-Washington stop. “It’s actually faster to ride my bike, but I don’t do it because I’m lazy. I could lose a few pounds.”— with Dennis Lynch

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobbs@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.

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