North Brooklyn elected officials are seeking relief for constituents dealing with months of construction at the Lorimer Street subway station in Williamsburg.
Council Member Jennifer Gutiérrez and Assembly Member Emily Gallagher sent an open letter to Metropolitan Transportation Authority President of Construction and Development Jamie Torres-Springer in which they demanded he and MTA officials address concerns of residents and business owners impacted by ongoing construction work at the Metropolitan Avenue/Lorimer Street G/L station.
According to the pols, the living conditions resulting from construction work at the stop are “unacceptable,” and are hugely inconveniencing community members in the area who rely on the station heavily for transportation.
In the March 7 letter, both Gutiérrez and Gallagher said their constituents have been dealing with a buildup of trash, more rats, dangerous conditions for pedestrians, and even building damage as a result of the work. At one point, a contractor’s mistake caused flooding and forced the city to turn off power and water in adjacent buildings — an incident that prompted the city’s Department of Environmental Protection to issue multiple violations.
“The actions of the contractor on site have made it next to impossible for City agencies, such as [the Department of Sanitation,] to do their jobs and work in good faith, given the disruptions,” the letter reads. “The numerous issues have not reached a threshold that requires immediate intervention to mitigate and address business and resident concerns.”
The MTA is working to improve accessibility at the station by installing new elevators, raised boarding areas, new braille signs, and more. In addition to the accessibility upgrades, the MTA is installing new public staircases, artwork, and structural and flood resiliency improvements. The work began in 2021, and is expected to wrap up later this year.
According to the letter, residents deal with construction noise at all hours of the day and at night — and vibrations have caused cracks in the windows and structural damage to the floors of nearby businesses. Fencing and equipment have made the sidewalk difficult to navigate — and break-ins have increased at businesses obstructed by fences.
The MTA did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Brooklyn Paper.
Gutiérrez and Gallagher — who represent the 34th City Council District and the 50th District in the New York State Assembly, respectively — suggested potential mitigation measures for the issues their constituents are facing due to the construction.
These suggestions immediate safety and work reviews by MTA officials followed by a public report and monthly updates to residents and business owners in the area on schedule and construction plans. They also asked the MTA to designated traffic control flaggers for pedestrian and vehicular safety, reinstall fencing with additional lighting and better signage for pedestrian passageways, and begin monitoring air quality and vibrations in the area around the station — residents have also complained of construction debris and dust flying through the air.
“While we understand the importance of making our train station accessible, this work has made the entire area inaccessible,” the electeds said in the letter. “The working conditions at this intersection, which have taken over all corners of the intersection are not just a nuisance, but dangerous, and we know that the MTA typically holds their contractors to a higher standard.”