Bensonhursters and Dyker Heights residents better start planning their 2016 commutes now.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will close seven of nine subway stations along the N-train line between the Coney Island terminus and Eighth Avenue on the Manhattan-bound side for 14 months starting in January, and then for another 14 months on the Coney Island-bound side in 2017.
The imminent closures are a necessary evil to repair the crumbling stations and replace aging tracks, a local leader said.
“One of the biggest complaints for many, many years was the condition of the N line,” said Community Board 11 district manager Marnee Elias-Pavia. “With any project, there are certain inconveniences, but hopefully we’ll have stations that are new and not leaking, and people who pay the fare wont feel like they’re being abused.”
Starting in January 2016, straphangers will be able to catch Manhattan-bound trains only at the Bay Parkway, Eight Avenue, and Coney Island stations — meaning folks in between those stops will have to take a train on the opposite direction before transferring to a Manhattan-bound train, an authority spokeswoman said. When work on that side of the tracks is done about 14 months later, the authority will close the same seven stations on the Coney Island-bound side, she said.
The Eight Avenue and Bay Parkway stations will remain open, but the authority is diverting trains to alternate tracks riders will access via temporary platforms, officials said.
The authority is closing the stations so it can conduct a $500-million renewal project as fast as possible, an engineer said.
“The condition of the existing structures is such that we cant just do parts and pieces and work around active service, so the thought was the only way to do this is bite the bullet and bypass of the platforms all at once,” said Tarek Hatab, an engineer working on the project.
The authority will clean up stations, restore historic decorative elements such as lighting and windows, shore up retaining walls and decaying I-beams on the platforms, and remove graffiti, Hatab said. Workers are also building a wheelchair ramp on the Manhattan-bound side of the Eight Avenue Station and an elevator connecting the N and D trains to the street at New Utrecht Avenue-62nd Street nexus, a ccording to Hatab.
Transit officials still plan to re-open the Seventh Avenue entrance to the Eight Avenue station, but it is still negotiating with a nearby landowner whose property workers would have to access to fix the old entrance, officials said. The entryway should be accessible by the time the entire N-line project is done in 2019, one official said.
“The goal is, by the time the project is finished, we’ll open Seventh Avenue,” said authority community relations director Melissa Farley.
Riders will get a preview of the closure when the authority temporarily diverts Manhattan-bound service at the seven stations for the weekends of Sept. 19 and Nov. 7, Hatab said. It will also shutdown all service at the stations on Oct. 3, he said.