Shuttle scuttle: Riders demand extra buses during three subway stations’ closure

New stop on the block: The first three stations to receive an upgrade will be the Prospect Avenue, 53rd Street, and Bay Ridge Avenue stations, which all serve the R train.
Governor’s Office

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority must provide shuttle buses for weekday commuters while it closes three subway stations, including Bay Ridge Avenue, for six months of renovations, riders are demanding. Trains will skip the stations while the authority platforms spiffy upgrades, but providing no above-ground alternative will leave customers out in the cold for half a year, one critic said.

“It’s not fair to take something away and not replace it,” said Community Board 10 member Carmen Feliciano. “They’re going to shut down the stations, but not provide any buses. What’s the logic in that? How do they expect people to get to the station they need? You have got to do something.”

Bay Ridge Avenue, 53rd Street, and Prospect Avenue are the first of 31 subway stops getting new entrances, platforms, and countdown clocks under a Gov. Cuomo initiative to gussy up the city’s aging transit system. The 53rd Street station will close a March to November, and trains will skip Bay Ridge Avenue from April to December. The rep did not know the time lime for the Prospect Avenue station.

The authority’s bus division determined shuttles weren’t necessary on weekdays, but it is running extra buses on 10 to-be-determined weekends, a rep with NYC Transit announced during a Jan. 12 meeting of Community Board 10’s transportation committee.

But the station is the nabe’s second most-trafficked stop with more than 8,300 Metrocard users swiping in on a given weekday, according to transit authority data. The lack of interim options is unacceptable, according to the transit committee’s chairwoman.

“We have a large senior citizen population here in Bay Ridge, and the concern — for not just our seniors but for all residents — is making this major adjustment during the weekday when there is such heavy usage of that Bay Ridge Avenue station,” said Jaynemarie Capetanakis. “To leave our community without an alternative is just unacceptable. And so we have to come to not just a compromise but to a solution that will allow people to carry on with their daily lives.”

Transit officials even agreed with locals concerns, but couldn’t guarantee that the plan would change.

“I agree with you. And sometimes I’m sent to do a very difficult job. And I’m taking your concern back to my boss,” Metropolitan Transportation Authority rep William Montanile told community board members.

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Kiss this image goodbye: The Bay Ridge Avenue subway station will be closed from April to December.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

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