Commuter headache: MTA to renovate N train stations

Construction project expected to take four years to complete

December 18, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Fort Hamilton Parkway station is one of nine stations on the N line that will get a facelift next year. Eagle photo by Paula Katinas
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Straphangers in southwest Brooklyn who ride the N train to work will have to put up with rerouted trains, closed subway platforms, construction noises and other commuter headaches starting in 2015.

But there will be a big reward at the end: several newly renovated subway stations making for a more pleasant commute. And one of the stations, New Utrecht Avenue, will be getting an elevator.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is preparing to perform major renovations to nine stations along the N line from Eighth Avenue in Sunset Park to 86th Street in Bensonhurst starting in the winter of 2015. The stations to be renovated are: Eighth Avenue, Fort Hamilton Parkway, New Utrecht Avenue, 18th Avenue, 20th Avenue, Bay Parkway, Kings Highway, Avenue U and 86th Street.

The entire project is expected to take approximately four years to complete, MTA officials told the Brooklyn Eagle.

MTA officials recently brief representatives of Community Boards Seven, 10 and 11 (the subway stations are located in Sunset Park, Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst) on the project.

Here are some of the changes that riders will have to make in their daily routines: the MTA plans to close platforms in one direction at a time and have the N train make express stops only at Eighth Avenue and at 86th Street, bypassing all of the stations in between.

During the first phase of construction, the Manhattan-bound N trains will run express between 86th Street and Eighth Avenue and will not be stopping at Avenue U, Kings Highway, Bay Parkway, 20th Avenue, 18th Avenue, New Utrecht Ave and Fort Hamilton Parkway.

Riders seeking the bypassed stations will have to take the N train to Eighth Avenue and then cross over to the other side of the station to take a Coney Island-bound N train to reach their desired stations.

“They will place a temporary platform at the beginning of the construction area at the Eighth Avenue Station and at the end of the construction area at the 86th Street station,” Jayne Capetanakis, chairman of Community Board 10’s Transportation Committee, told her board at a meeting on Dec. 15.

During the second phase of construction, Coney Island-bound N trains will run express between Eighth Avenue and 86th Street.

The ambitious project will give the stations a complete facelift. The work will include the installation of new lighting, new platforms, enhanced safety features, upgraded communication systems, repair or replacement of stairs, new mezzanine floors, doors and windows, rehabilitation of interior and exterior walls and repairs to platform canopies, according to the MTA.

In addition, all of the stations will get a fresh coat of paint.

“This project will bring all of these stations to a state of good repair,” MTA spokeswoman Marisa Baldeo wrote in an email to the Eagle.

Graffiti vandals aren’t likely to be happy with the project. Capetanakis said that MTA officials told community board representatives at the briefing that the parapet walls at the stations will be painted with a special graffiti-resistant paint.

“They will be using a high quality gridded fence that is spray paint resistant to deter graffiti. The overhang will also be replaced with a sloped metal overhang making graffiti very difficult,” she said.

The MTA will be building an elevator at the New Utrecht Avenue station and will install ramps at the Eighth Avenue station to make both of these stations fully compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Two of the station, New Utrecht Avenue and Avenue U, are listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, according to Capetanakis, who said the MTA promised to pay special attention to them. For example, the lighting fixtures in these two stations will have a vintage look to them.

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