MTA reveals: N station repairs to take 4 years

Bulk of $500 million project begins in January

September 4, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The northbound platform of the Fort Hamilton Parkway station will be off-limits to subway riders starting in January as the MTA renovated the station and eight others along the N line. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas
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N train riders in Southwest Brooklyn are going to face significant detours in their commutes starting in January when a $500 million project to renovate nine stations on the subway line enters a crucial phase, MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) representatives revealed at a meeting in Bay Ridge on Sept. 3.

The MTA is overhauling the following stations: 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 four years.

Some of the work is already underway, but the heavy-duty renovations will begin in earnest in January, according to Melissa Farley, assistant director of government and community relations for MTA New York City Transit, who briefed members of Community Board 10 (Bay Ridge) and Community Board 11 (Bensonhurst) on the plans at Board 10’s office at 8119 Fifth Ave. on Thursday night.

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“It’s a very important project,” Farley said. The exact start date for the project has not been announced.

When the work is completed in 2020, N train riders will be able to enjoy beautifully renovated stations that will feel brand new, but they will have to suffer a lot of inconvenience before they see those results.

Starting in January, the northbound (Manhattan-bound) platforms of the Fort Hamilton Parkway, New Utrecht Avenue, 18th Avenue and 20th Avenue will be closed for a period of 14 months.

Temporary platforms will be constructed on the northbound platforms at the Eighth Avenue and Bay Parkway stations.

Riders who normally board northbound trains at the stations in between will have to take a southbound (Coney Island) bound N train, get off at Bay Parkway and then take a northbound N train that will be traveling on the center track to continue their commute.

Farley said that NYC Transit recognizes that riders will be greatly inconvenienced. “But there is just no other way,” she told members of the two community boards.

The MTA will conduct a community outreach campaign prior to the start of the work and signs will be posted at all of the stations to guide riders on their daily commute, Farley said.

Jayne Capetanakis, chairman of Board 10’s Traffic and Transportation Committee, suggested that the signs include explanatory graphics for riders who don’t speak English. “As much signage graphics are wonderful. Our area is diverse,” she said.

Capetanakis also expressed concern for riders who will have to adjust their commutes in January during the dead of winter. “It’s always a challenge to make a change on a sunny day. January may not be so sunny,” she said.

In a PowerPoint presentation, Project Manager Tarek Hatab explained the scope of the work to be done.

The walls, parapets and concrete canopies at the stations will be repaired, along with the steel staircases, according to Hatab, who said that the currently windowless platforms will get windows. “It will be much more pleasant with light,” he said.

The street-level buildings at the stations, which contain the token booths, Metrocard machines and turnstiles, are called control houses. The project also calls for the control houses to undergo renovations. The control houses have “seen better days,” Hatab said.

Another part of the project involves elevators. In order to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) the MTA will install permanent elevators at the New Utrecht Avenue station and will build a ramp at the Eighth Avenue station.

The Southwest Brooklyn section of the N line running through Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst and into Coney Island was constructed between 1914 and 1917.

Two of the nine stations to be renovated — Eighth Avenue and Fort Hamilton Parkway — are located within Community Board 10. Six of the stations — New Utrecht Avenue, 18th Avenue, 20th Avenue, Bay Parkway, Kings Highway and Avenue U — are within Community Board 11. The 86th Street station is located in Community Board 13 (Coney Island).

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