Bay Ridge

Bay Ridge subway wall collapse fuels demands for station fix-up

November 27, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
This photo, taken prior to the accident on Sunday, shows the wall tiles at the 86th Street R train station intact. Eagle photo by Paula Katinas
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An accident in a Bay Ridge subway station early Sunday morning has fueled calls from fed up Brooklyn straphangers for MTA to fix the train station once and for all.

The worst nightmare of R-train riders came true when a large section of tiles dislodged from the wall at the 86th Street station and fell onto the tracks, just as a 95th Street-bound R train was entering the station at around 5:30 a.m. on Sunday, according to officials.

The motorman who was driving the train pulled the emergency brake and stopped the train.

There were no reported injuries, according to officials, who said approximately 30 passengers were aboard the R train at the time. All of the riders got off the train safely, officials said.

But the accident caused a major disruption of R train service for more than 10 hours on the final day of the four-day Thanksgiving Weekend as repair crews removed the fallen tiles and then inspected the underground station to make sure no other sections of the wall were in danger of falling.

While MTA crews were addressing the situation at the 86th Street station, R train service was suspended between 95th Street in Bay Ridge and 36th Street in Sunset Park. MTA operated shuttle buses to accommodate passengers.

Full service on the R subway line resumed at approximately 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.

But for R-train riders, who have often complained on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter about poor service on that subway line, Sunday’s accident was yet another example of the serious problems plaguing their daily commute and making them late for work or for school.

The R train has been the target of complaints from riders who charge that the trains don’t run on time, are often overcrowded and are dirty.

The wall collapse brought the problems to a whole new level as far as many riders were concerned.

“I always knew this place was dirty and dingy. But I didn’t know you’re taking your life into your hands waiting for a train here,” said a straphanger named Marian who spoke to the Brooklyn Eagle as she waited for a Manhattan-bound R train at the 86th Street station Monday morning. 

Justin Brannan, Bay Ridge’s councilmember-elect who made subway service a main focus of his campaign, said it’s time to take action.

“I don’t know how many more wake-up calls we need. I think its time the commuters demand their elected representatives lock themselves in a room until they figure out how we’re going to fix our crumbling public transportation system. I stand ready and willing to work with any and all stakeholders to advocate that the people of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach and Bensonhurst get the safe and reliable service they deserve. We all know the state ultimately controls the MTA but that doesn’t mean we as city lawmakers can just simply shrug our shoulders, not when our subways are literally falling apart,” Brannan told the Eagle in an email. 

Democrat Andrew Gounardes, a lawyer and Bay Ridge resident who recently announced his intention to run for the state Senate in 2018, said Sunday’s incident is a sign of serious trouble. 

“Yesterday’s partial wall collapse of the 86th Street R train station is proof positive — our subways are literally falling apart. It’s long past inexcusable, and the basic safety of riders hang in the balance. I call on the MTA to undertake an emergency inspection of all subway stations to test for safety and structural integrity, and I further call on the governor and the Legislature to convene in an emergency session to find a solution to the MTA’s funding crisis,” Gounardes said in a statement he released on Monday 

Democrat Ross Barkan, a freelance journalist who is also running for Bay Ridge’s state Senate seat tweeted about the wall collapse. “The R train is falling apart. Embarrassing for the MTA, embarrassing for our city,” he wrote on Twitter.

John Quaglione, deputy chief of staff to state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn), said he was relieved that there were no injuries in the incident.


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