By Bill Parry
Astoria straphangers will lose the use of four of their subway stations on the N/Q line for six months to a year for major renovations, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last Friday.
MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said it is too early to tell when the shutdowns will occur, but sources said the MTA will stagger the closures and no two stations in a row will be closed at the same time.
The station redevelopments will take place at the 30th Avenue, Broadway, 36th Avenue and 39th Avenue stations. Each station will be cleaner, brighter and easier to navigate when they are reopened.
“This is about doing more than just repair and maintain,” Cuomo said. “This is thinking bigger and better and building the 21st-century transit system New Yorkers deserve. We are modernizing the MTA like never before and improving it for years to come.”
The MTA will use design-build procurement to deliver the projects more quickly, at a lower cost and with better quality as a single contractor will be held accountable for cost, schedule and performance. Stations will be closed to give contractors unfettered access that would speed up the process, rather than a piecemeal approach that would close stations for short periods of time at night and on weekends over an extended period.
That approach could take two to three years or more to be completed, officials said. Due to the high ridership at each of the Astoria stations, the MTA is aware that they can’t be closed for very long periods of time, according to sources.
State Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) welcomed the much-needed upgrades. “While our growing community needs additional, accessible public transportation, station closures must not unnecessarily disrupt the lives of my Astoria neighbors,” she said.
The MTA has not determined whether shuttle buses will service riders of the closed stations. The funding is part of the MTA’s four-year $26.1 billion Capital Program.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr