Constantinides slams MTA over subway station closures in Astoria

Constantinides slams MTA over subway station closures in Astoria
Photo by Bill Parry
By Bill Parry

After a summer with no weekend service on Astoria’s N and W subway lines, straphangers will have to contend with two subway station closures late next month. The 36th Avenue and 30th Avenue stations will be shuttered beginning Oct. 23 for an eight-month renovation, according to the MTA.

The stations will undergo structural repairs, part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to upgrade 30 subway stations across the five boroughs. The work will include rehabilitated station entrances, improved mezzanines and platforms and technological upgrades, such as Wi-Fi hotspots, USB ports, digital screens, and countdown clocks. It will not include elevators.

“This is absolutely vital to the daily functioning of New York City, but for too long, it has failed to meet the region’s growing size and strength,” Cuomo said when announcing the plan in January. “This is about doing more than just repair and maintain. This is thinking bigger and better and building the 21st century transit system New Yorkers deserve.”

Unlike the eight weeks of weekend suspension on the line, there will be no shuttle buses provided, meaning riders will have to walk three-tenths of a mile to the Broadway station. City Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) is a critic of the project.

“The MTA’s planned closure of the stations for up to eight months is indicative of the overall dysfunctionality of the subway system,” he said. “Closing an entire station to complete only cosmetic upgrades while service interruptions and delays continue to become a regular occurrence demonstrated the extent to which the subway system is broken. If the MTA doesn’t actively and comprehensively address service along our subway lines with long-term improvements, it will continue to fail Astoria residents. That’s why we need a dedicated revenue stream to fund long-term infrastructure improvements, including modernized signals and better track maintenance, as Sen. Gianaris and Mayor de Blasio have proposed. We deserve better than the MTA with no accountability or mandate to improve our commutes.”

After the two stations are reopened in July 2018, the Broadway and 30th Avenue stations will close for another seven months for the same renovations, according to the MTA.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.