Western Queens leaders were rightfully upset during a protest they held on Monday to blast the MTA after the agency shut down two subway stations in Astoria for eight months to make upgrades that the leaders argued didn’t improve the quality of service for passengers.
The N and W stations at 30th and 36th avenues will likely be closed until late spring or early summer 2018, so that the MTA can undertake a $150 million renovation that includes upgrades to the stations’ entrances, new staircases, security cameras, LED lights and windscreens on the elevated platforms.
However, the MTA will not provide shuttle service at the two stations, arguing that the local Q102 bus line covers the same ground as the subway lines, and residents are upset about the lack of transportation options that they will face for the next eight months. And who can blame them?
Also, state Sen. Michael Gianaris and Councilmen Costa Constantinides and Jimmy Van Bramer said that the MTA’s upgrades at the stations are merely “cosmetic improvements” and that the agency should, instead, have added new elevators to ensure that the stations are accessible for disabled passengers and compliant with Americans with Disabilities (ADA) standards.
“It’s shameful that these upgrades are happening while service interruptions and delays continue to become a regular occurrence,” Constantinides said. “Our subways must serve all New Yorkers, including people with disabilities, seniors and parents with strollers.”
We agree that at a time when the city and state are already under fire for the reliability of the MTA’s system, the agency should allocate its funding for initiatives that improve service or make stations more accessible.
While riders might appreciate a subway station that is more aesthetically pleasing, they’d likely prefer to spend less time sitting in it—and have an easier time accessing it.