MTA Presents More Details on Upcoming Subway Station Closures; Extra Buses Not Definite


New York City Transit’s Senior Director of Service Planning, Judy McClain, fields questions about the alternative service proposed during the MTA closures.

By Alex Israel

Community Board 7 hosted an ‘open house’ style meeting with MTA representatives to discuss the upcoming closures at the 72nd, 86th, and 110th Street B-C stations due to the third installation of the MTA’s Enhanced Stations Initiative throughout the city. Despite calls for a delay from Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, the closures are expected to move forward as planned.

Following an enthusiastic introduction from CB7 Chair Roberta Semer and Transportation Co-Chair (and MTA board member) Andrew Albert, MTA representatives started by walking through a supplemented version of their existing presentation at Museum of Natural History’s Linder Theater. Then, they encouraged community members to visit separate stations set up throughout AMNH’s 77th Street Rotunda to ask questions with the appropriate representative.

The attendees, however, did not appear to be in favor of this format. As the theater presentation concluded, multiple people asked if the MTA would instead be willing to host questions on stage in front of the larger audience, to avoid overlap and to ensure everyone had access to all the information – but were firmly rebuffed by MTA NYC Transit Deputy Director of Government and Community Relations, Rob Marino.

Even when City Council member Helen Rosenthal stepped in to reiterate this request on behalf of the community, the MTA representatives and CB7 hosts insisted they follow the open house protocol, which, according to Marino, had been received successfully in their outreach efforts for other projects like the L train closures.


Attendees gather in the rotunda to await MTA representatives for the open house Q&A session.

“Why would they agree to a format that does not serve the community’s interests?” asked a community member to another, blaming CB7 for acquiescing to the MTA on her way out to the rotunda.


Temoor Ahmad presents some of the thinking behind the upgrades.

During the presentation segment, Temoor Ahmad, Associate Principal at the consulting architectural firm, walked through some of the program’s objectives, which ultimately aim to modernize the stations through new entrances, control area dashboards, lighting, information content, platform dashboards, furniture, and art. He emphasized the implementation of “intuitive design” and “prescriptive signage” as some of the key wayfinding aids that will be introduced with the upgrades.


A sample flyer posted to inform riders of the service change at the 163rd Street Station, which closed on March 12. Riders can expect to see similar flyers at affected stations 10-14 days in advance.

Despite the new design elements, community members expressed concern about the lack of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible enhancements. Bill Montanile, the Program Manager for this ESI, stepped up to explain some of the reasoning behind this. According to Montanile, the $111 million allocation for this project (which also includes work at 163rd Street) came from a capital program budget specifically designated for “renewals and components,” which is a separate pool of money from capital projects that incorporate ADA enhancements.

Community members were also concerned about the lack of notice, pointing out that this was the first and only meeting scheduled between MTA representatives and the public. While attendees were encouraged to leave comment cards for review, it does not appear that the MTA plans to do any additional community outreach for this project. Montanile shared that signage will go up to inform riders of the closures between 10 and 14 days before they are set to start. CB7 members invited the community to sign up for their newsletter, which also provides some notice around issues like this.

During the full CB7 meeting earlier this month, Andrew Albert shared that he was told “there will be extra M10 bus service” to supplement the closures. But during the open house, MTA NYC Transit’s Senior Director of Service Planning, Judy McClain, answered a number of questions about the planned service disruptions – some of which contradicted this earlier promise.

According to McClain, the MTA projects that the number of people who use the M10 or M86 buses for alternate service will be too insignificant to warrant increased service. However, they plan to have additional bus service available “as needed” if they measure a significant increase in ridership. Her projections show that, for most people, “the best alternative will be to walk to the adjacent station,” which could include a B-C station to the north or south, or a 1 station on Broadway.

She also confirmed that the projected diversions will call for express service between 59th and 125th Street, which will impact not only the stations receiving upgrades but everything in between. The diversions related to this ESI have already begun and will continue to occur during and after the planned closure window.

As the open house Q&A session wrapped up, Montanile pointed to the prior ESI projects in Brooklyn and Astoria as success stories in an attempt to ease fears that the Upper West Side closures will extend beyond their projected durations. He estimated that contractors can be charged around $20,000 a day in penalties for delays, and conversely, are incentivized to finish early. The project is slated to conclude by December 2018.

NEWS | 15 comments | permalink
    1. dannyboy says:

      “The project is slated to conclude by December 2018.”

      What’s the moneyline?

      • William Raudenbush says:

        Moneyline is even. It’s a very small amount of work with a relatively long timeline. That being said, I’ll take the under, but I want 2-1 odds.

    2. Jose Garrido says:

      Great for white people we have a vending metro card machine not working for almost a year in the B&d line on fordham road station in the bronx i guess the money is well spend elsewhere

      • Cato says:

        “Great for white people we have a vending metro card machine not working for almost a year in the B&d line on fordham road station in the bronx i guess the money is well spend elsewhere”

        This is an unfortunate and wholly inappropriate comment. I’m surprised WSR allowed it.

        It might be one thing to complain about MTA’s failure to fix one broken vending machine. I suspect that there are more than that across the City, but OK — you’re unhappy that that one single machine doesn’t work.

        But why do you need to make a racial issue about that? What does that one broken machine have to do with “white people”? (Are “white people” no longer allowed to live in the Bronx?)

        And if you’re complaining that MTA is doing renovations in areas other than the Bronx (that is, if you’ve decided that those MTA renovations are where “white people” live), well, maybe you should go back and re-read the article, because the people who live in those neighborhoods, and use those stations, are very, very unhappy about the renovations. What exactly is it that you think is “Great for white people” here, anyway?

        Except for those who choose to see *everything* in that unfortunate way, this issue has nothing to do with “white people”.

        Please, WSR, don’t permit racist garbage like this in an otherwise-important discussion.

      • EricaC says:

        While I don’t appreciate the tie to race (accurate though it may be), I agree with the sentiment. If they were adding ADA changes, I could see the point, but otherwise this seems to be completely unnecessary and a waste of money. The stations aren’t pretty, but they are entirely functional. I don’t think money should be spent on cosmetics alone unless functionality has been assured system wide. Making cosmetic changes when you are doing construction for other reasons is one thing – pure cosmetics is another.

    3. Parker says:

      So basically the MTA gave the middle finger to the community’s concerns. Good to see that the MTA has ample money for these renovations, yet has no budget to adequately supervise and maintain these station in the long term.

      #CuomosMTA

    4. Elizabeth Ronis says:

      Email address. Based on past experience., you will not publish the entire comment. So. those who are barely ambulatory will be required to walk a minimum of ten blocks to enter the subway. What a brilliant idea.
      It seems that the authors of this plan don’t give a hoot about the residents of this area but are determined to implement their plan Is this an example of the ” trickle down theory?” of which DC iis so o enamoured? What is trickling down is their lack of planning and stupidity…

    5. Jose Gonzalez says:

      Maybe reducing the running time, like no trains past 11pm.till 4:30am..but closing it would be stressful getting to work..

    6. MT says:

      These improvements are basically for the hordes of tourists visting the Dakota, strawberry fields are who overrun Central Park as their circus attraction. Why not 79th St on the 1,2,3 line, which needs wider exits.
      –No current plan for managing large numbers of rush-hour commuters on platforms at other stations. ie 81st St.
      –No current plan for where all the construction vehicles and equipment will be staged.
      –No current plan for mitigating mold during construction at these stations that have significant water leakage.
      –Electronic tombstones at exits providing information could eventually contain advertising.

      As for the question and answer period being held informally in the hallway not the auditorium, apparently the MTA only paid for the AMNH auditorium for about a half and hour. MTA is spending $111.2 million and yeta is saving shekels on the presentation. And doesn’t the AMNH kind of owe Upper West Siders a discount on facilty use given what it is doing to our neighborhood with its expansion into Teddy Roosevelt Park?

      • dannyboy says:

        “As for the question and answer period being held informally in the hallway not the auditorium, apparently the MTA only paid for the AMNH auditorium for about a half and hour. MTA is spending $111.2 million and yeta is saving shekels on the presentation.”

        I kinda’ got the impression that they didn’t really want no stinkin’ conversation.

    7. EP says:

      First we have
      “Her projections show that, for most people, “the best alternative will be to walk to the adjacent station,” which could include a B-C station to the north or south, or a 1 station on Broadway.”, but then
      “She also confirmed that the projected diversions will call for express service between 59th and 125th Street, which will impact not only the stations receiving upgrades but everything in between.”

      So they will not provide extra buses because they expect people to walk to neighboring stations, but people won’t actually be able to get the train at those stations because trains will run express? What am I missing?

    8. Ladybug says:

      Does this mean no local service whatsoever between 59th and 125th during the work? Wny doesn’t the MTA just shut down the whole line? (I’m being facetious.)

      • dannyboy says:

        “Why doesn’t the MTA just shut down the whole line? (I’m being facetious.)”

        Hey! Don’t give them any ideas that they haven’t tried on us yet.

    9. Sarah says:

      Choosing not to allocate money from a particular pool doesn’t exempt you from ADA requirements.

      Additionally, does the MTA intend to FIX WEEKEND SERVICE on the 1/2/3 before sending the A/B/C hordes over to that line? It would be bad enough if the 1/2/3 were running normally, but it has been a two-year shambles there.