A Case Against Stairs: Fulton Hub Creates a Hubbub

New renovations make riders weak in the knees

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Fulton Street frustration may get worse before it gets better. Riders must use a temporary staircase to get from some lines to others while a $1.4 billion dollar renovation continues.

    What goes up... must come down.

    But must it be so steep?

    Steps In The Right Direction

    [NY] Steps In The Right Direction
    Even critics of the MTA say it's a good sign that construction is moving forward on that $1.4 Billion Fulton Street Transit Hub renovation.But every project has its ups and downs. Take for example, the temporary stairs leading from the 2 and 3 trains to the A,C,J,M,Z,4 and 5 trains. The stairs replaced a ramp, which many commuters found much easier to use.

    That's what disgruntled subway riders are asking now that their already relentless journey from one line to the next at  the Fulton Street station downtown got a little bit more challenging.

    As part of the MTA's years-long, $1.4 billion renovation of the crowded connector, construction crews have replaced pedestrian ramps with temporary staircases linking the 2 and 3 lines to the alphabet soup of everything else: the A,C,J,M,Z,4 and 5 trains. But elderly commuters told NBC New York.com that the new steps have made their train transfers more painful.

    "At my age it's a little more tiring," said Louis Reyes Rivera of Brooklyn, who uses a cane. "The ramp was a lot easier to ascend."

    Regular rider Milta Torres, also of Brooklyn, worries about those with injuries. "It's a little bit of a steep climb. People who have problems with knees or whatever, I don't think it's user friendly."   

    But the MTA says the stairs are necessary as the modernization reaches its next phase. And riders' advocate Gene Russianoff says a little bit of pain is worth the long-term gain.

    "The plan is a good plan," says Russianoff, spokesman for the Straphangers Campaign. "And the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow will be easier transfers between the various lines that serve the station."

    The whole project is due for completion in June of 2014. Which, if you're keeping track, is more than a year before the Second Avenue Subway opens for business.