United States

Renovation of 3 R Line Stations to Bring ‘New Age' for Subway System, MTA Says

Four subway stations in Astoria are also slated to close as part of the modernization project

What to Know

  • Three R line stations in Brooklyn will close for six months as part of a greater initiative to modernize public transportation in the city
  • Four N line stations in Queens will also undergo the renovations
  • The renovations are part of a $27 billion, five-year MTA capital program that aims to improve transit in the city

Three R line stations in Brooklyn will soon close to undergo top-to-bottom renovations that are part of a modernization project aimed at upgrading the city’s aging subway system, the MTA said.

The three stations — 53rd Street, Bay Ridge Avenue and Prospect Avenue — will each close for a period of six months as part of the $72 million project.

The first station to close will be 53rd Street on Monday, March 27. Bay Ridge Avenue will close on April 29 and Prospect Avenue will close on June 5. The stations will be closed in both directions, with all three stations slated to reopen by the end of the year.

During the renovations, commuters are advised to use nearby subway stations or the B37 or B36 bus routes, which run on Third and Fifth avenues, parallel to the R line.

The three stations, built in 1915, will be partially demolished before renovations are made to the entrances, turnstile areas, mezzanines and platforms.

The project is part of a $27 billion, five-year MTA capital program that Gov. Cuomo announced last year. The plan includes upgrades to buses, subway cars, stations, and control technology. It looks to improve the reliability, capacity and reputation of the most heavily used public transit system in the U.S.

The stations will essentially be made over from the ground up, with new granite flooring, upgraded communication systems and improved station signage among the new features. Repairs will be made to track and platform walls, and glass barriers will be installed at the mezzanine level. Infrastructure work like concrete and steel repairs will also be done.

New amenities will include digital screens that broadcast real-time service information at street level, as well as information dashboards, brighter LED light fixtures, improved security cameras, help points, and charging stations for electronics.

"These first three stations to be renovated represent the start of a new age for our subway system,” MTA Interim Executive Director Ronnie Hakim said in a press release.

In the release, MTA said it worked with architects to study and revise existing design guidelines for subway stations. The agency hopes to improve the appearance and usage of stations, as well as the flow of foot traffic. The new guidelines will “change the way that subway stations look and feel going forward” and influence station design for years to come.

The MTA has hired a contractor, Citnalta-Forte Joint Venture, to employ a new design-build method at the stations — the first time the agency has adopted the method in its construction projects. Previously, the MTA would allow limited service at stations as they underwent construction, an approach that stretched the construction time line, sometimes to years.

The contractor will be given complete access to each station and trusted with finishing the renovations as quickly as possible.

The MTA plans to continue the renovations after the three R line stations are completed. The next group of stations to be renovated will be the Broadway, 30th Avenue, 36th Avenue and 39th Avenue stations on the N line in Astoria. 

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