NYC Residents Face Relocation During Train Line Renovation

Residents of a block-long stretch in Brooklyn will have to find new places to live and work for the next six months as the MTA renovates a section of the M train above the block. 

A coffee shop, a bike store, several private row homes and an apartment house with five units will have to be empty while the subway line is renovated, Newsday first reported. 

"It puts us in an awkward position," said Jarad Needham, who manages the Harvest Cyclery on Myrtle Avenue. The business just opened a year ago, and Needham is worried the project will put the brakes on business. 

"It's one of those things, you can't fight City Hall," he said. "They gotta build the railroad, they gotta do it." 

The MTA announced last month that it would shut down part of the M line to rebuild a nearly century-old viaduct called the Bushwick Cut, which connects the M train to the J and Z. The section being shut down includes portions of the two boroughs that aren't covered by any other subway line.

Affected stops are in Brooklyn and Queens, including the Metropolitan Avenue, Fresh Pond Road, Forest Avenue and Seneca Avenue stations.

Officials says people living and working in the buildings that come within inches of the tracks must relocate, calling it a safety issue for both residents and passengers. 

"This must be done," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. "There is no cost you can put on top of public safety. You don't want one of those buildings to have any structural issues while families are inside." 

The occupants would be relocated for at least six months. Owners who do not wish to return after the period have the option of selling their buildings to the MTA at a “fair market value.”

The MTA plans to hire a “relocation consultant” to help residents deal with the relocation.  

"We've hired a consultant. I will work with them individually to figure out what they want to do, if they want temporary housing, if they really want to move on a permanent basis," said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz. "They're all things we're looking at to accommodate them moving forward." 

The relocation was authorized March 23 by the MTA board. It was not immediately clear when they would begin. 

Adams said the MTA needs to do better at keeping neighbors informed. 

"Hurricane Sandy was a surprise. Hurricane MTA should not be a surprise. We had more than a year. Families should know more than a year out to ensure that they were able to prepare for this," he said. 

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