R train stop is coming back
Bay Ridge residents will soon be getting one of their most vital transportation links back.
The R train’s Bay Ridge Avenue subway station, which has been closed for renovations since April 29, is set to reopen on Oct. 13, according to local officials.
An MTA spokesman told the Brooklyn Eagle via email that he would not confirm the date of the station reopening. But two community leaders in Bay Ridge told the Eagle that a top figure within MTA had informed them of the agency’s plans to reopen the shuttered station.
The Bay Ridge Avenue station, often referred to by local residents as the 69th Street station, is one of the busiest subway stops in the Southwest Brooklyn neighborhood. It is part of a major transportation hub in the neighborhood, with access to three bus lines, the B9, B64 and B70.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last year that the Bay Ridge Avenue station would be one of three Brooklyn subway stations to undergo repairs under MTA’s Enhanced Station Initiative.
Along with Bay Ridge Avenue, the other stations closed for repairs under the project were 53rd Street and Prospect Avenue. The 53rd Street station reopened two weeks ago.
Here are some of the improvements riders can expect when they enter the Bay Ridge station for the first time in nearly six months:
Enhanced lighting throughout the station
Improved signage for easier navigation, including digital, real-time updates on on-time performance at subway entrances, before customers even enter the station
Amenities, such as countdown clocks, cellular connectivity, Wi-Fi, new art and security cameras
John Quaglione, who won the Republican primary earlier this month and is now the GOP candidate for Bay Ridge’s City Council, said the city should be doing a lot more to make life easier for residents until the subway station reopens.
He called on the Department of Sanitation to suspend alternate side of the street parking regulations in the vicinity of the train station for the next two weeks. Under his proposal, alternate side parking would be temporarily suspended from 68th Street to Ovington Avenue, between Third and Fifth avenues until Oct. 13.
“The soon-to-be-completed repairs will make for a more enjoyable subway ride, and we look forward to taking the train from Bay Ridge Avenue again. As the project winds down, I call upon the NYC Department of Sanitation to suspend alternate side of the street parking for the remaining two plus weeks for the sake of those who live, work and own businesses in the area,” Quaglione said in a statement.
Quaglione said he knows firsthand the frustration Bay Ridge residents living near the subway station face when they try to find parking spaces. Last week he had an appointment at the Emphasis Restaurant on Fourth Avenue and said it took more than a half hour to find a parking space.
Justin Brannan, the Democrat running for City Council who has made transit issues a centerpiece of his campaign, recently wrote a letter to MTA Chairman Joe Lhota asking when the Bay Ridge Avenue station would reopen.
“We are eager for service at the Bay Ridge Avenue station to resume and I’m hoping you can provide a timeline for this,” Brannan wrote in his letter.
“In response to my letter, MTA says Bay Ridge Avenue station will officially re-open [the] second week of October,” Brannan wrote on Facebook on Friday.
The Eagle reported on Sept. 22 that Brannan also emphasized in his letter the need for quality subway service over cosmetic improvements. “Right now, people who live in different states can get to Manhattan quicker than we can,” Brannan said.
The renovation project has not gone entirely smoothly.
During the first few days of the station’s closure, riders were confused and angry over the disruption in their daily commute.
MTA opted not to provide shuttle bus service so that passengers would be able to get on the R train two alternative stations, 77th Street and 59th Street.
On May 1, the first workday of the closure, Liam McCabe, a Republican who was running in the GOP primary for City Council at the time, decided to get behind the wheel of his Buick offer free rides to passengers from the Bay Ridge Avenue station to the 59th Street station.
“I figured it’s the least I can do,” McCabe told the Eagle.