As transit issues like the impending L train shutdown and the ailing subway system loom large in straphangers’ minds, Queens seems to take a backseat to Manhattan and Brooklyn’s well-reported woes.
But the city’s largest borough is facing its fair share of transit troubles: This month, just days after a chunk of concrete fell from the 41st Street 7 train viaduct in Sunnyside, the MTA announced major renovations will begin in April at the Ditmars Boulevard stop on the N/W line in Astoria. The station will not close during the 14-month-long renovation period, but Astorians are still furious, as the improvements will be largely cosmetic and add Ditmars to a list of other neighborhood stations being impacted by Governor Cuomo’s Enhanced Station Initiative.
#Astoria agrees: the @MTA needs to focus on what people need - better service and accessibility - not on expensive cosmetic changes #nyc #fixourtrains pic.twitter.com/MDFW7tVtKx— Sen. Mike Gianaris (@SenGianaris) February 8, 2018
Two other Astoria subway stops, at 30th Avenue and 36th Avenue, have been closed since October 2017 as part of the initiative, which is addressing cosmetic improvements (though not those stations’ lack of elevators) rather than ailing the signal system.
According to Frank Arcabascio, acting director of the 30th Avenue Business Association and a local business owner, approximately 100 businesses have been impacted by the two station’s shutdowns, the Queens Gazette reported. Both stations are set to reopen in June, but already, some small shops have been forced to close due to the lack of walk-up traffic caused by the closure.
Around the same time the 30th and 36th Avenue stations reopen this summer, it was announced this month that Astoria’s Broadway and 39th Street N/W stations will close for eight. Locals are, predictably, not happy with the MTA.
Elsewhere in Queens, residents who will be affected by the L train shutdown (in neighborhoods like Ridgewood) are also angry that the MTA did not host any community meetings in the borough, despite holding four between Brooklyn and Manhattan.