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State official calls for public hearing before Upper West Side subway closures

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Three Upper West Side and one Washington Heights subway station will close for several months of repairs

Via Google Maps

UPDATE 2/23/18: Following the announcement of station closures in Upper Manhattan, State Assembly member Linda Rosenthal is calling on the MTA to halt its plans until it holds a public hearing first.

In a letter addressed to MTA chair Joseph Lhota, Rosenthal highlighted how the planned closures had taken everyone by surprise and reproached the MTA for not providing extra service on the M10 bus, other buses, or on nearby subways.

She also questioned why the agency was spending money on additions like countdown clocks and other tech-focussed upgrades when there was no money allocated toward making these stations ADA accessible.

“Tens of thousands of New Yorkers flow through these stations each day, yet the MTA neglected to include the community in the planning process,” says Rosenthal in the letter. “It boggles the mind that the MTA would wait for the disruption to occur before taking any action, particularly in light of the spotlight that has been shined recently on it and its service.”

Three Upper West Side subway stations and one Washington Heights station will close in the coming months for repairs as part of the MTA’s Enhanced Station Initiative, which was first announced two years ago. The West Side Rag first learned of the upcoming repair work at a Community Board 7 transportation committee meeting last week.

The stations in question are the 110th, 86th, and 72nd Street stations on the B and C lines, and the 163rd Street station on the C line. The first to shutter will be the Washington Heights one, which will close on March 12, 2018, and is expected to reopen sometime in September.

The 110th Street station will close on April 9, and reopen sometime in September as well; the 72nd Street station will close on May 7, and the 86th Street station on June 4, and both will reopen sometime in October.

A rendering of the revamped 110th St. subway entrance.
Via MTA.

Though the repairs will vary slightly at each station, they will include waterproofing, repairs to the floors and walls, the installation of countdown clocks, illuminated handrails, LED lighting, Wi-Fi, and Help Points, among other features.

The enhanced station initiative has previously come under fire from the de Blasio administration, which feels it is a vanity project especially when the subway is in the midst of a crisis. Assembly member Daniel O’Donnell, added his voice to the criticism telling the West Side Rag that “the idea that purely aesthetic modifications will close three important stations is an outrage,” referring specifically to the Upper West Side stations.

Though in the case of these latest set of repairs, issues like waterproofing are also part of the mix. What’s less clear right now however are alternate modes of transportation; an MTA representative at the meeting is reported to have said that commuters would likely use buses or other subway lines, according to the West Side Rag, but no announcements have been just yet about increases service on the nearby 1,2,3 lines. All the projects combined are being carried out at a cost of just over $111 million.