NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — What’s old is new again for Brooklyn straphangers.
For many people in Park Slope, riding the F and G trains has meant a mad dash across six busy lanes of 4th Avenue.
LISTEN: WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman At The Reopening Of Entrance
“Both of my girls are teenagers who attend school in Manhattan and they have to cross 4th Avenue which I think of as the Indianapolis 500 speedway,” Gene Russianoff, of the Straphangers Campaign, said.
Resident Laura Nash tells CBS 2′s Kathryn Brown that the street is dangerous and often tells her twin 5-year-old boys about the fatalities in the area when they’re crossing the road.
LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports
Like thousands of others, the Nash family lives on the east side of Park Slope but for the last 40 years, the only entrance to the 4th Avenue-9th Street subway station was on the west side of the street.
That is until now.
“I’m happy to see it open. It’s a big surprise,” a man told WCBS 880 reporter Alex Silverman.
Crews worked hard on the finishing touches Thursday morning.
The shiny new turnstiles started spinning after the morning rush. There are also new lights and new floors.
One bagel cart lady who has been stationed on the west side of the avenue for years will be on the other side starting tomorrow morning.
The east side entrance of the subway station was shuttered in the 1970s after a spike in violent crime.
In four decades, the neighborhood has changed dramatically.
With new condo developments sprouting all around, the reopening of the entrance is part of a nearly $3 million rehab project and element of a bigger plan to turn 4th Avenue into what borough president Marty Markowitz calls a grand “Brooklyn Boulevard.”
“For too many years, this was shut off from tens of thousands of folks who use public transportation and now it won’t be cut off any longer,” Markowitz said.
The MTA says work was completed by in-house forces with part of the funding secured by Markowitz ($2 million) and Assemblywoman Joan Millman ($800,000).
The new entrance is just the first phase of a major facelift at the station that will also include renovating the viaduct that runs above 4th Avenue.
“Finishing touches like new entrance doors and increased street lighting are still to come,” MTA President Thomas Pendergast said.
The MTA expects renovations to be finished by this fall.
The next phase of renovations will include new retail spaces which are slated to be open by 2014.
The agency says 11,400 customers use the station on an average weekday.
What other improvements would you like to see in the area? Sound off in the comments section below!