NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Several subway stations will soon be getting a makeover.
The MTA has approved more than $200 million for repairs.
Some say the plan has the wrong focus.
The 34th Street station is one of eight citywide that will be seeing some upgrades, but a big complaint by many is that the upgrades appear to be mostly cosmetic fixes with a lack of focus on infrastructure and service, CBS2’s Reena Roy reported.
It’s no secret that taking the subway these days can often mean dealing with quite a bumpy ride.
“I’ve lived here since ’87 and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen the subway worse than it is now,” said straphanger Tim Steele.
MTA officials, hoping to improve that, voted Thursday to spend more than $200 million on eight stations.
The stations are:
– West 23rd and Sixth Avenue
– West 57th and Sixth Avenue
– East 28th and Lexington Avenue
– West 145th Street and Lenox Avenue
– 7th Avenue at 34th Street Penn Station
– 8th Avenue at 34th Street Penn Station
– 167th St. Concourse Line in the Bronx
– 174-175 St. Concourse Line in the Bronx
All except for Penn Station will be shut down for months for repairs.
“You don’t want to inundate a community,” said MTA Chairman Joe Lhota. “What you want to do is spread it around, and we’re a large enough system to do that. You also want to understand those things that can be done in a six month time frame, or less than that.”
It’s all part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s controversial $1 billion enhanced station initiative, which includes new lighting, tiling artwork and digital screens. Ten MTA board members gave the initiative the green light, but three voted no.
“My position has never been that a lot of the enhancements – even the art, even the lighting – is not needed. My position is not now,” said MTA board member Veronica Vanterpool.
Subway riders Roy spoke with agreed, calling for better wheelchair access instead, and more reliable service.
“Everyone’s always late. We’re losing our jobs because of the signal problems and so many other things,” said commuter Carolin Puskul.
“Most of the time I get to work late,” another woman told Roy. “We never know when the train’s going to work well or not.”
“Cosmetic changes are important but they always come behind infrastructure,” Steele said.
Transit President Andy Byford says he spent weeks analyzing the restoration project and found it to be more comprehensive than that, with plans to fix crumbling platforms, walls and stairways.
“If this were truly just an aesthetic, cosmetic program than I would have a problem with that,” he said.
The enhanced station initiative has already transformed some R stations in Brooklyn, but right now it’s unclear when the repairs at the eight other stations will begin.