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Subway stations to suffer from budget pinch


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Subway stations to suffer from budget pinch

By Matthew Sweeney and Marlene Naanes


July 9, 2008



Jefferson Siegel

Peeling paint at the Fort Hamilton Parkway Station in Brooklyn. The MTA has decided to

delay repairs on the Fort Hamilton Parkway Station station despite major deterioration

on signs, stairs, ceilings, etc. The delays will also effect 14 other stations on the (D) and (F)

lines in Brooklyn.


Short on money and facing a massive budget gap, the MTA is amending its once planned rehab of 55 stations. It will now only get to 25 stations in its 2005-2009 capital plan, raising fears the system could revert to the nightmare conditions of the 1970s.


At the current pace of 25 every five years, it would be mid-century before the more than 200 stations in the subway system were in a "state of good repair."


"If you let different pieces of the system fall out of a state of good repair, you could have the same situation you had in the 70s," when the subway system got about a quarter of the capital funding it needed, said Peter Derrick, a former MTA planner and administrator.


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board is expected later this month to OK cuts that would defer $2.4 billion in transit projects, including rehab work at 19 stations. The cuts to station work will save $279 million, which will be use to help pay for subway service to relieve crowding on some lines.


Currently, the MTA faces a potentially catastrophic $20 billion deficit in its upcoming $30 billion capital plan for 2010-2014. Not long ago, NYC Transit had plans to overhaul all its stations by 2019. In 2005, that goal was pushed back to 2024. Now facing a fiscal crisis, the agency has put aside its deadline.


"We're trying to take a more realistic look at how to invest in stations so that we're making the appropriate investment when we need to instead of making a full-blown renovation," said Transit spokesman Paul Fleuranges.


When it comes to capital projects, transit experts said that keeping the subway running and keeping stations in good shape ought to be the first priority, since that is what riders see first.


"How do you generate support among the public?" asked Dr. Allison de Cerreño, director of the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy at New York University. "You have to show them you're doing something. Stations are really important for that."


It's remarkable, how far the subway have come since the 1970s, when stations throughout the system were crumbling and covered in graffiti. However, progress can be fleeting, she said.


Tigana Mihajlovic, 23, a grad student from Borough Park, uses the Fort Hamilton (D) station, where repairs have been put off. "The whole thing shakes when it's windy," she said of the platform. "Some stairs are loose and downward sloping. You can fall if you're not careful."


City Comptroller William Thompson yesterday said he was particularly concerned about a decision to defer installation of a ventilation plant at 14th Street in Manhattan on the (A) line. The vents draw air through tunnels and necessary to clear smoke in the event of fire or other emergencies, Thompson said.


MTA officials said delaying the fan plant creates no risk to public safety.


Simone Herbin contributed to this story.


A look at three Brooklyn subway stations that will not be rehabbed as scheduled. Conditions are deteriorating and riders are angry.


9th Avenue on the (D) line:


Garbage is strewn on the tracks, the overhead pipes are repaired with duct tape, paint is peeling off the ceiling, graffiti is everywhere, a wobbly wooden banister is held together with duct tape, water is dripping from the ceiling, pillars are rusting and the cement platform is full of cracks.


"It's terrible. It looks horrible," said Sharon Rhamoolie, 33, of Sunset Park. "There's always stuff breaking and peeling everywhere. The appearance is really bad. When it rains forget about it. It's everywhere. There's always pigeons all around. They live here."


Fort Hamilton on the (D) line:


Paint is peeling and chipping everywhere, the cement platform is cracking around pillars and the stairs to the platform are loose.


Mike Merola, 50, Borough Park


"It sucks majorly," said Mike Merola, 50 of Borough Park. "I've been here almost 15 years. Do you know how many times they start working on it and stop? ... They start fixing the concrete; they stop. They start painting; they stop. ... They raise the fares, and the station gets worse."


Smith and 9th Street on the (F) and (G) lines:


Mosaic tiles on the wall that say "Smith Street" are cracking and falling off, rusting paint is chipping off the walls, platform supports are rusting and the cement platform is cracking and crumbling.


"Aesthetically it isn't pleasing," said Allison Gall, 26, of Park Slope. "The paint is chipping and peeling. The platform filthy, and the concrete is crumbling. There's water damage and mold. People should be concerned for their health."

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Moving ahead to the past, I see. Deferred maintenance gets everyone nowhere.


At least they are keeping trackage and rolling stock in order unlike the hell years. Every train i see is spotless.


- Andy

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As a kid, I my relatives always told me how bad the West End or then the (B) Line was. Always in need of repair. They would get off at stations along 86 St and New Utrecht and tell me how bolts and junk would fall from the Stations on the El, and pieces from tracks above the El...:eek:

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