Old South Ferry loop station set to reopen in AprilBy
To provide better train service to Staten Island Ferry-bound customers, the MTA will recommission the 1 train’s old South Ferry loop station, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today. The station — the first ever to be shuttered and then reopened — will require around $2 million worth of work and will see revenue service begin again during the first week in April.
According to Cuomo’s office — which has now begun to take credit for every bit of good news coming out of the MTA — reactivating the old loop will help ease commutes for more than 10,000 riders while allaying some of the crowding that has plagued the 4 and 5 trains in Sandy’s aftermath. Despite this move, the MTA will not drop its $600 million to reconstruct and harden the new South Ferry terminal.
“The MTA has a long, tough job ahead as it tackles the immense job of virtually rebuilding the new South Ferry terminal station that was flooded 80 feet deep during Superstorm Sandy,” Cuomo said in a statement. “For the extended period of time it will take for this work to be completed, we are returning the old station in the complex to service, making travel easier and more convenient for Staten Islanders and others who work and visit this area.”
According to Cuomo, it will take the MTA approximately two years to restore the new South Ferry station, and Staten Island politicians and MTA Board reps called upon the agency to do something sooner. Over the past few weeks, crews have been working around the clock in the old station, and a recent video clearly showed a station nearing recommissioning.
“As MTA New York City Transit assessed the extent of damage to the new South Ferry station, it became clear that the time necessary to repair it would be too long a period to deny our customers a direct link to lower Manhattan,” MTA Interim Executive Director Thomas F. Prendergast said. “We are working to ensure that all elements and systems are fully operational, safe and reliable before restoring service to the old station, but our primary goal remains restoring the new South Ferry station as soon as possible.”
To reopen the old station, the MTA built a new connection between the new mezzanine and the old loop station, thus maintaining the transfer between the 1 and the R at Whilehall St. Crews also had to refurbish the platform edge extenders and reinstall electrical feeds, closed-circuit television systems to monitor the platform, customer assistance intercoms, security cameras and radio communications in the dispatcher’s office. Remaining work includes rehabbing the fare control area and restoring and repainting lighting in the station and adjacent tunnels.
Furthermore, the problems with the old loop station have not been resolved. Doors in only the first five cars will open at South Ferry, and gap fillers will be used to bridge the space between the car doors and the platform. Additionally, the station is rather narrow and was not, in 2009 when it closed, ADA accessible. It’s better though than a two-year wait.
Considering the MTA’s turnaround time on this project, it’s something to see what the MTA and its contractors can accomplish in short order with the right amount of political pressure. Six months after Sandy and less than four months after officials starting making noises about it, the South Ferry station will be reopened after a prolonged period of time without train service. Now if only they could do something about that price tag for work at the new station.