Home Asides Station renewal program to target Outer Boroughs

Station renewal program to target Outer Boroughs

by Benjamin Kabak

As the MTA has worked over the last few decades to get its stations into shape, many Manhattan stations have undergone lavish overhauls while relatively fewer Outer Borough stations have been spruced up. With projects along the Brighton, Culver and Rockaway Lines, that trend has begun to shift in recent years, and now, Transit is going to blitz 29 stations in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx as part of a $455 million renewal project.

As Pete Donohue reported earlier this week, Transit’s new Passenger Station Renewal Program will target a series of stations throughout the system that are suffering from neglect and is designed to improve components of these stations that are the worse. “The prioritization of stations in the ‘Renewal Program’ is based on a systemwide survey conducted by engineers who looked deeper than the usual signs of decay,” Donohue wrote. “They graded structural stability and other behind-the-tile conditions.” News of this component-based repair approach has been brewing since September of 2009.

According to Transit, the following stations will be spruced up and repaired over the next four years: Hunters Point on the 7; Fresh Pond Road and Senca, Forest, Knickerbocker and Central Aves. on the M; 80th, 88th, 104th and 111th Sts. and Rockaway and Lefferts Blvds. along the A; Ditmas and 18th Aves., Bay Parkway and Avenues I, P, U and X on F; Sutter, Saratoga, Rockaway, Pennsylvania and Van Siclen Aves and Junius St. on 3; and Middletown Road and Buhre, Zerega and Castle Hill Aves. along the 6.

You may also like


R. Graham January 26, 2011 - 11:58 am

I guess 3rd Ave-138th is structurally sound? Other than that I don’t know how they could miss that station in this plan.

206-Norwood not included? Yikes.

But at least they are starting somewhere and that’s what counts the most.

Christopher January 26, 2011 - 12:24 pm

Oh thank God for Knickerbocker. I worry that one train too fast will knock that thing down. It’s above ground and yet FLOODs during a rainstorm the ceiling is so leaky. The doors are plywood nailed to originals. I can’t overstate how sad this station is.

Edward January 26, 2011 - 12:39 pm

I’m really getting tired of the term “outer-borough.”

There are five boroughs, all of which agreed to become Greater New York on exactly the same day in 1898. The fact that we even use the term is part of the problem. Yes, Manhattan is the cultural and economic center of the city, but you don’t hear people in Chicago or LA talk about the “outer neighborhoods” as if they were somehow not as important as the downtown area. It’s one city made up of five boroughs, and as far as gov’t agencies like the MTA are concerned, there should be no preferrential treatment. Whether I’m in Midtown, Woodlawn or Tottenville, I still have to pay $2.25 to ride a bus or subway.

There, now I feel better.

Evan January 26, 2011 - 2:03 pm

I agree. I never really understood the term “Outer-Borough”. I’m from Canarsie and now I live in Astoria…last I checked they were part of NYC proper.

Christopher January 26, 2011 - 3:13 pm

Well people in Illinois use “downtown” to mean only the Loop (which is in the middle of town) and have other snide ways to refer to neighborhoods outside of the money areas that hug the lakefront from the Loop to the North Side. And all places outside of Chicagoland are referred to as Downstate even if they aren’t actually down. (And really “Downstate” is almost as patronizing as Delaware calling the lower parts of the state Slowerare.) Thems the breaks. As someone that grew up in “flyover country” I’ve long accepted that not everywhere is appreciated equally. (Plus as I said to someone complaining about me getting take out in Manhattan when I live in Brooklyn. “Yes it’s true there aren’t good affordable Japanese restaurants in North Brooklyn. But at least I can pay my rent.”)

Andy Battaglia January 26, 2011 - 2:06 pm

Well to be fair, New York existed as only Manhattan for over a century. There is history there. I live in Brooklyn but don’t really mind being called an outer-borough. Millions of people from around the world don’t come to this city to see how awesome East New York and Forrest Hills are.

Edward January 26, 2011 - 2:22 pm

True, but it’s been 113 years since the five boros joined to form NYC. I think we can drop the “outer-boro” designation after a century or so.

Andy Battaglia January 26, 2011 - 2:31 pm

But “outer-boro” doesn’t have a meaning that would make one think it isn’t part of New York City. It essentially just means outside the CBD. Also, if we are concerned about unity we should try to change the way New Yorkers themselves refer to Manhattan. Anyone who has grown up in Brooklyn, Staten Island, Bronx, or Queens knows that everyone called it, “the city.” It’s still the case to this day.

Edward January 26, 2011 - 2:42 pm

Having NYers refer to Manhattan as “the city” is one thing. Having your own Mayor or transit agency refer to the majority of the city as being “outside” the real city of Manhattan is another thing.

As a subway rider, you can see the difference between conditions at Manhattan stations vs. those in the Bronx or B’klyn. And I’ve witnessed tons of crosstown buses in Manhattan run with 2 or 3 riders on a Sunday afternoon when there are people literally packed to the walls on buses in Queens or Staten Island on routes that desperately need more service.

If you ride subways or buses in LA or DC, all the stations are just as clean as the others–there’s no favoritism. And buses and trolleys in Philly run as frequently on the outskirts of town as they do downtown. Only in NYC are people who don’t live in the CBD treated like second-class citizens, and it can stop by getting rid of the silly “outer-boro” nomenclature.

Benjamin Kabak January 26, 2011 - 2:50 pm

I see plenty of buses with 2 or 3 riders on them during weekend afternoons in Brookyn and Queens as well. I think you’re taking the whole Outer Borough complex a bit too far. It’s not a slight; it’s a shorthand. I live in Brooklyn, and I am decidedly not offended by it because I don’t view it as an insult nor do I feel treated like a second-class citizen.

Andy Battaglia January 26, 2011 - 3:04 pm

Well said, Ben. Also, I use plenty of subway stations in Brooklyn including those along Fulton Street and Eastern Parkway and none are as gross and decrepit as some in Manhattan. West 4th Street is a crap hole as are 14th Street/6th Ave on the 1,2,3,L and those along the 53rd Street line. I don’t really see much favoritism there. Enormous stations like Columbus Circle, Times Square, and Fulton getting renovations makes sense not because they are in Manhattan but because they are among the most heavily used in the system. We have limited resources as it is so yes, we need to have priorities. If that hurts some of your feelings then so be it.

Edward January 26, 2011 - 3:05 pm

That’s your opinion Ben, but to dismiss someone’s view out-of-hand and tell them they have a “complex” because you don’t feel the same is a bit closed minded. Since many parts of Brooklyn are becoming expensive extensions of Manhattan, you probably don’t feel slighted because you don’t hear anything about W’burg, DUMBO or Greenpoint as being “outer-borough.” I bet if you lived in Canarsie or Rockaway you’d feel differently.

Benjamin Kabak January 26, 2011 - 3:12 pm

I don’t mean to sound close-minded, and I’m sorry if I came across as such. I think this Outer Borough/Manhattan dichotomy is a false one. Ask people who live in East Harlem or the housing projects in Chinatown if they feel like second class citizens. They’re in Manhattan and would most likely say yes. If anything, you’re arguing about socioeconomic status and how different neighborhoods are treated differently based on tourist traffic, business needs and relative wealth.

For me, Outer Borough is a shorthand so I don’t need to write “Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx” six or seven times in a 400-word post. It has nothing to do with the state of infrastructure or empty buses.

Al D January 27, 2011 - 5:39 pm

The term is also a geographically and pratically correct descriptor as Manhattan is viewed as the center.

The problem is that the term has all sorts of negative connotations associated with it. Take for example, those that complained about not having their tiny side streets plowed way out in SI or Queens whilst Park Ave received priority. Well, of course Park Ave receives priority, and that is not discriminatory, it’s a simpe fact of life. If those people want their streets plowed first then (i) move to Park Ave., or (ii) hire a private plow. Since Park Ave is of greater significance to NYC in so many ways, say compared to Nugent St on SI (just by way of example, not singling anyone out!), well of course it’s going to get plowed first, and maybe even second and third before Nugent St sees a plow.

So yes I live in an outer-borough, and yes, I accept that my street will be plowed after Park Ave., and that I need a car to supplement to the public transit options available to me and so on and so on…but I do not have a complex.

Scott E January 26, 2011 - 3:27 pm

I honestly didn’t think Hunters Point Ave. was all that bad. It wasn’t glamorous by any means, it was just…. typical.

Are these “renewal” projects purely cosmetic, or will there be functional upgrades (elevators, new entrances/exits) as well? This station is used quite a bit for transfers to the LIRR station, which requires people to climb the stairs from the 7, walk a few feet on a narrow city sidewalk over train tracks, and back down a set of stairs to the LIRR platform. If anything, a better connection between the two would be ideal. And if an elevator is added to the subway station, it doesn’t much help the non-accessible LIRR (which is even more “old-looking” than the subway with its wood-plank platform and schedule permanently printed on signs), does it?

Scott Mercer January 26, 2011 - 3:33 pm

Hell yes, people in Los Angeles have our own “outer boroughs.”

They just aren’t called that. There’s “the basin” and “the Valleys.”

“The Basin” is the meat of Los Angeles. Downtown, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, West L.A. (Bel Air, Brentwood, Mid-Wilshire, Koreatown, Silver Lake, Echo Park).

Then you get The San Fernando Valley, The San Gabriel Valley, The Santa Clarita Valley.

There’s also “The South Bay.” That is technically part of the Los Angeles Basin, but it’s definitely not part of the same continuum as Downtown-Hollywood-Beverly Hills-Santa Monica.

Much like Brooklyn and Queens are a part of New York City, the San Fernando Valley is a part of the City of Los Angeles, after it expanded and swallowed up most of the County, due to water supply issues. And believe me, they have the same inferiority issues that Brooklyn and Queens might have, if not more so. (Ironically, the city that the valley is named for, San Fernando, remained its own city and is not part of the City of Los Angeles.)

Every five years or so, there’s rumbling about the San Fernando Valley seceding from the City, since they always get “screwed over” by the city due to contributing too high (sez you) property taxes and getting the shaft with city services. The SFV barely has mass transit service, we got a busway instead of a light rail line. The Valley only recently got some new schools, police stations and public libraries (last 10 years) but before that they were limping along with outdated facilities.

And I forget the actual number, but if The Valley were its own city, it would be the sixth largest city in the United States.

Duke87 January 26, 2011 - 5:42 pm

Hmm…. now why is Pelham Bay getting attention here? Those stations on the 6 aren’t in that bad of a condition. The ones in the South Bronx are far more in need of a facelift (though Whitlock at least is already done).

Then again, maybe I’m just biased on the fact that if Middletown Road gets overhauled, part of my childhood will be destroyed. I really like that beige-painted corrugated metal. :\


Leave a Comment