It’s no small thing for the MTA to opt to shut down a subway station. New Yorkers hate disruption and love convenience, and when the MTA starts adding ten or 15 additional minutes of walking per day — an hour a week — subway riders start grumbling. After enough time, grumbling turns into complaints and complaints turn into resentment, and as Yoda once didn’t say, resentment leads to the Dark Side.
All of the talk lately of shutting down subway stations to improve the speed and efficiency of MTA work has led to a rigorous debate in various circles regarding neighborhood and rider preferences. During his remarks two weeks ago on the MTA’s plans to close 30 subway stations for extended periods of time to allow construction crews 24/7 access to that station, MTA CEO and Chairman Tom Prendergast said his customers would prefer a shorter full-time shutdown rather than years of weekend uncertainty and inconvenience.
The matter is far from settled, and it will come up again over the next few months as the MTA attempts to determine how best to handle the looming L train shutdown. That work, related to Sandy recovery efforts, is far more extensive than a simple station rehabilitation, and the MTA has little choice but to shutdown the Canarsie Tubes for extended periods of time. It’s nearly impossible for this Fix & Fortify work to do anything other than wreck havoc on Williamsburg, Bushwick and points east, and as real estate speculators circle, the debate over the proper length of any shutdown will rage.
The poll I pose tonight focuses more on the 30 stations and less on the L train. As the MTA embarks on a yet another new way to strive toward a State of Good Repair, would you prefer to see stations closed entirely for 3-6 months or closed on weekends for three years? I’m not sure there’s a right or better answer yet, and I’m curious to hear from you, my riders. So vote in the poll and feel free to voice your opinion in the comments.