3 train riders in Brownsville and East New York rejoice today at the reopening of two stations that have been closed since April of last year. The Rockaway Ave. and Van Siclen Ave. train stations have been closed for reconstruction to make improvements that include lighting and communications upgrades, as well as structural modifications. While the stations don't look much changed through the moving windows of the 3 train, hopefully the extended closings have paid off. It certainly will be a relief to many riders to make their way to their station again, after having to endure shuttle bus service to the next stop for almost an entire year.
Although these stations are finally being reopened, this may not be the end of construction for 3 train riders in Brooklyn. According to an NYC Transit press release about the station closings, Rockaway Ave. and Van Siclen Ave. are the first of seven elevated stations on the 3 line to be renovated in succession, with six of the seven proposed to each be closed for five months. But look what five months has turned into for the first round of construction: more than twice the projected length since the station closings on April 20, 2015.
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Next, on the list to be closed for repairs simultaneously are the Saratoga Ave. and Pennsylvania Ave. stations, followed by Sutter Ave./ Rutland Rd., and Junius St. So while communities along the 3 line gleefully welcome back two stations, they'll have to wave a temporary goodbye to another two. The New Lots Ave. station, which has already begun to be repaired, only suffers weekend closures during this construction project. The proposed five-month closings for the others could be tolerable, but the timeline has been thrown way off by the extended first closings. Who knows how long it will take the MTA to get the next pair of stations reopened, or the two after that?
While the implementation of shuttle bus service in lieu of the train can be very inconvenient and uncomfortable, riders should appreciate that these stations are finally getting some much-needed attention. Between the consistent fare hikes and consistently sub-par service over the last few years, the MTA has been fighting to improve their standing with riders across the city. However, many of the affected upgrades have been very apparent in the more populous and prominent stations in Manhattan, while those in other boroughs and neighborhoods have not been attended to. Finally, some updates and well-deserved improvements have made their way to the Brownsville and East New York communities. 3 line riders should keep their eyes peeled for notices on the coming changes in service, or check for service updates at www.mta.info.