Call them steps in the right direction!
G-train straphangers now have even more options to walk in and out of Williamsburg’s Metropolitan Avenue station, after state transit officials wrapped a job to reopen a long-shuttered mezzanine near the Union Avenue end of the hub, and install a new staircase leading from the Kensington-bound platform to the station’s second mezzanine that connects to the L line.
Officials with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Feb. 28 reopened the mezzanine near Union Avenue, giving straphangers access to two street-to-mezzanine stairways on the avenue at Hope Street and Powers Street.
In addition, reopening that mezzanine now allows straphangers to access six staircases leading from it to the Kensington- and Queens–bound platforms below, which transit leaders closed back in the ’90s.
And workers installed a seventh new staircase leading from the Kensington-bound platform to the hub’s other mezzanine near Metropolitan Avenue, from which straphangers can connect to the beleaguered L train.
The fixes will help pedestrian traffic better flow through the station, where authority bigwigs expect a surge of commuters once they begin their looming repairs to the L line next month, according to the leader of the state agency’s local arm.
“This major station-capacity-improvement project gives customers more space and more ways to get to the trains quickly and safely, and will benefit customers of both lines for decades after the L project is complete,” said Andy Byford, the president of the New York City Transit Authority.
The roughly six-month job — which an authority spokesman couldn’t immediately provide a price tag for — also brought new turnstiles, emergency gates, digital signs, and MetroCard vending machines to station entrances near the newly reopened Union Avenue street-to-mezzanine stairways at Hope and Powers streets. But none of the upgrades made the station, which lacks elevators and escalators, accessible to persons with disabilities.
Transit officials shuttered many of the station’s recently reopened stairways decades ago, when they closed stairways at hubs across the city due to a combination of decreasing ridership and increasing crime, according to an authority spokesman, who said the multiple sets of stairs at certain hubs offered baddies too many escape routes from cops.
And Metropolitan Avenue isn’t the only station where officials are giving new life to long-shuttered steps. Authority workers recently reopened out-of-use stairways at the Flushing Avenue and Hewes Street stations on the J line, according to spokeswoman Amanda Kwan, who said the agency also plans to widen stairs at Marcy Avenue station to accommodate the expected influx of passengers to the J, M and Z lines once L-train repairs begin.
But other stops along the elevated J, M, and Z line in Williamsburg and Bushwick still feature out-of-use staircases, which create dangerous human traffic jams during rush hour that will likely only worsen with increasing ridership during the L fix, according to an AM New York report.