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CBC: Queens Burdened By Dilapidated Subway Stations

52nd Street

Sept. 2, By Jackie Strawbridge

The majority of New York City’s worst-condition subway stations are in Queens, a new report from the Citizens Budget Commission has found.

The CBC, a New York finance-oriented nonprofit, released a report Wednesday that examines both the quality of subway stations citywide and the MTA’s system for repairing them. Leveraging MTA data on station conditions, the CBC identified the system’s 33 poorest-condition stations, about half of which are in Queens.

A station is in bad condition when a significant portion of its “structural components” – its platform edges, stairs and other pieces related to its functionality – are found to be in disrepair.

The City’s worst station is 52nd Street-Roosevelt Avenue on the 7 line in Sunnyside/Woodside, where 23 of 29 structural components, or 79 percent, need repair.

Other stations with substantial disrepair include 30th Avenue on the N/Q in Astoria (72 percent of structural components), 103 Street-Corona Plaza on the 7 (68 percent) and 36 Avenue on the N/Q in Astoria (67 percent).

The CBC’s report throws cold water on a repair plan that the MTA devised in 2010. The agency switched from its previous method of repairing entire stations at a time to addressing individual station components on a priority basis.

The MTA told the New York Senate at the time, “the new strategy will address more stations in a shorter period of time, while continuing to maintain high standards. The overall goal is to eliminate components [in the worst disrepair] within 15 years and thereafter to maintain a state of good repair at all [stations].”

However, according to the CBC, the pace of the MTA’s structural component repair – about 280 components per year – is too slow to keep up with station wear and tear, leaving “dismal prospects” for completing all necessary repairs.

To mitigate the MTA’s seemingly futile task, the CBC made three primary recommendations: prioritizing repairs over system expansion projects, improving project management and seeking public-private partnerships.

“We appreciate the ‎CBC’s thoughtful analysis. We are pursuing opportunities to squeeze costs from our 2015-19 Capital Program by using negotiated and other innovative procurement methods,” MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz said in an email.

However, Ortiz added, “we respectfully disagree with their recommendation to reduce spending on expansion projects.”

“At a time when growing ridership is leading to crowding and delays, we must pursue expansion projects that will accommodate more customers as well as provide new connections and opportunities for our customers,” Ortiz said.

State Sen. Mike Gianaris said he is not happy with the current condition of the stations. “For too long, our mass transit system has been in need of improvement, especially the N, Q and 7 lines. The MTA has failed to recognize the rapid growth of our neighborhoods and our infrastructure is not keeping pace.”

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