Construction roadblocks, 2-ft potholes, double-parked cars, closed subway stations, broken Metrocard machines, extended MTA delays... all are part of the New York City "commuter culture." And as a resident, you learn to either adjust... or go insane.
Low expectations is the name of the game when it comes to getting around New York City: Ask no questions, and just keep it moving.
Well, at least the city's comptroller, Scott Stringer, seems to have had enough with the number of closed subway stations. Last reported (in 2015), New York City Transit reported that 298 street stairs were closed to the public at 119 unique stations.
"At a time when system failures and overcrowding are already crippling commutes, especially for low-income New Yorkers, the abundance of shuttered subway station entrances ... is problematic and unacceptable."
And on Wednesday, Stringer sent a letter to New York City Transit President Andy Byford seeking updated information about the large number of closed subway station entrances across the five boroughs, and demanded that New York City Transit publicly release a plan for reopening them in the next five years.
"Millions of New Yorkers rely on the subway system every day to commute to work, attend classes, go to job interviews, see a doctor, and take their children to day care," said Stringer. "At a time when system failures and overcrowding are already crippling commutes, especially for low-income New Yorkers, the abundance of shuttered subway station entrances across the five boroughs is problematic and unacceptable."
In fact, due to unexpected and prolonged closings of subway stations, it sometimes takes less time to commute by train from New Rochelle to Grand Central Station than it does from Park Slope,, says Seth Pinsky of RXR, a private developer tasked with the redevelopment of New Rochelle station (Source: UpNest).
Stringer's letter also requested the most up-to-date information on closed entrances and a detailed explanation of what characteristics make certain stations a viable candidate for reopening, and what other roadblocks stand in the way aside from budgetary constraints.
"This is not just about reducing commute times, it's about equity and fairness. We need a roadmap to improve mobility and accessibility for transit riders throughout the five boroughs."
Comptroller Stringer's office requested the updated information by February 15, 2020 and inquired how the City of New York can assist in working together towards a more accessible, functional, and fairer transit system.
To read Comptroller Stringer's letter to New York City Transit President Andy Byford, click here.