June 29, 2022 By Christian Murray
The MTA has started construction on eight new staircases at the Flushing-Main St. subway station—in a project that is expected to take about 18 months.
The work aims to ease overcrowding at the station, where the stairwells on both the platform and street levels are congested.
Four new street-to-mezzanine stairwells are being installed in addition to four mezzanine-to-platform staircases. The station serves 7-train riders and is one of the top 10 busiest stations in the system.
The new street-to-mezzanine stairs are being built on the north and south corners of Main Street and to the west of Main Street along both the north and south sides of Roosevelt Avenue. Four existing street stairs are being rehabilitated for ADA compliance and four existing platform stairs are being reoriented.
The MTA didn’t provide details as to where the new mezzanine-to-platform staircases will be located in the station. However, the agency said that the mezzanine is being expanded and two new fare control areas with six new turnstiles are being constructed.
The existing CCTV camera system, the agency said, is being upgraded and wayfinding signs within the station are being improved.
The total cost of the project is estimated to be $61 million.
“These improvements will greatly enhance the customer experience,” said MTA Construction & Development President Jamie Torres-Springer. “These eight new staircases will alleviate overcrowding on the platform and street level and ensure passengers can better move through the station.”
Construction is only taking place during off peak hours. Full access to a minimum of four street level stairwells is being maintained to the mezzanine areas. Access to the four stairs that serve the northbound and southbound platforms from mezzanine areas is also be maintained at all times.
Bus stops that serve the Q48 and Q50 along Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue have temporarily been relocated to accommodate street stairway construction. Stops will be temporarily relocated to Main St./39 Av in front of the GNC.
Did you know that in March 1953, a super express began
operating from Flushing–Main Street to Times Square in the AM rush hour. This #7 stopped at Main Street, and Willets Point
before skipping all stops to Queensboro Plaza, skipping the Woodside and Junction Boulevard express stops. The running time was cut down to 23 minutes from 25 minutes. This ended in a few years
Holiday and Saturday express service was discontinued in March 1954. Mid-day express service between 10 AM – 3 PM was
discontinued in August 1975. Riders had to endure too many years of inconvenience as a result of the MTA NYC Transit
investing $774 million in Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) on the Flushing #7 line.
With or without CBTC which was completed in November 2018, there are opportunities to increase capacity and service by
running trains more frequently mid-day, evenings, overnight and weekends on the #7 line. There has been no express service
between 10 AM and 3 PM due to periodic ongoing track, power, signal, and routine maintenance projects for decades, including work to support CBTC.
Isn’t it time four years later to resume mid day express service? .
Given the tremendous growth in #7 ridership 24/7, riders would welcome restoration of mid day, Saturday and holiday express services along with more frequent local service off peak, late evenings, overnight and weekends. There is always equipment used primarily for rush hour peak service that is available to
provide additional service during off peak hours. It is a question of finding millions of dollars more to cover operating costs for additional service.
(Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously worked for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 NY Office) .
One of the major problems with not just the MTA, but with NYC in general, that when it comes to ‘easing’ issues, the left hand often doesn’t know or care what the right hand is doing. I remember several years ago, the sidewalks on Main Street were widened because of the overflowing numbers of pedestrians. Two lanes of Main Street traffic were sacrificed to make this happen. Then, in a sign of monumental stupidity, the city now allows unrestricted street hawking on that same stretch of Main Street, not only taking up the new space but a lot of the previous sidewalk space too. Remember the traffic lanes that were sacrificed? The city dealt with it by restricting traffic to only buses, like if Flushing traffic can somehow miraculously be detoured to another neighborhood. Thus, I have no illusions about this new stairwell, itself projected to take 18 months. In many other places around the world, that same time would see a high rise go up. Seriously, before fixing any single thing like a staircase, the MTA should figure out what the pedestrian flow is in relation to traffic and shopping patterns vis a vis their service, so that one plan can be instituted over several years that ties everything together, instead of doing this piecemeal. The result is that we wind up taking two steps forward and one step back. My suggestion? We need a pedestrian overpass from the LIRR Flushing Main Street Station to the 7 Train, with extensions to Skyview Center and the Flushing Library. The pedestrian sidewalk flow beneath the LIRR overpass on Main is simply insane. And yes, there a local supermarket had commandeered that space to sell produce, as well as other hawkers with sundry products.