July 6, 2021 By Christian Murray
The MTA’s plan to overhaul six dilapidated stations along the 7 line is moving forward, the agency told the Queens Post on Friday.
The MTA says that it has completed the design work to rehabilitate the 52nd Street, 61st Street, 69th, 82nd, 103rd and 111th Street stations– with a contract to be awarded for the work in 2022.
The work has been planned for some time but was put on hold due to COVID-19. The agency had planned to award a contract in 2020.
The work is long overdue, residents say, as the 7 train stations in Woodside, Jackson Heights and Corona have been in poor condition for many years with stairs falling apart, platforms in disrepair and paint peeling from the station walls.
The overhaul of the stations will be comprehensive, according to the MTA.
“The components to be addressed include, but are not limited to: platform edges, stairways, structural columns and beams, lighting, windscreens, etc. The work will also include artwork and painting of the station,” the MTA spokesperson said.
“The purpose of the station renewal work…is to eliminate all defects and to improve the overall safety and appearance of each station,” the spokesperson said.
The work at the 61st Street station, however, will also include “more substantial structural repairs of supporting steel structure.”
The current budget to revamp the six stations is approximately $300 million, with the work funded in the MTA’s 2015-2019 capital plan, the MTA said.
The MTA plans to advance two contracts. One contract will be to revamp the 61st station—with the other to overhaul the five others.
The six stations are among the worst in the 467-station system. The Citizens Budget Commission back in 2015 noted that the 52nd Street station was the worst station in the system—with 79 percent of its structural components—defined as stairs, platform edges, ventilators and more– not in a state of good repair.
The $32 billion MTA 2015 – 2019 Capital Program provided funding to upgrade the Mets Willets Point ($48 million), 111th Street ($16 million), 103rd Street ($18 million) and 82nd Street ($22 million). The original schedule called for contracts to be advertised and awarded with a notice to proceed to the winning contractor in 2018. Additional stations including 69th Street ($17 million), 61st Street Woodside ($17 million) and 52nd Street ($18 million) The original schedule called for contracts to be advertised and awarded with a notice to proceed to the winning contractor in 2019. Why wasn’t this work initiated on time? Who is going to pay for the additional costs if the contractors bids come in above the NYC Transit Engineers cost estimates and available funding station by station? How will this work impact #7 local and express service during construction? Riders, taxpayers, transit advocates, transit reporters and local elected officials deserve an explanation from the MTA rather than just a Press Release.
(Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously worked for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 NY Office).