Feb. 6, 2018 By Tara Law
The Ditmars Boulevard subway station is about to undergo a 14-month revamp starting this April, the MTA notified Astoria’s elected officials Monday.
The station, used by N/W riders, will not be fully closed, although construction materials and equipment will be stored on 31st Street throughout the length of the project.
The news comes at a time when many residents and elected officials are already upset with the MTA stemming from the eight-month closure of the 30th Avenue and 36th Avenue subway stations that began in October.
Local residents, businesses and politicians have complained that these renovations are largely cosmetic and are not worthy of the lengthy closures. They claim that the MTA should have invested the time and funds in service improvements and added elevators to make the stations handicap accessible.
Furthermore, the MTA plans to close the 39th Avenue and Broadway N/W stations for seven months for similar repairs, starting in July.
The MTA’s planned revamp of the Ditmars Blvd station—at a cost of $22 million– will be similar to the four other N/W stations. It will involve repairing the station building, adding new benches and installing public art, among other items, according to elected officials. However, the MTA will not be making track improvements, nor will it be updating the subway signals or adding elevators.
Council Member Costa Constantinides, State Senator Mike Gianaris, and Assembly Member Aravella Simotas issued a joint statement today calling the Ditmars Blvd revamp a “slap in the face of Astorians.” The elected officials claim the revamp will be disruptive and not worthy of the inconvenience, given that the plan fails to include elevators or make service improvements.
“All this construction is a recipe for disaster, inconveniencing riders, hurting small businesses and blocking busy streets,” Simotas said. “The MTA seems oblivious to this pain and the things that subway riders really need– working trains that run on time and elevators to help the elderly, the disabled and parents with children— the MTA is ignoring.”
The three elected officials plan to hold a rally Thursday outside the station at 4:30 p.m. to call for service and accessibility improvements.
Constantinides has also launched a petition calling for better service and accessibility on the N/W line.
Constantinides said in an interview that he was frustrated that the electeds had only learned of the project Monday, although the planning had begun months earlier.
“This particular project was dropped out of the sky,” he said. “If they were really serious about taking suggestions, they would have engaged with us earlier.”
Gianaris said that he is concerned that the renovations at the Ditmars Boulevard station will cause the same problems as at the 30th and 36th avenue stations. The closures have hurt local business, he said. Two storefronts by the 30th Avenue station— a dollar store and Opa! Souvlaki of Astoria— have already closed.
He said that the project is indicative of the MTA’s “poor decision making.”
“I understand that the subway system is old, but let’s do work that makes the subway run on time and makes it easier for people with disabilities to get on and off,” he said.
The MTA did not respond by press time to provide additional details of the plan.
Two thirds of Queens is a transit desert. Stop complaining.
Over a year in construction! I cant take the commute and the chaos around here anymore! I’m so glad my lease is up in the spring.
go back to where you came from 🙂
Most of the other subway stations in Astoria are getting a revamp so i am happy that the MTA is updating the old Ditmars station. Those that complain about subways delays and issues should try biking to work. We now have Citi-bikes all over Astoria..USE THEM!!
Oh the disabled and mothers with strollers should bike? Why didn’t we consult you earlier? Genius.
Great idea! The city should make available special needs bikes and such so mothers with children and the disabled can use them.
Don’t assume mothers with small children and disabled people aren’t interested in cycling – or in proper bike lanes.
We need elevators!!!!! THIS IS TORTURE FOR MOTHERS WITH STROLLERS AND EXPECTING MOTHER AND WHEELCHAIRS
That’s why there’s buses. I was on crutches for a month a took the bus. Low and behold I noticed my fellow crutch users, wheelchairs, strollers, the elderly, and the overweight/ unfit using buses in mass. They’ve given long before; the environment of the subway is too fast, dark, and crowded.
love watching these people complain. welcome to NYC you transplants.
city bikes is a stupid stupid .. STUPID idea
You’re a bunch of whiners. This is what you get for putting liberals in office.
Well, look at Texas’s train system. Right, they don’t have one.
George Pataki had almost 10 years to do something.
I agree that some part of the 22 million should be spend on elevators at Ditmars Boulevard station, it is so important for the elderly and disabled people, and for pregnant women or with women with small children and strollers. Somebody should try to climb so many stairs having problems with your legs, or having babies and strollers. It’s a real effort not good for any heart conditions either . Intelligence prevails, do the right thing, we do not need cosmetic, we need help to feel better every time we need to use MTA. Elevators are a MUST.
For many months now I have been experiencing delays on the Ditmars subway line.
Some delays are minor but some delays are major. A relative simple commute during morning rush hours at one time had taken me 20 to 25 minutes from Ditmars to 49th Street in Manhattan. Now at times the same commute takes anywhere from 4o minutes to an hour. Also on returning to the Ditmars station when the train stops at Astoria Blvd the train either stays at this station or pulls away only to wait between stations for space to pull into Ditmars. This can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 15 minutes.
Just sitting there waiting! I am for improvements that make sense but spending a large sum of money on what appears to be a cosmetic upgrade and not paying attention to improving service appears to me to be wrong decision making on the MTAs part.
The line is overcrowded as well. At times some of the the metro card machines may either only take cash or credit card and sometimes some of the machines do not work at all. As far as the decision to place art at the station I hope that the work will be entirely
non-political. I dislike opinion art and I would prefer art representing our city parks, State parks, or our beautiful National Parks. Tastefully done landscape paintings and photography would be most appreciated but efficient service is the most important factor. Thank you.
MTA are the biggest criminals. #LOCKTHEMUP
It is a disgrace. In Europe all the stations have elevator access for the handicapped and the trains are cleaner and you can generally set your watch by the schedule they keep.
The problem is much bigger. There is an institutionalized corruption and waste in the system. Most of the money the MTA receives (which includes a heavy subsidy from the bridges and tunnels) does nothing to enhance service to riders or make any kind of improvements. That money goes toward built-in legacy costs for exorbitant pensions which the city basically gave away in union contracts. This is a problem with most city services so get used to it and keep on voting in politicians who find more ways to waste your money without any fiscal responsibility…it isn’t their money to waste after all.
What about the small businesses in the building adjacent to the train station?!?!
cosmetic work to please real estate developers. The over building in Astoria is insane, all the houses are being thorn apart to build more “luxury condos” thousands more people and the same transportation shortcomings. Moreover, many buildings don’t have parking and the amount of cars adding to the traffic mess is horrible. As a lifelong Astorian I have seen only the letters of the trains change, worsening trains service and an enormous amount of dog poop in the streets that adds to the neighborhood charm. The new comers are not caring enough to clean up after their pets, the overall quality of life has not improved with more Luxury condos and more people. Astoria used to be a nice affordable neighborhood with a towns charm and now is starting to look like another city’s crowded and dirty hood.
22 million and 14 months for NO improvements in service or accessibility?? This is ridiculous and insulting.
“Doctor, I’m having a heart attack!”
“Here’s a fun new hat!”
“Will it help me?”
“No, but it looks great.”
I happen to walk through the parking lot by the bank to enter this station the other day. That area was filled with garbage, graffiti on the walls and there was a homeless person sitting on the floor by the parking lot meter. I find it odd that they are going to spend 14 million to fix the Ditmars station when the outside area is such a mess. It was appalling and disgusting and I was embarrassed walking through there with my guests. The Ditmars area is a mess with too many food street vendors and business which are not taking responsibility in maintaining a clean sidewalk.
Correction they will spend 22 million!
This isn’t a very smart issue you are raising. Please reconsider.
call your counsel person he should be informed — wait he already has been and they are doing NOTHING about it –
The parking lot/street is not is the MTA’s responsibility. Complain to the DOT if you want something done.
The councilman needs to hire more workers to clean the sidewalks around this area because this commercial area does not care about it unless they have outside/sidewalk seating for customers to make money from. Ditmars Blvd is a mess when the sweepers have off.
$22 million (!!!)
Are you kidding?
This is unbelievable we pay to ride subways that are late, dirty and smell horrible.
I have been here 28 years I am sur other have been here since birth and have seen very little change. Oops I have seen a change the letter of train have changed. We have cleaner standing around talking less talk and more cleaning.
What about all our handicaps and elderly no way to move around where is an elevator they are all about Manhattan.
Pictures we see pictures everyday people smiling and rushing to work and kids to school.
Put that money into train delays and safer tracks.
Stop spending our monies foolishly.
Why is the MTA so inconsiderate. We pay the high fare to keep our train working, what is being done nothing. Trains are delayed, dirty they smell and if we are late now image with this construction.
What about all of the materials dangerous for everyone.
Let talk handicaps,elderly that need an elevator to move around. Why not here they have them all over Manhattan what are we chop liver.
Been here 28 years and have not seen a change oops yes I have they keep changing letters and tell me about the old trains being used here.
I’m one of those subjected to the 36th Ave closure. Ridiculous. All of last year, prior to the announcement of the EIGHT MONTH CLOSURE OVER WINTER, they were closing down the stops over weekends or over night or no trains in one direction or another. It still boggles my mind that the MTA is allowed to be a private company. Something that can close down the biggest city in the world with one failing signal or a snow storm….??? How is this allowed? The MTA will be the reason I move out of NYC.
Putting art up? Why thank you. How about making subway convenient for the disabled or for mothers with strollers or pregnant women!
Gazebo extensions on both sides of the station at all stations to protect from rain and snow. Elevators for the elderly and disabled. Train count down signs.
What happens to students going to schools along the N line? Like American Studies??
they should have a shuttle bus for people — again take this up with your counsel person –