In what seems like non-stop construction at numerous train stations in the borough, riders of the Lexington Avenue line No. 6 train cannot catch a break, or a train.
After an extensive renovation last year, the 6 IRT Parkchester train station completely reopened in December 2010. The northbound and southbound tracks shut down one of the busiest train stations in the Bronx for six months.
On Monday, February 28, the MTA New York City Transit began the final phase of its $89 million renovation projectshutting down the St. Lawrence and Elder avenues stations for the next eight months.
The stations will be shut down in both directions and the 6 train will not make stops until at least October, infuriating locals of Soundview and Parkchester. Councilman Jimmy Vacca, who is the chair of the city council committee on transportation, is also concerned.
“The stations shutting down for an extended period of time is a major inconvenience for our commuters,” Vacca said. “My biggest concern when the MTA shuts down train stations for construction and renovations is that they notify train riders in advance so that they may adjust and find alternate ways of getting the 6 train.”
Elder Avenue station users can take the Bx4, Bx4A or Bx27 buses to the Whitlock Avenue or Morrison Avenue-Soundview train stations and St. Lawrence Avenue station users can take the Bx4 or Bx4A buses to the Parkchester or Morrison Avenue-Soundview stations with the MTA providing free transfers to the 6 train.
Free shuttle buses will also be provided late at night between the Parkchester station and Simpson Street along the Bx4 route on Westchester Avenue when buses aren’t running.
The construction at the two stations will include: the repairing of stairs and railings, the cleaning and refurbishing of platforms, new canopies over stairs and platforms, new lighting fixtures and improved public address systems that will include a time-estimator for the arrival of the next local or express 6 train.
Community Board 9 district manager Francisco Gonzalez believes that the shutting down of the Parkchester station last year was more of an inconvenience to train users and he feels that the MTA is properly handling the shutting down of these two stations by offering bus transportation between the closed stations.
“We’ve had some major station closings in our community throughout this process and the closing of Elder and St. Lawrence avenues doesn’t help either,” Gonzalez said. “However, I feel that the bus transfers will definitely help the situation and I hope that these renovations will all pay off once construction is complete.”
Gonzalez wants residents to contact CB 9 and the MTA for more information over the next eight months if they are struggling with the station closures.