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Three Brooklyn R Stations are First in Major Subway Station Modernization Project

Rendering of Renovations to Brooklyn R Stations
Rendering of Renovations to Brooklyn R Stations

Three century-old R Subway line stations in Brooklyn will be the first to undergo an expansive subway station modernization project, with a new look and design that focuses on customer experience and modern amenities. 

The stations at 53 St, Bay Ridge Av and Prospect Av will get top-to-bottom renovations from the entrances to the turnstile areas to the mezzanines and platforms. The renovations for all three stations include infrastructure work such as concrete and steel repairs; new platform edges; waterproofing; upgraded electrical and communications systems; track wall and platform wall repairs; new granite flooring; new stair finishes; glass barriers in station mezzanines; new LED lighting; and improved station signage.

Customers will see refurbished entrances with new handrails, stair treads, wall tiles, totems and digital screens that provide real-time service information at the street level before they even enter the station. Canopies will be installed at select key entrances. Walls and ceilings will be repaired, and new granite flooring, informational dashboards and glass barriers will be installed. LED light fixtures for brighter, more secure areas will be installed, along with security cameras and Help Points. Digital screens for real-time arrival information, updated service information and advertising will be installed. Customer amenities include new station art; electronics charging stations built into station furnishings; new platform edges, and new benches and leaning bars.

These three stations on the R Subway  line opened in 1915 as part of the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation. The extensive renovations will require major demolition before work can begin. Stations will be closed for construction for six months each, with the first one being 53 St, which closes for service in both directions on Monday, March 27. 

The Bay Ridge Av station is scheduled to close on April 29 for six months; and the Prospect Av station is scheduled to close on June 5 for six months. During the closures, customers are encouraged to use nearby subway stations, the B37 bus route or the B63 route, which run on Third and Fifth avenues run parallel to the R Subway line in the area.

The cost of the three-station project will be $72 million, with the work performed by Citnalta-Forte Joint Venture. The firm will use a design-build method at these stations, which is the first time that MTA New York City Transit is using the method for delivering construction projects. Previously NYC Transit made station component repairs using a piecemeal method that allowed limited service at the affected stations but stretched the construction timeline, sometimes to years. 

"These first three stations to be renovated represent the start of a new age for our subway system. By using the design-build method, we are putting the onus on one contractor to get the work done seamlessly and on time,” said MTA Interim Executive Director Ronnie Hakim. “The emphasis is on giving them complete access to the stations and the ability to get in, get done and get out as quickly as possible. We specifically sought out companies that have worldwide experience with building infrastructure and transportation projects, and we expect them to put the best industry practices to use here." 

For the station modernization project, the MTA worked with consultants Grimshaw Architects to study and revise existing design guidelines for stations and facilities, with a focus on identifying ways to improve their appearance, usage, wayfinding and the flow of foot traffic. These revised guidelines will change the way that subway stations look and feel going forward and establish the new look of subway stations, influencing station design long after this major renovation project is complete. The entire modernization project is part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's package of enhancements and capital investments to improve the reliability, capacity and reputation of the subway system.

The next group of stations that will be renovated are the Broadway, 30 Av, 36 Av, and 39 Av stations on the Astoria-Ditmars Blvd line in Queens.