MTA Gives Low Priority to Upgrade of York Street Station Called a “disaster waiting to happen”

As reported by Mary Frost in The Eagle, the MTA has made upgrading the York Street subway station in DUMBO, which serves the F line (and during what seem to be frequent route diversions, the A and C lines as well), “low on its list of priorities”. Asked why, at a Zoom town hall sponsored by Councilmember Lincoln Restler, “MTA engineers” said that making the station compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act “would be enormously expensive”. The station is not a high priority for ADA compliance because it is close to the Jay Street-MetroTech station, which is compliant.

In the Eagle story, Ms. Frost quotes DUMBO resident Ardele Lister, whose then teenaged daughter, along with about 140 other passengers, had to be evacuated from a train at York Street because of a “smoky fire” in July of 2003. Ms. Lister noted that DUMBO’s population is growing, meaning more people are using the station, creating what she called “[a] disaster waiting to happen.” DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance president Doreen Gallo observed, “This is a most dangerous situation created by our city agencies over decades of upzoning without planning for people. Now the MTA is forced to react.” Mr. Restler said the condition of the York Street station is both “a public safety issue” and “an economic development issue” as it is “limiting the growth of the DUMBO community based on the capacity constraints at York Street station”.

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  • aarrrrrimapirate

    DOT =/= MTA

  • Claude Scales

    Corrected; thanks. I got too used to calling out the DOT for BQE issues.

  • Mike Suko

    I know everyone would like everything done to/for their subway station/street/any unhoused person one encounters near home/etc., … but I think it’s obvious that the City’s resources are far from unlimited. Mary’s article is unusually (for her) lacking in detail, and Claude’s summary doesn’t even spell out what makes this “an accident waiting to happen,” but if you read and look at a map, the EAST entrance/exit to the High St. station is VERY, very close to the one York St. exit.

    And the ridership and crowding issues are even greater at Clark St., on a much more high use line. In case you haven’t noticed, the true hotspot re construction is “Dobro” these days, and more people make use of the 2/3 (and “BMT”) than either the A or the F. We, too, have a single exit, and there is an additional risk factor: the platform is even further down, making an evacuation – you DO know? that it’s generally stairs-only! in an emergency – much harder.

    The MTA is trying to avoid further lawsuits re accessibility, so they really DO have to pick & choose which projects to tackle. It doesn’t help that they’ve deferred so much work – for multiple decades – that it’s easy to argue that situations like those at BOTH stations mentioned are dire.

    Remember, however, that DUMBO is better served by buses than much of Bklyn Hts. Consider, too, that the cost of living there is so high that for all that the population has grown a lot, this is definitely a neighborhood where the subway is UNDER-utilized and Uber/Lyft/ferries/Citibikes are used at near-highest-in-NYC rates.