M Train Stations See Ridership Jump and Brace for Construction

By Meredith Hoffman on April 13, 2012 3:36pm 

BUSHWICK — More and more riders have come to rely on the M train — with the Central Avenue and Knickerbocker Avenue stations experiencing some of the largest ridership jumps in Brooklyn, a recent report showed.

The Central Avenue stop saw a 17 percent ridership increase from 2010 to 2011 and ridership at Knickerbocker Avenue rose a 12.8 percent, MTA figures revealed.

"Several stations served by the M had large increases, due to continuing growth in those neighborhoods (especially Williamsburg and Bushwick)," said Deirdre Parker, an MTA spokeswoman.

And locals said the unsurprising increases spoke to the influx of residents — and Manhattan commuters — to the area.

"I've seen more and more people use this station because more people are moving here," said Ilma Luiz, 38, who has lived by the Knickerbocker stop for 20 years.  "It gets crowded now."

But the surge in riders only means that more people will be inconvenienced when the increasingly popular stations are shut down for construction, each for about five months at a time.

In August, structural work will begin at the Knickerbocker stop, and next year the Central Avenue stop will close for lengthy repairs.

The stations' control houses will be rebuilt, the staircases will be replaced, and other general structural repairs will be done, Parker said.

She said the MTA would add overnight B54 bus service during the repairs, and that it would announce more details on travel alternatives when the station shutdowns neared.

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