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R Train Stations to Be Closed For Upgrades as Locals Demand More Trains

By Leslie Albrecht | January 11, 2016 5:18pm
 Three R train stations will get major overhauls as part of a push to modernize stations.
Three R train stations will get major overhauls as part of a push to modernize stations.
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GREENWOOD HEIGHTS — Three R train stations will be closed for at least six months and outfitted with high-tech upgrades including Wi-Fi and cellphone service, the MTA announced Friday.

R train stations at Prospect Avenue, Bay Ridge Avenue and 53rd Street will be shuttered, along with 27 other stations citywide.

The exact dates for when the three R train stations will be closed haven't been determined yet, MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg told DNAinfo New York.

"As we develop those plans, we'll work with the community and its elected officials to spread the word about them and ensure everyone has time to plan for them," Lisberg said.

Work on 30 stations getting makeovers is expected to take from six to 12 months and will be completed at most stations by 2018, and at all stations by 2020, the MTA said Friday.

The redesigned stations will be cleaner, brighter and easier to navigate, MTA officials said.

The overhaul will also move the stations toward phasing out MetroCards so riders can pay by waving either their cellphone, credit card or another "payment device" over a "contactless reader," MTA officials said in announcing the citywide makeover.

News of the closures comes as South Slope residents recently launched a petition asking MTA to add more R trains. Locals say the line has grown increasingly crowded as new high-rises have sprouted up along Fourth Avenue, adding more riders.

Lisberg said the R train meets the MTA's current "load guidelines" — a formula that determines whether a train is too crowded during certain times of day. The MTA is, however, in the process of evaluating how to improve service systemwide, and the R line is on the list of trains to be analyzed.

Since 2009, the agency has conducted reviews of the F, L, G and recently, the A and C lines, Lisberg said.

The R train is due for such a review, but that can't happen until after the new Second Avenue Subway is up and running, Lisberg said. The Second Avenue line will affect ridership on the R, so it would be premature to review the R before the Second Avenue line opens, Lisberg said.