BROOKLYN — Straphangers at the Gates Avenue subway stop are calling on the MTA to open a shuttered entrance, citing congestion during rush hour and safety concerns at the station.
Bushwick resident David Fulkerson circulated an online petition this month, writing, “It’s time to open the gates at Gates!!!”
A pair of staircases on either side of the street at Broadway and Quincy Street on the Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant border are currently the only way in or out of the station.
Another set of entrances three blocks away at Broadway and Palmetto Street and Broadway near Monroe Street are shuttered.
Fulkerson, 47, said he first noticed the closed staircases when he started using the station in March.
“I thought it was a temporary situation, I thought they were working on something,” he said.
“As I started meeting more neighbors and friends, people said it’s never been open. It’s kind of like urban folklore about how long it’s been closed, some people say before 2000.”
The MTA did not provide details on the closure of the entrances.
Fulkerson and other riders said that an additional entrance and exit on the platform would help with safety.
“With increased sexual assaults in the area, if people see there’s someone lurking around the exit, there’s no other choice,” he said.
Longtime customers at the station added that having only one entrance creates a fire hazard, and others said there’s often a “traffic jam” of people during rush hour leading to missed trains.
“It would be so much better to have both sides open for everybody’s general safety,” said Gypsy Hill, 26, who uses the station to get to work.
During the colder months, those who live closer to the shuttered staircases have to walk further in inclement weather, potentially impacting elderly riders, Fulkerson said.
The Gates Avenue station has a weekday ridership of 6,521 customers, according to an MTA spokesman.
Advocates have asked the MTA to open shuttered subway staircases and entrances along the J and Z lines to brace for the looming L train shutdown.
There are gated staircases at 12 locations along Broadway, according to 2014 data.
Earlier this summer, a group of high schoolers sought to improve the busy commercial corridor and requested that the MTA open an entrance to the Kosciuszko station near DeKalb Avenue.
Fulkerson said, following the online petition, which had gathered 129 supporters as of Monday afternoon, he plans to ask for signatures from riders at his station.
“We are already looking at the potential of reopening closed entrances where it’s feasible to do so,” MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said, though no further details were available on whether Gates Avenue was being considered.