Image via FEMA
There’s so much to kvetch about when it comes to the MTA and poor subway service: unprecedented debt, increased ridership that hasn’t been matched with increased service and outdated technology to name a few. But here’s another to add to the laundry list: closed station entrances. amNY reports today that one out of four subway entrances are closed at a total of 119 stations, which “create bottlenecks that make it difficult to get in and out of increasingly jam-packed stations, while stores miss out on the foot traffic.” In total, a whopping 298 staircases are inaccessible, and some closures have been in effect for so many decades that the MTA doesn’t even know why they’re not in use.
amNY points out that the closures aren’t just at lightly trafficked stops; Penn Station, Times Square, Grand Central, and the Barclays Center all have them. There are the most closures in Manhattan at 48 stops. Brooklyn has 41. This includes blocked-off staircases and entire fare areas that are closed. The paper notes that “many were shut down because of security issues, when crime was higher and ridership lower, as well as to save money on station agent staffing.” But now, riders and even some city officials are calling on the MTA to reopen the entrances. The agency responded with a statement: “The MTA has been setting modern ridership records almost every month, and as we try to accommodate more than 6 million customers on our busiest days, we’re looking at ways to expand capacity everywhere in the system — including analyzing whether some closed parts of subway stations could be reopened.”
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