Starting at 5 a.m. on March 27, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) shut down three R train stations - 53rd Street, Bay Ridge Avenue and Prospect Avenue – to enhance lighting and security, add countdown clocks, and install Internet service.
However, residents and local officials say the MTA only informed them recently that work was going to begin in late March.
To make matter worse, the agency posted just two signs in English at the station, ignoring the community’s large Spanish, Chinese and Arabic-speaking residents.
"The MTA's failure to engage our community in more meaningful and culturally appropriate ways is unacceptable,” said resident Cesar Zuniga.
Councilman Carlos Menchaca is calling on the MTA to provide alternative travel options, including a shuttle bus along Fourth Avenue.
“The MTA promised to bring subway station improvements, but they’ve delivered an insult to the thousands of people who depend on R train service at 53rd Street Station,” he said. “Lack of service disruptions notices in multiple languages is unacceptable.
“This community demands appropriate communication and viable alternate travel options during extended station closures," he added.
Menchaca is also calling on the MTA to reach out to local businesses and work with them to ensure any construction doesn’t further impact business.