Citing dangerous overcrowding at the York Street tube station, frustrated neighbors are sounding the alarm over the need for a second entrance to the F train depot – which regularly sees bottlenecks on its single staircase amid the area’s growing population.

The MTA pledged in March to study the feasibility of adding a second entrance to the station, which sits on the border of Dumbo and Downtown Brooklyn, but they have passed the June 30 deadline to provide results for that study, and the agency has declined to announce a new timeline .

Meanwhile, the station at the corner of York and Jay streets continues to pose a danger to straphangers, especially in an emergency, the local assembly member said.

people at press conference

State Senator Brian Kavanagh speaks at a news conference on September 23 at the entrance to York St station. Photo by Ben Brachfeld

“If something goes wrong, it could be a very dangerous situation,” Jo Anne Simon said at a press conference outside the station on Thursday.

The MTA’s commitment to a feasibility study came after the city received a $17 million windfall from selling government air rights to a private company seeking new development at nearby 69 Adams Street.

Local councilor Steve Levin helped green-light that proposal after getting assurances that the money would go back to Dumbo, including $7 million set aside specifically for York Street — including $1.5 million for the feasibility study, and $5, 5 million as a “deposit” if the transit authority determines a second entrance is feasible.

But the MTA has not yet made such a study, saying the “complex nature of the station,” which is deeper than most because it is so close to the waterfront, has hampered its ability to make quick decisions. .

“We have been in regular contact with the community and elected officials on matters in York St.,” MTA spokesman Eugene Resnick said in a statement to the Brooklyn Paper. “We continue to study a possible way forward and the study is still ongoing due to the complex nature of the station. We remain committed to informing elected officials and community stakeholders.”

interior of york street station

The narrow platform at the York Street tube station. Photo by Ben Brachfeld

While downtown Brooklyn has long been a heavily trafficked area due to its high density of office space, along with many courthouses and municipal buildings, Dumbo has also seen a development boom in recent years for both residential and commercial buildings, coinciding with its increasing status as a tourist destination.

But York Street station, built in the 1930s, hasn’t been upgraded at the same time to meet increased demand, causing significant congestion on the narrow island platform and at the single entrance, especially during rush hour.

“This is a station that was built in a very different time when usage patterns were very different and there were far fewer people coming and going through this station,” said Senator Brian Kavanagh. “We’ve gone through a tremendous amount of development in this community. It’s strained a lot of our resources, but this station stands out as a singular problem.”

MTA data shows that between 2015 and 2019, the station’s average weekday passenger numbers increased by 35 percent, from 9,328 to 12,638, before the passenger ship crashed in 2020, as it did throughout the system, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. pandemic.

Elected and advocates have been arguing for a second entrance for years, and in 2016, architects Delson or Sherman even designed a possible second entrance with a lift, but to no avail. According to the locals, the outdated station means that Dumbo cannot grow optimally and that it needs a second entrance quickly.

“We don’t have the infrastructure to meet the demand,” said Lincoln Restler, the Democratic nominee to represent the area on the city council. “In fact, this train station is inhibiting the growth of our community. Walking in and out of this train station during rush hour is scary.”

A fire from 2003 showed exactly how the layout of the station can lead to disaster. When a Coney Island-bound F train entering the station caught fire in July of that year, 140 stranded passengers were led by police to the south side of the platform when the single entrance, on the north side, was enveloped in smoke; the police were apparently unaware that the station only had a single exit. Police then led the passengers to an emergency exit, 300 meters into the tunnel, according to the New York Times, and several straphangers were then treated for smoke inhalation.

A similar catastrophe can be avoided if there is a second entrance, elected officials and supporters argue.

“This is a catastrophe waiting to happen,” Restler said. “This is literally a matter of life and death.”

Editor’s Note: A version of this story originally appeared in Brooklyn Paper. click here to see the original story.

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