Lawmakers and Community Leaders Call on MTA to Address Crowding and Unsafe Conditions at York Street Station

Brooklyn Eagle Staff

September 23, 2021

Originally published in The Brooklyn Eagle on September 23, 2021.

State Sen. Brian Kavanagh at the podium, with Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon at left Eagle photo by Delilah Johnson

State Sen. Brian Kavanagh, Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon and Councilmember Stephen Levin were joined on Thursday by representatives of the offices of U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, along with community leaders, outside the F train’s York Street subway station to underscore the urgent need for the MTA to address overcrowding, lack of accessibility and unsafe conditions at the DUMBO-area stop. 

The MTA has not put forth a plan to address these conditions and has missed its commitment to provide the community with a feasibility study on a long-sought second entrance or other station improvements by June 30, 2021. The station’s one staircase for entry and exit and lack of elevators or escalators present significant concerns about safety, congestion, and accessibility, especially as recent development in the neighborhood has caused an increase in riders.

“It is abundantly clear that something needs to be done to reduce overcrowding and improve safety at York Street station. The need has become even more urgent during the past year—as more residential buildings and other developments are built. There has been a significant increase in the number of residents and visitors in this area and the station continues to be overwhelmed,” said Kavanaugh, who represents the area. 

“If the MTA concludes a second entrance is not feasible, then it should provide the community with other substantive alternatives to address these issues,” he added.

“Our mass transit should be safe, accessible, and reliable—but that is just not the story at the York Street station. The station’s lone staircase, crowded platform, and lack of elevators combine together to create an unsafe situation for everyone, and with no accessibility for people with disabilities.  I’ve joined the community and my colleagues for years in urging the MTA to improve this station, especially as the ridership at this station has increased dramatically over the last decade,” said  Simon.

Levin said, “I stand here with my fellow electeds and community leaders demanding that the MTA NYCT produce the now-overdue feasibility study which the community was promised. York Street Station has been the focal point of community efforts over most of the years I have been in office, centered on its lack of accessibility, its single egress and dangerous conditions as the station and platform are congested during rush hours.”

Brooklyn Community Board 2 Chairperson Lenue “Lenny” Singletary said, “Far from being the industrial area at the opening of the York Street station in 1936, DUMBO is a bustling mixed-use community of residents and office workers as well as a tourist destination with a world renowned park and a photographer’s dream landscape.  Yet in 2019, almost 4 million riders entered or exited a subway station with a single egress.”   

Alexandria Sica, president of the DUMBO Improvement District, commented, “York Street is kind of like the Penn Station of Brooklyn: It’s too cramped, a long unpleasant walk, and definitely not the first impression visitors should have of our incredible Borough of Brooklyn! Fixing the F Train at York Street is a safety imperative for all who live, work and visit DUMBO. It’s an economic imperative, and an accessibility mandate. … More companies are going to keep looking to Brooklyn and our infrastructure needs to be ready.”

 The DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance said, “The DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance has advocated for a second entrance and egress at the York Street subway for decades along with Community Board 2 and our neighbors in Vinegar Hill and the Farragut residences.  The city has up-zoned our neighborhoods before planning for the necessary infrastructure mitigation to meet the demands of the proposed development and our growing community.”

Mallory Kasdan, co-founder of DUMBO Action Committee, said, “Earlier this year, DAC worked with neighboring groups to extract community concessions for 69 Adams, yet another residential and commercial tower that was given the go-ahead to build. Through this process, the MTA agreed to study York Street, our neighborhood’s problematic subway station, so they could devise a plan before something tragic happens.”

Farragut Stakeholders said, “This problem is nothing new.  The Farragut Community has simply watched the growth of need and the failure of the station structure to support that need.”

On March 18, 2021, MTA representatives presented at a meeting of the Transportation Committee of Brooklyn Community Board 2 and announced that the agency was conducting an active study to figure out how to construct a second entrance at the station. In an April 28, 2021 letter, the MTA said they expected to provide the results of the study to the community by June 30, 2021. The agency also wrote that if a new entrance is not feasible, it would explore improvements to the existing entrance.

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