First stop, Brooklyn: First stations to get wifi under new state plan will be in Kings County

New stop on the block: The first three stations to receive an upgrade will be the Prospect Avenue, 53rd Street, and Bay Ridge Avenue stations, which all serve the R train.
Brooklyn Daily
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Daily on Facebook.

These subway stations are going wireless — but there are some strings attached.

The state will use three Brooklyn train terminals as a testing ground for new, high-tech depot designs, but first it has to close the stations for half a year, officials announced on July 18. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to gussy up the R train’s Prospect Avenue, 53rd Street, and Bay Ridge Avenue stations with free wifi, phone chargers, and train countdown clocks in a test run before it rolls out the amenities to 28 other transit hubs across the city, Gov. Cuomo and the state-run agency announced. When work is done, subterranean straphangers will be able to surf the web with unlimited juice, but the most important enhancement is the humble timer, one rider said.

“The countdown clocks will be ideal,” said Bushwickian Abby Clifford, who works off the 53rd Street stop and said the R train’s indeterminacy is its biggest drawback. “It’s more frustrating when you have no idea when the train is coming. When you know, it seems much less bad.”

In addition, the fancy new stations will feature more efficient lighting, new art, and digital displays letting people know if trains are on time before they swipe into the system.

The agency will shut the three stations for up to six months to do the work — an apparent adjustment to its previous promise to temporarily close stations for six to eight weeks when it announced general plans last winter. The authority did not respond to questions about the construction time frame.

Riders were split whether the closures were worth the trouble.

The temporary inconvenience is welcome if it means a better commute in the future, one rider said.

“Hey, if they’re shutting it down for good reason, that’s okay,” said Rosabel Rodriguez, who uses the so-called “Rarely” on her commute from the Bronx to Sunset Park’s Sixth Avenue.But another rider doesn’t want to suffer six months of service changes just so she can charge her phone while she waits around for a train, she said.“That’s gonna mess up my commute,” said Bronxite Brandy Smith, who comes to Sunset Park for nursing school. “I charge my phone daily. No way — not six months just to charge my phone in the train station.”

Officials also announced the transit authority will purchase 1,000 new subway cars — many of which will link together using accordion-like connections found on the agency’s Select Bus Service in order to “create longer, open spaces, allowing for greater passenger flow movement and increasingly capacity,” transit honchos said. The authority will also install canopies above the station entrance stairwells, screens displaying service updates above the stairs, and a neighborhood map outside each entrance, officials said.

The authority will put the R train project out to bid this week and will look for contractors for the other 28 stations over the next year, agency reps said.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at

Updated 12:41 am, July 20, 2016
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Daily on Facebook.

Reader feedback

Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from BS, BK, NY, US says:
Several thoughts: 1) Make the majority of the subway system CBTC ready by the middle of the next decade, so the newer subway trains will be running more frequently and more safely; 2) When do we get the countdown clocks for the rest of the subway system?; 3) When do we get the MetroCard fully replaced?; 4) How much fares and tolls are going up for next year and the two years after that.
July 20, 2016, 12:38 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

Schneps Community News Group

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: