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New funds for 86th St. subway

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After many years of waiting, the community could be just three years away from a newly renovated 86th Street subway station. Thanks to an infusion of federal and state dollars, the “long-overdue” rehabilitation of the station is now in the pipeline, according to Representative Vito Fossella and State Senator Marty Golden, who presented the news during a press conference at the station. Fossella secured an allocation of $6.68 in federal transportation funding, and Golden $2 million in state funding, to jump-start the long-awaiting project. Whatever additional money is necessary to complete the project will be contributed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), said Golden. The state and federal money secured by the two lawmakers “took the excuse away” from the MTA that they did not have sufficient money to restore the station, said Fossella. Yet, he contended, restoration was especially important because the 86th Street stop “is not a normal subway station,” but more of a “mini-transit hub,” thanks to the numerous buses that connect to the train line there. The 86th Street station, he stressed, is, “One of the most heavily-used stations in the entire system.” The station, Fossella added, is also nearly a century old, “And has never really undergone a significant renovation.” As part of its upcoming rehabilitation, the station – which is used by approximately 10,000 people each day — will receive a many-faceted overhaul from top to bottom. The many commuters who use the station, “Expect and deserve the best,” noted Fossella. “They are the backbone of this economy and this city.” “If you look at the station,” remarked Golden, “you can see it needs all the repairs it can possibly get.” For accessing the station, a new staircase to the street will be installed and the existing entrances will be repaired. In addition, wall tile will be repaired and replaced on the mezzanine, staircase handrails will be replaced, the ceiling will be repaired, the station floor will be repaired, the concrete track wall will be covered with new tiles and an ADA warning strip will be installed at the platform edge. The upcoming station renovation is good news for the neighborhood, said Com-munity Board 10 Chair-person Dean Rasinya. “We were at a point, three or four years ago,” he recalled, “when we were being told there was no money to renovate the station, that they would think about it for a future five-year plan.” The efforts of the two legislators, Rasinya said, had changed the outlook, “To the point where we have several million dollars so the work can begin.” “This is a great day for Bay Ridge and all those who commute here, or shop along 86th Street,” added CB 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann. The preliminary design phase has already started, with the job scheduled to go out for bid next spring, and be completed within two years, according to information supplied by Fossella’s office. An elevator to make the station handicapped-accessible is not included in the project, though both Golden and Fossella said they would push to get that installed in the station as well. “It’s on the back burner,” Golden remarked. “We want to see it moved to the front burner.” Golden also said that he and Fossella would continue trying to get other area stations on the R, N and W lines renovated.

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