Volume 18 • Issue 12 | August 12 - 18, 2005

Straphangers react to Cortlandt Street station closing

By Olga Mantilla

Straphangers arriving from all parts of the city at the Cortlandt Street station on the R and W lines had mixed reviews for the Metropolitan Transportaion Authority’s recent announcement of the station’s temporary closing – optimistic Financial District workers said it was a small price to pay for an improved station, while others had nothing but bitter words for the M.T.A.

“It’s definitely inconvenient,” said Brooklyn resident Debbie Ryan of the Cortlandt Street station’s imminent six-month closing.

“I’ll have to spend more time traveling.”

The M.T.A. plans to temporarily close the station starting August 20th for construction of a 150-foot underpass that will link the future redeveloped World Trade Center train station to the Fulton Street Transit Center, a project targeted for late 2007 that will connect the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J, M, Z, R, W, and E subway lines in Lower Manhattan. The Cortlandt stop will be bypassed by the R and W lines. It is scheduled to open on February 6, 2006.

Daily commuters that exit at the R/W train’s Cortlandt Street stop in the Financial District expressed surprise and annoyance at the station’s closing, some accusing the M.T.A. of being thoughtless and inconsiderate of city train riders’ interests.

“[The M.T.A.] has to do what it has to do,” said peeved rider Vishal Patel at the news of the decision. Patel, who commutes on the R train to the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University, said that he thought the M.T.A. didn’t care much for transit riders’ convenience or comfort. “It’s not in [the commuter’s] hands,” he said of the station’s closing. “They should take the train riders into account, but they don’t.”

Other straphangers were more accommodating to the M.T.A.’s decision, assured by the proximity of eleven other subway lines — 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, E, J, M, Z — in the Financial District. Several riders were able to quickly throw down a couple of alternate routes to work while being interviewed in the station Wednesday morning.

“Well, I have the Fulton Street stop. The 4 or the 5 is usually faster anyway,” Financial District worker Sheila Williams reasoned. “It won’t be such a hassle — I’ll just have to walk a couple of more blocks.”

“There’s alternatives — that’s why I like taking the trains,” she said. “The only thing is that it’ll make the alternative trains more crowded.”

“It’s an inconvenience that we regret,” said Deirdre Parker, a spokesperson for New York City Transit, a division of the M.T.A. “The station shutdown is a necessary measure for the construction of the new underpass and the larger redevelopment project of the World Trade Center site and the Fulton Street Transit Center.”

Straphangers will have “a rehabilitated station to look forward to,” Parker said.


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