PSCC – MTA dialog on 4th/9th Station renovation

Update on the 4th Ave/9th Street Transit station

On February 5, 2015, Andrew Inglesby (Assistant Director, Government and Community Relations, MTA NYC Transit) and two other representatives from the MTA attended the PSCC Board of Trustees meeting to give an update on the status of the busy station serving both Park Slope and Gowanus. Their attendance was a result of an agreement to move the location of a planned demonstration by FOFA and seven other community partners because the event would coincide with the start of removal of scaffolding from the section of the station that bridges 4th Avenue.

The presentation by the MTA representatives was informative in tone and responses were given to a list of questions that had been sent to the MTA prior to the meeting.

A significant number of elected officials and area residents also were in attendance and several “next steps” were agreed upon. Following the meeting, the summary (see below) of information and next steps was vetted by both PSCC and the MTA.

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PSCC/MTA 2/5/2015 meeting issues summary

General – MTA hopes to be finished with general construction by mid-March, weather permitting.

Tenant space – The only part of the project that will continue beyond that point is the “readiness” prep for the 6 potential business sites below the arch. Work there includes building out a shell spaces which will include water, gas, electric connections. That component is scheduled to be completed at the same time they are planning to let RFP’s for tenancy – currently planned for 2016

The stair way work to the “R” train (different from larger construction) is due to be completed by end of April.

Handicapped accessibility
The station is not on the “100 list” for handicapped accessibility to be completed by 2020, so there are no current plans for an elevator. PSCC was urged to start lobbying for station inclusion in new plan.

Street level – The MTA’s position is that the lighting beneath the station is adequate: part of the contribution by Assemblywoman Millman paid for the lighting. They are not planning any additional and suggested that we talk with DOT about street lighting. (see follow-up under “Moving Forward”)

Interior – No additional lighting is planned for interior.

Street level (exterior way finding) – MTA stated that such signage was the responsibility of the DOT

Interior – MTA agreed to have a walk through (with limited number of participants) and representatives from the MTA signage department.

Follow-up – FOFA/PSCC to follow up on scheduling interior walk through

Art in the Station
Permanent -The station renovation was not considered a “complete renovation”, so there was no built-in budget percentage for new art and none is planned.

Temporary – The MTA did offer to have a discussion about temporary art, referencing the blue plywood covering the to-be-completed storefronts on 4th Avenue. Such art would need to be funded by source other than MTA. MTA said they were approaching elected officials for funding. Such art would be determined by a panel that would include a local community representative.
Follow-upFOFA/PSCC to see if meeting with MTA Arts in Transit program is necessary to start this process

Community participants noted that perhaps, given absence of resources, the MTA would be willing to explore other temporary art installations on subway platforms and in other areas in the station. Such topic would be part of meeting with Arts in Transit representatives.

Street level tenancy

As noted above, the MTA is currently developing an RFP for requests to rent the six spaces on 4th Avenue currently planned for 2016 release.
PSCC commented on desire that local businesses be encouraged to apply for space, as opposed to “chain stores”. MTA suggested that such recommendations be made in writing.
Follow-upSubsequent research found that such request was made in 2012 (see attached). An updated request to be sent by PSCC

With respect to award of spaces, MTA said that by law they would go to the highest bidder. (There was not a discussion about other contract requirements). MTA expects that square foot rental costs will reflect current commercial rates. There was no comment on whether or not there has been interest expressed about the spaces.

Countdown clocks – A question was asked about when countdown clocks would be installed on ground level for people who would have to stand on the platform to wait for the F train. MTA said there was a general installation program: not sure of when they would be coming to 4th Ave.
Incorrect train information – several people mentioned that PA announcements were giving information for the wrong station. MTA said they were unaware of issue and would check it on the day following the meeting. Also incorrect time on station clocks noted.

Window installation on bridge – noting that the windows installed in the bridge were translucent instead of transparent, questions were raised about the reasoning and the possibility of using more transparent glass.

Moving forward

In addition to walk through noted above, MTA said they would be happy to attend station-focused meeting that included stake-holders such as DOT in order to further discuss station improvements such as lighting and signage. Participants noted DOT commitment to Vision Zero commitment to safety improvements on a stretch of 4th Avenue that includes the station.
Follow-up – FOFA/PSCC to schedule meeting with interest parties.