Electeds and Community Call on MTA to Address Unsafe Conditions at York Street Station

Senator Kavanagh, Assemblymember Simon, and Councilmember Levin joined by community advocates to highlight unsafe conditions at York Street Station

Brooklyn, NY Senator Brian Kavanagh, Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon and Councilmember Stephen Levin were joined by representatives of the offices of Congressmember Nydia Velázquez and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams along with community leaders outside the MTA’s York Street Station to underscore the urgent need for the MTA to address overcrowding, lack of accessibility, and unsafe conditions at the York Street Station.

The MTA has failed to 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 using the station.

“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 Senator Brian Kavanagh, who represents the DUMBO section of Brooklyn, in which the station is located. “If the MTA concludes a second entrance is not feasible, then it should provide the community with other substantive alternatives to address these issues. And it’s unacceptable that the MTA hasn’t provided the community with the promised feasibility study – especially after so many years of advocacy and discussion of this critical issue.”

“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. We join together again today to ask the MTA to complete its past due station feasibility study and expeditiously make improvements for our transit riders,” said Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon.

Councilmember Stephen 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. We have called upon the MTA to address the overcrowding and unsafe conditions time and again. The City continues to promote development in DUMBO and yet the Fulton Ferry, DUMBO and Vinegar Hill communities – including that of Farragut Houses – who rely mainly on this station have not had their concerns addressed. Before any further development activity progresses, including that of existing projects, we need the MTA to be responsive and come to us with the feasibility study and one which outlines the needed remedies to modernize this station and make it safe for all.

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. Community Board 2 calls on the MTA to prioritize the creation of a plan with funding to create a second egress and more immediately to improve station safety. Infrastructure and amenities must change to accommodate the new needs brought on by development.”

Alexandria Sica, President of the DUMBO Improvement District said: "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. Dumbo is home to the City's hottest home grown tech companies - from Rent the Runway to Etsy. More companies are going to keep looking to Brooklyn and our infrastructure needs to be ready. We appreciate the advocacy of our elected officials and the entire community. Our great hope is that the MTA will release the study and get to work!"

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 upzoned our neighborhoods before planning for the necessary infrastructure mitigation to meet the demands of the proposed development and our growing community. The MTA assured us that the results of a second entrance and egress study would be given to us by now. Our already overburdened station will have additional ridership from the new developments at 85 Jay, 69 Adams, 29 Jay, Vinegar Hill and the new developments at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and more to follow. As the first F train stop in Brooklyn we need immediate attention to the public safety needs. Finishing the feasibility study must be prioritized so that we may make the important infrastructure plans needed for ADA compliance and public safety.”

Mallory Kasdan, Co-Founder of Dumbo Action Committee said: “Dumbo Action Committee represents the needs of residents in Dumbo's mixed-use community. 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. We expect that the MTA will hold up their end of this deal, now overdue, to study the possibilities for a second entrance and thereafter make the needed safety improvements.”

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. Our calls for help and attention continue to be ignored.”

On March 18, 2021, MTA representatives presented at a meeting of the Transportation Committee of Brooklyn Community Board 2 and announced that the agency is 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 went on to write, “If we find that the construction of the new entrance is not feasible while maintaining service and the integrity of the existing structure, we will explore improvements to the existing entrance to improve the accessibility and passenger experience.”