On Flatbush Avenue, the stairway to heaven might actually lead underground.
Some Park Slope and Prospect Heights community leaders are calling on the Metropolitan Transit Authority to re-open two long-closed entrances to the Seventh Avenue B and Q train station near the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Sterling Place — a plan that could alleviate overcrowding and ease the commutes of thousands of straphangers.
“The only entrances that are open right now get very congested — opening the other entrances would give residents an extra egress on both sides of the avenue,” said Sharon Davidson, vice president of the North Flatbush Avenue Business Improvement District, which is leading the effort.
The transit agency shuttered the station entrances more than 30 years ago in an attempt to improve safety on then-dangerous Flatbush Avenue by herding passengers together, according to the transit activists who are pushing for the reopenings.
But as the thoroughfare has rebounded in the past three decades, the closed entrances — one next to the former Pavilion movie theater on the Park Slope side of Flatbush, the other near the Key Food on the Prospect Heights side of the avenue — have actually made things more dangerous for commuters by causing unnecessary crowding, said transportation wonk Michael Cairl.
“If we are able to reopen the so-called ‘lost entrances,’ we would be able to spread out the passengers not just to more exits, but also over more of the platform,” said Cairl, a member of the Park Slope Civic Council, which also backs the reopening.
And the transit activists claim that opening the entries would be a cheap investment for the cash-strapped agency.
“It would just be a matter of reopening the entrances at the sidewalk, taking away the fences inside the station, and putting in the high-entry Metrocard turnstiles,” said Cairl.
MTA spokesman Charles Seaton told The Brooklyn Paper that the agency is “looking into” the request — but Park Slope and Prospect Heights straphangers should not get their hopes up.
The MTA shot down a similar proposal to reopen a long-closed staircase in the Fourth Avenue and Ninth Street station of the F, R and M trains last year, despite claims from neighbors that unsealing the entrance could improve passenger safety and bring life to the gloomy overpass.
©2009 Community News Group
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