Flatbush bigs: Church Avenue station needs state intervention

Seen better days: Lauren Elvers Collins says the decay at the Church Avenue B and Q station affects perceptions of Flatbush.
The Brooklyn Paper
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Church Avenue is an unholy mess!

So say pols and business leaders who are demanding a fix to the Flatbush commercial strip’s B and Q station, which they say is crumbling as the area sees an influx of investment.

“It doesn’t reflect the neighborho­od,” said Lauren Elvers Collins, director of the Church Avenue Business Improvement District. “We’re trying to do all these positive new things with new restaurants and new storefronts, but shoppers and visitors are coming and it looks like a very rundown neighborho­od.”

The subway stop, which neighbors a new pizza place where cocktails run $10 and a cafe where turkey sandwiches come with truffle mayo, as well as longtime green grocers and department stores, is in rough shape. Paint peels from the walls, ceilings leak, stairways have water damage, and an entire exterior wall is missing its tiles.

Collins spoke at a recent Metropolitan Transportation Authority hearing to plead for the agency to make the station’s renovation a priority, citing increased ridership. The station served 5,603,898 riders in 2013, up 13 percent from 2012 according to Transportation Authority data.

Collins also cited the renovations done at three nearby stations this year and last. The Coney Island-bound sides of the stations at the Cortelyou, Beverly, and Parkside Q stations reopened in June after months of restoration work, which followed sprucing-up on the Manhattan-bound sides.

“Three other nearby stations have been rehabbed or renovated, but Church Ave. keeps getting passed over,” Collins said. “Those stations may have been worse, but now we’re a lot worse.”

Assemblyman James Brennan (D–Flatbush) and Assemblywoman Rhoda James (D-Flatbush) wrote letters in February imploring the agency to cough up the funds to fix the station.

But straphangers who rely on the hub are less interested in its appearance than whether the trains coming on time, according to several whom we polled.

“I don’t really care how it looks. It’s the service that affects me,” said Agathina Noze, a Flatbush resident of seven years. “As long as it doesn’t smell like pee, I’m okay.”

A Transportation Authority spokeswoman declined to comment on whether renovations are planned at Church Avenue because the agency’s 2015–2019 plan is still being drafted, she said. The plan will be presented to the Authority’s board of directors in October, the spokeswoman said.

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Me from BayRidge says:
How about 59th Street on the R Line? When will that be rehabbed?
Aug. 12, 2014, 7:22 am
ty from pps says:
Church is really not that terrible -- ya know relatively speaking for the MTA. It's an embarrassment by any non-New York City standard, but it pretty average here.

These "rehab" projects are also a joke. My regular station was closed for 4 months for platform and stairway work. The station looked worse after the "rehab" and the self-congratulatory sign suggested this work cost something like $10 million.
Aug. 12, 2014, 8:34 am
BunnynSunny from Clinton Hill says:
How about Hoyt - Schermerhorn station on the G/A and C platforms Euclid-Avenue direction? Disgusting. Rats everywhere, trash all over the tracks.
Aug. 12, 2014, 9:17 am
Common Cents from Crown Heights says:
And despite record ridership the MTA will flaunt it's secondary books, cry broke and ask for an increase in fare to foot the bill for improvements. How much money did they spend on these intercom kiosks? Last estimate I read was $300K per station and there are about 460 stations, with a goal of one every 150 feet. And that's not counting the interactive map kiosks either. They could at least scrape off some rust and slap on a coat of paint.
Aug. 12, 2014, 10:15 am
ty from pps says:
I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist, so I don't believe there is a "second set of books." The problem is that no one seems to question the price tags vendors and contractors are slapping on work. I wonder if the MTA bosses aren't required to just pick one of the quotes? If they are all stupid and inflated, you say "No, try again." If they come back again stupid and inflated, you remove them from the approved vendor list and open up bidding.

10 workers at $50 per hour for 4 months is only around $350,000. Quadruple that... 20 workers at $100 (to cover inflated overhead)... we're still talking only $1.5 million. Since at my station, I never saw much more than basic power tools and maybe 5 or 6 guys, ya gotta wonder what they're doing.
Aug. 12, 2014, 11:27 am
Nancy from Park Slope says:
Who even takes the subway?! Ewww, use a car service people!
Aug. 12, 2014, 2:11 pm
jjm from c. hill says:
I say dont bother it. Aren't things like this one of the reasons that some of you moved to BK for, to get a sense of culture? Quit trying to glamorize & polish every part of BK that you think isn't a pleasant sight. You come to NYC to see edginess so leave things like this alone & preserve it.
Aug. 12, 2014, 2:53 pm
jjm from c. hill says:
This is what you call BROOKLYN, if you want things to be all shiny & bright then go to manhattan. I understand, you want things to be a little bit cleaner, i totally get it. But at the same time, its things like this that makes BK what it is.
Aug. 12, 2014, 2:57 pm
Scott from Park slope says:
Ty, no conspiracy theory is necessary. The MTA was caught keeping two sets of books when Hevesi was comptroller. ghost payrolling and kickbacks were involved. So corruption at the agency is a matter of public record.

That said maintaining the subway system is a massive, complex task. The effort they have to go to just to make sure the whole thing doesn't flood on a daily basis is huge. So with all the stations in the system it's not surprising that some are in disrepair. It was only a couple years ago that they finally cleaned up the ones in park slope.
Aug. 12, 2014, 7:36 pm
Orange is the Old Black says:
Why not get local inmates to fix it up?
Aug. 12, 2014, 9:08 pm
jay from nyc says:
its true Ty they did get caught with a second set of books, and what has changed since then with the MTA, have things gotten better, all of a sudden the "budget" get "fixed?" The answer is NOPE, which tells me the MTA are still are doing the same things with the books, as they keep getting the same old results.
As for the Church Ave station, it sucks, but so do alot of other stations, but its not a threat to safety, (then again with one person getting killed by the MTA every week maybe it is...) so I agree with the person in the article who is more worried about the trains.
The main job of the MTA is getting people places in a timely fashion all the time every time, and the MTA sucks worse at that than they do maintaining the stations, which is really saying something because the stations do really suck.
The MTA also really sucks at maintaining things, the smith-9th street "job" is a perfect example of how much the MTA sucks.
Millions over budget, months and months behind schedule, and even today the sings at that station are cardboard. Millions of dollars for cardboard. No one held accountable. Another example, billions stolen in fraudulent disability claims by MTA workers. Another example the MTA acts like having a few signs telling you when teh train arrives (which by the way are not even close to being accurate) when subway and bus systems around the world have had this "feature" for decades.
Despite all these problems how many MTA execs have been fired? How many took a pay cut? The suck-dom of the MTA kingdom of suck starts at the top with the heads of the MTA, like a rotten fish head.
Oh and here come the fare hikes. Seriously, just how much suck can the MTA suck?
Aug. 12, 2014, 9:26 pm
gimme from yours says:
so er what does pantyhose and Brooklyn have in common? I think the gal in the photo has it even though she's not wearing pantyhose ;-)
Aug. 13, 2014, 2:15 pm
KB from Greenpoint says:
The "two sets of books" accusation was unjust, at least via the courts:

"The “two sets of books” phrase was popularized in a legal challenge of MTA fare hikes in 2003. A suit based on reports by the state and city controllers claimed the MTA misled the public by exaggerating its financial situation. Two trial judges agreed, but an appeals panel overruled them. It unanimously declared “the record does not support the lower court rulings that the 2003 and 2004 deficit was ‘fictional.’”"
Aug. 15, 2014, 12:45 pm
jay from nyc says:
yeah KB thats not really an accurate report about what the courts actual decision was.
The decision of the court did not dispute that information was withheld from the public, but rather found that the information being withheld from the public was ok because doing so complied with the governing statue in terms of what the MTA is required to disclose, and that the court can not require the MA to produce more.
It is precisely this lack of disclosure that is allowed by law that is part of the problem with the MTA. To quote the court's decision
"Challenges to the adequacy of the MTA's notices founder on similar shoals as the governing statues require very little with regard to the content of the notices and nothing with regard to the amount or kind of information underlying the MTA's budget processes or rationales that must be provided to the public."
In other words, they don't have to tell you jack.
See the full text of the court's decision at
Aug. 15, 2014, 5:06 pm

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