Written for Untapped Cities
Recently, we reported that the MTA had added the Second Avenue Subway to the subway map. Part of the changes included the resuscitation of the W line from Astoria-Ditmars Blvd to Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue. The MTA aims to relieve train congestion and boost Astoria’s population, at an estimated cost of $13.7 million annually, according to a MTA press release.
The revival has transit advocates and residents excited because the local train benefited Astoria. Astoria’s population has dropped 10 percent in 2010, according to 2010 Census data though a 2014 New York City’s Economic Development Corporation report on Astoria acknowledges the doubts about that set of data.
“I liked catching the W,” said long time Astoria resident Sonja Mylonas and who also runs Give Me Astoria and Humans of Astoria. “I didn’t know they took it off, but it was beneficial to the community so I’m all for bringing the W back,” she said.
But some Astoria residents are cautious too. “Bringing back the W is a waste of money,” said Astoria resident of seven years, Rich King. “There’s a lot of delays on the trains already because of rail problems and rails are consistently breaking because of the age.”
Despite the possible problems, the MTA plans to implement the changes in fall 2016 if the plan is approved. They purpose to construct new stations along the Second Avenue Subway line in Manhattan when they bring back the W and reroute the Q at 57th street to run through those new stations. So in essence, the W will take the place of the Q in Astoria when construction is completed.
According to the same press release, the MTA believes the neighborhood can’t get by with just one train. So they’re planning not to cancel any trains during the construction. The W originally was on the NQR line and served riders from northern Queens to lower Manhattan and will continue to serve those same stops. If the plan is approved, riders can take the W as early as December.