amNewYork Metro, in conjunction with the MTA, present “Ask the MTA,” a column where MTA officials answer your questions about transit service in New York City. If you have a question for the MTA about subways, buses, commuter rails and more, email askthemta[@]amny.com.
Q: I’ve recently noticed incredible art pieces within subway and commuter railroad stations. How does the MTA commission the artist and pieces? How long is the process from selection, construction and then implementation? — Joanne N., Ridgewood
A: MTA Arts & Design has been bringing beautiful artwork to the MTA system since 1985. To date, we’ve commissioned more than 350 permanent artworks through a formal selection process that includes arts professionals, agency representation, and community input. The timeline varies depending on the medium, scale of the project, and duration available. We also time new installations to coincide with station improvement projects and their construction schedules. On average the process takes about two years from start to finish, though often longer and sometimes less. You can find out more about MTA Arts and Design and new opportunities to create original, site-specific artwork on the MTA website. — Cheryl Hageman, Deputy Director, MTA Arts and Design
Q: When is the next opportunity to give public comment on the Brooklyn Bus Network Redesign? — Renata Q., Flatbush
A: Since mid-January we’ve been hosting virtual public workshops in Brooklyn to gather comments on the borough’s Bus Network Redesign Draft Plan. This is a key part of the process; we want to make sure we’re redrawing the map in a way that delivers the greatest benefits for riders. What better way than to hear from our customers themselves?
There’s a virtual workshop for Community Districts 14 and 17 — which include your neighborhood, Flatbush — set for Thursday, Feb. 23 and Tuesday, March 7 respectively. If you can’t make those, you can see the full schedule and register to join any of our meetings on the MTA website. We’re also taking feedback on the project page for local and express service or through the comment portal. Both are open online 24/7. — Cate Contino, director of special projects and strategic initiatives, MTA Government and Community Relations
Q: When will the MTA re-open the northwest staircase on the downtown platform at the Houston St. station on the 1 line? It’s been closed for a very long time and causes a pedestrian-jam during the morning and evening commute. — James G., Kingsbridge
A: On Dec. 20, we temporarily closed this stairwell to allow the owners of the building next door, 225 Varick Street, to do some restoration work to their façade. With the job now safely done, the owners are awaiting inspection and we expect to reopen the stairs early this week. — Susannah Harrington, director of station programs, New York City Transit