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2 Long Island City Subway Stations to Get Accessibility Upgrades: MTA

A rendering of accessibility upgrades including new elevators at Astoria Boulevard station (MTA)

Dec. 19, 2019 By Allie Griffin

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced today an additional 20 subway stations — including two in Long Island City — which will receive ADA upgrades under the authority’s $51.5 billion 2020-2024 capital plan.

The 20 stations are part of 70 in total which will be made fully ADA accessible under the capital plan. The accessibility upgrades will cost a total of $5.2 billion and is the largest investment in accessibility in the city’s transit history, according to the MTA.

In Queens, the newly announced stations include the Court Square- 23rd Street E/M, Northern Boulevard M/R, 33rd Street – Rawson Street 7, 46th Street – Bliss Street 7 and Parsons Boulevard F stations.

“The announcement of these additional 20 ADA stations is a major step forward for MTA system-wide accessibility,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye. “New Yorkers deserve a subway system that works for everyone. This historic investment of $5.2 billion for accessibility in the next Capital Program will be life-changing for our customers.”

In September, the MTA announced 48 stations that will receive the accessibility upgrades. The two remaining stations will be announced at a later date.

Already announced to receive ADA upgrades in Queens are the Beach 67th Street A, Briarwood E/F, Broadway N/W, Woodhaven Boulevard M/R, Steinway Street M/R and Rockaway Boulevard A stations.

The original 48 stations met the MTA goal of ensuring customers are no more than two stops away from an accessible station. The 20 additional stations announced today will further increase accessible citywide coverage and were chosen based on factors like demographics, transfers, constructability, ridership and synergy with other construction projects.

The stations were chosen through input from community members, advocates, elected officials and customers with disabilities.

“New Yorkers rely on mass transit to get to jobs, school, family and friends – and for too long New Yorkers with disabilities have not been able to rely on our subway system in the same way as our able-bodied neighbors,” said James Weisman, President & CEO of the United Spinal Association. “Making an additional 70 subway stations accessible, and ensuring the system is accessible across the five boroughs, will open up so many new options for the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and daily visitors who need accessible service.”

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nom de plum

Thank you Jimmy for the 46st Street ADA accessibility upgrades. The number of people with walkers and canes waiting in the cold,rain and snow for buses has increased dramatically and these elevators will help people who need to travel to the city but cannot walk up and down the stairs

Jaded about the $$MTA$$

Yes, I’m completely in favor of making the subway safer and more accessible to those with disabilities. But as with any proposals from the MTA, the price tag is outrageous. We’re so used to the corruption and fleecing that goes on with this agency, that no one bats an eye to discover that it will cost an average of more than 70-plus million dollars for each of the 70 stations getting upgrades. Does it really cost that much to build an elevator and make other basic improvements? I don’t get it.

Tom R

There are already elevators at Court Sq across from the diner that take you to the 7 and escalators and elevators that take you underground to connect to the EM&G though there are still steps to the EM so I guess this is the part they are going to improve? It would be nice if they put access at 44Dr to the other end of the 7 platform too nearest Citibank and all the new apartments there.

BUT why no accessibility plans at Queensboro Plaza? That station has a ton of stairs, is a busy station for the NW&7 and is surrounded by businesses and apartments yet has no accessibility!

Larry Penner

How real is the MTA funding plan to support the $51 billion 2020 – 2024 Five Year Capital Plan recently passed by the MTA Board? It is dependent upon taxes and fees including Real Estate Transfer and Internet Sales Tax along with Congestion Price Tolling which combined equal $25 billion plus $10.7 billion in anticipated Federal Transit Administration funding. There is no guarantee of FTA providing up to $3.5 billion in New Starts funding for the Second Avenue Subway Phase 2 costing almost $7 billion.

In April, the MTA claimed a potential savings between $500 million to a $1 billion for this project. This would have reduced the cost from $6 to $5 billion. Promised savings were based upon reduction in excavation for the 125th Street Station and building the 116th Street Station in space no longer needed for other work.

Under the $51 billion 2020 – 2024 Five Year Capital Plan, the cost increased by almost $1 billion raising the price tag closer to $7 billion. The previous federal share of $2 billion (33%) now assumes an amount which could end up closer to $3.5 billion (50%) by the time the next cost estimate update becomes public. No one has come forward to explain these changes.

Second Avenue Subway Phase 2 is competing against the $12 billion no frills Gateway Tunnel project which is also looking for up to $6 billion from the same federal funding source. The full Gateway Tunnel project cost $29 billion. The odds of both securing FTA Full Funding Grant Agreements are the same as the Yankees playing the Mets in the 2020 Fall Subway World Series. FTA funding both in 2020 would leave little for many other proposed New Starts projects around the nation.

Congestion Pricing does not kick in until January 2021 or the second year of a five year capital program. The final details of who will pay what have yet to be worked out. What is the implementation schedule for installation of electronic tolling equipment? Elected officials behind the scene continue lobbying for exemptions. The MTA may not be able to count on all $15 billion in congestion pricing funding. A downturn in the economy could also result in less revenue from the Real Estate Transfer tax. There is a surplus of unsold Manhattan luxury apartments with even more coming on the market. How will the Internet Sales tax be collected? Many will avoid this by having family and friends in neighboring states do the purchasing. There are other MTA tax income sources impacted by any future downturn in the economy.

Is it realistic to expect Albany to provide $3 billion in new direct aid given the state still owes $7.3 billion in support for the current MTA for the 2015-2019 plan? The same is true for City Hall providing $3 billion who still owes $1.8 billion in support as well. The plan assumes the MTA will borrow another $10 billion in new debt. How much will this increase the MTA’s debt service payments? Even without including this new borrowing, the MTA forecasts that its debt will increase 31% by 2023 and will cost $3.5 billion or more annually. Moody’s credit agency has said that this plan will add $38 billion in new debt on top of the current $44 billion debt. The MTA could easily end up with a shortfall in the billions.

(Larry Penner — transportation historian, writer and advocate who previously worked 31 years for the United States Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office. This included the development, review, approval and oversight for billions in capital projects and programs for the MTA, NYC Transit, Long Island Rail Road, Metro North Rail Road MTA Bus along with 30 other transit agencies in NY & NJ).


Larry Penner states the facts, fiscally. What strikes one is the marriage of 19th century tracks and ironwork, with tremendous upkeep needs—falling debris, anyone?—and 21st century mini elevators. If transport needs for Queens were to be truly met, a new train system, underground, could be built next to or under the current one, elevators built in from day one. For comparable costs, I think.
We have a tunnel under the East River, linking Long Island/Queens to Manhattan why not a Queens underground tunnel?


Because they’re not doing what makes the most sense, they just want the stats that say every OTHER station has an elevator.

R Austin

I’ll be interested in seeing how they’ll do it for Court Square/23 rd. I’m assuming it means sidewalk to turnstile to platform… Elevator(s)?


Yeah, I don’t see how it’ll be cheap at court square unless they make a new entrance.

I’d like to see them make a direct connection to the E on the northern end of the platform, that transfer sucks.


It looks like they’re doing just that on the side where the new overpriced monstrosity is being built. They’re building it in somehow.


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