April 13, 2018 By Tara Law
The Astoria Boulevard subway station will be undergoing a major overhaul– starting in late June.
The MTA presented its plans to upgrade the station–which includes the installation of elevators–at a Community Board 1 committee meeting this week. The work is expected to be “substantially completed” by 2020, according to Florence Koulouris, the district manager for Community Board 1.
Koulouris said that the project is expected to take about 29 months, with the Astoria Boulevard station closed for nine months well after construction has begun.
The station’s closure will not take place until the Broadway and 39th Avenue stations have been upgraded. The MTA will be closing those stations in July for seven months in order to complete the work.
The MTA will construct four elevators at the Astoria Boulevard station—two from the street to the mezzanine, and two from the mezzanine to the platform, Koulouris said.
The agency will be making significant changes to station to accommodate the elevators. The entire mezzanine will be demolished and replaced, and the columns and foundation will be reinforced to support the weight of the elevators.
The mezzanine will also be raised up and the road below will be shifted down to enable large trucks to pass beneath the platform. Additionally, the platform roof and street and platform stairs will be replaced.
The MTA has gone public with its plans after months of controversy stemming from its decision not to include elevators at four other N/W stations in Astoria as part of those station upgrades.
Community leaders and disability advocates argue that the MTA should have installed elevators at the 30th and 36th Avenue stations, which are closed until June for construction. They argue that the upcoming work at the 39th Avenue and Broadway stations—scheduled to close for seven months starting July—should also include them.
In recent months, the MTA has countered these claims arguing that it would install new elevators at the Astoria Boulevard station. This month’s announcement was the first time the agency has notified community leaders as to a starting date.
Councilmember Costa Constantinides, who has been a strong advocate for elevator installation, said that the MTA’s announcement was “bittersweet.”
“While closing the station will bring some negative effects to our neighborhood…the added accessibility features will bring essential long-term infrastructure improvements to the station,” he said. “I will continue to hold the authority accountable on this and other similar projects.”
The MTA did not respond to a request for comment at the time this article was published.