Sept. 23, 2019. By Shane O’Brien
The MTA announced last week that two stations in Astoria would receive ADA compliant elevators as part of its 2020-2024 capital plan– but Council Member Costa Constantinides said that more are needed.
The MTA plans to add ADA compliant elevators to 70 stations across the City by 2024 under its 2020-2024 capital plan and has named 48 of those stations. The agency said it has yet to decide on the remaining 22.
The MTA has announced that the Broadway N/W station – which recently underwent nearly eight months of repair work – and the Steinway Street M/R station will both receive elevators.
Constantinides said that two stations, while a positive development, is not enough. He said that there will still be several stops in Astoria where the elderly, the disabled and parents with strollers will still struggle to gain access to the platforms.
The Council Member said that the N/W line is in particular need of elevators. None of the N/W stations in Astoria are currently ADA accessible, although elevators are being installed at the Astoria Boulevard station. Those elevators should be in place by the end of the year.
Constantinides also lambasted the MTA for its previous decision to not install elevators at Broadway when it carried out repair work at the station between July 2018 and January 2019.
The work led to the closure of the station and Constantinides questioned why the elevators were not installed when the station was stripped down to mostly beams. The Council Member said that there will likely be more closures to install elevators at the station.
“Commuters and small businesses along this corridor were just forced to languish for eight months, and are now likely to be subject to more neighborhood disruption during this installation.,” Constantinides said. “This just seems like poor planning, more wastefulness, and more disregard by the MTA.”
Constantinides called for control of the subways to be taken away from the MTA and handed over to the city as City Council Speaker Corey Johnson suggested earlier this year.
In February 2018, Constantinides rallied for elevator access at the Broadway station–and others along the N/W line– ahead of the planned overhaul. His calls went unanswered.
The MTA has revamped the Broadway, 30th Avenue, 39th Avenue, 36th Avenue and Ditmars stations over the past two years–and didn’t add elevators to any of them.