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Sunnyside Station to Get Accessibility Upgrades: MTA

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

Dec. 19 By Allie Griffin

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced today an additional 20 subway stations — including the 46th Street-Bliss Street station in Sunnyside — 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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20 Comments

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Me

Neziah Bliss – They did choose 40th St Station in their assessment. However, it never made sense. 33rd St provides access to Laguardia CC. 46th St provides access to the B24 and Q104, as well as the Q60 and Q32. Both stations also already have secondary entrances so eliminating a staircase on each side for an elevator should not be that burdensome. 40th St is an intermediate station that provides no unique connections to bus service and has only one entrance. The real flaw in the new plan is the fact that Queensboro Plaza is still missing. This means that every weekend when the MTA shuts down 7 service to the city, the entire 7 line will be non-ADA compliant unless someone is going to take a wheelchair down the stairs to catch a Manhattan bound N.

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rikki

maybe 15 years ago that was true…but look today at all the YOUNG Asians getting off the 7 not many old people i see struggling on the stairs..
…….. 40th needed an elevator more than any others? Come on!

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SuperWittySmitty

You can’t really tell if someone is “able-bodied” by just looking at them. And how many people do you see using the elevator? Presumably, you are in the middle of your commute and not in the station for hours, conducting a real and systematic study of who’s using the elevators and why. Are these the same lazy people who drive to the store instead of walking?

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ABoondy

does it matter if they are able or not? are you the elevator police? whether its for disabled people, or elderly, or people with luggage, its needed. Toronto’s subway stations ALL have some form of accessibility…whether it be elevators or escalators. the mta is a disgrace for not implementing this many years ago.

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Geez, mind your business!

William… You don’t know who is able bodied. Not all disabilities are obvious.

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Gardens Watcher

William, there may come a day when you need to use that elevator. Who’s to say who’s disabled or not?

Thanks to Cathy Nolan and others who advocated for expanded ADA accessibility in Sunnyside.

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William

At other stations, the only individuals I see use the elevators are able-bodied. No doubt they are too lazy to use the stairs.

This is a bad idea on the part of the MTA. Then again, they are masters at squandering resources.

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Carmen

What is going on with Brooklyn’s R train and its stations. One station in particular. 4th ave.-9st. an elevator is badly needed there.

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Neziah Bliss

Didn’t the Straphangers Organization recently say that 40th needed an elevator more than any others? Come on!

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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).

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I don't know abouth the billions

FINALLY!
It is not only great for people with disabilities, also for elderly, and pregnant women (And strollers… mostly strollers take advantage of it)

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