The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Feb. 2 that construction on two elevators to make Queensboro Plaza a fully accessible station will begin this weekend.
An elevator at the station’s southern entrance and an elevator connecting the mezzanine to the two platforms are among the projects planned. The station is a busy transfer point in Queens, serving approximately 70,000 riders on an average weekday in November of 2022. The estimate includes commuters who enter at the station as well as those transferring between the 7, N, and W lines, MTA said.
The work will be completed in stages, with weekends of service disruptions beginning at 12:15 a.m. on the 7 line as of Feb. 4th, and later in May on the N line.
“The improvements coming to Queensboro Plaza will greatly benefit tens of thousands of riders,” said NYC Transit President Richard Davey. “Accessibility is such an integral part of mass transit, especially for a city like New York where mass transit is essential for many. When complete, the project will provide critical accessibility upgrades, security updates, and customer experience improvements throughout the station.”
Queensboro Plaza is a high-ridership station in the heart of a rapidly growing neighborhood, making it a complex construction project. According to the MTA, the project will require work to be done over the busy, 11-lane wide approach to the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, two of which are bike lanes.
The project is also being coordinated with the construction of a redundant accessible entrance on the station’s north side as part of a Zoning for Accessibility project.
“Building in dense urban environments, with infrastructure that dates back more than 100 years, is complex and challenging,” said MTA Construction and Development President Jamie Torres-Springer. “But making our system accessible is essential and so we are finding creative ways to meet that challenge. Queensboro Plaza is a perfect example, taking advantage of private investment to maximize the benefit for riders while minimizing cost to the MTA.”
The MTA’s project entails the construction of two elevators, one connecting the street to the mezzanine level and another connecting the mezzanine to both platforms.
The project to build an accessible entrance on the south side has a $74 million budget and is expected to be completed by mid-2024.
The station’s accessibility upgrade will be complemented by security and communication upgrades, including upgrades to the fire alarm system, the installation of a new security camera system, a new public address system, and digital information screens, which will provide better communication with clearer announcements and greater access to information via screens, MTA said.
Jamie Torres-Springer and Deputy Chief of Staff Cathy Li gave a presentation on the costs and complexities of MTA infrastructure projects, including the difficulties of building elevators in often constrained spaces, on Dec. 21, 2022.