Of New York City’s 472 subway stations, only 118 are wheelchair accessible. New York City Transit’s new chief, Andy Byford, has made it a priority to change that statistic, and on Tuesday the MTA announced work on building an elevator at one of its stations in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
The project at the 86th Street Station on the R line will be a comprehensive accessibility upgrade: The MTA will add two new elevators—one that connects from the street to the mezzanine level, and another that connects from that level to the platform. Other infrastructural improvements will include the addition of Braille signage, handrails, turnstiles, powered gates, sidewalk pedestrian ramps, and a modified station agent booth that will be at a wheelchair-friendly height.
“I have said from Day One of my tenure that improving accessibility is one of my four top priorities, and I’m pleased to see this station moving us ahead on that goal,” said Byford, in a statement.
The project will take just under two years to be completed, and will be built at a cost of $17.9 million. Construction work won’t shutter the station on weekdays, but there will be some closures on nights and weekends to perform work on the platform. The MTA has said it will put up notices and make announcements at the station ahead of time.
Work on upgrading the 86th Street station is scheduled to begin this month, and conclude sometime in 2020. At present, work is underway on making 25 other subway stations wheelchair accessible.
In his recently unveiled Fast Forward plan to fix the subway system, Byford committed the MTA to adding 180 elevators in the subway system over the next 10 years.