A new subway entrance for L train riders at Avenue A and 14th Street is finally open, while sidewalk restoration work is expected to follow more than six months ahead of schedule, the MTA announced Monday.
The long-awaited entrance on the southern side of 14th Street is a block away from the First Avenue station and is intended to help relieve congestion at the stop, which has seen ridership grow 60 percent from 2000 to 2018, according to the MTA. The upgrades come amid the L train slowdown that is also slated to end three months ahead of schedule.
“We hit yet another positive milestone today with the opening of the first of two new station entrances at [First Avenue],” MTA Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber said in a statement. “We’re ahead of schedule for the entire project, and it’s satisfying when customers can reap the benefits as the job advances.”
Once complete, the 14th Street overhaul near the First Avenue station will include four new street entrances: two on either side of 14th Street near Avenue A, and two new platform-to-street elevators. Riders are expected to begin using the lifts in the summer of 2020, slightly ahead of schedule. A power substation is also being built on Avenue B to allow the MTA to operate more L trains.
Restoration work on 14th street and a reduction of construction zones was originally planned for May 2020 but is now expected to be complete by January 2020, according to the MTA.
The agency first announced the construction of the new entrance in 2015 as part of a series of capital projects along the Canarsie Line. Straphangers who stumbled upon the newly opened entrance Monday said they are glad to have another option to enter the station.
“It’s a little rough around the edges, but I’m glad we finally have a new entrance and don’t have to walk over to First Avenue,” said Marisa Herendez, a nurse who lives in the East Village and regularly commutes from the First Avenue stop. “It wasn’t safe to cram so many people into one entrance. It slows everyone down.”
Now that the new Avenue A station is open with “temporary finishes,” the MTA will close the original entrance on the south side of 14th Street and First Avenue by November 11 for phased reconstruction. Two entrances will remain open at all times during work.