By N Miller
|New Manhattan-bound elevator at Court Sq-23 St (E)(M) Station|
Credit: Marc A. Herman/NYCT
QUEENS, NY-The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced back on that the Manhattan-bound side of the Court Sq-23 St (E)(M) subway station in Long Island City, Queens, is now accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), with plans to make the Queens-bound side accessible as part of the 2020-2024 MTA Capital Plan. The recently completed accessible entrance is adjacent to and built by the developers of the new Skyline Tower residential skyscraper at 23-15 44 Dr. The upgrades include a new elevator, ramp, gate for wheelchair access and additional low turnstiles to make the platform served by Manhattan-bound (E) and (M) trains fully accessible and to improve passenger flow.
The Manhattan-bound accessibility project was completed through the MTA’s Transit-Oriented Development Program and the MTA External Partner Program, in which the MTA works with developers, architects and contractors to enhance the MTA system when property is being developed near MTA facilities. With MTA guidance and oversight, the improvements were built and financed by developers United Construction & Development Group, FSA Capital and Risland US Holdings LLC. The agency is adding the new accessibility information for the station to print and digital assets over the coming days.
The Court Square complex is comprised of two other stations in addition to the Court Sq-23 St (E)(M) Station (IND Queens Blvd Line): one serving the IRT Flushing (7) line which is fully accessible, and one serving the IND Crosstown (G) line. In 2011, the station complex expanded with a transfer linking all the lines. The transfer area has two escalators, three elevators that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, a transfer stairway between the (G) and (7) mezzanines and a stairway connecting the Court Square (7) station's mezzanine with the northeast corner of Jackson Avenue and 23 St. A passageway connects the (G) line with the (E)(M) lines. A future developer-built elevator will connect the Manhattan-bound (E)(M) platform to the rest of the station complex.
Louis Yu, Project General Manager at Risland US Holdings LLC, said this in a statement: “Skyline Tower’s ownership group is excited to see the expansion of the Court Sq-23 St subway station open to Long Island City locals and visitors alike. The Court Square neighborhood will greatly benefit from the newly-accessible subway station, and future Skyline Tower residents will enjoy even easier access to and from Manhattan.”
Quemuel Arroyo, MTA Chief Accessibility Officer, said this in a statement: “This is a great example of how the MTA is harnessing the private sector to assist in the rollout of full systemwide accessibility. I like this a lot. I want to see more projects like this.”
Janno Lieber, President of MTA Construction & Development, said this in a statement: “Last year, despite COVID, we added 11 stations to the list of accessible stations, tying the all-time record for the most ADA completions in a single year. And we are keeping that progress going here in Long Island City, Queens where we leveraged private developer investments to add a new elevator and further expand accessibility. This is a good model for how we can increase accessibility, which is why we have been working with the City on a zoning plan to apply this tool more widely.”
The MTA remains confident that they will get all ADA Accessible projects done throughout the 2020-2024 Capital Plan program, thanks to $8 billion in federal aid secured by the New York congressional delegation led by Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, further emergency federal aid in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. MTA Chairman/CEO Patrick J. Foye gave this statement, praising Congress for the Senate passing of the American Rescue Plan (not to mention politics, but with ZERO GOP support of course): “This is a great day for all Americans, mass transit customers and our heroic employees. We are grateful that the Senate passed the American Rescue Plan which includes more than $6 billion in federal funding for the MTA. This funding is crucial as we work to bring back ridership and recover from the pandemic. Critically, it will also further offset COVID’s impact and help protect against devastating service cuts and layoffs in the years ahead where we still face deficits. We have said all along that this is a national crisis that requires a national solution. A strong MTA is essential to New York and the nation’s rebound, and we’re eager to help get the economy back on track and carry the region forward as we have all along. Thank you to President Biden for your vision, along with Senate Majority Leader Schumer for your unwavering leadership, and the tireless hard work and support of Speaker Pelosi and the bipartisan New York delegation. We look forward to the House's swift passage of this plan and President Biden signing it into law."