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Queensboro Plaza to receive 3 new elevators; N to Forest Hills

Posted by GojiMet86 on Thu May 12 19:49:41 2022


Queensboro Plaza Getting Revamp With 3 New Elevators, Nicer Platforms
The busy Long Island City station will also get roomier, brighter and safer, the MTA says but construction work will snarl subway service.

Nick Garber
Posted Thu, May 12, 2022 at 12:53 pm ET
Updated Thu, May 12, 2022 at 4:22 pm ET

LONG ISLAND CITY, QUEENS Thousands of commuters who pass through Queensboro Plaza each day will soon enjoy a roomier station and wheelchair-accessible elevators thanks to a significant renovation planned by the MTA.

Preliminary work has already begun on the project, which will build one elevator from the station's south side to its mezzanine, and another from the mezzanine to the platform, which serves the 7, N and W trains.

"This station is going to be accessible in a way that it really never has been before, which is pretty amazing," said Danny Randell, an MTA community relations staffer, at a Community Board 1 meeting on Wednesday.

Separately, as Patch reported in February, a developer planning a 26-story apartment tower on the station's north side is also planning to build a street-level elevator to the Queensboro Plaza mezzanine, taking advantage of a city rule that gives developers zoning bonuses in exchange for subway improvements and bringing the station's eventual total to three elevators.

About 14,000 daily riders passed through the N-W-7 station on an average pre-pandemic weekday, putting it in the busiest quarter of the city's subway stations. But its elevated platform remains ADA-inaccessible, forcing disabled commuters to take detours to the Queens Plaza or Court Square stations.

Construction will begin "in earnest" in the coming months, with excavation and other structural work in and below the station, Randell said Thursday. The whole project will wrap up around September 2024.

Better platforms; shutdowns planned
Meanwhile, the MTA will also extend Queensboro's cramped mezzanine by 50 feet to the east, giving commuters more room to wait. Track-level platform edges will be reconstructed, and the MTA will also install a new public address system, fire alarms, security cameras, lighting, and digital information screens, Randell said.

The new MTA elevator will be built on Queens Plaza South, in front of what is now EZ Pawn Shop, while the mezzanine-to-platform elevator will be constructed on the station's east side. On the north side, the developer-led project will also widen the pedestrian bridge and staircase that connect the station to the street. (A temporary staircase has already opened while the existing building on Queens Plaza North is demolished).

In one potential headache for commuters, the construction will snarl nighttime weekend service along the station's three subway lines starting next year.

The station will close entirely between 4 a.m. Saturday and 10 p.m. Sunday for 10 weekends in 2023 and 2024, with 7 trains limited to eastern Queens and N trains running along the R line. Another series of weekend closures will suspend N service within Astoria, and between Queens and Manhattan.

Starting this month, an equipment-hoisting area will be set up on the street below the station, resulting in an overnight traffic lane closure at Queens Plaza and the temporary loss of a few parking spaces.

The work at Queensboro is part of a broader accessibility push by the MTA, which is installing new elevators at seven other stations around the city in the next couple of years.

Community board members largely applauded the construction, though Mitch Waxman, who chairs CB1's transportation committee, pressed the MTA to consider building a walking transfer between the Queens Plaza and Queensboro Plaza stations which remain walled off from each other despite sitting mere feet apart.

"This is one of the most densely populated and growing parts of the United States of America," Waxman said. "Perhaps it's time for a walking transfer."


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