It’s one of the busiest subway hubs in Brooklyn — but pols say the MTA treats it like an afterthought.
Two Brooklyn elected officials on Monday called for the MTA to conduct a sweeping overhaul of the Broadway Junction station complex in East New York, complete with full upgrades for wheelchair accessibility.
“It is a disgrace to see a station this large, which connects so many New Yorkers to all of the great sights and services, lack access to elevators,” said local Councilman Rafael Espinal Jr., who joined Borough President Eric Adams outside of the station Monday morning. “It is a disgrace to see escalators that have undergone months of repair to continue to break down on a daily basis. It is a disgrace to continue to have miles of overhead infrastructure that has peeling paint and rust.”
More than 100,000 commuters on an average weekday enter the station complex, which serves five subway lines — the A, C, J, L and Z — and connects to the Long Island Rail Road in a hulking mass of below- and aboveground tracks. But Brooklyn’s third-busiest station is “blighted” and, more importantly, not compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act, Adams said.
The borough president said the MTA has not done enough to improve service and amenities in neighborhoods that haven’t long been gentrified.
“Transportation cannot be based on gentrification. It must be based on need,” Adams said.
The duo wants to secure funding for a rehabilitation and accessibility project in the next MTA capital plan, the authority’s five-year spending blueprint to be approved this fall with a roughly $50 billion price tag.
Espinal said the station upgrade is the “one piece” missing from the city’s rezoning plan for what surrounds the hub as well as a new vision he helped usher in with the city’s Economic Development Corporation to improve the area by cultivating an economic center around it.
“We cannot complete this plan without the cooperation of the MTA,” said Espinal, who added that it’s still the city’s responsibility to redesign dangerous streets, bring in new public art and beautify the adjacent Callahan-Kelly Park plaza.
Advocates at the nonprofit Riders Alliance backed Espinal and Adams. Rebecca Bailin, the political director at the group, said the station overhaul must be included along with broader initiatives to modernize subway signals and install subway station elevators.
“Fixing our subways and bus system is about equity — equity for lower-income New Yorkers, people of color, people of disabilities,” Bailin said.
MTA Spokesman Tim Minton said later Monday evening that the MTA is committing to adding elevators to the station as part of the next capital plan, though the authority did not provide additional details about when the elevators would specifically be installed, or where in the station complex. It often takes more than five years for the MTA to complete the projects listed in its five-year capital plans.
"The Broadway Junction station complex needs upgrades, and we will provide them," Minton said in a statement. "The MTA will update the entire complex with full ADA accessibility. Citywide, the MTA plans to add enough elevators so that riders will not be more than two stops from an accessible station. Additional details will be available as part of upcoming Capital Plan discussions.”