The dreaded passageway connecting the F/M and 1/2/3 subway lines on 14th Street will close down later this month and be out of service until December, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Wednesday.
The passageway, which enables transfers between the 6th and 7th Avenue lines and the crosstown L train, will shutter on Feb. 27. In the intervening 10 months, straphangers can still transfer between lines for free by leaving one station, walking to the other, and using OMNY or a MetroCard.
The closure will enable the MTA to complete accessibility work on the passageway making it compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Specifically, the agency will construct a new, less steep ramp on the western end of the tunnel that complies with the ADA and allows disability access at the station.
Transferring in the station complex involves a long walk through the cavernous passageway, which opened in 1978 as the MTA sought to provide connections between closely-spaced but disconnected stations throughout the city. Within a few years, though, another passageway connecting the 14th Street stations on 7th and 8th avenues was shuttered, which remains closed to this day.
Work on the passageway is part of a larger project to make the station complex fully accessible for people with disabilities. The work, budgeted at $192 million in the MTA’s $51 billion 2020-24 Capital Plan, will add seven new elevators at the stations.
At 7th Ave, two new elevators will connect the 1/2/3 platforms to the mezzanine, and one will connect the mezzanine to the street level. At 6th Avenue, two tri-level elevators will connect the street level to the mezzanine and F/M platform, while another set of elevators will connect the mezzanine to the L train platform.
The authority originally committed to making the sprawling complex, the system’s 15th busiest station, accessible as part of a settlement agreement for a lawsuit filed by Arthur Schwartz, the most prominent foe of the busway on 14th Street.
The PATH station connected to the complex, run by the Port Authority, will not be made accessible as part of the project.