The MTA will begin the installation of an elevator at the 86th Street station of the R line this month, the authority announced Tuesday.
The $17.9 million project is expected to bring the Bay Ridge station into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act by 2020, when the elevator is slated to open. Regular train service will continue at the station, though the work will require “occasional” closures on some weekends and weeknights, the MTA said in its news release.
“I have said from Day One of my tenure that improving accessibility is one of my four top priorities, and I’m pleased to see this station moving us ahead on that goal,” said New York City Transit president Andy Byford in a statement. “We will continue to review the entire system and study how we can bring greater accessibility to the New York City Subway.”
The work comes following pressure from local elected officials and advocates, who have criticized the MTA for making what they felt were lengthy cosmetic improvements to nearby stations in the neighborhood and around the city without also improving wheelchair access. Currently 118 stations, a quarter of the MTA’s subway system, are accessible to people who use wheelchairs.
The MTA has allocated $1.4 billion in its current $32 billion capital program toward subway station accessibility. Another 25 stations will also be made ADA-accessible in the program. Byford has also pledged in his expansive Fast Forward improvement plan, which is still in need of funding, to install enough elevators in five years to ensure that all subway riders will not be more than two stops away from an accessible station. In total, the plan includes adding 180 new elevators over the course of 10 years.