BAY RIDGE – Accessibility is coming to the Bay Ridge subway system as the MTA announces plans to begin installing elevators at the 86th Street Station this month.
The nearly $18 million dollar project will take at least a year and a half—the MTA plans for elevators to be operational sometime in 2020.
During the construction, weekday service will continue uninterrupted, though riders should plan for weeknight and overnight weekend closures when work requires track access.
Two elevators will be installed at the station, one from the street to the mezzanine and one from the mezzanine to the platform area. The street elevator will be located next to the entrance staircase on the southeast corner of 86th Street and Fourth Avenue, by Plaka Greek Restaurant.
The elevator will be installed in a bump-out, which will extend into the street in front of the S79 bus stop. The additional concrete will also serve to shorten the distance across Fourth Avenue for pedestrians.
While elevators are the major feature of the project at the 86th Street station, they aren’t the only aspect of improved access: handrails, turnstiles, powered gates and Braille signage are some of the additional improvements that the MTA is installing to make sure everyone can ride the R train.
“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 NYC Transit President Andy Byford in a statement.
Previously, the closest accessible R line station in Brooklyn was all the way up at Atlantic-Barclays—11 stops away from 86th Street.
“The Americans with Disabilities Act is not a suggestion but a civil right statute,” said Councilmember Justin Brannan. “It’s not about convenience or cost, it’s about human rights. I look forward to the day when the 86th Street train stop system has elevator access and I will continue to advocate for more accessible stations throughout the system.”
Councilmember Brannan, of course, is a frequent critic of the MTA, and the R train especially, often taking to Twitter to vent about the slow commutes from Southern Brooklyn—likely an effort to keep pressure on the MTA service improvements:
Here’s hoping that once all New Yorkers are able to access the R train in Southern Brooklyn, they won’t be waiting too long on the platform!