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ICYMI: Governor Hochul Announces Progress in Increasing MTA Accessibility

Updated Aug 31, 2023 2:45 p.m.
Grand St Elevator in Brooklyn

Grand St Station Now Fully Accessible, Becoming Fourth Fully Accessible Station in 2023

Eight More Stations to be Completed by End of 2023; 30 Stations Under Construction for Accessibility Upgrades

142 Stations Accessible Systemwide

Video of Grand St Station ADA News Conference Available Here

Photos of Grand St Station ADA Event Available Here


Governor Kathy Hochul and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority today celebrated the accelerated pace of completion of accessibility projects across the New York City subway system with the opening of another fully accessible station, Grand St l station in Williamsburg, Brooklyn – the fourth across the transit system in 2023. The opening followed a summer in which significant progress was made on accessibility improvements. In July, the MTA celebrated Disability Pride Month with a wide array of events and announcements including the opening of three fully accessible stations: Court Square station in Queens, Dyckman St station in Upper Manhattan, and 8 Av station in Brooklyn.

“The Grand St station is the most recent example of our hard work to ensure that no New Yorker has to worry about whether they can safely access public transportation,” Governor Hochul said. “The MTA shares our commitment to delivering accessibility improvements across New York City and will continue to strive to make transit accessible to all.”

The pace in which the MTA is awarding contracts for accessible projects is five times what it was before 2020. The MTA has awarded contracts for 13 stations in 2020, 10 stations in 2021, 13 stations in 2022, and previously announced its plan to award contracts for 17 stations by the end of the year.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when ridership significantly decreased, the MTA prioritized expanding accessibility improvements in the subway by completing 15 accessibility projects. Following today's announcement, there are 142 accessible stations and 30 stations in construction for accessibility upgrades, eight of which are expected to be complete by the end of 2023. Those stations are:

  • 181 St 
  • Tremont Av 
  • E 149 St 
  • Lorimer St 
  • Metropolitan Av 
  • 7 Av 
  • Beach 67 St 
  • New Dorp 

MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said, “When it comes to accessibility, the MTA is delivering on an unprecedented commitment – both in terms of dollars or number of stations – and we are going to keep going at the same pace and level of investment until we achieve full accessibility.”

NYC Transit President Richard Davey said, “We're excited to welcome Brooklyn customers to their new, accessible station, which also has also been enhanced with freshly installed eye-catching mosaic artwork by a local Brooklyn-based artist. This has been a summer full of accessibility milestones in the system, from enhanced wayfinding for customers with disabilities to a number of newly accessible subway stations. We will keep up this momentum, and I look forward to celebrating several more accessible stations opening later in 2023.”

MTA Construction and Development President Jamie Torres-Springer said, “Newly-accessible stations like Grand St are the fruits of our efforts to execute projects better, faster, and cheaper through innovative delivery methods such as contract bundling. We are on track to complete this particular eight-station package of ADA upgrades, which will greatly improve accessibility not just in Williamsburg but throughout our transit system.”

MTA Chief Accessibility Officer and Senior Advisor Quemuel Arroyo said, “I'm proud to join my MTA colleagues in opening two new elevators at the Grand St L station, making it the first accessible station in East Williamsburg, as the journey continues to make transit more accessible for everyone including riders with disabilities, seniors, families with strollers, and visitors. Just over a year ago, the MTA joined accessibility advocates to celebrate a settlement that affirmed we’re all committed to the shared goal to expand accessibility across our subway system, and that continues to materialize, one station at a time.”

The Grand St station accessibility project was funded by a grant provided by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and completed as part of a design-build package of eight stations throughout the subway system, the first such bundle undertaken by MTA Construction & Development (C&D) to deliver accessibility upgrades better, faster, and cheaper. The remaining stations from that bundle are projected to open later this year.

In June, as part of the station’s accessibility design-build package, MTA Arts & Design announced new mosaic artwork commissioned by artist Glendalys Medina, Gratitudes Off Grand. The resulting work is comprised of vividly colored geometric forms–circles, diamonds, squares, and rectangles reflecting the artist’s practice inspired by Taíno, hip-hop and Latino cultures and music. Medina’s art also focuses on the way humans create sense out of the world such as the way brains organize patterns. For more on this piece, click here.

The 2020-2024 MTA Capital Plan includes a historic investment of $5.2 billion to make 67 subway stations ADA accessible, more than any capital plan in the MTA’s history and more than the last three capital plans combined. In addition, the Authority is delivering accessibility projects at an unprecedented pace, completing 21 ADA stations since 2020, double the number of ADA stations completed in the previous six years.

In July, the MTA also began rolling out innovative new wayfinding features across 11 subway stations and 24 stops along the M60 bus route in Manhattan. These tools include:

  • Floor decals on subway platforms that indicate accessible boarding areas;
  • Tactile subway line maps for customers with visual disabilities;
  • NaviLens wayfinding signage. NaviLens is an app that uses unique codes, similar to QR codes, to provide audio and visual wayfinding guidance and arrival status information, in upwards of 40 languages. The app was tested in 2019 at Jay St-MetroTech station and on the M23 bus route.

Representative Nydia M. Velázquez said, “I commend the MTA for their commitment to increasing accessibility at subway stations across the city. Access to reliable public transportation is a necessity for many New Yorkers, and the new fully accessible Grand St subway station in Williamsburg will help ensure people aren't left behind due to disability. I look forward to continuing to work to ensure that New York City's public transportation is accessible for all.”

State Senator Julia Salazar said, “The installation of ADA-compliant elevators at the Grand St station is a needed and welcomed improvement that will provide thousands of our neighbors with the accommodations they need to navigate the City. I thank the MTA for listening to our community about the need for accessible public transit.”

Assembly Member Emily Gallagher said, “People of all physical abilities have the same right to access our mass transit system but that hasn't been the reality for far too long. With the opening of the new elevators at the Grand Street station, the MTA is one step closer to achieving its obligation. I thank everyone for working so diligently to get this done.”

Assembly Member Maritza Davila said, “As thousands of New Yorkers commute every day on the subway, it’s paramount that we work to make the transit systems more accessible. It’s great to see that the train elevators are ADA compliant and the project is completed. This will benefit a lot of commuters who live in the vicinity, especially in a high foot traffic location. Though there is still more work to be done, the ultimate goal is to make our subways systems safe, clean, efficient and accessible for all.”

Councilmember Jennifer Gutierrez said, “I am thrilled that the Grand Street L station ADA project has been substantially completed, and marks an important step in expanding the inclusivity and accessibility of our neighborhood. I'm deeply grateful to the local community for their patience and understanding, as well as their advocacy, throughout this essential project.”

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso said, “Today’s announcement is cause for celebration. Accessibility is freedom, and ADA projects like this are essential for enabling Brooklynites to move about our borough easily and comfortably. I’m excited that these elevators are finally up and running, and I look forward to continuing to work with the MTA to build a transit network that prioritizes equity and inclusivity.”