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MTA and Dept. of City Planning Announce Major Accessibility Improvements to Queensboro Plaza Subway Station

New York City Transit
Updated Aug 4, 2022 1:30 p.m.
ADA Elevator

Street Elevator to Be Paid for, Installed, Maintained on Northside of the Subway Station by Private Developer   

Second Major Transit Improvement Under Zoning for Accessibility, First Outside Manhattan; Collaboration Enhances Accessibility at No Cost to MTA or City
View Image of Elevator Rendering

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the Department of City Planning (DCP) today jointly announced that the City of New York has approved the second transit improvement bonus under Zoning for Accessibility (ZFA), which will provide ADA access via a new elevator to the Queensboro Plaza subway station.
This upgrade is the second transit improvement bonus approved by the City Planning Commission (CPC) under ZFA, which enables developers to improve access to public transit in the busiest areas of the city in exchange for an increase in their building’s density. This is the first use of ZFA outside of Manhattan and will bring a street-level elevator and a new, fully accessible entrance to the Queensboro Plaza     station. The street elevator that the private developer will install under the agreement will complement ongoing MTA capital work at the station that includes the installation of two elevators that make the station fully accessible, one that connects to the station’s mezzanine and another that connects the mezzanine to the platforms above. 

Following last week's unanimous approval by the CPC on July 27, the developer of 25-01 Queens Plaza North, Grubb Properties, will build a new, fully accessible entrance inside the footprint of their building at no cost to the MTA or the City of New York. This station entrance will allow customers to enter the station from either side of the wide boulevard at Queens Plaza for elevator access and provide a second accessible entrance into the station.
“New York depends on mass transit, and mass transit needs to be available and accessible to all New Yorkers,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “The improvements at Queensboro Plaza demonstrate how the MTA is using every possible strategy to make the entire subway system ADA accessible.” 

“Riders with disabilities, customers with children in strollers, visitors with luggage and many others will benefit from this new elevator, which will provide a second accessible street entrance to this important Queens transfer point serving fast-growing Long Island City," said MTA Chief Accessibility Officer Quemuel Arroyo. "Celebrating the second privately-funded ZFA project in less than a year speaks to the importance and potential of this program, and we hope to see many more ZFA projects helping us reach a fully accessible system as quickly as possible.”
“This is another example of Zoning for Accessibility leading to a better accessibility project, adding redundancy and convenience for riders and enhancing the neighborhood at the same time,” said MTA Construction & Development President Jamie Torres-Springer. “By integrating an additional accessible entrance into a redevelopment project, this new entrance complements our ongoing accessibility work at the station and will give Long Island City residents a subway station that serves all riders and fits seamlessly into the vibrant public space that is Queens Plaza.” 

“This is a huge win for transit riders, and further proof that Zoning for Accessibility will continue to deliver results for New Yorkers," said Department of City Planning Director and City Planning Commission Chair Dan Garodnick. "In partnership with the MTA, the City Planning Commission has approved a project that will deliver not only a new elevator and new entryway for transit riders, which is paid for by private developers, but also 400 new homes – 120 of them affordable – across the street. This is the first time these zoning rules have been applied outside Manhattan, and we expect more to come." 

“New York has been behind the world on transit accessibility, and I am glad major stations like Queensboro Plaza, and Court Square are finally being upgraded. For New York to thrive, it must have an MTA for All, where everyone can access the subway system to get to work, school and around our city,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. 

“Accessible public transportation is essential to the bloodline of New York City, connecting us from borough to borough. Every new elevator the MTA installs is another mom, like me, being able to bring her child and a stroller onto the 7 train, as well as our seniors and neighbors with disabilities having universal access to fast and cheap transportation. Queensboro Plaza is the gateway to Queens and the MTA’s upcoming elevators will benefit thousands and thousands of subway riders throughout Queens and our city,” said Council Member Julie Won

The new apartment building, on top of providing new ADA access to the station, will include over 400 new homes, approximately 120 of them affordable, as well as an expanded stairway. 

Queensboro Plaza is one of more than 20 stations across all five boroughs with accessibility upgrades currently in progress under the MTA Capital Program. The station was identified by the City of New York as a priority for accessibility upgrades and included in the MTA Capital Plan with City support. In coordination with City partners, the MTA’s Capital project to make the station accessible will include one street elevator on the south side of Queens Plaza to the station mezzanine and one elevator from the mezzanine to platform level. 

About Zoning for Accessibility 
Developing Zoning for Accessibility was a collaboration between the MTA, City Council, the Department of City Planning (DCP) and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) to boost New York City’s push to make its transit system fully accessible. The enhancement to the city’s zoning resolution allows the MTA to leverage planned private development to achieve a fully accessible transit system faster, while saving taxpayer dollars. This transit improvement program is available in high-density areas of the city and allows a developer to construct a slightly bigger building when they provide station access improvements. 

Zoning for Accessibility incentivizes private developers to design their buildings to incorporate public station accessibility projects or build the improvements at nearby train and subway stations. It creates a new set of tools – and strengthens existing ones – that build off the Authority commitment of over $5 billion of funding for accessible station projects within New York City in the 2020-2024 MTA Capital Plan. 

To learn more about Zoning for Accessibility, visit https://new.mta.info/elevatetransit