State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, and Lois Tendler, vice president of MTA Government and Community Relations, held a press conference in front of the Forest Hills-71st Avenue subway stop last Friday, January 20, to announce the start of construction to make the station fully accessible to the disabled.
Three elevators will be installed making the station complaint with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The elevators will transport commuters in and out of the station
and to the Manhattan-bound and Jamaica-bound platforms of the E,F, M, and R lines, which the subway stop services
One elevator will connect riders from the intersection of Queens Boulevard South and 70th Road to the mezzanine subway level, while the other two will connect riders from the mezzanine to the platforms.
Stavisky and Koslowitz both expressed their gratitude to the MTA for undertaking the project.
A vocal advocate for the elevators, Koslowitz said she was happy to finally see the commencement of construction.
“I’ve lived in this community for 50 years, and I have seen people struggle to get up and down and sometimes not even going into the subway because it was too hard for them,” she said. “So I am happy to see this happening here.”
Work at the Forest Hills-71st Avenue stop began in September, and this particular $25 million contract, is part of the MTA’s larger commitment to make more subways accessible to the disabled, according to Tendler.
“We’re happy to be able to bring elevators to this station,” Tendler said. “This is part of transit’s ongoing commitment to make 100 stations in the subway system ADA accessible, and I think that this station, when its done in October 2013, will put us very close to having 80 of them done.”
According to Tendler, the station is the fifth busiest in Queens, and has 27,000 riders on an average weekday. The MTA will inform the public of the several service changes to take place on the subway lines once the installment is complete.