ASTORIA – Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris announced on December 14 that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has released a timeline for installing new elevators at the Steinway Street M/R Station in Astoria. The new elevators were announced after Senator Gianaris pressured the MTA to expand accessibility throughout the subway system.
“After years of pushing for accessibility improvements, the MTA listened to western Queens residents, activists and elected leaders advocating for better subway access. These improvements will go a long way to making our subway available for all,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “While there is still a long way to go in making the entire subway system 100% accessible, these elevators represent a step forward.”
According to the MTA, the contract for new elevators will be awarded next summer, and construction is scheduled to take 36 months after the contract is awarded.
Steinway Street will not be the first elevators installed after Senator Gianaris’ pressure on the MTA. Most recently, elevators were installed at the Astoria Boulevard N/W Station in 2020 at the Senator’s urging. Additionally, the next MTA capital plan includes elevators for the 33rd Street-Rawson Avenue and 46th Street stations on the 7-line, in addition to Court Square/23rd Street on the E/M-lines.
Senator Gianaris has been a longtime advocate for transit accessibility, pressing the MTA to install elevators throughout the entire subway system. In 2018, Senator Gianaris issued a report on the state of accessibility at the MTA, rating it the least accessible major transit network in North America. Additionally, he pushed for additional funding for accessibility improvements, pushing the agency to scrap its cosmetic “Enhanced Station Initiative” and calling for those funds to be used instead to improve service and accessibility.