Three new elevators opened at the 7th Avenue subway station in Park Slope on Tuesday, in a hard-won victory for the community.
One of the elevators will take riders from the street to the station’s mezzanine, according to the MTA, and another will bring them down to the platform. The busy station, which serves the F and G lines, was previously inaccessible to commuters who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids.
“This was a long time coming. Over the years the Park Slope community has pushed hard to make this station accessible, and we have delivered with three brand new elevators,” said MTA chair and CEO Janno Lieber, in a statement. “The MTA is moving 100 miles an hour, knocking out ADA accessibility projects in all five boroughs faster, better, and cheaper than ever before – five times faster than ever before.”
The station was also outfitted with new boarding areas compliant with the federal Americans With Disabilities Act and tactile strips along the edges of both platforms, and the floor of the mezzanine level hallway was regraded to meet ADA standards — while the walls of the hall were decorated with a colorful new mosaic.
Park Slopers have for years campaigned for the station to be made accessible as the MTA worked to upgrade hundreds of stations across the city. Neighbors and then-council member Brad Lander argued that the station — located within walking distance of Brooklyn Methodist Hospital and the Park Slope Center for Successful aging — was a perfect candidate to receive elevators.
At the time, locals said they were forced to rely on Access-A-Ride to travel to stations equipped with elevators in order to ride the train — something that was inconvenient at best and impossible at worst, as rides must be scheduled 24 hours in advance.
“Before this station became accessible, a subway rider who uses a wheelchair or caregiver with a child in a stroller would have to travel extra stops or plan a complicated route with buses or back-riding, instead of getting off at their destination,” said MTA Chief Accessibility Officer Quemuel Arroyo in a statement. “This is what we mean when we talk about closing those gaps in the system with accessible stations. These elevators now close that gap, ensuring Park Slope residents, and everyone who works, goes to school, or shops in this neighborhood can take that same subway trip as every other rider.”
The project was funded by a grand from the Federal Transit Administration and completed as part of an eight-station project by MTA Construction and Development. Six other stations have been made accessible this year, according to the MTA.
In 2015, the MTA told Park Slopers that cost was one of the primary obstacles in upgrading the 7th Avenue station, saying “If someone from the community can give us $15 million, we’ll do it,” DNAinfo reported at the time.
Later, Lander allocated $250,000 for a “down payment” on an elevator as part of the participatory budgeting process.
Council Member Shahana Hanif — who worked in Lander’s office before being elected to succeed him — recalled the years of advocacy in the community.
“As a disabled New Yorker, I know how difficult it can be to navigate our city’s subway system and how critical ADA accessibility is for our public transit network,” Hanif said in a statement. “This elevator is a big win for our district, especially the elderly who live in Park Slope and makeup 10% of the population, families with young children, members of the Center for Successful Aging, and many of the 42,000 inpatients and 500,000 outpatients who use New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital each year.”