MTA unveils ambitious plan to illuminate subway system with LED lighting by 2026

MTA New York City Transit Senior Vice President of Subways Demetrius Crichlow announced a systemwide conversion to LED station lighting at Lafayette Ave on the C on Tuesday, Feb 20, 2024.
Marc A. Hermann/MTA

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Tuesday announced its plans to convert all 150,000 fluorescent light fixtures across the subway system to LED lighting by mid-2026.

The initiative aims to improve safety and elevate the overall customer experience by introducing brighter lighting to each subway platform and mezzanine, officials said, adding that installation of new light fixtures will not only enhance visibility for security cameras but also contribute to a safer transit system on a broader scale.

“By upgrading the lighting at each of our 472 subway stations, we are not only making our stations brighter and safer for customers but also reducing our costs and emissions,” New York City Transit President Richard Davey said in a statement. “It’s simple: a brighter station is a safer station. Transit crews have already upgraded the lighting at every station where we’ve completed a Re-NEW-Vation, and customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Soon, these benefits to the customer experience will be felt systemwide as we supercharge LED deployments in 2024.”

The project began in late January at the Bergen Street station, followed by Carroll Street and, most recently, Lafayette Avenue.Marc A. Hermann/MTA

At a press conference inside the Lafayette Avenue C train station on Tuesday, New York City Transit Senior Vice President of Subways Demetrius Crichlow called it “a special day” for the agency.

“We’re delivering on our promise to upgrade and modernize every New York City subway station,” Crichlow said in a statement. “I want to thank the dedicated transit workers who have been diligently installing these new highly efficient LEDs in stations across the system, which will make our system even safer for customers and more sustainable.”

The project began in late January at the Bergen Street station in Boerum Hill, followed by Carroll Street in Carroll Gardens and, most recently, Lafayette Avenue in Fort Greene. Officials also estimate an $5.9 million in annual cost-saving.

The plan to brighten the city’s subways follows in the footsteps of the transit system’s Re-NEW-Vation project, which includes station-wide repairs, enhancements and deep cleanings across the subway system.

So far, 63 stations have been upgraded, including the Fort Hamilton Parkway subway station in Windsor Terrace — the first Brooklyn station revamped this year under the program.

fort hamilton parkway subway station
The Fort Hamilton Parkway subway station got a fresh coat of paint and more upgrades as part of its ‘Re-New-Vation.’Photo courtesy of GeneralPunger/Wikimedia Commons

The Fort Hamilton Parkway is one of 13 NYC subway stations that was earmarked for a deep cleaning in the first quarter of this year, following on from the renovation of 53 stations across the city last year as part of the agency’s Re-NEW-vation Program  — 18 of which were in Brooklyn, including the Court Street station.

New York City Transit plans to complete upgrades, repairs and deep cleanings at 13 more subway stations in the first quarter of 2024.

Additional reporting by Ben Brachfeld and Adam Daly