The MTA Long Island Rail Road’s $8.5 million improvement project at Queens Village Station is moving forward with the installation of two elevators that will make the local landmark accessible to the physically handicapped for the first time.
“Queens Village Station was the logical place for this project in which the overall goal is to improve handicapped accessibility to Long Island Rail Road for customers in Southeast Queens and Western Nassau County,” said LIRR President Helena E. Williams. “Queens Village Station is centrally located, is served by major roadways and bus routes and offers parking near the station.”
Williams said that the project, funded by the MTA Capital Plan, has long been supported by community leaders who asked the MTA to remake Queens Village Station, where platforms are situated on a high embankment and accessible only by stairs, into a station that complied with the federal American for Disabilities Act by making the facility wheelchair accessible.
Among the proponents was State Assemblywoman Barbara M. Clark, who said: “Many more of the residents of my district will be able to make use of the station once they are able to reach the station platform,” said Clark. “As it now stands the stairwells are often too steep for even able bodied commuters. Access for those who are mobility impaired or customers who use wheelchairs is impossible. These improvements are therefore vital and necessary for equal access by all members of my community.”
Williams said the project was carefully planned to ensure that the elevator towers that will be added to serve the eastbound and westbound platforms would be in keeping with the original architectural design of the station built in 1924. That aspect is best captured in the roofs of each elevator tower, while the shafts and the elevators will be glass-walled and their operation fully visible from inside and outside.
The Queens Village Station, located on Jamaica Ave. between Springfield Blvd. and 218th St., is served by the LIRR’s Hempstead Branch, which also includes stops at Hollis Station in Queens and Bellerose Station in Nassau, neither of which are accessible for persons with limited mobility. Queens Village is also is convenient to other stations in Southeast Queens that are similarly inaccessible including; St. Albans and Rosedale on the West Hempstead Branch and Laurelton and Locust Manor on the Far Rockaway Branch.
In addition to the elevators, the project at Queens Village includes other improvements, including the installation of new ADA-compliant platform railings, new platform lighting and tactile warning strips along platform edges.
The work is scheduled for completion in the middle of 2013. Queens Village Station serves about 1,000 customers on the average weekday and approximately the same number of customers over the weekend.