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Elderly and disabled commuters will have a quicker and easier way to access the Kew Gardens-Union Turnpike subway stop with the opening of three new subway elevators.
MTA Executive Director and CEO Elliot Sander, MTA NYC Transit President Howard Roberts and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall were just three of a host of prominent officials on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, July 31, to celebrate the opening of three new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant elevators at the station.
“We are proud to be two years ahead of the schedule that we had set in 1994 to create 67 stations that are accessible to everyone,” said Sander. “This is the third ribbon-cutting ceremony that we have had in the last month. It is a pleasure to be able to complete so many important projects thanks to the strong support of elected officials throughout the region.”
The three elevators, one connecting the street and mezzanine level and two connecting the mezzanine level and platforms, ensures riders can adequately and comfortably navigate the station.
“I’m really excited about the elevators,” said Jean Silva, a disabled resident of Forest Hills. “It’ll be interesting to see how well they work and how much of a difference they will end up making over time.”
These new elevators, like other ADA compliant elevators, are equipped with closed-circuit televisions and talkback intercom systems, which will allow users to communicate directly with the station agent’s booth and station command in the event of an emergency. In addition, these elevators are included in NYC Transit’s lift net monitoring system, which alerts technicians immediately if the elevator breaks down.
“We want to operate a first-class subway system for everyone and each station that we are able to bring into compliance with the ADA brings us closer to that goal,” Roberts said. “From my initial days as President of NYC Transit, it has been one of my goals to make substantial improvements in system accessibility.”
The Kew Gardens-Union Turnpike station, which is a prominent stop for the E and F trains, is one of the busiest in Queens with an average weekday ridership of 27,658. The station serves as a major transfer point, providing access to bus lines that offer transportation to various important destinations such as JFK International Airport, North Shore/Long Island Jewish Hospital Medical Center and St. John’s University.
“Although these elevators are designed primarily for the disabled, others will find them helpful as well,” Marshall said. “Parents with children in carriages will no longer have to use stairs and put themselves and their children at risk, and senior citizens who may also struggle with stairs can now use the elevator. These elevators give independence and freedom to many people and are extremely beneficial to the community of Queens.”

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