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Elevator, subway upgrades slated for Lefferts Blvd stop

By Sarina Trangle

The Lefferts Boulevard A train station is slated to get a major face-lift just in time for its 100th anniversary.

The Richmond Hill Economic Development Corp. welcomed news that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority had awarded a contract to install elevator service at the train station at its meeting last week.

Vishnu Mahadeo, executive director of the Richmond Hill EDC, said the surrounding community’s large concentration of seniors had been clamoring for the lift because older residents struggled to walk up the two flights of stairs to the train platform.

But Joseph Raskin, assistant director of MTA government relations, said the work would not stop with adding two elevators — one traveling from the street to the mezzanine and a second progressing from the mezzanine to the platform — behind the staircase on the northwest corner of Lefferts Boulevard and Liberty Avenue.

Raskin said the two-year project would also encompass enhancements that make the station more accessible to the physically disabled, such as extending the platform closer to arriving trains and rebuilding staircases, and work to beautify the station, including adding mosaic artwork.

“Let’s face it — all the stations along Liberty Avenue look 100 years old,” Raskin said, noting that the Liberty Avenue stations will approach its centennial next year. “It will look good …. You’ll be conscious of the history of the station, but will also know we didn’t just stop with elevators.”

Close to two dozen attended the EDC meeting at Liberty Palace, a few of whom raised concerns about construction blocking shops and bruising local businesses.

Raskin said the MTA has found that station improvements drive up property values in the long term and that the agency would do its best to better service neighborhood merchants.

He noted that the elevator would be glass and would not obstruct the view of surrounding stores.

The $20.6 million contract for the Lefferts Boulevard makeover comes as the MTA entered a $65 million agreement to repair platforms at five A train stations, including the Rockaway Boulevard and 80th, 88th, 104th and 111th street stops.

A few people who attended the meeting asked about job opportunities associated with the contracts, both of which are slated to be completed in April 2016.

Danny Megnath, a retired engineer, said he came not knowing the contracts already had been bid and hoping to pass along project informations to neighbors potentially interested in seeking the bids.

“We have so many contractors in the area,” he said. “I’m disappointed businesses weren’t more informed.”

Mahadeo said he intended to pass along any subcontracting opportunities to the community.

Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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