MTA completes accessibility project at Court Square subway station

File Photo/Courtesy of MTA

While the COVID-19 pandemic slowed many construction projects around the borough, the Skyline Tower development continued in Long Island City. The developers recently finished the tallest building in Queens at 67-stories, and it also completed a $16 million accessible entrance to the adjacent Court Square subway station entrance to the E/M line platform with a new elevator, ramp and gate for wheelchair access on the Manhattan-bound side.

“Last year, despite COVID, we added 11 stations to the list of accessible stations, tying the all-time record for the most ADA completions in a single year,” MTA Construction & Development President Janno Lieber said. “And we are keeping that progress going here in Long Island City, Queens where we leveraged private developer investments to add a new elevator and further expand accessibility.”

The developers — United Construction & Development Group, FSA Capital and Risland US Holdings LLC — financed and built the accessibility upgrades at the station, with oversight and guidance from the MTA.

“Skyline Tower’s ownership group is excited to see the expansion of the Court Sq-23 St. subway station open to Long Island City locals and visitors alike,” Risland US Holdings LLC Project General Manager Louis Yu said. “The Court Square neighborhood will greatly benefit from the newly-accessible subway station, and future Skyline Tower residents will enjoy even easier access to and from Manhattan.”

Victor Calise, and MTA board member and commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, praised the partnership.

“Increasing accessibility is good for transit and it is good for developers too,” Calise said. “The new improvements at Court Sq-23 St. will ensure that the station can be used by all riders, including New Yorkers with disabilities. I look forward to working with the MTA and the private sector to add more accessibility features throughout the entire transit system via the External Partner Program.”

The developers will eventually build another elevator that will link the Manhattan-bound platform to the rest of the Court Square subway complex where the 7 and G trains stop. The project was met with the approval of the MTA’s first chief accessibility officer, Quemuel Arroyo, who uses a wheelchair.

“This is a great example of how the MTA is harnessing the private sector to assist in the rollout of full system wide accessibility,” Arroyo said. “I like this a lot. I want to see more projects like this.”

Plans to make the Queens-bound platform accessible are part of the 2020-2024 capital plan. While some projects are moving forward as part of the plan thanks to $8 billion if federal aid is secured by the New York congressional delegation, further aid in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is needed to allow the entire capital plan to be completed.