Brooklyn Boro

Upgrade of 1907 Midwood subway now 21st century

Wooden station house dates to era when forest was cleared

July 15, 2021 Raanan Geberer
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The Avenue H station in Midwood on the Q line — one of the most unusual subway stations in Brooklyn, and a New York City landmark — has now reopened as a fully accessible station, the MTA announced at a news conference on Thursday.

Customers can now access the northbound (Manhattan-bound) platform by using a new ramp that leads to a new turnstile area for access to the platform. A new underpass for an accessible path leading to the previously existing ramp to the southbound platform was also created improving customer flow and station environment. 

The wooden station house serving the northbound platform resembles a rural railroad station of yesteryear. It originally wasn’t even a transit station — it was built in 1896 as a real estate office to serve homebuyers for Fiske Terrace, then a newly-built community on what had previously been forest land.  When Brooklyn Rapid Transit (now part of the transit system) built the Avenue H station in 1907, it appropriated the building for transit use.

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The accessibility project, which was part of the 2020-24 Capital Plan, cost $12.2 million, with incentives for substantial completion to be on time and on budget. 

This project, the first ADA project to be completed from the 2020-2024 Capital Plan, was one of many we were able to advance in spite of COVID — allowing us to deliver on our commitment to accessibility,” said Janno Lieber, president of MTA Construction & Development. 

MTA Chief Accessibility Officer Quemuel Arroyo at the Avenue H station on the Brighton Q line announces the completion of an ADA ramp to the northbound platform on Thu., July 15, 2021.
Victor Calise, Debra Greif, Christopher Greif, Simcha Felder. Photo: Marc A. Hermann/MTA

“The Avenue H Station is a perfect example of how ramps and thoughtful infrastructure can make for an accessible environment for all,” said Quemuel Arroyo, MTA chief accessibility officer. “Our Brooklyn customers have the inclusive station they deserve as we continue to build a more equitable transit system.” 

“I have always encouraged the MTA to consider where they can utilize ramps to increase accessibility,” said MTA Board Member and Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities Victor Calise. “I am pleased to see these upgrades at the Avenue H station on the  line, and look forward to continuing to work with the MTA towards systemwide accessibility for all New Yorkers and visitors with disabilities.” 

Other Avenue H station project components include: 

  • Sidewalk/street work to connect east to west side station via underpass  
  • New landscaping (green street work) on east side next to ramp and next to platform walls on the west side  
  • New lighting on the new turnstile area, ramp and existing staircases
  • Five new cameras on new turnstile area interconnected with existing CCTV system 
  • Fire alarm upgrade and strobes, smoke/heat detectors and tamper switch incorporated with existing fire alarm system 
  • Water main replacement on west side ramp and gas main replacement on both east and west side and underpass for new ADA-compliant ramp 
  • Two new speakers incorporated with the existing PA System 
The new accessible ramp at the northbound Avenue H station on the Q line. Marc A. Hermann / MTA

Congressmember Yvette D. Clarke said: “For far too long, many New Yorkers were forced to travel exclusively through buses and cabs due to their inability to access our subways. This has resulted in many missed doctor appointments, lost wages, and time spent with loved ones. I am so proud to see that Avenue H on the  line will no longer be a part of that problem.” 

In 2004, the MTA announced its intention to tear down the venerable northbound station house, saying its wooden construction wasn’t safe. Neighborhood residents and preservationists objected, and the station house was declared a landmark the following year. It was reconstructed between 2009 and 2011 at a cost of $47.6 million.


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