ADA accessibility now on the agenda for busy but overtaxed Broadway Junction station

November 22, 2021 Raanan Geberer
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A grant of $15 million to make the Broadway Junction subway station in East New York disabled-accessible is part of a $28.9 million federal transportation package for the New York metro area. It was announced on Friday in Washington, D.C.

The Broadway Junction-Broadway East New York complex serves five subway lines — the A Eighth Avenue express, the C Eighth Avenue local, the L 14th Street-Canarsie line, the J Broadway-Nassau Street local and the Z Broadway-Nassau Street express.

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More than 100,000 riders pass through this station daily. Users, according to published reports, include not only local people commuting to their jobs, but Downtown Brooklyn residents and Manhattanites changing trains to get to JFK Airport.DAILY TOP BROOKLYN NEWSNews for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

The new plans would install seven new ADA-compliant elevators and accompanying elevator machine rooms, new stairways, new ADA-complaint ramps and handrails, and complete necessary structural, architectural, communications and electrical work as part of the overall elevator installation, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Despite the Broadway Junction complex’s high volume of traffic and an increase in activity in the surrounding neighborhoods, “Broadway Junction is not yet a true transit hub or economic center,” the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s website says. “The area lacks basic services and amenities and is dominated by vacant sites, parking uses, poor lighting, and confusing streets.”

In addition, the elevated portion of the station is a confusing tangle of tracks, including some of the support structures for the long-gone Fulton Street el. In 2017, Borough President Eric Adams and then-Councilmember Rafael Espinal, along with local businesspeople, community board members and other officials, formed the Broadway Junction Working Group to encourage future development.

Then-Councilmember Rafael Espinal (left) and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams (right) called on the MTA in 2019 to fund needed improvements to Broadway Junction. Eagle photo by Paul Frangipane

Now, planners and nearby residents and businesspeople hope that the upgrading of the station will create a ripple effect that will be felt in the surrounding neighborhoods. “By eliminating accessibility gaps, improving circulation, and providing direct access between transit lines at the Broadway Station complex, the project improves access to jobs, healthcare and other essential services,” a statement from U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said.

The project is another step in the MTA’s goal of making the subway system entirely disabled-accessible, as announced by MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber at a breakfast in Industry City earlier this month hailing the recently-passed Infrastructure Act.

In the early part of the 21st century, Broadway Junction was known for high crime. In 2014, this was the station from which police seized the most weapons, according to a Daily News report at that time. In addition, the News reported that for the five-year period ending in 2013, police made 800 felony and misdemeanor arrests here.

While crime has gone down, there are still occasional incidents at the subway complex. In June 2021, commuter Maria Brown was shoved onto the J train subway tracks by someone she didn’t know, then was rescued by two other straphangers who extended their arms to her. And in August of this year, another man made anti-gay remarks on the J train, then punched a stranger in the head multiple times.

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