It's been almost half a century since elevators were in operation at the 149th Street and Grand Concourse Station on the 2, 4, and 5 lines but that will soon finally change.
After decades of calls by activists for making one of the busiest subway stations in The Bronx fully accessible to all and ADA compliant, construction has begun on adding new elevators to the station.
The station, which on average sees almost 4 million passengers each year before the pandemic, has long been overdue for accessibility given the number of institutions located around the station like Lincoln Hospital, Hostos Community College, the Bronx General Post Office, Pregones Theater as well as The Bronx Terminal Market and soon the Bronx Children's Museum and The Universal Hip Hop Museum.
Due to the complexity of the station's layout, construction is expected to take 35 months as the station has multiple levels to connect from the street to the several mezzanines and the actual subway platforms.
Once the work is complete, individuals with mobility issues will no longer have to navigate the multiple staircases to transfer between the 4 and the 2 and 5 lines or going up the four flights stairs it takes to exit if you're coming off a 2 or 5 train.
“Making this station complex and station accessible brings us closer to our immediate goal of ensuring that no one is ever more than two stops away from an accessible subway station,” said Alex Elegudin, NYC Transit Senior Advisor for Systemwide Accessibility. “The 149 St-Grand Concourse project will be particularly helpful for the many students of nearby Hostos Community College. The MTA is working hard to expand accessibility and these projects are a huge step in that direction.”
Construction will be done by Tully Construction Company Inc. which was awarded a $93.2 million contract for the work at this station and to also bring the Tremont Avenue Station on the B and D line along the Grand Concourse into compliance by also adding elevators.
According to the MTA, the awarded contract also includes an early completion incentive to help reduce the timeline.
Besides the addition of elevators, stairs will also be reconstructed to meet current ADA standards.
During construction, the station will remain open taking advantage of reduced ridership as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.