MTA Announces 181 St. A Station Now Fully Accessible


Photo by Marc A. Hermann / MTA

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has announced the completion of the elevator project at the 181 St. subway station in Washington Heights, making the station fully accessible. The project included the installation of two new elevators from the lower mezzanine to the platform, and a new ADA-compliant ramp, making the station entrance at Overlook Terrace accessible. The upgrades were fully funded by an FTA grant.

The elevators include a new fire alarm system, smoke and heat detectors and cameras inside the elevator cabs. Each elevator is also equipped with an emergency two-way communication system using standard voice communications or visually by answering on-screen questions, which greatly improves communication for passengers with hearing or speech disabilities.

“The MTA system includes many architectural gems,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “This station—which is listed on the US Register of Historic Places—is one of them. It dates back to 1932, and finally, we’re bringing it into the 21st century with two brand new elevators. Improving transit accessibility is a passion of mine. I am thrilled at the unprecedented pace we’re knocking these projects out, five times faster than prior MTA administrations.”

“Due to the unique geography of Washington Heights, this station has had elevators for as long as I can remember, but never an accessible path to actually get onto the train,” said MTA Chief Accessibility Officer Quemuel Arroyo. “For wheelchair users and others who need step-free access, the journey stopped at the mezzanine. That changes today, with two new elevators making train service at this station fully accessible, a big win for Washington Heights and a big win for accessibility.”

The 2020-2024 MTA Capital Plan includes a historic investment of $5.2 billion to make 67 subway stations ADA accessible, more than any capital plan in the MTA’s history and more than the last three capital plans combined.