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MTA says it's building elevator for West 242nd subway station

It's one of 70 stations eyed for $5.5 billion in accessibility upgrades

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Elevators may finally be on their way to the 1 train's Van Cortlandt Park-242nd Street station, and straphangers could see it as early as 2024.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says its pushing $5.5 billion to upgrade 70 transit stations across the city, with a goal to ensure that no rider is never more than two stations away from an accessible one. Among the first batch of stations to receive overhauls like elevators is the end-of-line 1 station that connects the northern part of the Bronx and Yonkers with the rest of New York City.

It's one of four stations along the 1 line set to receive elevators and other accessibility enhancements, which include Dyckman Street, 137th Street, 14th Street, and 168th Street. Elevators already exist at 168th Street, although they are undergoing a massive year-long renovation, so it's not clear exactly what the MTA has planned there.

"We are committed to expanding accessibility, and the proposed investment in the next capital plan is a massive boost to our efforts," said Alex Elegudin, NYC Transit's senior advisor for systemwide accessibility, in a release. "We worked collaboratively with communities across the city to identify these stations where our resources can be put to use to benefit the largest number of customers."

MTA said it selected 48 stations for upgrades based on community input, and will announce another 22 before the final vote to approve the expenditures is made by the Capital Program Review Board.

Brooklyn makes up nearly half of the total stations in this initial round along all its major lines, including the Hoyt-Schermerhorn station serving the A, C and G trains. Also, both Junius Street and New Lots Avenue are slated for upgrades along the 3 line, while Borough Hall is targeted for the 4 and 5 train.

The Bronx has five stations other than West 242nd Street set for improvements, with the B and D subway station at Tremont Avenue part of an accelerated list to include it in the current capital plan period. 

Right now, only the West 231st Street station offers an elevator to 1 train riders in the Bronx.  More than 3.1 million riders accessed the 1 train station in 2018, according to MTA data, up from 2.8 million in 2013.  Van Cortlandt Park-242nd Street had 2.3 million riders during that same time, compared to 2.1 million five years before.

Among the factors taken into consideration were major transfer stations, ridership, demographics, as well as technical and geographic issues that could affect costs to construct such accessibility options. 

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