Saturday, September 20, 2014

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Long-Awaited Queens Subway Station Opens To Riders

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Come winter, riders at one Queens subway station will be a much happier group thanks to a new underground transfer corridor. NY1's Vivian Lee filed the following report.

It took a little more than 20 years from inception, but the new Court Square Subway Station complex in Long Island City is finished, and should make transfers quicker, cheaper and more comfortable.

The elevators and escalators complement the moving sidewalks and allow free transfers among the E, M, G and 7 lines, and the Northeast corner of Jackson Avenue and 23rd Street without having to hit the street.

"Previously, customers wanting to make this transfer would have to leave the system, use city sidewalks and re-use their Metrocards to enter the system," said New York City Transit President Thomas Prendergast.

Some 20,000 riders use the complex each weekday, and many say it's something they've waited years for.

"I think it's wonderful, think it's a great idea they had. Gonna be wonderful for all of us especially in the winter time when crossing over across the street," said one straphanger.

"It's convenient for me, for the E train, the G train, the 7 train," said another.

The project dates back to the 1980s when Citigroup started building its Long Island City headquarters. Improving the subway was part of the deal for building the second office tower that opened a couple of years ago.

Citigroup paid for the design and construction of the underground transfer corridor, while the Metropolitan Transportation Authority provided money for the elevator and escalators.

"At a time of budget austerity both at city and state levels, it's nice to be able to say we accomplished something like this," said State Senator Michael Gianaris.

"Next year is our 200th anniversary, for Citi. We started, opened our doors in 1812 with the City Bank of New York. So we are especially proud of our roots here," said Maria Veltre of Citigroup.

Citigroup kicked in nearly $34 million for the passageway connection; the MTA nearly $14 million.

Later this month, platforms will be expanded, and tactile warning strips and better signage will be finished.

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