Some subway riders will need to make some changes to their commute.
The MTA is shutting down two subway stations in Astoria for an overhaul.
Starting Monday, the 30th Avenue and 36th Avenue subway stations on the N and W line will be closed for eight months.
This is part of the MTA's plan to modernize more than 30 stations across the city over the next four years.
Upgrades will include structural repairs, new or revamped station entrances, improved mezzanines, and train platforms.
Amenities like USB ports, digital screens, and countdown clocks will also be added.
But the work does not include adding elevators. Advocates at a protest Monday at one of the stations said the stations should be brought into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
"It's a huge slap in the face," said Chris Pangilinan, an advocate for Transit Center. "We're doing things like adding lighting, and putting in art and security cameras. And yes, that is important, but that doesn't matter to people like us, and we can never go up those stations."
Only 25 percent of the city's 472 stations are accessible to people with disabilities. Local politicians also took shots at the MTA, saying the renovations are mostly cosmetic.
"The MTA is fighting with the city about $400 million?" State Sen. Michael Gianaris said. "Well, how much are they wasting on these projects, shutting the stations for months at a time, inconveniencing riders, and yet not doing anything to solve the bigger crisis we are facing?"
"They are spending over $150 million on four stations here in our community without doing the things that commuters need the most," Queens City Councilman Costa Constantinides said.
Responding to the criticism, the MTA said there will be a significant increase in the number of elevators in subway stations by 2020.
"Along this line here," MTA Chief Operating Officer Philip Eng said, referring to the N and W lines. "We actually have elevators going in at Astoria Boulevard, and that will be done by 2020. Across the whole system, by 2020 we will have 100 stations that are ADA-compliant."
But Pangilinan said that is not enough. He could not take the train to the protest; he had to hitch a ride holding on to the back of a friend's bicycle.