STUYVESANT TOWN — The MTA will begin construction of new entrances to the First Avenue L train stop next year, but it might be a while before riders can enjoy the extra elbow room.
Work on the new entrances at Avenue A will begin before the controversial Canarsie Tubes reconstruction — the work that could shut down L service between Manhattan and Brooklyn for 18 months — and will happen concurrently with that work once it begins in 2019, MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said.
But, if the Manhattan stops along 14th Street shut down along with the Brooklyn-to-Manhattan service as some reports suggest could be a possibility, it could be years before riders can take full advantage of the new stairwells.
The new Avenue A entrances will include stairwells on either side of 14th Street, and the MTA will also be installing elevators to make the station compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
The work is meant to relieve congestion at the station, which currently only has points of egress at 14th Street and First Avenue despite being one of the busiest stations on the L, with an average of 24,286 daily weekday riders, according to the MTA's website.
The Bedford L train station, for comparison, sees 27,224 riders per weekday.
The agency announced in October that its 2016-2019 Capital plan allotted $40 million for the improvements at the First Avenue and Bedford Avenue stations, and another $59.1 million to make the First Avenue station ADA compliant.