June 5, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
Bedford Avenue riders were surprised over the weekend when a new stairwell opened for the first time at the station as part of the MTA’s L train repairs.
The stairwell at the southeast corner of North 7th Street and Bedford Avenue opened on Saturday, showing two levels of stairs in a design that extends further out into the street.
The new stairwell is the first of two new street stairwells being added between the street and mezzanine portion of the station. The two existing stairways, one of which was just closed, will also be partially rebuilt and refurbished, for a total of four new street stairways.
The two new street stairs are 7 feet wide, while the existing stairwells will remain at 5 feet wide.
Many people at street-level stopped to look at the stairs on Saturday evening, with some audibly gasping and going down to the mezzanine to “try out” the stairs.
Others took to social media to express their delight at the new stairwell.
The Bedford Avenue station will also see other major accessibility and capacity improvements as part of the Canarsie tunnel’s closure in April 2019 for 15 months worth of Sandy-related repairs.
The station will see an expanded mezzanine to accommodate for two new elevators on a single path—one heading from the street to the mezzanine, and another from the mezzanine down to the platform. Additional turnstiles are also part of the improvements for this station.
“Bedford Ave has more riders than any other station in this corridor; we’ll be adding staircases and elevators to expand capacity and improve the customer experience for generations to come,” said Shams Tarek, an MTA spokesperson.
The nearby Driggs Avenue mezzanine is also seeing some work done, with two new street stairways also being added, along with refurbishing the existing stairs.
Work on the sites is staggered to allow for two stairways to be open during construction at all times, the MTA said.
The projects will all be completed by the time the tunnel reopens in July 2020.