MTA Uses Density Bonuses to Improve Accessibility

Under a new zoning law, New York City developers can receive density bonuses for building elevators and other accessibility upgrades for the city’s subway system.

1 minute read

August 15, 2022, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


A New York City zoning amendment allows developers to build at higher density in exchange for including accessibility projects in their plan. As Jacob Kaye reports in the Queens Eagle, a new elevator planned for the Queensboro Plaza subway station will mark the first time the law has been used outside of Manhattan since its passage last year.

The amendment, titled Zoning for Accessibility, takes advantage of new development projects near subway stations to improve accessibility to the city’s subway system. “The accessibility project, which is being constructed on the northern side of Queens Plaza, is part of Grubb Properties development of 25-01 Queens Plaza North. The 26-story residential tower will include a little over 400 units, 30 percent of which would be deemed affordable.” Without Zoning for Accessibility, the building would only be built with 16 stories.

“As part of the deal, Grubb Properties will install the new elevator for access to the station mezzanine level and replace the current subway entrance. The developer will be responsible for maintenance of the staircase on the north side of the station, as well as elevator improvements.”

On the heels of two lawsuits claiming that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the agency has pledged to make 95 percent of its stations compliant with the ADA by 2055.

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