While the 7th district is technically served by two train lines, along Central Park West and on Broadway, it is really the 1 train that forms the spine of public transit along Broadway from 168th Street to 96th Street.
There are elevators at either end, but at the moment, nothing in between. Almost 4 miles of track with no ADA-compliant stations is absurd. In the MTA’s most recent capital plan they have committed to building an elevator at 137th Street, which provides ADA access but still might have been better served at 125th Street or 145th Street, either of which have crosstown east-west traffic access.
Columbia University recently mentioned at a Community Board 9 meeting in December 2019 of potentially providing support for construction of an elevator at 125th Street as part of its Manhattanville campus investment. But ADA issues aside, this is only part of the challenge.
The other is crowded conditions on the 1 line itself. Commuters at the crowded lower end of the line in the district complain of having to wait for two or three packed trains to pass before they can board the subway. Transferring to the express train at 96th Street makes for a dangerously full train platform. To help reduce commuter pressure along the 1 line, and ease congestion at 96th Street, the city should construct a platform along the Amtrak line at 125th Street and 12th Avenue (just south of the Dinosaur Barbecue), a long flat area there would be an ideal location for a west side version of the Park Avenue and 125th Street stop on the east side.
The platform would be built ADA compliant from the start, and with a subway turnstile at the entrance commuters could enter or transfer from other transit modes for the same price as the current subway fare, plus be in midtown Penn Station in 8 minutes. Many would choose this route rather than the 1 to 2 or 3 train transfer at 96th Street, reducing pressure on the 1 line, and also permitting easier access to Columbia’s 5,000 people A DAY coming uptown to the Manhattanville campus. It would have the additional salutary effect of providing quicker access to job opportunities in Hudson River communities.
In addition to this improvement, I believe we should work with local community boards to explore a “Transit Area FAR Bonus” zoning change which would mandate transit improvements (elevators and new entrances) in exchange for a modest increase in residential density at select stations along the line – the 110th Street and Broadway station would be a good example of where this could be put into place.