Friday, July 21, 2017

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz Calls on MTA to Craft New Plan for Subway ADA Accessibility

The MTA is approaching the end of their 1994 Key Station Plan for subway accessibility, but have not included elevator installation in their recent capital budgets.

  Assemblyman Dinowitz (Chairman of the NYS Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions) along with fellow elected officials and disability advocates this morning to demand a new plan for 100% subway station accessibility. Currently, only 23% of subway stations have at least one accessible entrance and the MTA has not released an updated accessibility plan since 1994. “The MTA is on pace to have full accessibility in 70 years, presuming they continue to add elevators to stations. I have three grandchildren now ages 2 and under and, if they are lucky, they might have elevators by the time they are senior citizens,” said Dinowitz.

The rally was organized by TransitCenter, a national organization that advocates for a variety of transportation causes, and was held outside of the MTA headquarters at 2 Broadway. TransitCenter released a new report titled “Access Denied” which highlights the impact that a lack of elevator access has on transit users. Dinowitz added, “So many people rely on elevators to access our transit system – people with strollers, walkers, wheelchairs, canes, or even just a lot of bags. It is inconceivable in this day and age that these people don't have the same rights as everybody else.”

Assemblyman Dinowitz, TransitCenter, and other elected officials and advocates demanded several actions for the MTA to take. First, the MTA should include ADA accessibility improvements into future Capital Needs Assessments and Capital Programs. Second, they should accelerate their pace of elevator construction with the ultimate goal of achieving 100% accessibility. Third, they should improve elevator maintenance and provide accurate outage updates so users can plan trips accordingly. Dinowitz concluded, “We need the MTA to have a plan for how to achieve these goals. Subway elevators cost around $10 million each and take about a year to install, give or take depending on if they are above ground. Obviously this is not a change that happens overnight, but we should have a strategy and schedule to ensure we continue making progress.”

Next week marks the 27th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, on July 26th.

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