NY elected officials urge Cuomo and MTA to fix subway access
New York, NY - NYS Assembly Member Harvey Epstein (D-Manhattan’s East Side), NYS Senator Brad Hoylman (D/WF-Manhattan) and NYC Council Member Carlina Rivera were joined by a coalition of advocates including: TransitCenter, Riders Alliance, Center for Independence of the Disabled, Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled, Regional Plan Association, Straphangers, 504 Democratic Club, and Disabled in Action, at a press conference outside the L train 3rd Avenue station on May 17, 2018, to demand the MTA to make all L-Train stations fully accessible during its impending shutdown. Under the current MTA plan not all stations will be accessible to people with disabilities after extensive renovations.

“It is unconscionable that the MTA does not intend to comply with ADA standards,” said Assembly Member Epstein. “As New Yorkers, we cannot allow the MTA to fail people with disabilities. If the MTA is going to go through the extraordinary expense of renovating these stations, and place an extreme burden on the community with these closures, the least it can do is guarantee accessibility for the future.”

State Senator Brad Hoylman said: “Not even a quarter of the MTA’s 473 stations are accessible to riders with disabilities, seniors or parents like me with baby strollers. Add to the fact that at least 10% of the MTA’s elevators are out of service on a given day, it means that the subway is effectively off limits to a major segment of our population that depends on mass transit. 100 accessible stations isn’t enough. The L Train shutdown is the perfect opportunity for the MTA to install elevators at 3rd and 6th Avenues.”

“The fact that the MTA has not developed a full-system accessibility plan in the years since the ADA was passed sends the wrong message to New Yorkers and demonstrates poor planning on the agency’s part,” said Councilwoman Carlina Rivera. “When a major capital project is planned that affects an entire line, we should look at the job holistically and seize the opportunity to incorporate upgrades that would benefit our neighbors with disabilities. The MTA must explain in writing why they are not able to include more ADA-accessible entrances along the L-Train and quickly clarify which stations in the system will benefit from their recently expanded, but still limited, ADA-compliance plan.”

“The L train is essential for all New Yorkers included people with disabilities. Some of us use it from Union Sq to 88th Ave other travel into and within Brooklyn. I am mostly a Manhattan rider but have used every accessible station there a few times each. Surprisingly enough more and more WC user are riding the trains. The MTA and NYCT need to increase tea so training for people with disabilities to maximize our utilization of trains getting us off AAR & onto mass to transit. While they repair the L is a perfect time to install elevators, it is essential that stations where there are other line should have a priority for example making 6 Ave accessible would help riders on a multiplicity of lines.” Edith Prentiss, Disabled in Action.

"The MTA is squandering a rare opportunity to make the Third and Sixth Avenue L stations accessible during the impending 15-month shutdown," said Colin Wright, Advocacy Associate at TransitCenter. "There's simply no better time to install elevators than when stations are already closed for renovation. We can do better."

"For New Yorkers, access to the subway is access to the city; unfortunately, the opposite is also true. During the L train shutdown, stations will be closed, commutes scrambled, and people with disabilities will have an even tougher time of getting around. Riders Alliance calls on the MTA to make shuttered stations accessible and New York a fairer place to live."

"New Yorkers deserve a transit system that is not only affordable and reliable, but one that is accessible, particularly for the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who depend on elevators to access the subway system," said Jaqi Cohen, Campaign Coordinator for the Straphangers Campaign. "It's time for the MTA to create greater access to its woefully inaccessible subway system and commit to a plan for full accessibility."

“Regional Plan Association has consistently asked the MTA to seize this unique opportunity to create transformative change for the L train. A bolder, more comprehensive approach for 3rd, 6th, Union Square, and 8th Ave stations would provide a new model for how to deliver much-needed upgrades to the subway system more quickly and cost effectively,” said Kate Slevin, Senior Vice President of State Programs and Advocacy at Regional Plan Association.

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