‘A long way to go’: A look at the MTA’s ‘accessibility desert’ in Bronx and Brooklyn
News 12 took a deeper look at how the Bronx and Brooklyn are impacted in what some have coined "an accessibility desert" in the city subway system.
A report by the city comptroller in July 2018 showed that out of 28 Bronx neighborhoods serviced by the subway system – 19 do not have access for riders with disabilities.
In Brooklyn, it’s not any better. Out of 44 neighborhoods with subway service, 26 are not accessible.
In May 2018, the MTA launched its "Fast Forward" plan. Part of the immediate goal was to make 50 more stations accessible across the city over the course of five years. The MTA told News 12 in a statement that it is “deeply committed to improving accessibility in the Bronx and every part of the city."
In the Bronx, the MTA says the following will take place:
- Elevators will be replaced at Pelham Parkway, Pelham Bay Park and Intervale Avenue stations
- ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) project at the Gun Hill Road will be completed next summer, along with one on the D line at Bedford Park Boulevard
- Two ADA projects at 149th Street – Grand Concourse and 170th Street 4 line. The designs were just completed
In Brooklyn, the designs have been finished for Eastern Parkway that contains the 2 & 3 line as well as the G line at the Greenpoint Avenue station to make them both ADA-compliant.
News 12 Investigates: Part 1 - Inaccessible subway platforms make tough trips for New Yorkers with disabilities
However, Susan Dooha, the president of the Center for Independence of Disabled of New York, says there is nothing binding on the MTA that “requires them to follow through with the Fast Forward plan.”
The CIDNY is one of multiple organizations and people listed on a class-action lawsuit against the MTA.
“It is a promise but unless there is a binding agreement, a timetable, transparency, monitoring – we don't really feel comfortable that we have a true, secure plan to remove barriers to transportation and employment to people with disabilities.”
There is currently a federal and state lawsuit on the issue. In federal court, the lawsuit challenges the MTA on existing service issues on elevators currently in place.
Dooha says the MTA has until July 3 to answer to all the charges made in the complaint.
“We understand it can take a number of years but we expect steady progress,” says Dooha.
The MTA told News 12 that it could not comment on pending litigation. But newly appointed MTA board member Sarah Feinberg said it has a “long way to go.”