Volatile weather creates accessibility issues for NYC transit
The heavy rain, high-speed winds and dropping temperatures have made reliable train service less accessible to some New Yorkers.
Dustin Jones is a Bronx resident who says he has no access to train service at the Burnside Avenue station on Jerome Avenue in Mount Hope due to being in a wheelchair. On days like today, it makes going anywhere even more of a challenge.
The federal government is on track to assist in upgrades to four subway stations in New York City to improve transit accessibility for all New Yorkers – Burnside Avenue is one of those stations.
“This is the local station that would take me to the city, this is the closest I can get because there is no elevator,” said Jones. “If you don’t have access, it’s a waste of time trying to commute over here.”
The MTA is slated to receive a little over $254 million as part of an all-stations accessibility program from the federal Transportation Department.
The funding will go to make essential upgrades and improve accessibility at the Burnside Avenue station in the Bronx and at the Myrtle, Norwood, and Avenue I subway stations in Brooklyn.
Jones, who is the head of United for Equal Access New York, says having a ramp or elevator at all train stations is essential for all New Yorkers, not just those with physical disabilities.
“Just look at the weather today. It’s slippery – why would you want to take a chance and carry a stroller up the stairs in weather like this? You could hurt yourself,” said Jones.
Upgrades will go not only to installing elevators and ramps, but to also upgrade platforms to reduce gaps and modify fare gates, stairs, and handrails to be more accessible.