Bronx Subway Station Still Inaccessible For Wheelchair Users $21.85 Million Later

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New York, NY – June 28, 2016 A class-action lawsuit filed today in federal court alleges the Metropolitan Transit Authority (“MTA”) and New York City Transit Authority (“NYCTA”) ignored the legal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act when they completed a $21.85 million rehabilitation to the Middletown Road station in the Bronx, but failed to install an elevator. The MTA closed the station for seven months in 2013 to 2014 to undertake extensive work that included replacing staircases, structural steel framing, ceilings, walls, floors, and track structure, and yet this station serving a busy area of the borough is still inaccessible to persons who use wheelchairs or other mobility assistive devices.

“This is not the first time that the MTA has spent millions of dollars improving a subway station while ignoring the legal mandate to simultaneously make it accessible,” said Michelle Caiola, Managing Attorney at Disability Rights Advocates, “which is why New York City has one of the worst public transportation systems for people with disabilities in the United States.”  Almost 26 years after the passage of the ADA, only 19% of New York City subway stations are fully accessible to persons with disabilities.  By contrast, 100% of Washington DC stations, 100% of San Francisco Bay Area stations, 74% of Boston stations, 68% of Philadelphia stations, and 67% of Chicago stations are wheelchair-accessible.

Disability Rights Advocates brings the suit on behalf of the Bronx Independent Living Services (“BILS”), Disabled in Action of Metropolitan New York (“DIA”), and two Bronx residents with mobility disabilities who need elevators to access subway stations.

“Inaccessible public transportation interferes with the ability of people with disabilities to hold down jobs, keep medical appointments, and partake in community activities,” said Brett Eisenberg, Executive Director of BILS.

“Many may take access to the subway system for granted, but for our members and constituents, the exceedingly few elevators is a daily reminder of how little effort the MTA has placed on making it a system open to all,” said Anthony Trocchia, President of DIA.  He continued, “Hopefully, this suit can initiate a change in MTA priorities.”

About Disability Rights Advocates

Disability Rights Advocates is one of the leading non-profit disability rights legal centers in the nation. With offices in Berkeley and New York City, DRA’s mission is to advance equal rights and opportunities for people with all types of disabilities nationwide. To advance that mission, DRA regularly advocates for greater access to all types of transportation systems, including subway systems, taxi fleets, car-sharing services, and sidewalks.  DRA and the MTA entered into a groundbreaking settlement in 2011 requiring the MTA to construct an elevator at the newly-renovated Dyckman Street subway station on the 1 line.  For more information, visit http://www.dralegal.org.

Contacts

Rebecca Rodgers, Disability Rights Advocates, 212-644-8644