Disability and transportation advocates MTA rally

Marla Diamond/WCBS 880

Disability Advocates Rally For Subway Elevators As Ruling Postponed

May 21, 2019 - 9:43 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Disability and transportation advocates rallied outside Manhattan federal court ahead of a hearing Tuesday on a lawsuit against the MTA.

The groups, including the Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled, the People's MTA and Rise & Resist, are demanding the agency install elevators in subway stations during renovations.

At the hearing, Judge Shlomo Hagler found that New Yorkers have a right to an accessible transit system and gave the MTA one last chance in the year-long battle to craft a plan and find the money to find elevators.

The lawsuit claims the MTA’s practice of doing renovations without adding elevators is discriminatory and illegal.

"We're not disappointed. The judge has done a great job trying to get the MTA to do the right thing here," said plaintiff's attorney Daniel Brown, "The judge certainly recognizes the injustice that this case represents and we're hopeful that he's going to grant us the proper remedy."

It's unclear however if the judge has the legal authority to compel the MTA to install elevators.

Advocates are thus then also trying to persuade Gov. Cuomo that elevators are in everyone's best interest.

The suit comes after a March ruling in a similar suit that found station renovations at a Bronx stop triggered the MTA’s obligation under the Americans with Disabilities Act to add elevators unless doing so would be technically impossible.

Right now, only about a quarter of the subway system’s 472 stops have elevators.