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L train shutdown isn’t doing enough for riders with disabilities, elected officials say

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The Brooklyn and Queens Borough Presidents have written to the MTA to do more before the 15-month shutdown

An L train arriving at the Broadway Junction station.

In March, the MTA was hit with a lawsuit by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York for failing to make newly-renovation subway stations accessible to people with disabilities. Now a group of Brooklyn and Queens elected officials are putting even more pressure of the agency ahead of the L train shutdown, scheduled to get underway next year.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (along with some City Council members) wrote to the MTA last week calling on the agency to make three stations that will be most impacted by the L train shutdown ADA accessible. AM New York first reported on this development, which concerns proposed upgrades at Broadway Junction (A, C, J, Z, M, L), Court Square-23rd Street (7, E, M, G), and Lorimer St./Metropolitan Ave. (G, L).

Most riders currently using the L train to commute between Manhattan and Brooklyn could end up using one of these stations during the 15-month shutdown of the Canarsie Tunnel. While the MTA plans to add elevators at the Bedford Ave. and First Ave. stations during the shutdown, elected officials officials and transit advocates say that’s not enough, and want the agency to do more before the closure.

At the three stations in question, the MTA is planning to add new entry points or widen existing ones, according to AMNY. Adams and Katz say that doing so without adding elevators is in violation of federal regulations.

The MTA has been reeling from accessibility problems for years now, and faces multiple lawsuits over the lack of accessibility. As of last year, only 20 percent of subway stations across the city were ADA-accessible. Even a recent approval of $200 million in station upgrades did not include the installation of new elevators, further angering disability advocates. Curbed has reached out to the MTA to comment on the Borough Presidents’s letter.