It’s no secret that New York City’s subway system has an accessibility problem—about 24 percent of the city’s 472 subway stations aren’t accessible to people with disabilities. A new report released by NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office has added another alarming statistic to that problem. Nearly half of the city’s neighborhoods lack a single subway station that is accessible; they are “ADA Transit Deserts,” as the comptroller puts it.
The report, Service Denied: Accessibility and the New York City Subway System, points out that 62 of 122 NYC neighborhoods served by the subway don’t have ADA-accessible stations. Fifty-five of these neighborhoods are located either in the Bronx, Brooklyn or Queens and impact 200,000 people with disabilities, 340,000 seniors, and 200,000 children below the age of five, according to the report.
The report posits that this further worsens the city’s affordable housing crisis—median rents in neighborhoods with accessible stations are $100 higher than neighborhoods with inaccessible ones, often forcing mobility-impaired New Yorkers to shell out a lot more on rent.
The report also points out that the current situation restricts job opportunities for New Yorkers with disabilities. The MTA has made accessibility one of its key goals as part of its Fast Forward plan, instituted by the new New York City Transit chief Andy Byford. But Stringer’s office is calling for more funding sources to speed up the process.
“It’s simple – a person’s livelihood should not be dictated by their mobility status, and we must take action immediately to address this crisis,” said Stringer, in a statement. “The MTA’s Fast Forward plan is a step in the right direction, but we can and must do more.”