The MTA is looking at making 49 stations across four boroughs and the Staten Island Railway wheelchair accessible, but a list with the specific stations hasn’t been released yet, an official told the Wall Street Journal.
The official, who spoke to the WSJ anonymously, said that the list’s release has been stalled because of delays in the state’s review of the MTA’s capital program. According to the WSJ, the stations chosen for upgrades include two within the Staten Island Railway, with the rest spread across the other four boroughs. The MTA’s plan is to add elevators or ramps to all those stations.
In an initiative led by NYCT president Andy Byford, the transportation authority plans to make 50 subway stops accessible (an additional subway stop, chosen by the city, will be added to the plan), with the goal of placing straphangers no further than two stops from an accessible stop. At the time, the MTA said they would release the list of 50 stations at the end of June 2019, but that deadline has passed.
Accessibility upgrades will be included in the MTA’s next capital plan, covering 2020 to 2024, and the list of stations to be upgraded will be released when the review of the capital plan is completed, a spokesperson for Gov. Andrew Cuomo told the Journal. The MTA told the Journal that the final version of the list will be incorporated in the capital plan, which is expected to be released in the next couple of months.
Transit advocates are calling on the authority to include those upgrades in the 2015-2019 Capital Program rather than the 2020-2024 one.
Advocates believe that an amendment to the 2015-2019 Capital Program to include accessibility solutions “will accelerate work on the next round of accessible stations,” a letter from TransitCenter to MTA chairman Patrick Foye reads. “Immediately authorizing funds for these stations means riders who have been waiting decades for a more accessible subway will not have to wait years longer before the next round of stations is approved.” According to a TransitCenter study, only 118 of the city’s 472 subway stations have elevators.
“The biggest hold up to an accessible subway isn’t money or planning, it’s Governor Cuomo,” Colin Wright, senior advocacy associate at TransitCenter, tells Curbed. “Until we have a real commitment from the Governor to build an accessible subway, nothing is guaranteed.”
One station that will definitely get several elevators as part of an accessibility upgrade is 14th Street—both its Sixth Avenue station, where F, M, and L trains stop, and the Seventh Avenue one, served by the 1, 2, and, 3 trains, THE CITY reports.
Back in March, a federal judge ruled that the MTA should install elevators in any subway station that goes through a renovation.