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New York, NY – Members of Rise and Resist, residents from across NYC, City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal, and Susan Dooha, executive director of the Center for the Independence of the Disabled, New York (CIDNY), held a protest on December 16, 2017; outside the Museum of Natural History Subway Stop on Saturday to impress upon the city organization the importance of accessible subway stations.
With only 117 out of 472 stations fully accessible, and with elevators often out of service at many of the accessible stations, Governor Cuomo and the MTA make it impossible for the almost 10% of New Yorkers that have a disability to get to work, the doctor, or to school.
While the MTA has made excuses based on budget and resources, the fact remains that New York City lags behind most other major cities in the country in terms of devoting adequate taxpayer money to creating accessible transit options.
“San Francisco, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Boston – all these major U.S. cities treat their residents better in terms of making their mass transit systems accessible,” said Martin Quinn, a member of Rise and Resist. “There’s much written about the constant delays currently affecting the system, and rightfully so, but not including elevators in building plans, and not keeping the few we do have working on a consistent basis makes living here beyond frustrating to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, not to mention tourists.”
In 1994, the MTA agreed to make 100 key stations accessible by 2020, part of a settlement that exempted the agency from full compliance with the American With Disabilities Act. The MTA is currently working to complete the final 11 of these 100 stations in its 2015-2019 capital construction plan. Beyond fulfilling this agreement, there is no plan or policy for making the rest of the system more accessible in the future.
Century-old systems in Boston and Chicago are on their way to reach 100% accessibility. New York is settling for 25%.
Rise and Resist is a direct action group committed to opposing, disrupting, and defeating any government act that threatens democracy, equality, and our civil liberties. Previous Rise and Resist actions include a “cough-in” at Jean-Georges restaurant, and a protest at Trump Tower against the Muslim ban, the ICE raids, and the proposed border wall where 26 members were arrested.
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