Advocates and Elected Officials Call on MTA to Add Much-Needed Elevator to 7th Ave F/G Station to Finally Make it Accessible to All
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Brooklyn, NY – Today, NYC Council Member Brad Lander, Assembly Member Robert Carroll, disability rights advocates, Park Slope seniors & families, and community members joined to call on the MTA to add the 7th Ave F/G subway station in Park Slope to the list of subway stations to be upgraded with elevators as a part of its Fast Forward plan, a list the MTA is expected to soon release.
The 7th Ave F/G Station is situated just a few blocks from Brooklyn Methodist Hospital and the senior center Park Slope Center for Successful Aging, two populations that especially need accessible transit. The surrounding area contains a large number of families with young children & strollers as well as residents with mobility impairments who struggle to navigate a subway station without an accessible entrance. Currently, there are no stations with elevators between Jay Street MetroTech and Church Ave on the F/G line. The 7th Ave Station falls right in the middle of these stations, which adds to the call for an elevator at this location.
According to a study completed by The Guardian, only 20% of NYC subway stations are fully accessible. The Fast Forward plan’s Accelerate Accessibility portion calls for 50+ new accessible stations within 5 years, so all subway riders are no more than two stops from an accessible station. The list of stations to be upgraded will soon be released.
“We in Park Slope have been calling for an elevator to be added to the 7th Ave subway station for years, and now that we know that the MTA will soon be releasing their list of stations to be upgraded with elevators, it is more important than ever for our community to be heard,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “The state of accessibility of our subway system is a travesty. I’m glad to see Andy Byford prioritizing accessibility of stations in his Fast Forward plan, but the MTA must include the 7th Ave station in any plans for accessibility upgrades. Right now, patients of Brooklyn Methodist hospital have no accessible subway option. People with disabilities, seniors, and families with young children in Park Slope have no accessible subway option. This has got to change, which is why we urge the MTA to include the 7th Ave station in their plan for accessibility upgrades.”
“Installing an elevator at the 7th Avenue station on the F line is long overdue,” said Assembly Member Robert Carroll. “An elevator will ensure people with disabilities, seniors, and parents with children have easier access to our subways and better serve the thousands of people who utilize this station on a daily basis. It is unacceptable that the nearest accessible train station is three stops to the South at Church Avenue and the next closest is five stops to the North at Jay Street. While Andy Byford’s Fast Forward plan identifies the need for accessibility, it does not specify where and when stations will be upgraded. 7th Avenue is a critical hub in Brooklyn and deserves to be at the top of list for station accessibility improvements.”
“As a wheelchair user working with other people with disabilities, we demand rapid, on-demand transportation to go work, to school, and to participate in social activities, just like what’s available to other New Yorkers,” said Monica Bartley, community outreach organizer with Center for the Independence of the Disabled. “In order to make sure that we get what federal laws promise, we need to see a reasonable timeline for subway accessibility that includes a clear plan, enforceable budget, and a line of accountability so that we can be confident that these promises will finally be kept.”
“The MTA must address their failure to comply with the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990) as well as the simple economic imperative that people with disabilities are taxpayers,” said Rebecca Kostyuchenko of the Elevator Action Group at Rise and Resist. “Wheelchair users are taxpayers. New Yorkers over 65 are taxpayers. Parents and caregivers who need to maneuver the subway are taxpayers. Delivery people are taxpayers. All these people ride the subway and need access to working elevators.
“New York City is currently home to nearly 1.5 million people over the age of 60 and nearly 30% of them live in Brooklyn,” said Judy Willig, Executive Director of Heights and Hills. “As Baby Boomers are aging, one in five New Yorkers will be over the age of 60 by 2040. If New York City truly wants to be an “age-friendly” city, we have to more aggressively address those environmental factors that are keeping older people from fully engaging with all that this City has to offer. Transportation accessibility is one of the biggest impediments to the independence of older residents. The Seventh Avenue subway station, in particular, is the access point to NYP Methodist Hospital, to the Park Slope Center for Successful Aging, to Prospect Park and all that it has to offer, and currently all of the steps that one has to climb makes it inaccessible to far too many people.”
“More than 9% of the population of Park Slope and Gowanus are aged 65 and over,” said Jasmine Meltzer of Good Neighbors Park Slope. “Two years ago we stood here asking for accessible subway stations in Park Slope. We were not a part of the decision-making process in 2010 that went into that list of 100 stations to be made accessible and we now want to ensure that we are included on their next list. Accessible stations help everyone — senior citizens, those with disabilities, people struggling with crutches and parents juggling strollers and children.”
“The strong neighborhood support for accessibility at 7th Avenue shows not only real need for elevators here, but also how relentlessly frustrating the lack of subway accessibility is in Brooklyn and across the city,” said Colin Wright, advocacy associate at TransitCenter, a national transit research and advocacy foundation. “As New York City Transit chooses which stations to make accessible first under Fast Forward, ones that serve hospitals, schools, busy commercial strips, and even an amazing park are great places to start.”
Any opportunity to press for another elevator in the widely inaccessible NYC subway system is a must. The Elevator Action Group is a coalition of concerned New Yorkers and activists moving to push wheelchair accessibility in the subways to the top of the MTA agenda.
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