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MTA Agrees to Make Subway System More Accessible for the Disabled

The new plan makes it easier for disabled New Yorkers who need stair-free access to use the subway when they need to.
Man in wheelchair waiting for elevator outside Grand Central Subway Station in NYC.
Man in wheelchair waiting for elevator outside Grand Central Subway Station in NYC Photo: Metropolitan Transportation Authority via Flickr.

In an agreement with disability advocates, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has committed to making the subway system more accessible.

The new plan will make it easier for disabled New Yorkers who cannot use the stairs to access the subway. Of all 472 stations, 113 are accessible, with 31 of them in Brooklyn.

Wheelchair user Sasha Blair-Goldensohn said, “This settlement builds on decades of disability rights work, by countless advocates, activists and allies."

This is significant as this year will be 32 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act being in effect. This will occur during Disability Pride Month, on July 26. Second, the disability community in NYC still has had to deal with accessibility issues, especially with transportation. 

In addition to the 81 stations currently slated for accessibility in the 2020-2024 Capital Program, the MTA commits that 85 more stations will be accessible by 2035, another 90 by 2045, and the final 90 by 2055.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment since I was 15 years old,” said wheelchair user Jessica De La Rosa.

Jessica Murray is the spokesperson for Rise and Resist Elevator Action Group. She says the agreement ensures that future construction plans for the stations have the necessary resources.

In addition, Brooklyn Center for the Independence of the Disabled and Bronx Independent Living Services agree with Blair-Goldensohn's sentiment.

"Thanks to the work of activists over decades, we’re finally on a path to a more accessible city," Murray added.