In a victory for New Yorkers with disabilities, a judge has ruled that the MTA violated the Americans with Disabilities ACT when it failed to install elevators during a renovation of the Middletown Road Station on the 6 line in the East Bronx.
The ruling was a result of a law suit by Bronx Independent Living filed in 2016 for the MTA’s refusal to make the station wheelchair accessible during its $27 million renovation.
Despite arguments from the MTA that the renovation did not warrant an elevator, U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos said that the scope of the work did in fact trigger the requirements for adding an elevator as per ADA regulations.
This comes after the MTA recently reopened two Bronx stations after closing them for half a year for multi million dollar upgrades. While residents were excited for the welcomed upgrades there were an equally vocal number of residents who were upset that the MTA, once again, did not comply with the ADA making it inaccessible to does with disabilities and mobility issues.
The MTA insists they are still on track to making 50 stations accessible in 5 years.
Over at Gothamist they report:
“The MTA is now on notice that whenever it renovates a subway station throughout its system so as to affect the station’s usability, the MTA is obligated to install an elevator, regardless of the cost, unless it is technically infeasible,” said Geoffrey Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, in a press release. His office intervened in the case in March 2018.
The MTA had argued that the scope of the work did not justify undertaking a renovation that would have disproportionately added to the cost of the project.
In response to the ruling, MTA Chief External Affairs Officer Max Young said in a statement, “The MTA is steadfastly committed to improving access throughout the subway, with a hard and fast goal of making 50 additional stations accessible over five years. We’re not wavering from that commitment.”
We really need to get work on making our transportation fully accessible for ALL.