New York City Subway Pledges To Increase Accessibility

After two lawsuits, the New York subway system has announced a 33-year timeline for making 95 percent of its stations fully accessible.

June 23, 2022, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Close-up of Brooklyn Bridge station elevator

Accessible elevator at the Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall subway station. | 365 Focus Photography / Subway station elevator, New York City

New York City’s subway system will finally become more accessible to people with disabilities or mobility challenges—in 33 years. As Michael Gold reports in The New York Times, “New York has lagged for years behind other major American cities in making its subway system accessible to people with disabilities: Just 126 of its 472 stations, or 27 percent, have elevators or ramps that make them fully accessible.”

As part of a settlement of two lawsuits, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has committed to adding ramps and elevators to 95 percent of its stations by 2055. “Under the agreement, the transportation authority will make an additional 81 subway and Staten Island Railway stations accessible by 2025. It will make another 85 stations accessible by 2035, 90 more by 2045 and then 90 more by 2055.”

While the New York subway system’s age plays a role in its lack of accessible stations, other cities have done more to retrofit their own older systems. “More than two-thirds of stations in Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago meet the Americans With Disabilities Act’s compliance standards,” Gold notes.

“The changes required by the settlement will benefit a wide band of the populace who struggle to use narrow fare gates or climb subway stairs, including parents toting children in strollers, shoppers carrying large items home and airport travelers with luggage.”

Wednesday, June 22, 2022 in The New York Times

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