When the MTA announced a comprehensive rehab at Dyckman St. — not one of the stations on their original list of 100 for ADA compliance — the United Spinal Association filed suit to halt the project until it was deemed ADA-compliant. Today, the U.S.A. announced a settlement in the suit, and as such, the MTA will install an elevator servicing the southbound platform at Dyckman Street.
“Installing elevators during scheduled station renovations goes far to promote transportation access for people who use wheelchairs. This is a significant resolution that will enhance subway access for all users of the station with mobility challenges,” James Weisman, SVP & General Counsel of United Spinal Association, said. “More mass transit access decreases the demand for Access-A-Ride, MTA’s expensive alternative.”
The elevator is still a few years away though. The current Dyckman St. rehab, at a cost of $24 million, is set to wrap in phases. The uptown platform will reopen this August, and the downtown platform will close for 10 months. It is likely that the MTA will put the elevator out to bid in 2012 with an expected opening date in 2014.
Still, advocates are thrilled with the resolution. “We want to commend the MTA for working with us to improve accessibility for our clients who use wheelchairs, particularly as transportation options for the disabled in New York City are scarce,” Julia Pinover, an attorney with the Disability Rights Advocates and a former classmate of mine, said. “The settlement will truly benefit everyone in the community. In addition to accessibility for people using wheelchairs, an elevator will also provide vital transport access for people who have age or injury related mobility impairments, people carrying unwieldy bags, and caregivers with strollers.”
The MTA, in a statement, expressed its commitment to improve accessibility as well, how ever slow that progress may be. “We are pleased that we will be able to improve accessibility for our customers at Dyckman Street,” Transit said. “MTA New York City Transit has always included ADA elements in station rehabs and remains committed to enhancing the accessibility of our stations to the extent that funding allows. To that end, we will continue to review the feasibility and need for elevators in connection with future station rehabilitations.”