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Astoria Moms Criticize MTA for Failing to Install Elevators As Part of Station Overhauls

(Photo: Megan Stotts)

Nov. 7, 2017 By Tara Law

Dozens of parents—accompanied by young children–gathered near the Astoria Boulevard subway station Saturday to call on the MTA to install elevators at neighborhood stations.

The protesters, who numbered between 50 and 75 people, gathered at Columbus Triangle near the Astoria Boulevard Station and criticized the MTA for not making accessibility more of a priority. Representatives of groups such as MOMally, an Astoria-based mothers’ group, turned out to make clear that pregnant women and small children need them.

The protesters expressed solidarity with disability advocates, who recently expressed their outrage at the MTA’s decision to not include elevators in its $150 million revamp of four Astoria subway stations on the N/W line. Currently none of the N/W stations in Astoria have elevators.

The MTA has promised that it would install elevators at the Astoria Boulevard subway station by 2020, but the protestors argued that the date is not soon enough given there are none in the area.

State Senator Mike Gianaris, Council Member Costa Constantinides and Assembly Member Aravella Simotas attended the protest to lend their support.

Megan Stotts, an Astoria resident and founder of Hearts Across Queens, said she helped organize the rally because many of her members are young mothers who are struggling to get around the City due to inaccessible stations.

Stotts is currently suffering from pregnancy-related sciatica, and said that it can be painful for her to climb the stairs to get on the train. Once she gives birth, she anticipates that it will be difficult for her take her baby outside the neighborhood via the train—-limiting her ability to make medical appointments outside Astoria.

She said that she was also angry to learn that the MTA is removing benches from the Astoria stations as part of its revamp and replacing them with “standing benches,” which commuters can lean on but not sit down on. She said pregnant woman and young mothers need a place to rest.

Christine Serdjenian Yearwood, the mother of a 3-year old and founder of UP-STAND, said that she participated in the rally because she has had trouble accessing the subway before and after her pregnancy.

Yearwood said that the subway can present a major obstacle to new parents and pregnant women who often are coping with ongoing medical problems.

The MTA released a statement reiterating its promise that it would be adding elevators at the Astoria Boulevard station and noted that the MTA’s buses are accessible.

“Increasing accessibility is a priority for the MTA and the MTA is moving aggressively to add elevators to stations where possible,” wrote an MTA spokesman. “In Astoria, New York City Transit is on-schedule to have elevators in the Astoria Boulevard station in 2020, and New York City Transit’s fully accessible bus fleet provides strong service across the neighborhood – including connections to accessible subway stations nearby.”

For some of the activists, however, this response was not good enough.

Yearwood criticized the MTA for neglecting such a wide swath of the community. She said that the MTA was essentially telling the disabled and parents to take the bus, which is not good enough.

“Public transit is not really serving the public if you’re not serving everyone,” Yearwood said.

(Photo: Megan Stotts)

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49 Comments

Astoria For Me

MTA has whats called Access A Ride specifically for seniors and the handicap to take them literally anywhere throughout the city for anything including personal use paid by your tax dollar. These gathering at the stations are for grand standing purpose and these folks just keep drinking the cool aid.




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lieutenantdan

This Mothers organization appears to be only addressing the elevator issues in regards to the Astoria Blvd. Station. This station is located at the PS 85 school. No other station is mentioned. This is their agenda. If elevators are being considered for stations than the Ditmars Blvd. station should be at the top of the list. The Ditmars station appears to have the most foot traffic. This probably is due to the fact the riders come from many different parts of Astoria and Jackson Heights, and other areas, arriving by buses that stop on Ditmars and 31st Streets. Ditmars is also a main shopping area so this fact also adds to ridership numbers and the why the Ditmars station is so congested.
I was wondering how the ladies from this Mother’s/school group get onto the subway station that is close to their home. If Astoria Blvd. station is where they arrive to school, and they are petitioning the need for an elevator at this station than how do they get up and down the stairs from the station originally came from at the start of their journey?
I do not hear any comments on this.




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Boss Tweed

If the vendors that install elevators would simply increase their kickbacks and political action committee contributions this matter could quickly and equitably be rectified.




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Astorian mom

I’m a mom of 2 and used to carry the stroller in and out while pregnant! I’m not complaining neather looking for pity comments, forget about moms and babies how about elderly, disabled or injured people?!
Having elevators is a must not a favor! MTA review your basics




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Yassss

As an Astoria resident I feel it is important all who desire to ride the subway should have accessible means to do so

This is unacceptable




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Ed Babcock

2 Points. Each of these stations is built so that it would need 3 elevators not just one. Elevators are expensive – check it out. Each might cost as much as a1/2 million dollars or more.

2nd Point- New motto for the MTA “There’s always a good reason why we can’t give you good service.”




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lieutenantdan

Terry Cloth, Drinking? You should be ashamed of yourself.
I happen to know that the person who you commented about has a disability
that makes spelling difficult for him.




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JQ LLC

Here in Richmond Hill, the renovation of the Lefferts Blvd station which includes an elevator is almost 2 years behind schedule. Good luck citizens of Astoria, especially expectant mothers and those women who aspire to have kids, because these stations are never going to be finished in time.

https://impunitycity.wordpress.com/2017/11/12/there-is-a-delay-at-lefferts-blvd-station-renovation-ahead-because-of-state-and-city-government-indifference-and-negligence-stupid-bickering-from-the-governor-and-mayor-tardy-contractors-selective/

I haven’t been to Astoria in a decade, and I can tell those stations including the entirety of the line has not been touched and repaired since then. What a damn shame and utter proof of government neglect and indifference.




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Tad

i agree with lutinentdan. it is a selfish act when people don’t cocider every body and esipecial when it comes to people who need help




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lieutenantdan

I agree that elevators are needed especially at the Ditmars Blvd stop because there exists 2 sets of stairs with many steps and the steps are steep.
People arrive by bus to use this station. The elderly and disabled are at a great loss, these are people with permanent disabilities.

In the old days men would hold doors and help ladies with there packages
and ladies appreciated the kind act but when a man would now ask a woman of this day and age if they needed some assistance the gentleman would receive a weird look and even a rude comment from the woman.
My now 90 year old mother brought me up this way, to help but times have changed. It was once common when our city had ladies and gentlemen. No gentleman would ever consider a woman to be weak.
My Aunt was a Marine in WW2.

Now I’m not saying all women are like this but these days many are. Its happened to me and I’ve witnessed it happening to other gentlemen. Now I don’t even bother helping because I do not wish to possibly insult someone or in return be made to feel badly. I don’t at all feel that the current day woman is weak but I am made to feel that they want what they want when they want it. To petition for costly elevators because of something that is temporary as childbirth appears to me to be very selfish. The elevators should be put in for everyone who have difficulty climbing the stairs, the elderly and disabled as well as Mothers in need.
Woman have been having babies in Astoria for decades and Mothers have been taking the same subway and buses that you now are and I never heard
the Mothers of yesteryear complain once.




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Elevators please!

I couldn’t agree more! The MTA is really tone deaf on this issue. A lot of groups can’t use the subway without elevators – parents, disabled, elderly, injured …




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Harry

My wife and I carried our triplet stroller up and down subway stairs. People need to suck it up. Not everything can be ultra convenient for everyone.

I can see the handicapped community being bothered by this because they don’t have any options.




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Mary

Why, are mom’s not strong enough to carry strollers? Are other women not strong enough to carry strollers?Are you saying women are weak?

I have carried many strollers up stairs, thank you.
Why didn’t you say, “Are there no people to help carry strollers?”




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No he isnt

Saying women are weak. He was addressing comments made by the women in here what a struggle it is carry strollers up the stairs. You read way too much into his comments. Imagine that? A man just trying to be a gentleman. How offensive. No wonder why there are so few left.




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Mary

If someone posted a story about men not being able to get up the stairs with a kid would a reasonable response be,

“Aren’t there any ladies around to help the men”?

Because that is the same comment in reverse. Doesn’t it sound strange?




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Brian

There are a lot of gentlemen left. Except that now they treat women as equals in the research lab or at the law firm and they change diapers and know how to use a washing machine.




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Hope you

Were equally offend by the comment referring to the bus not being welcoming to moms. Did you question her as to why she didn’t say parents?




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Mary

She should have said parents. I’m not sure why she said “moms” unless she assumes men never need help with the kids. Which isn’t true at all.




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And yet

You didn’t respond to her comment. Just the comment that you wanted to view as some some how calling women weak.




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Richard Khuzami

The Old Astoria Neighborhood Assn stands with all concerned citizens requesting elevators at the N train elevated stations on 31st st in Astoria,
October 18, 2017

OANA Position: Renovations of Elevated Subway Stations, “N” train, 31st St, Astoria NY

While we appreciate the current renovation’s value to ridership, which emphasizes visual (Public art, design and material upgrades) and crowd control elements on NW Train stations on 31st st (39th Ave, 36th Ave, Broadway, and 30th Ave), we feel it extremely important that operational issues be addressed immediately.

These include repair/replace of tracks, switches and signals, and installation of elevators in each station for our many disabled, senior citizens. and infants in strollers. At present, none of the stations on the N/W subway line in Astoria meets the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design. Even with the planned installaton of elevators at the Astoria Blvd station (the only station set to receive elevators), people with mobility issues will be forced to use alternative methods to get there or to Queens or Queensboro Plazas.

We conclude that while the emotional advantage of a cosmetically improved station is a real asset, it should not overshadow the health, safety and efficiency needs of all commuters. We ask that capital improvements to trains, tracks, switches and ADA accessibility be immediately introduced.




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Jenastoriat

It is especially shocking that there is no elevators planned for 30th Avenue. I see people all the time trying to get to the hospital from that station (and Mt. Sinai often has ad in that station too). Maybe someone can look into getting Trade Fair to stop blocking most of the sidewalk too.




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Kirs

Someone needs to tell the MTA that buses do not feel accessible for moms either. We have to fold our strollers and end up holding the stroller, a squirmy child (or multiple children!) bags, etc. it’s almost impossible!!!!




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Jon

First, dads have to fold the stroller too.

If you don’t fold the stroller how do people get by you?
I’m ok with not folding a stroller when there is space but you can’t get on at rush our with a stroller blocking the aisle.




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Stamatina Hapsis

I completely agree
There must be clean elevators not urinated ones and or escalators for the elderly, disabled, pregnant, and mothers with strollers.
The MTA will raise the price but limit us in using the transit
Good job 👏!
You want us to pay this fee you MUST keep your stations clean and accommodating for the payees!!!




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Anonymous

You can’t take stairs for at least 8 weeks after a c-section but babies and mothers still have post-Partum appointments, and really small babies can’t use collapsible strollers or carriers, so the bus is out.




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Mary

Usually it’s no stairs for about a week. 8 weeks seems extreme. Maybe your situation involved more than a c-section. Either way your point is correct.




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SHAQ

Oh stop crying. My mom had me and carried me up stairs when we came home from the hospital. Call the general




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A mom

You can’t take stairs for 8 weeks after a c-section (a procedure that saved my and my baby’s life), and really small babies can’t fit in carriers or collapsible strollers, so the bus is out. But you still have necessary pediatrician and post-Partum appointments during that time. Not everyone can afford multiple cabs around the city.




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jenastoriat

Jo manne, you must have a really sad, sad life if you feel the need to troll new moms and babies online. Help yourself and seek out a good therapist.




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Yassss

Clearly you do not have children.
I say this As a father with a partner who had a c-section and is perfectly capable of carrying a child
You’re going to carry your kid all over the city if you go out for the day?

Think of others before thinking of yourself.




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jenastoriat

Elevators, yes. But, I have no problem with the removal of benches. There is that guy who has been openly sh***ing on the station benches for years. You know the guy with all the newspapers. I’ve seen him do it in broad daylight and have not sat on one for quite some time for that reason. I have no problem with a conversion to those leaning things or anything else that will discourage that guy and others who do similar disgusting things.




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