Oct. 23, 2017 By Tara Law
Disability advocates and Queens politicians gathered at the 36th Avenue subway station in Astoria this morning to call on the MTA to install elevators as part of its $150 million revamp of four N/W stations that run through the neighborhood.
At present, no N/W subway stations in Astoria have elevators and advocates for the disabled want that to change.
The 30th and 36th Avenue stations closed today for eight months as part of a multi-million-dollar overhaul to the two stations– yet no elevators are being added. Advocates for the disabled want the MTA to invest in them and install them during the eight-month stretch the stations are closed.
The advocates also want them added when the 39th Avenue and Broadway stations are shut down for seven months midway through next year to undergo a similar multi-million-dollar overhaul.
Several of the speakers at the press conference this morning claimed that the MTA’s decision not to install elevators at the four stations was an example of its neglect of the public’s needs.
“There are few better examples of the MTA’s gross incompetence and misplaced priorities than what’s going on over our shoulders right now,” said State Sen. Michael Gianaris, pointing to the station. “This is how the MTA thinks, and it’s backwards. And it’s reaching the point where it’s becoming a scandal for the people who ride the subways and those who can’t because the subways are inaccessible.”
Chris Pangilinan, the program director of the transportation foundation TransitCenter, told the crowd that for people with disabilities the lack of subway access effectively cuts them off from sections of New York City.
“Until the governor and the MTA make disability access a priority, we will never be able to access places like Astoria and other parts of the city where there are no elevators,” Pangilinan said from his wheelchair. “For us, the subway has always been in a state of emergency, and these multi-million-dollar, year-long shutdowns are doing nothing to address that.”
Pangilinan added that since the subway is inaccessible for him in many areas, his options as to where he can live and work are limited.
“A transit system that is not accessible to all is a transit system that is failing all of us,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “Astoria is a great neighborhood. These are great communities. But if you cannot access these stations, you cannot get to Astoria. That is a loss to all New Yorkers.”
Astoria Council Member Costa Constantinides chided the MTA for the lack of elevators and described the issue as a sign of the MTA’s dysfunction.
“If you cannot access the stairwell, you are locked out— which is despicable,” Constantinides said.
The MTA said last week in response to the criticism that elevators will be installed at the Astoria Boulevard station in coming years. In addition to the elevators, the MTA said that its fully-accessible bus fleet provides service across the neighborhood – including connections to other accessible stations on other subway lines.
Kathleen Springer , took them to task ! Now….. they are all taking photo ops for re- election. KATHLERN SPRINGER IS THE ONE TO VOTE FOR! Let’s get rig of ” rubber stamp ” politicians. We need integrity for a change !
The reason these dirtbags are out there now is because Kathleen Springer , running for city council, took them to task ! Otherwise they sit in the office and twitter their thumbs . Astoria vote KATHLEEN !
Why does the MTA hate elevators? To spend $150 million and no elevators is a scandal.
This is truly disgraceful. Everyone benefits from elevators and it is important to give citizens the ability to get to work on time and at an affordable cost!
Access A Ride might not be easy for people to apply if they are disabled but have no health insurance and can’t afford to see a dr to complete forms or get evidence of their disabilities.
I’m sorry, but that’s why there is Acess-a-Ride. Elevators are expensive to install and maintain. Use that money to keep trains running and on time. Public elevators turn into public toilets late at night.
If you ever travelled with a child or anyone with a disability – or yourself in a disabled state – I assure you your opinion would be vastly different.
Is Access a ride also for parents with strollers??
Access a ride only helps a limited number of people who would be using the elevator. Pregnant women, parents and caregivers with strollers and multiple children, the elderly, persons who are handicapped or disabled would all love to have elevator access. You clearly are not any of these otherwise you would open your eyes and see the need. The public is demanding elevator access and MTA is neglecting the people who need to see the changes. Astoria would also become much more accessible to people who are traveling from other boroughs, which would increase pedestrian traffic and boost sales at local businesses. Your comment is quite ignorant.
The trains will never run on time. Nor will any of the station upgrades improve their consistency and schedule. It’s to accommodate the overbuilding and population growth we’ve been experiencing across the city and for cosmetic / functional purposes
Your comment is ridiculous.
Are you going to tell a parent with a disabled child who uses a stroller or wheelchair that they should take access-a-ride?
Elevators should be mandatory
Ohhhhhh I see. But we need more WiFi hot spots for train stations, right? So ridiculous. Priorities are completely screwed up. lol Use that money for trains running on time?…… How long have you lived in Astoria? That will NEVER happen.
Considering the proximity to Mt. Sinai Queens, it is particularly heinous that there is no elevator at 30th Avenue. The hospital should be lobbying the MTA as well.