Both the Assembly and state senate have passed a bill from Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz that he says will help establish better criteria allowing the MTA to prioritize which subway stations will get accessibility improvements first.
A.8127 was designed as potential law that would complement the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Fast Forward plan that was supposed to speed up improvements at 50 subway stations over the next five years.
That plan, however, is now meeting some skepticism that it will ever be complete following massive ridership and revenue losses in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Because of that, Dinowitz wants the MTA to have a consistent priority protocol in place, considering everything from citywide geographic coverage, transit transfer options, annual ridership volume, census tract data for senior citizens and disabled populations, and percentage of those populations in poverty.
The bill also could require the MTA to consider residential density of surrounding neighborhoods, as well as proximity to medical centers, schools, parks, business districts, cultural hubs and senior centers.
“The fight for progress is long and arduous, but I am very proud that we have taken one step closer to a fully accessible subway system,” Dinowitz said, in a release. “It is imperative that the MTA does not just pick subway stations that are easy or convenient in order to hit their target numbers, but instead that they pick stations which will have the biggest benefit for riders with disabilities and other mobility limitations.”
Of the 472 subway stations, only a quarter of them are accessible, Dinowitz said.