NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Metropolitan Transportation Authority recently updated a Bronx subway station to help disabled commuters. The project was part of a multi-million dollar overhaul.
But as CBS2’s Steve Langford reported, there is a problem. A key piece of equipment is missing.
A man in a wheelchair and his helper approached the Middletown Road subway station in the Bronx, where up the stairs there is newly installed equipment to help the disabled, but no elevator to get up there.
“It doesn’t make any sense. I mean where’s the elevator,” a man said.
The man proceeded to get out of his chair and begin a slow, excruciating walk up all 55 steps to the subway platform. A good Samaritan offered to carry the wheelchair up.
The disable man stopped halfway to avail himself of the new low-level MetroCard reader that lets disabled riders enter through a special, wide gate. It was part of the $1.5 million spent on improvements which included bumpy warning strips for the disabled at this station.
“If you’re in a wheelchair you can use it, but also if you have a seeing eye dog, if you’re using a walker,” MTA Chief Spokesman Adam Lisberg said.
The improvements help individuals avoid having to make their way through turnstiles, according to Lisberg.
He said the new equipment benefits people with a wide-range of disabilities even if there is no elevator.
“The deal tray that you see down here that helps people even if they’re not in wheelchairs, the autofare gate helps people even if they’re not in wheelchairs,” Lisberg said.
The man with the wheelchair continued his long climb up the stairs. He didn’t speak English, so we don’t know what he thinks of the wheelchair accessible equipment in an elevated station that has no elevator.
“It’s hard to watch something like that and know that it’s not easy to get an elevator installed in a station like this,” Lisberg said.
The MTA said an elevator simply can’t be installed here.
“The problem is, we don’t think it’s feasible to do that because of the layout on the street below and because of the vertical clearance you’d require,” Lisberg added.
The authority believes nonetheless, improvements at the station are worthwhile.
“There was a gentleman who got upstairs here in a wheelchair and this could have benefited him,” Lisberg said.
That gentleman’s brave climb up all 55 steps came to a cringe-worthy conclusion as the doors closed on him as he struggles to get on the downtown train.
The Federal Transit Administration has told the MTA its failure to install an elevator at the Middletown Road station is not in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
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