Sheepshead Bay

Cymbrowitz pushes MTA to build elevators in subway stations

February 4, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Sheepshead Bay station on the Q train line is one several stations in Southern Brooklyn that does not have an elevator. Eagle photo by Paula Katinas
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Southern Brooklyn subway stations are difficult for senior citizens and physically disabled people to navigate, according to Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz, who said the vast majority of the stations don’t have elevators, a sorry situation that forces riders to trek up long flights of stairs to get to the train.

Cymbrowitz, (D-Sheepshead Bay-Brighton Beach) said he has secured $1.3 million in state funding for Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) capital projects in his district and wants the money to be put toward renovating local subway stations to make them more user-friendly for senior citizens and people with physical disabilities.

The assemblymember has written a letter to MTA President Veronique Hakim about working together to find ways to “identify ways to promote accessibility,” which Cymbrowitz said is “a glaring problem in a district that includes 25,000 seniors, or more than 21 percent of the population, a number higher than the citywide average.”

Cymbrowitz said that of the 14 subway stations in the southern end of his district, only one, Kings Highway, which serves the Q and B subway lines, has an elevator. No other station is accessible to the frail elderly or the physically disabled, he said.

“Look on a map. We’re a no-man’s land as far as subway accessibility is concerned, and this is unacceptable,” said Cymbrowitz, who is the chairman of the Assembly Aging Committee.

“Right now, the options are to rely on buses, which are less predictable than trains and require multiple transfers for inter-borough travel, and Access-a-Ride, which is both costlier to the MTA and notoriously unreliable,” he said.

Cymbrowitz added that the lack of accessibility is a common complaint from his constituents.

“I understand that $1.3 million may be just a fraction of what it will cost, but I’m demanding that the MTA turn its attention to the district that needs these accessibility projects the most,” he said. “By the year 2030, the population of older adults is expected to comprise a quarter of New York state’s population. Many people who don’t fall into this category now certainly will then, so some appropriate planning is required.”

MTA spokesperson Amanda Kwan told the Brooklyn Eagle via email that the agency has not yet received Cymbrowitz’s letter. When the letter is received, the MTA will respond directly to Cymbrowitz, she said.


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