Locals demand overdue improvements to Broadway Junction station
Ahead of the MTA’s announcement of its five-year capital investment plan next month, local officials and community members gathered outside Broadway Junction station on Monday to demand the agency fund improvements to the station — including accessibility measures for riders with disabilities.
The New York City Economic Development Corporation released last Thursday a preliminary plan to revitalize the station. As the borough’s third-busiest station, it holds five subway lines, six bus routes and an LIRR stop. The plan, backed by Councilmember Rafael Espinal and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, includes both improvements to the area with safer, more attractive street space and retail space and calls for infrastructure upgrades to the station itself, which currently does not have an elevator.
“It is a disgrace to see a station this large … lack access to elevators. It is a disgrace to see escalators that have undergone months of repair, to continue to break down on a daily basis,” Espinal said outside the station. “This station is the heart of North Brooklyn, but it’s currently failing; it is going into cardiac arrest and we need to breath some life into it.”
On the morning of the press conference, two of the station’s three escalators were broken. They were fixed shortly after.
2 of 3 escalators broken at #BroadwayJunction. Something the 100,000 daily commuters of the station are never surprised about. Join me & other advocates rallying TODAY @ 10am in front of the station to call on @MTA to seriously invest in making this hub accessible for all. pic.twitter.com/EupK8Ch3t3
— Rafael L Espinal Jr. (@RLEspinal) August 26, 2019
Broadway Junction, which hosts the A, C, J, L and Z lines, serves around 100,000 passengers each day. In addition to the accessibility issue, community members charged that the interior is filled with peeling paint, rust and dimly lit areas.
“The MTA has been MIA when it comes down to the residents here,” Adams said. “There’s something we are recognizing that’s taking place in the MTA. The MTA does not move forward with giving first-class transportation systems until communities are gentrified.”
The MTA capital plan, expected to be released in September, will outline the agency’s projects for the next five years. Rebecca Bailin of the Riders Alliance said that revenue needs to go into accessibility and improvements, not vanity projects.
“We want to see signal improvements that will help our subways move faster, we want to see new train cars that don’t break down all the time and we really must see accessible stations,” Bailin said.
Leading up to the announcement of the capital plan, the Riders Alliance is holding an online survey to hear from riders on what issues impact them most.
Jessica De La Rosa, who uses a wheelchair, said it took her two hours to get to the station from her home on 29th Street in Manhattan. Navigating the subway system for her includes using a mix of buses, taxis and certain stations strategically to arrive where she needs to go. The closest accessible station to Broadway Junction is four stops away at Euclid Avenue on the A/C line.
“It took me two hours just to get here today because I couldn’t just exit at the station like everybody else,” she said. “It’s long past time that this change happens.”
Of the subway system’s 472 stations, only about a quarter are fully accessible — and lack of accessibility does not only plague people with disabilities.
On Jan. 28, 2019, Malaysia Goodson attempted to carry her 1-year-old daughter in a stroller down the stairs of the Seventh Avenue subway station in Manhattan because there was no elevator in the station. She fell down the stairs and died. Her daughter survived.
The current 2015-2019 capital plan included $1.4 billion toward improving subway station accessibility with $479 million to replace 42 existing elevators and 27 escalators.
“We agree with Borough President Adams and Councilmember Espinal that the Broadway Junction station needs to be fully accessible for all riders and generally upgraded to reflect its importance as a critical transit hub,” said MTA spokesman Tim Minton in an email. “The Broadway Junction station complex needs upgrades, and we will provide them. The MTA will update the entire complex with full ADA accessibility.”
Minton added that additional details will be announced as part of the upcoming capital plan discussions.
The revitalization plan for the station falls under the East New York Neighborhood Plan rezoning that was approved by the city in 2016. In 2017, Adams and Espinal launched the Broadway Junction Working Group that developed the recommendations for the busy transit hub.
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