Community advocacy is underway to get a long sought after elevator installed at a busy train station.
A couple of thousand signatures were presented to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority at their board meeting in Manhattan on Wednesday, September 26 calling for the installation of an ADA-accessible elevator at the Mosholu Parkway station stop on Jerome Avenue’s IRT # 4 train.
The MTA is in the process of modernizing it’s stations to make them ADA compliant, and backers of the proposal, the Coalition for Accessible Subways at Mosholu Parkway, believe that an elevator at the busy station near two hospitals, two large high schools, some of the tallest buildings in the borough and numerous senior centers and doctors offices is a much needed addition.
Elected officials, community leaders, and advocates for people with disabilities offered testimony at the MTA hearing in lower Manhattan on the 26th.
In the six weeks leading up to the hearing, coalition members collected the more than 2,000 signatures, including at a successful outreach near the station on Friday, September 21.
Senator Jamaal Bailey; Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez; Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz; Jean Hill, CB 7 chairperson; Eric Dinowitz, a 81st Assembly District Democratic district leader; and other coalition members took part in Friday’s signature round up.
“The Mosholu Parkway 4 train station is located in a central and highly populated area of the Bronx,” said Bailey, adding that residents of the area and patients at local hospitals “find themselves struggling to walk up the staircase or are unable to use the train because of the lack of elevator service.”
He said that parents with strollers and temporarily disabled individuals also find themselves at a disadvantage when using the station on the IRT # 4 line.
Fernandez said she has had plenty of constituents complaints.
“The train services people who go to both Montefiore and the North Central Bronx Hospital,” said Fernandez. “It is also the best and most affordable transportation option for the thousands of residents who live nearby; the MTA must acknowledge the needs of the communities in the Bronx and accommodate them appropriately.”
Assemblyman Dinowitz believes that given its proximity to hospitals the station should have had an elevator years ago, but “that the reality is it is sometimes the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.”
He said he was proud of Hill’s and Eric Dinowtiz’s community-driven effort to collect signatures to convince the MTA of the need for an elevator.
Eric Dinowitz said that the group took the initiative for an elevator at the location in April when the MTA allocated an additional $300 million to its 2015-19 Capital Plan for elevators and platforms improvements for people with disabilities for five stations across their subway system.
The allocation is the first step in a long process of making the system more accessible.
“The MTA wants it so that there is no more than two stations between handicapped accessible stations and right now the closest is Fordham Road, three stations away,” said Eric Dinowitz, noting that he doesn’t believe there’s adequate bus service between Fordham Road and Mosholu Parkway either.
He said that the need has been demonstrated to the MTA based on the agency’s own standards and community interest in seeing an elevator at the location.