Thanks to local activists and a $45 million grant, one of the busiest subway stations in the Bronx will soon receive two new elevators.
On Tuesday, December 1, the South Bronx Community Congress held a press conference to celebrate their victory after the MTA included the funding of $45 million for the construction of two new elevators at the 149th Street / Grand Concourse subway station to accommodate those, particularly seniors and the disabled, who use the commercial hub on a regular basis.
The funding, which is part of the MTA 2015-2019 Capital Budget, will result in an elevator replacement on the east side and the installation of a new elevator on the west side of the subway station, a project that SBCC has fought for since 2012.
SBCC, an activist group made of local residents, school teachers and laborers, many of whom attended nearby Hostos Community College, hounded the MTA and held various petition drives and protests.
They also talked to residents and received signatures from residents living at Michelangelo Apartments, located at 225 E. 149th Street, who agreed that new elevators needed to be in the nearby subway station.
Additionally, SBCC received support from Congressman Jose Serrano as well as Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo.
During the press conference, the audience, some of whom were SBCC members, chanted uplifting phrases such as “Victory For The South Bronx”, “Power To The People”, and “Si, Se Puede”, meaning “Yes, It IsPossible” in Spanish.
According to the MTA, the 2015-2019 capital program currently awaits approval by the Capital Program Review Board in Albany.
Once approved, the MTA will be able to move forward with the design and construction of the elevators at the station to make it ADA accessible.
If approved, the elevator replacement and installation project, which took nearly half a decade to receive funding for, will begin in 2016 and is expected to be completed in 2018, and stands as the perfect example of individuals coming together to make a powerful and impactful change in their community.
“After a number of years petitioning, protesting and lobbying, we have finally achieved this victory for the community,” said Julio Munoz, president of the South Bronx Community Congress, who has been a part of six protests and has testified at MTA hearings to get this project in the works.
“We want to thank all of our members, organizations and individuals who assisted in the campaign. This is a victory for all south Bronx residents,” he concluded.