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Union Tpke

U.S. Attorney Berman sues MTA for disability violation

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https://www.cityandstateny.com/articles/policy/infrastructure/us-attorney-berman-sues-mta-disability-violation.html

Attorney for the Southern District of New York, defied expectations that he will hew to his boss’s anti-civil rights agenda, filing suit on Tuesday against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for allegedly violating the Americans with Disabilities Act

The complaint argues that the MTA and New York City Transit Authority violated the ADA when they altered the Middletown Road subway station on the number 6 line in the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx. The renovation, which cost $27 million, according to Berman’s office, did not make the station accessible to wheelchairs. The ADA requires public accommodations to be made accessible to people with disabilities when undergoing substantial renovations. 

The station has long been a source of contention. Disability rights advocates filed a suit in 2016 alleging that the renovation violates the ADA and demanding the installation of elevators at the station. 

Berman’s Tuesday action, in which he joins that ongoing suit, may create an additional headache for New York’s troubled transit authority. The suit also highlights how, nearly three decades after the ADA was signed into law, the MTA’s failure to comply with it is costing the cash-strapped organization federal dollars. “Due to the failure to comply with the ADA, the Federal Transit Administration concluded that it would not provide any funding for the cost of the renovation of the Middletown Road station,” the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York said in a press release. 

“There is no justification for public entities to ignore the requirements of the ADA 28 years after its passage,” said Berman in a statement. “The subway system is a vital part of New York City’s transportation system, and when a subway station undergoes a complete renovation, MTA and NYCTA must comply with its obligations to make such stations accessible to the maximum extent feasible.”

Advocates for transit riders and the disabled applauded Berman’s move, making unlikely allies out of the Republican appointee and liberal Democrats. “The MTA's continued emphasis on style over substance wastes scarce resources, hurts transit riders, and stunts our economy while its failed Enhanced Station Initiative continues to cosmetically renovate stations without improving service or accessibility,” said state Deputy Senate Minority Leader Michael Gianaris from Queens. “It should not take federal legal intervention to force the MTA to do its job, yet here we are. It is past time for the Enhanced Station Initiative to end and for the money to be spent instead on actually fixing our subways." 

Edited by Lance
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Agreed... Long overdue. The fact of the matter is they've tried to avoid adhering to the ADA requirements.  The fact that they keep bringing up that installing elevators and the like are costly shows why they are resistant to do so.  Nevertheless all of this means that they need to see how they can get costs down.  Completely avoiding their obligations to make stations ADA accessible is unacceptable.  In my neighborhood we've had all three of the closest stations down on Broadway rehabbed, and yet only one of them has elevators.  The (MTA) refused to put elevators at the 242nd street station despite board member Charles Moerdler insisting that the agency do so, and they certainly didn't install any at the 238th street station.

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While I’m all for ADA access, I don’t think is the best way to approach it. Suing the MTA will cost both sides money, and if the govt wins, well, then what?

Court-ordered reallocation of capital funds in this day and age sounds like a recipe for disaster, especially given the laundry list of other things that need to be addressed. Making some timeline is subject to vagaries in MTA funding, how communities around new elevators feel about their installation (68th st anyone?), and the willingness of the City govt to cooperate with their installation. And any punitive indemnities will just serve to increase the debt load of an already suffering agency. 

I say, instead, sue the politicians. They are, in the end, in control of the MTA, its budgeting, and its priorities. If Cuomo, past governors, or significant numbers of senators/assemblypeople had made a stink about ADA, this would have been done ages ago. Shooting the vessel of their opinions won’t fix their not caring. 

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3 hours ago, RR503 said:

While I’m all for ADA access, I don’t think is the best way to approach it. Suing the MTA will cost both sides money, and if the govt wins, well, then what?

Court-ordered reallocation of capital funds in this day and age sounds like a recipe for disaster, especially given the laundry list of other things that need to be addressed. Making some timeline is subject to vagaries in MTA funding, how communities around new elevators feel about their installation (68th st anyone?), and the willingness of the City govt to cooperate with their installation. And any punitive indemnities will just serve to increase the debt load of an already suffering agency. 

I say, instead, sue the politicians. They are, in the end, in control of the MTA, its budgeting, and its priorities. If Cuomo, past governors, or significant numbers of senators/assemblypeople had made a stink about ADA, this would have been done ages ago. Shooting the vessel of their opinions won’t fix their not caring. 

The end effect would be the same; the City of New York funds the legal defense of the city's politicians and likewise for the state.

Atlantic Yards basically proved that the City, State, and MTA are willing to bulldoze mountains of community opposition when it suits them; I don't think that this is a great reason to delay the ADA.

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What about this as an idea to make more subway stops ADA-accessible?

Elevators are a pain to install because of the vertical shafts. Recently, though, inclined elevators have become a viable solution, and can use the footprint of a normal staircase. There are a lot of closed stairways, both elevated and underground, throughout the subway. What about using these to create ADA-accessible stations using inclined elevators? Yes, the MTA had something of a bad experience with the one in Hudson Yards, but they just need to find a way to source more off-the-shelf designs whenever possible instead of custom-building. They've worked in other parts of the world; there's no reason inclinators couldn't make it here either.

One place I was thinking of specifically was the (J) between Marcy Avenue and Broadway Junction. Many of these stops have closed, but still intact, staircases. Inclined elevators could be installed here to provide ADA access to the Jamaica Line stops, and also to provide an alternative in the Bushwick and Williamsburg area to (L) stops, which will be harder to modify due to both a lack of disused staircases and their location underground.

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35 minutes ago, bobtehpanda said:

The end effect would be the same; the City of New York funds the legal defense of the city's politicians and likewise for the state.

Atlantic Yards basically proved that the City, State, and MTA are willing to bulldoze mountains of community opposition when it suits them; I don't think that this is a great reason to delay the ADA.

When I said sue, I was being hyperbolic. Bothering them is enough — no need to sue someone whose career you can end with information. 

And sure, Atlantic Yards did show that, but if you tried the same tactics in any richer neighborhood, you’d get a middle finger, a slew of donors calling, and a platoon of lawsuits going your way. 

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1 hour ago, officiallyliam said:

What about this as an idea to make more subway stops ADA-accessible?

Elevators are a pain to install because of the vertical shafts. Recently, though, inclined elevators have become a viable solution, and can use the footprint of a normal staircase. There are a lot of closed stairways, both elevated and underground, throughout the subway. What about using these to create ADA-accessible stations using inclined elevators? Yes, the MTA had something of a bad experience with the one in Hudson Yards, but they just need to find a way to source more off-the-shelf designs whenever possible instead of custom-building. They've worked in other parts of the world; there's no reason inclinators couldn't make it here either.

One place I was thinking of specifically was the (J) between Marcy Avenue and Broadway Junction. Many of these stops have closed, but still intact, staircases. Inclined elevators could be installed here to provide ADA access to the Jamaica Line stops, and also to provide an alternative in the Bushwick and Williamsburg area to (L) stops, which will be harder to modify due to both a lack of disused staircases and their location underground.

Yeah, I'm with this idea. I wonder if this would work...

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9 hours ago, m7zanr160s said:

Yeah, I'm with this idea. I wonder if this would work...

London did something similar to this a few years ago, when they replaced an old escalator at the Greenford station with an incline elevator in the same footprint.

The problem is that none of the big elevator or escalator companies seem to sell off-the-shelf inclinators, meaning costs will be higher due to the need to design and build, but the MTA could get around this by ordering a large number of identical ones at the same time.

Add to my possible location list the Crosstown line between Metropolitan and Hoyt. All of these stations, if I recall correctly, (Broadway, Flushing, Myrtle-Will, Bedford-Nostrand, maybe Classon and Clinton, and Fulton) have unused staircases that won’t be quite as useless once the (G) goes full length for the shutdown. This could be an inexpensive way to add ADA accessibility to a line with growing ridership.

This site is helpful to see where closed entrances are: https://project.wnyc.org/subway-exits/#13/40.7787/-73.9517. It doesn't detail the condition of the staircases, or if the footprint of them is still intact, but there's probably enough knowledge here of these stations to figure that out.

Edited by officiallyliam
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On ‎3‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 5:31 PM, Union Tpke said:

“There is no justification for public entities to ignore the requirements of the ADA 28 years after its passage,”

I don't know, being told you're exempt is a pretty good justification if you ask me...

20 hours ago, officiallyliam said:

What about this as an idea to make more subway stops ADA-accessible?

Elevators are a pain to install because of the vertical shafts. Recently, though, inclined elevators have become a viable solution, and can use the footprint of a normal staircase. There are a lot of closed stairways, both elevated and underground, throughout the subway. What about using these to create ADA-accessible stations using inclined elevators? Yes, the MTA had something of a bad experience with the one in Hudson Yards, but they just need to find a way to source more off-the-shelf designs whenever possible instead of custom-building. They've worked in other parts of the world; there's no reason inclinators couldn't make it here either.

One place I was thinking of specifically was the (J) between Marcy Avenue and Broadway Junction. Many of these stops have closed, but still intact, staircases. Inclined elevators could be installed here to provide ADA access to the Jamaica Line stops, and also to provide an alternative in the Bushwick and Williamsburg area to (L) stops, which will be harder to modify due to both a lack of disused staircases and their location underground.

Delaying the station for over a year is a bit more than just "something of a bad experience"

PS, that installation at Greenford on the Central Line, broke down while the dignitaries were still there, talking about it. 

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17 minutes ago, Kamen Rider said:

Delaying the station for over a year is a bit more than just "something of a bad experience"

PS, that installation at Greenford on the Central Line, broke down while the dignitaries were still there, talking about it. 

To be fair, the Hudson Yards incline elevator could have been a lot better thought through, and a lot of the problems were caused or exacerbated by the fact that the elevators' hardware and software were all coming from different places: the elevator cars themselves were built in Italy, with the rest of the hardware and software being compiled from various places here in the United States. Also, according to Horodniceanu, when the elevators failed the first operational test in late August of 2014, much of Italy was on their summer vacation and therefore improvements were delayed. This would have been far better if everything was done either here or in Europe, and not cobbled together from different companies from different parts of the world.

As for the Greenford thing, I've seen the video. It seemed like a simple breakdown (it was rectified in a few minutes) that simply occurred at the wrong time, and is not indicative of the general performance or reliability of incline elevators

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I presume you'd need to demolish the stairs' structure in order to install an inclined elevator. (Like, are they really going to put a new elevator on a rusty old stair that was built in the 1910s?) 

At that point, you might as well just put in a normal elevator.

Underground stations? Eh. Maybe. A ramp would be cheaper.

Edited by P3F

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8 hours ago, officiallyliam said:

To be fair, the Hudson Yards incline elevator could have been a lot better thought through, and a lot of the problems were caused or exacerbated by the fact that the elevators' hardware and software were all coming from different places: the elevator cars themselves were built in Italy, with the rest of the hardware and software being compiled from various places here in the United States. Also, according to Horodniceanu, when the elevators failed the first operational test in late August of 2014, much of Italy was on their summer vacation and therefore improvements were delayed. This would have been far better if everything was done either here or in Europe, and not cobbled together from different companies from different parts of the world.

As for the Greenford thing, I've seen the video. It seemed like a simple breakdown (it was rectified in a few minutes) that simply occurred at the wrong time, and is not indicative of the general performance or reliability of incline elevators

Buy America gets you American engineering quality.

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9 hours ago, P3F said:

I presume you'd need to demolish the stairs' structure in order to install an inclined elevator. (Like, are they really going to put a new elevator on a rusty old stair that was built in the 1910s?) 

At that point, you might as well just put in a normal elevator.

Underground stations? Eh. Maybe. A ramp would be cheaper.

Yes, but incline elevators can be built in the angled footprint left by the old staircase and doesn't require a new vertical shaft. This makes it easier, and more feasible in terms of cost, to make stations ADA accessible that have lower ridership  and may have otherwise been forgotten about or passed over for new elevators.

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8 hours ago, officiallyliam said:

Yes, but incline elevators can be built in the angled footprint left by the old staircase and doesn't require a new vertical shaft. This makes it easier, and more feasible in terms of cost, to make stations ADA accessible that have lower ridership  and may have otherwise been forgotten about or passed over for new elevators.

I'm wondering if they could do this but put two elevators in one shaft just to speed up boarding/alighting.

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52 minutes ago, Deucey said:

I'm wondering if they could do this but put two elevators in one shaft just to speed up boarding/alighting.

Those old el stairwells tend not to be very wide, so I doubt it would work all that well.

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1 hour ago, Deucey said:

I'm wondering if they could do this but put two elevators in one shaft just to speed up boarding/alighting.

 

9 minutes ago, bobtehpanda said:

Those old el stairwells tend not to be very wide, so I doubt it would work all that well.

Maybe you're talking about two elevators per shaft, not next to one another, but stacked? Thyssen-Krupp has built models like this for buildings; how well this could work in the subway (where there are only usually two floors) I'm not sure.

https://www.thyssenkruppelevator.com/elevator-products/twin

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1 hour ago, bobtehpanda said:

Those old el stairwells tend not to be very wide, so I doubt it would work all that well.

I think this incline elevator design could work well in underground stations. I know that 72nd on CPW, which will close soon for repairs, has a closed entrance/exit at 71/CPW which could be used.

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