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MTA Agrees to Add Elevator at Dyckman Street Subway Station Following Lawsuit

By Carla Zanoni | July 21, 2011 1:29pm
The southbound track of the 1 train at Dyckman Street will become accessible for people with mobility issues in 2014.
The southbound track of the 1 train at Dyckman Street will become accessible for people with mobility issues in 2014.
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DNAinfo/Carla Zanoni

UPPER MANHATTAN — Although the MTA originally said it would be impossible to make the Dyckman 1 train station accessible to disabled people, the authority plans to install an elevator on the southbound side by 2014, DNAinfo has learned.

The announcement by the MTA and disability advocacy group United Spinal Association comes a year after the authority announced a $24 million overhaul of the station would not include making it accessible for people with physical disabilities, DNAinfo first reported

The agreement comes as part of the United Spinal Association's class-action lawsuit against the MTA for its failure to meet the needs of disabled 1 train riders in northern Manhattan.

"Installing elevators during scheduled station renovations goes far to promote transportation access for people who use wheelchairs,” said James Weisman, senior vice president and general counsel for the United Spinal Association.

“This is a significant resolution that will enhance subway access for all users of the station with mobility challenges.”

Through the settlement, the MTA promised to install an elevator at the southbound platform of the Dyckman Street Station, enabling people with physical disabilities, the elderly or people who use baby carriages or carts to get on and off southbound 1 trains.  

According to Weisman, the landmarked station’s configuration will not allow for an elevator on the northbound side of the station, meaning mobility-impaired riders wishing to use the northbound platform would need to ride to the 231st Street station and return on a southbound train.

“We are pleased that we will be able to improve accessibility for our customers at Dyckman Street,” said MTA spokeswoman Deirdre Parker in an email.

“MTA New York City Transit has always included ADA elements in station rehabs and remains committed to enhancing the accessibility of our stations to the extent that funding allows. To that end, we will continue to review the need for, and feasibility of, elevators in connection with future station rehabilitations.”

Although the cost of the Dyckman Street rehabilitation is approximately $24 million, the entire tab is not subject to MTA regulations stipulating that 20 percent of a project's total cost go toward making the station ADA-accessible, according to the authority. 

The total cost of the elevator installation is unknown, as it is still in the design phase with the MTA. The authority plans to put out a bid for the installation in 2012.

For Weisman, even partial accessibility is a move in the right direction.

“Making stations accessible as they are renovated makes great economic sense for public transit," he said. "The cost of providing access is a small part of renovation costs.”

According to the United Spinal Association, “access for people with disabilities is especially important in Inwood,” where 25.1 percent of people living near the Dyckman Street station are self identified as having some form of disability.

The Dyckman Street rehabilitation is part of a larger $45 million renovation along the 1 train line from Dyckman Street to 242nd Street in the Bronx. In northern Manhattan, the project also includes the reconstruction of stairs and canopies at the 207th and 215th street stations.