BUSHWICK — Neighbors are fuming that long-awaited renovation work on the "run-down" Wilson Avenue L train stop will include a ramp to make the Manhattan-bound platform handicap accessible — but nothing for the Canarsie-bound platform.
Andy Inglesby, the MTA's assistant director for government and community relations, told Bushwick's Community Board 4 Wednesday that only $3 million to $5 million has been budgeted for the project — not enough for an elevator or lift to the Canarsie-bound platform, which sits above the Manhattan-bound tracks.
The Manhattan-bound platform sits on the ground floor, making it cheaper and easier to make handicap-accessible, he said.
"If Canarsie-bound was on the first floor, that would get the ADA accessibility," Inglesby said.
But residents and board members were perplexed that the stop would only be handicap accessible going one way on the L train, with some saying that planned aesthetic changes by the MTA like reopening closed-off windows and an adding lights to stairwells matter less.
"Why spend all this money and you can’t go anywhere you want?" one board member said. "No one has to see me in the window."
Assemblywoman Maritza Davila, whose district does not include the station, wanted an explanation from the MTA regarding the plan.
"It’s disturbing to me that it’s being catered to go to Manhattan and not to Canarsie," she said. "That’s not acceptable."
Ingelsby said adding an elevator to the Canarise-bound platform would cost "millions" more. He pointed to the Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenue L and M station, a handicap-accessible station located two stops away on the line, as an alternative for returning to Bushwick.
The Wilson Avenue L station has long needed repairs. A study released by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli this month found that it was one of the city's top stations in need of architectural fixes. It noted that 77 percent of the station’s architectural components required repair, more than all but one other station in the city.
Moreover, renovations at the station are "component," meaning construction will only fix some elements, Inglesby added.
Fixes include waterproofing and painting existing pipes, replacing missing tiles, repairing steel columns, replacing the front facade and adding lights to the staircase.
Contracts will be awarded at the end of the year, and work will start in late March or early April, Ingelsby said. Work is expected to be completed in February 2016.
"I know it's a long time coming," Ingelsby said.
Despite being irked by a one-way ticket for the wheelchair-using, the board voted to support the repairs, applauding the fact that any work at all was being done at the "horrible" station.
Board members committed to pushing state and federal elected officials for further repairs at the station, including more cameras and lighting for safety, and an elevator for the Canarsie-bound travelers. The board also hoped to press the MTA to clean up the city-owned vacant lot next to the station.
"I hear that you think this is an incomplete project," said CB4 district manager Nadine Whitted. "However, this is what they’re offering us today."