The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is set to close the elevator at the Flatbush Ave-Brooklyn College station at the start of July and replace it with a new one, which will open in 2022.
The six month closure will leave the 2 and 5 train station largely inaccessible to people with disabilities who rely on the elevator to access the subway, and will require them to travel more than a mile to the Church Ave subway station, Brooklyn Paper reports.
MTA Chief Accessibility Officer Quemuel Arroyo told Brooklyn Paper accessibility meant building new elevators, replacing old ones so they remained reliable, and “a host of other station, train and bus improvements across the system, all of which is underway at the same time.”
“When this project is done, the Flatbush Ave station will have a state-of-the-art elevator that customers can rely upon for years to come. We thank our customers for their patience and invite them to use the fully accessible bus system while this critical work is underway.”
The station’s elevator was installed in 1997 and has outlasted the typical 17.5 year lifespan. In 2021, it was in service 93% of the time, the MTA’s Elevator and Escalator Performance Dashboard shows.
The new elevator, which will cost approximately $7.65 million, will include upgraded surveillance, fire alarm systems, and fault monitoring equipment.
However, Brooklyn Center for the Independence of the Disabled Executive Director told Brooklyn Paper that while elevator maintenance and repair was a fact of life for people with disabilities, the closure would still be acutely felt by affected riders.
“The loss of a station like this, far away from any other accessible station, really makes it difficult for anyone, in a wheelchair or if they have other mobility problems, from using the subway system,” he said.
“Why does it take so damn long to replace an elevator, and why is there only one elevator at that station, so if there is a replacement, the entire neighborhood is inaccessible,” he added.
Currently, only around one quarter (472) New York City subway stations are ADA accessible. The MTA plans to increase that with new elevators at 66 stations, including 21 in Brooklyn, according to its 2020-24 capital plan.
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