Sunday, July 25, 2010

Doomsday on the Broadway Local: Day 28

We've established that Sundays are my day off of subways. So you already know that I did not ride the subway today. I actually was going to - I thought hard about going to do an L train ride today. I'm not going to go into all the reasons that that was just not in the cards. *sigh*

I would like to discuss with you an anomaly. Fellow New Yorkers may recall, in recent memory in fact, the year or so that was spent putting an elevator into the 57th Street station, located at 57th and 7th Avenue. Seriously, it took for freaking ever. And drove me MAD, because of course I go to that station once a week, and of course they had to install the elevator on the corner where I usually enter and exit the station. Which means that somewhere in the neighborhood of 52 times I had to cross 7th Avenue when I shouldn't have needed to, damnit, because due to the construction the stairwell was closed. But I'm all for ADA compliance and wheelchair accessibility, so I sucked it up for the greater good.

Imagine my surprise when the wonderful new elevator was unveiled... and it didn't get anywhere near the trains. No, the elevator descends to the mezzanine where one can purchase a Metrocard or speak with a booth attendant, should one actually be stationed there. However, there is still a full case of stairs to descend before you'll be at the train platform.


If anyone can explain this to me, I'd really love to hear it. As far as I can tell, the MTA spent who even knows how many tens of thousands of dollars building an elevator so that people in wheelchairs can... look at a station? I've been trying to get a peek to see if maybe there's a secret way down and out onto the platform that I'm just not seeing somehow, but if there is it's secret like the Batman cave. And only allows access to the Downtown platform.

Perhaps the first elevator was only phase one...? But as of now, there is no sign of any continuing work.



Although, even if it did reach the platform, I understand there's an ongoing problem with trains not really coming level with platforms. Many of these stations are old - 50 years, 100 years. The trains have been redesigned over and over. So it's not so surprising. But surprising or not, when a wheelchaired person wants to board a train and can't, because the train's floor is a solid four inches above the platform, well that's just plain frustrating. And something tells me that good old Access-A-Ride is not the magic solution.

I don't have a magic solution. New York City is not an easy place to be for anyone who isn't young and healthy and energetic, and while I'm glad to see an awareness and willingness for compliance, I also feel that there's only so much edge that can ever be taken off of this fast paced, enormous, and driven city. To my fellow New Yorkers, I can only implore you: be aware.

No comments: