NYC Subways Not Accessible to People with Disabilities

Tags: Currents, Brooklyn, NY, Faith, Family, Queens, NY

By Emily Drooby

When the Hallocks get their two kids ready out for a day out, one thing they want to avoid, the subway. Sasha Hallock explained, “I mean, in terms of the subway, we really don’t take the subway as a family.”

Sasha and his wife Sarah have a three-year-old son, Oliver, who sometimes uses a stroller and a 6-year-old, Judah, who can’t walk on his own. They don’t use the subway because at too many stations, there’s no safe way to access the platform.

Sasha explained, “We would carry Judah down the stairs in his wheelchair but as he got bigger and his wheelchair got heavier that’s just not possible so that’s really limited us in terms of the subway.”

Instead they use the bus. Sasha said, an elevator is being built at their Eastern Parkway subway stop, but by the time it’s done they’ll be in their next apartment, facing the same problem. Sarah explained, “We will be near two subway stops, none of the have elevators.”

The Hallocks just one of many families facing accessibility problems in New York City. A recent issue highlighted by the death of Malaysia Goodson, a mom who passed away after falling down subway station stairs while carrying a stroller.

Of the incident, Sara said, “It’s pretty sobering to think about all the times I have walked up the steps carrying a baby in a stroller or carrying my son who is 6-years-old and can’t walk…what if something had gone wrong then how many times is there a little water or ice even on the top of those steps it’s pretty scary to think about.”

According to a 2018 report from the City Comptroller’s Office, only 24 percent of the 472 subway stations citywide are accessible by an elevator. In Brooklyn, according to the report, there are 44 neighborhoods serviced by the subway but 26 of those neighborhoods don’t have a single accessible station.

The Hallocks say they’re encouraged by recent steps taken by NYC Transit President Andy Byford, who’s making accessibility a key point in his plans to quickly modernize services, but the Hallocks haven’t seen any changes yet.

Sasha said, “Felt some real hope with some of the direction that it seemed like he was bringing and yet on a day to day basis we are still dealing with the same things.”