Locals: MTA deaf on Sheepshead Bay Road elevator

Locals: MTA deaf on Sheepshead Bay Road elevator
Handicapped inaccessible: Community Board 15 members, including Debbie Greif, want the state to install an elevator at the Sheepshead Bay subway station, but Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials won’t even set up a meeting with the community.
File photo by Georgine Benvenuto

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is “stonewalling” Community Board 15 by refusing to set up a meeting to discuss getting a much-needed elevator at the Sheepshead Bay Road subway station, board members charge.

“Well I certainly don’t feel good about it — if they had been told, ‘we want to see you within five business days,’ I can understand them saying ‘we are not going to be able to make it,’ but to schedule a meeting with reps at the board would absolutely be something that they should be doing,” said board member Maurice Kolodin. “By their stonewalling discussion about an MTA issue in our community, it ain’t making it any better.”

Locals have been begging for a lift in the Sheepshead Bay Road B and Q station for years — to help the many aging straphangers in the neighborhood — but the authority denies the request each time. And now, authority officials say they are “unable to schedule a meeting at this time,” after the board sent them an invitation to chat about the possibility of finally getting the elevator, according to CB15 chairwoman Theresa Scavo.

The Sheepshead Bay station is not on the authority’s current list of 100 key stations around the city it plans to make handicapped accessible by 2020. And it’s too late to add it to the 2015–2019 budget, so authority officials told the board a meeting wouldn’t make any difference anyway. But that won’t keep the board from pressing the issue, said Scavo, because the authority’s recommendation is required to get Sheepshead Bay Road to the top of the list for the next round of accessible stations.

“You need the MTA, if the MTA doesn’t propose it, we don’t stand a chance of getting that elevator. There’s no sense of them coming to the meeting until we move closer to the new budget,” she said. “From this point, we will be advocating for the upgrade. It’s a need, it’s a desperate need.”

And one straphanging board member, who has long advocated for the elevator for the disabled, said she wants the opportunity to make the case to authority officials.

“I would like for them to meet with the board and the community,” said Debbie Greif, a member of CB15, who is also a member of handicapped-accessibility advocacy group the 504 Dems.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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