Straphangers to MTA: We need elevators!

Straphangers to MTA: We need elevators!
Photo by Jason Speakman

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority must install elevators at the Broadway Junction subway station so aging straphangers, parents with strollers, and riders in wheelchairs can reach the trains without having to climb the station’s three-stories-worth of treacherously steep stairs, say locals.

The station has escalators, but they are out of service too often, and still do nothing for people in wheelchairs, said one Canarsie rider.

“I have no idea why they don’t do a damn thing for that station. When escalators do go down, they do make repairs, but when it goes down it’s a problem — it has happened and people are impacted by it,” said Michael Ien, who suffers from sciatica in his knee. “It hurts thinking about someone who is even worse, a senior citizen, or someone who is disabled — that’s brutal.”

The Broadway Junction station — right at the border of East New York, Brownsville, and Bushwick — shuttles straphangers on the A, C, J, Z, and L lines around Brooklyn and into Manhattan. Right now, Canarsie residents can ride the L train all the way across the East River, but once the tunnel closes for much-needed Hurricane Sandy repairs, those straphangers will have to navigate the more-than-100 vertical steps down to the A or C line, or trek over to catch either the J or Z, said Ien.

“The worst thing, if you take the A, and you got to move to the L, it’s 142 steps,” said Ien, who commutes every day from Canarsie into Manhattan for work.

And the station’s three escalators, which are also harrowingly steep, are a better option than the stairs for those with canes or carriages, but they are often out of service too, or are just plain nerve wracking when traveling with toddlers, said one Brownsville resident, who was pushing her 2-year-old son in a stroller.

“They should include more with the elevators and safety, and because sometimes the escalator doesn’t work,” said Frenci Bagom. “It’s hard for us to go with the kids.”

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority did not answer repeated questions about whether it would look into making the station handicapped accessible, even in light of the impending L closure — but Borough President Adams says the need is dire and transportation honchos should act fast.

“We need to be mobilized to act expeditiously for the thousands of riders facing mobility issues in our subway system,” The Beep said in an e-mailed statement. “The impending shutdown of the Canarsie Tube has made a number of capital priorities even more pressing, and I urge the MTA to include addressing accessibility concerns at the Broadway Junction transit hub as part of their greater mitigation strategy.”

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