Nov. 20, 2019 By Allie Griffin
A Jackson Heights resident has started a petition calling on the MTA to add an elevator when it overhauls the 82nd Street subway station.
The Change.org petition, posted by Jackson Heights Beautification Group president Nuala O’Doherty on Tuesday, has already garnered more than 300 signatures at the time of publication.
The MTA plans to overhaul the decrepit station along with at least five others along the 7 line. The agency told the Queens Post last week that the project is currently in the design phase and it will award a contract for the work by summer 2020 with construction possibly beginning soon after.
The petition noted that the MTA will likely spend millions to revamp the 82nd Street station and included in that cost should be the installation of an elevator.
“The MTA will spend millions of dollars revamping the 82nd Street 7 line subway station,” it states. “The renovation must include the addition of an elevator.”
It also noted that the station is blocks away from Elmhurst Hospital Center, which handled nearly 700,000 ambulatory care visits and 130,000 emergency room encounters last year.
With the hospital so close by, the station is heavily trafficked.
“With the volume of traffic at this elevated station, there must be an elevator. Elevators are not high tech, but standard equipment especially for a public facility that must be ADA compliant,” the petition continues. “As the MTA plans the renovation, the must not overlook the need for an elevator.”
Assembly Member Catalina Cruz previously said that she hears complaints from constituents about the 82nd Street station weekly — usually about the condition of the stairs.
The MTA has been criticized for not installing elevators during station upgrades in the past.
Several elected officials and Astoria mothers held a rally in 2017 protesting the MTA’s decision to not include elevators in its $150 million revamp of four Astoria subway stations on the N/W line. They said the upgrades failed to make the stations accessible for the disabled, elderly and parents with strollers.
A spokesperson for the MTA said that 70 subway stations across the city will be made ADA accessible as part of the agency’s next five-year capital plan. He did not specify if the 82nd Street station is one of those 70.
“The MTA’s next five-year capital plan invests an unprecedented amount – more than $5 billion – in order to make 70 stations across New York City accessible, achieving the immediate systemwide goal of having nobody ever be more than two stops away from an accessible station,” the spokesperson said. “Subsequent plans will build on this progress, with the ultimate goal of achieving maximum possible accessibility across the city in 15 years.”
“We look forward to taking input from the public as we move forward to bring unprecedented accessibility to the subway system across the five boroughs,” he added.