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Christiana Henry Final Research Blog post

Accessible but not really: New York City Subway System

 

  In New York, you will never not see just one mode of transportation. There are various types of transportation ranging from buses to trains to taxi’s and many more. Not all forms of these transportation, especially trains are accessible for people with disabilities. My map portrays in two different time periods (1973 and 2019), the level of accessibility of different train stops that disabled people can access. It is important to understand that without these accessible stops, it limits that disabled person quality of life. Also it’s vital to make sure that there is equality among everyone, because we are all human beings with feelings and emotions. Although the Americans with disabilities act was passed in 1990, ensuring equal access, to this day people with disabilities have trouble accessing the trains, which prevents their quality of life, indicating that there should be more accessible train stations.


The Americans with disabilities act was passed in 1990 and ensured equal access to people with disabilities. The ADATA.org website explains what the ADA entails. It states ” The Americans with disabilities act became law in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in jobs, schools and transportation and places that are open to the general public.” This quote is explaining when this act was passed and how people with disabilities are protected by it. I agree with the government’s decision to pass this law/act because without it, disabled people would still be treated unfairly. The ADA ensured equal access to people with disabilities. According to the  U.S transportation website, the U.S department of transportation (D.O.T) hosted the Access and Mobility for all summit to raise awareness and make efforts to improve accessibility to trains for people with disabilities. Secretary of transportation Elaine L. Chao states ” A notice of funding opportunity for FTA’s 2020 Mobility for all pilot program, seeks to improve mobility options and access to community services for older adults, individuals with disabilities, and low incomes.” This quote is explaining how actions will be taken by the department of transportation to improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities, by funding specific programs to fit their needs. Elaine Chao’s plan to increase mobility for disabled people is useful because it sheds light on the issue of funding and providing multiple ways of access to trains for people with disabilities. Also according to the department of transportation they state ” the government’s wide efforts to improve access and mobility for people with disabilities, can provide more efficient, affordable, and accessible vehicles and mobility services such as transit and ridesharing.” Therefore this quote is explaining how the government is finding ways to ensure that people who are disabled have equal access to transportation. I agree with the government’s efforts to make a change to accessibility because disabled people deserve a chance to be part of modern society.


Today people with disabilities have trouble accessing the trains, which prevents their quality of life. Christensen Keith Access to urban transportation system for individuals with disabilities explains how community integration is important for individuals with disabilities. He states ” It is essential that the built environment be supportive and provide access to the community resources, including housing, employment, transportation, and community service for all individuals.” This quote shows that when we make efforts to make a change in the environment that we live in, it benefits all individuals. As a result it is important to integrate individuals with disabilities, and individuals that are able to access transportation, to create a greater quality of life, and prevent social isolation.


There should be more accessible train stations for disabled people. MTA workers devise a plan for the years 2020 through 2024 to have more accessible train stations.  Martinez Jose MTA plan calls for more accessible subway stations, explains how the MTA is going to fix train stations that are not accessible for disabled people. He states ” The MTA pledge Monday to fast-track subway access for people with disabilities, by making 66 more stations easier to navigate as part of a new $51billion, five year spending plan”. This quote shows that the money that the MTA has is going towards creating a better way of traveling for people who have disabilities, and cannot access the subway stations at certain stops. I agree with the MTA’s plan to create more accessible stations, and I feel that it is important because everyone especially those who cannot walk, deserve a chance to get from place to place without limits and/or restrictions.


In conclusion it has become common today to dismiss the idea that trains are becoming less accessible for disabled individuals. The individuals that think in such ways often agree that lack of access to trains for disabled people have become more frequent, but suggest that efforts to improving their transportation conditions would simply be too costly and there are other alternatives to riding the trains that wouldn’t be so time consuming. My evidence clearly shows that the government has programs in place right now, and in the future, that will help fund the cost of mobility and accessibility for disabled individuals. When you look at a map of the New York City subway routes, that are accessible, you can see that in a lot of areas there are huge gaps in between train stops. Think about how easily it is for people who are able to walk , and who are able to hop on the subway. The service and conditions in the train cars may not always be the best but it isn’t a struggle for them to get on and off the trains, and get to where they need to go. Now think about someone who is disabled, and struggles to move around or get from place to place. Imagine what it is like for them to get on and off the train. Doesn’t everyone deserve a chance to go where they want without any issues?


  1. “Quality Of Life.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quality of life.
  2. “What Is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?” ADA National Network, 10 Dec. 2019, https://adata.org/learn-about-ada.
  3. “US Department of Transportation.” US Department of Transportation, https://www.transportation.gov/.
  4.  Christensen, Keith M. Access to Urban Transportation System for Individuals with Disabilities. Vol. 41, 2017.
  5. “Integrate.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/integrate.
  6. Martinez, Jose. “MTA Plan Calls for More Accessible Subway Stations.” The City, 17 Sept. 2019, https://thecity.nyc/2019/09/mta-rolls-out-accessibility-plans-for-more-subway-stations.html.