Manhattan residents protest MTA's station enhancement plan

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Kemberly Richardson reports on subway protest in Manhattan over subway station repairs

The MTA began its "Enhanced Station Initiative" on Monday, with the 110th Street stop on the B and C lines set to be closed for roughly six months.

Residents, not surprisingly, are not happy with the plan, and many were caught off guard when they arrived at the station Monday morning.

While the plan will improve stations aesthetically and technologically, it will not improve them in terms of disabled access, something Trisa Harris needs.

"You got to go downtown to come back uptown to get where you need to go, and the buses are slow," she said. "It takes three hours."

Right now, there no plans to put an elevator or escalator in the station. Dozens of people, many of them disabled, held a rally Monday.

"We are demanding accessibility on this line," City Councilman Mark Levine said. "And we want a full accounting of the accessibility needs, and we want a plan to achieve it. We want adequate substitute service while this work is being, and we want true and respectful updates to our community boards."

Only about 25 percent of the 472 subway stations are accessible to people with disabilities. While there are buses, some like Queens resident Christine Yearwood say they aren't adequate.

"The MTA is missing out on a huge revenue stream," she said. "Children, parents, caregivers, because people do limit themselves a lot to their neighborhoods."

Yearwood said she doesn't like holding her infant on the bus and prefers to ride the subway, which becomes difficult during peak hours when the trains are packed and there isn't any room for the stroller.

The program will also hit B and C lines at West 72nd Street May 7 and West 86th Street June 4. Residents say they were not informed of the closures and want change.

"I'm introducing legalization that would require 90 days notice to all impacted before any train closures of renovations," state Senator Brain Benjamin said. "We're just being shoved this plan down our throats, and we've just got to stand here and take it."

Officials want the MTA to stop the construction and arrange more meetings to inform the communities, such as where and when temporary shuttle buses are operating.

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politicsmtapublic transportationsubwaysubway constructioncommutingUpper West SideHarlemManhattan
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