Upper West Side subway closures for renovations begin, residents protest

UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- There are major changes for commuters on the Upper West Side as a six month subway renovation project begins.

The 72nd Street B/C station is now closed and will remain closed until October.

During that time, the MTA will replace concrete and wall tiles while adding high tech improvements like LED illuminated handrails and countdown clocks outside the station.

The 110th and 86th Street stations are also undergoing similar repairs.

Some residents have protested against the plan because while it does improve the 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 last month.

"We are demanding accessibility on this line," City Councilman Mark Levine had 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.

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