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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 13, 2018

U.S. Attorney Announces Suit Against The MTA And New York City Transit Authority For Failure To Make A Bronx Subway Station Accessible After A Full Renovation

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that the United States has filed a Complaint-in-Intervention (the “Complaint”) in a lawsuit, Bronx Independent Living Services v. Metropolitan Transit Authority, filed against the Metropolitan Transit Authority (“MTA”) and the New York City Transit Authority (“NYCTA”) to remedy violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the “ADA”).  The United States’ Complaint alleges that the MTA and NYCTA violated the ADA when they altered the Middletown Road subway station on the number 6 line in the Bronx without insuring that the station was rendered readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs, to the maximum extent feasible.  Due to the failure to comply with the ADA, the Federal Transit Administration (“FTA”) concluded that it would not provide any funding for the cost of the renovation of the Middletown Road station.  The Complaint seeks declaratory and injunctive relief requiring MTA and NYCTA to install elevators at the Middletown Road station.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “There is no justification for public entities to ignore the requirements of the ADA 28 years after its passage.  The subway system is a vital part of New York City’s transportation system, and when a subway station undergoes a complete renovation, MTA and NYCTA must comply with its obligations to make such stations accessible to the maximum extent feasible.” 

The United States’ Complaint alleges that MTA and NYCTA violated the ADA by failing to install an elevator at the Middletown Road subway station serving the Pelham Bay neighborhood in the Bronx, despite spending more than $27 million on renovations of the station.  The renovations included replacing floors, walls, ceilings, and stairs leading to the street and platform.  Prior to beginning construction, the FTA and the U.S. Department of Transportation corresponded with MTA and NYCTA about their obligation to install an elevator at the station unless the MTA and NYCTA could demonstrate that it was technically infeasible to do so.  While that dialogue continued, and after the FTA had informed NYCTA that NYCTA’s analysis of the feasibility of installing an elevator was insufficient, MTA and NYCTA completed the renovation without installing an elevator and sought reimbursement from FTA for the cost of the renovation.  FTA ultimately concluded that it would have been technically feasible for MTA and NYCTA to install one or more elevators at the station.  As a result of MTA’s and NYCTA’s failure to install an elevator at the Middletown Road station, individuals with mobility impairments, including individuals who use wheelchairs, are unable to access the station. 

Mr. Berman thanked the FTA for its assistance with this matter.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Civil Rights Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lara K. Eshkenazi and Ellen Blain are in charge of the case.

Topic(s): 
Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 
18-072
Updated March 13, 2018