It may not be done until 2016 (at the earliest), but the Second Avenue Subway isn't just a twinkle in some contractor's eye anymore. As we inch closer and closer to the reality, locals are arguing over certain details around the project—like, say, handicap accessibility. Some Upper East Siders are against installing more elevators; or as DNAInfo
trolls reports, installing more elevators "would be unfair to stations without them." "For us to ask the MTA to spend a billion more dollars when there are no elevators at all [at some stations] around the city is an obscenity," said Community Board 8 Member David Rosenstein. WON'T SOMEBODY THINK ABOUT THE OTHER STATIONS' FEELINGS??
Resident Jordan Wouk appeared before a recent Second Avenue Subway task force meeting to request that the MTA consider installing at least two elevators in each of the planned stations at East 63rd, 72nd, 86th and 96th Streets. And considering the fact that this is the Upper East Side, he has a pretty reasonable point about the growth in the senior and disabled demographics. "We have an aging population," he noted.
But some locals are concerned about making UESers feel congested: "Between idealism and realism, there's a middle ground," said CB8 member Teri Slater. "We're dealing with our own limited space on the Upper East Side." Some locals in wheelchairs testified that only having one elevator isn't sufficient—services outages in the past forced Ronnie Ellen Raymond to make hours-long trips to the outer boroughs to get home.
"I sort of understand their point, but it's very poorly worded," Edith Prentiss told us. "It's a very arrogant attitude." Prentiss, vice president of legislative affairs for the advocacy group Disabled-In-Action, said this isn't the first time Upper East Siders have raised a fuss about handicapped initiatives: "They didn't want audible pedestrian signals, because it was going to ruin the ambiance of the neighborhood. These people are strange with their priorities."
As of now, only two stations (East 63rd and 72nd) have plans for elevators; that's still better than what Brooklyn residents got with the newly-refurnished Smith-9th Street Station. Prentiss thinks it would be much more cost-productive for the MTA to build the elevators now instead of having to add them in later. And if that doesn't work, there's always Plan B: "In my vindicative moments, [I think we] should brand these people on their foreheads, and they will never be allowed to use an elevator on the subway."