Announce Joint Effort with the MTA and Department of City Planning to Advance Proposals in the Coming Year

New York, NY – Building on a proposal in the “Let’s
Go” report from his State of the City address this year, New York City Council
Speaker Corey Johnson joined Land Use Chair Rafael Salamanca, Zoning
Subcommittee Chair Francisco Moya, and Committee on Aging Chair Margaret Chin
to call for the expansion of zoning tools to better coordinate private
development with expanding transit accessibility for the disabled community and
all New Yorkers.

Despite recent progress, today fewer than 25% of the 493
subway and Staten Island Railway (SIR) stations are fully ADA-accessible. While
the MTA has committed to fund accessibility at 70 new stations in its upcoming
Capital Programs, this still leaves hundreds of stations without plans for ADA
access implementation.

Using zoning tools to incentivize or require private
development projects to incorporate subway station access improvements could,
over time, save millions of capital dollars that could be allocated to
additional stations – allowing New York to achieve the ultimate goal of
system-wide ADA access faster and at less public expense.

Over the coming year, the City Council will work closely
with the MTA, Department of City Planning, and the transit and disability
advocacy communities to advance the proposals outlined in “Zoning for Transit

To accompany the report, the Council also released an
interactive online map of subway system accessibility available on the Council website.

“All New Yorkers deserve equal access to their city and we
must do everything in our power to accelerate the implementation of ADA
accessibility in the transit system,” said Speaker Corey Johnson. “Zoning
is a tool that the City has within our control and with stronger and more
widely applied zoning tools, we can ensure that developers who build near
subway stations coordinate with the MTA and help deliver the station
improvements like elevators that we so desperately need.”

“On a daily basis, millions of New Yorkers are denied access
to some of the most basic fundamental services because of a subway system that
lacks full accessibility,” stated Council Member Rafael Salamanca, Chair of
the Committee on Land Use.
“To be a city that serves everyone, we must
explore all options, including zoning incentives within private developments,
to achieve the goal of system-wide accessibility.”

“Expanding New Yorkers’ access to the subway means expanding
their access to everything from job opportunities and health care to education
and entertainment,” said Council Member Francisco Moya, Chair of the
Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises.
“A disability shouldn’t cut you off
from this city but that’s exactly what happens for people living near any of
the hundreds of non-ADA-accessible subway stations. We can and must use zoning
tools to fix that problem and connect people to their city. I thank Speaker
Johnson and Council Members Salamanca and Chin for their advocacy on this issue
and I look forward to continuing our work with the MTA and DCP to democratize
access to transportation.”

“To achieve a truly accessible public transportation system
we will need to use every tool available,” said Council Member Margaret S.
Chin, Chair of the Committee on Aging.
“Through zoning tools, the Council
can create a system of incentives and rules to ensure private developments near
subway stations expand accessibility at those stations. I am proud to work with
the Speaker and Council Members Salamanca and Moya to move New York towards a
truly equitable public transportation system.”

MTA New York City Transit President Andy Byford
“I very much welcome the Speaker’s initiative as this will be
another step toward realizing the fully accessible subway system that all New
Yorkers need and deserve.”

“Improving accessibility for all
New Yorkers to our subway system is among the most important challenges we
face. The Department of City Planning looks forward to working with the
City Council, MTA, accessibility advocates and subway riders as we continue to
advance new, practical zoning tools that enhance subway access for all users,” said
Department of City Planning (DCP) Director Marisa Lago.

“Over three-quarters of the city’s Subway stations are not
accessible, and far too many will remain inaccessible even with the MTA’s
commitments. We must do better. All New Yorkers should be able to access our
mass transit system. AARP New York applauds Speaker Corey Johnson’s plan to use
tools such as zoning to accomplish this goal, and we stand ready to continue
working with the Speaker on this plan,” said Chris Widelo, Associate State
Director, AARP NY.

Susan Dooha, Executive Director of the Center for
Independence of the Disabled, NY (CIDNY) said
: “The overwhelming
inaccessibility of the subway system interferes with the ability of people with
disabilities to work, go to school, and engage in the civic process. We are
excited to see the New York City Council Speaker Johnson and Council Members
Salamanca, Moya and Chin advance the use of zoning tools to reduce the costs
and ease the process of making more of New York City’s subway system
accessible. Next, we’ll look forward to a binding agreement that will make the
entire system accessible in keeping with major cities in the United States and across
the globe.”

“LiveOn NY applauds Speaker Johnson and City Council’s
innovative efforts to tackle the complex transit and accessibility
issues facing New York’s older adult and disability communities,” stated
Allison Nickerson, Executive Director of LiveOn NY. “Through Zoning
for Transit Accessibility,
we look forward to working with our partners, including the Department of City
Planning and the MTA, to expand the toolset that can be used to make New York a
better, more accessible place to age.”   

“The lack of accessibility of the vast majority of
subway stations deprives more than 2 million New Yorkers of their full right to
mobility, and is an injustice that must be urgently redressed. Speaker Johnson
and the City Council have identified an important opportunity to convert the
enormous value that public transit creates for surrounding landholders into
meeting an unmet public need. The City Council’s exploration into the ways that
more of that value can be recovered corrects an imbalance, and is redistributive
and innovative. We look forward to working with them and local communities to
craft proposals that advance this concept,” said Elena Conte, Deputy
Director, Pratt Center for Community Development.

“A subway system that is less than 25% accessible unfairly
excludes people with disabilities, children and their caretakers, tourists,
delivery workers, and anyone else who can’t use stairs during their daily
travel. We understand that significant investment will be necessary to correct
decades of underinvestment in elevators and their maintenance. We welcome
zoning changes and development incentives that will help our city reach a goal
of 100% subway accessibility while improving maintenance practices for
privately owned elevators,” said Jessica Murray, Rise and Resist Elevator
Action Group.

Daniel Coates, Director of Campaigns and Organizing,
Riders Alliance, said:

“Accessible public transit is critical for ensuring all New
Yorkers can move freely around our city. The City should use all the tools it
possesses to make our system more accessible, especially during zoning
conversations. The Speaker’s proposal is a good one, and we’re happy more
emphasis will be placed on improving transit accessibility as part of
developments in the future. Thanks to Speaker Johnson and Councilmember Chin,
Salamanca, and Moya for their leadership.”

“Using zoning for improving
transit accessibility makes a lot sense. This effort will provide the necessary
resources for bringing ADA accessibility to more stations while encouraging a
stronger nexus between our transit system and future development,” said Tom
Wright President & CEO Regional Plan Association.

Colin Wright, Senior Associate at TransitCenter said: “New
York must use every tool available to provide equal access to our subway.
Speaker Johnson’s proposal smartly expands access to proven zoning tools, and
asks developers to help improve the station capacity in their neighborhoods.
Given that 25 privately-owned elevators and escalators performed below New York
City Transit’s standard in the first quarter of this year, the agency must be
vigilant in requiring ongoing maintenance of the new lifts.”

“NYC must be accessible and livable for everyone, and in no
other area is this more important than our transportation network, which should
break down, not create, mobility barriers. A fully accessible and ADA-compliant
subway system cannot come fast enough. We commend Council Speaker Johnson and
the City Council for advancing these innovative zoning changes,” said Marco
Conner, Deputy Director, Transportation Alternatives.

“Zoning for Transit Accessibility
would be a great step forward in making the New York City transit system
accessible. It benefits the City by boosting consumer activity in densely
populated areas, by making the subway system near local businesses accessible.
This revenue allows the MTA to allocate more funding for accessibility in less
populated areas, making the city as a whole more inclusive—and a lot more
accessible. We would like to thank City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and the
New York City Council Land-Use Division for putting together this proposal,” said
Jose Hernandez, President, NYC Chapter, United Spinal Association.