Really New York, you promote yourself as the Crossroads of the World, but even a crossroad has a safe set of cross walks controlled in a way to make travel safe for all.
When I first arrived in New York in 1998 I stayed in a backpackers with the dubious name of Banana Bungalow on the Upper West Side. When I paid for my room I got a welcome pack with a brochure from the MTA telling me how easy use of the subway and bus system was and it was available to all, yes all.
Well when I emigrated I was 6ft 3 inches and upright and had no idea of the wheelchair that was waiting in my future so when I ran up stairs to catch every train or down stairs to every subway I thought “wow they’re right it’s easy.” Fast forward to yesterday, 14 years and 8 months later. I had spent a great late afternoon attempting to master the 5 story high rock wall at Outward Bound NYC. When we left we were directly under the 7 train so we knew a station wasn’t far. We rolled about 4 blocks, asked bus drivers, asked off duty mta workers and locals alike all to no avail. Apparently all three stations in the area had stairs everywhere but no elevator. So after a day of showing that as a disabled woman I was able to do whatever the able-bodied can do and most times better I was forced to crawl up not one but three double flights of stairs leaving any vestige of pride and dignity at the bottom of the first flight. I literally sat on my butt, used my thankfully increased upper body strength to lift myself using the guide rail to the next step and so on. Each flight was the height of a two storey building. I dragged my butt up 300 steps dragging my thankfully light chair behind me. The system was drag myself up two steps then my chair up one I did this 150 times on my ass.
This was not the first time. Three months ago I had to crawl down two flights at 14th and 8th because the elevator listed as working on the official MTA website was broken. I have had to do this twenty or more times but IT MUST STOP.
I pay taxes. I contribute. I work tirelessly for my community. I help promote adaptive sports and I am completely self-supporting. I do not receive I cent of welfare or Medicare or Medicaid or public assistance of any kind, but even if I did every single citizen deserves to not have their dignity stolen like a New York mugger by government incompetence.
NYC subway system has 468 stops and station 270 elevators but only at 60 stations and they brag on their website that on any given day less than 17% work that is their bragging number.
Mr. Bloomberg likes to tell all who listen that caring for the disabled community is not now or will it ever be the responsibility of his administration and that we have no right catching cabs so why shouldn’t they be accessible? He tells us to catch the subway then I say BLOODY WELL FIX IT AND MAKE IT COMPETELY 100% ACCESSIBLE – 468 stations all with elevators.
RESPECT OUR EXISTENCE OR EXPECT OUR RESISTANCE