July 8, 2020 – Case Settled: MTA, LIRR Agree to Upgrade Stations for Mobility-Impaired Riders
The proposed class action detailed on this page has settled. According to documents submitted June 16 to U.S. Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Long Island Rail Road have agreed to implement near- and long-term upgrades to LIRR stations and increase staff training in order to come into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
While the MTA and LIRR have denied any wrongdoing, the commuter entities have set a September 30, 2021 deadline for near-term remediations—relating to bathroom, curb ramps and other upgrades—and a June 30, 2023 deadline for long-term fixes, including the installation of full-access elevators and electrical upgrades.
The settlement agreement, which outlines the terms of the deal, can be found here.
A New York non-profit alleges in a lawsuit that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the Long Island Rail Road Company (LIRR) have deliberately ignored the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) accessibility requirements by failing to install elevators and make other upgrades that would allow those with mobility disabilities to have adequate access to the LIRR commuter rail line.
The proposed class action, filed by the Suffolk Independent Living Organization and three named plaintiffs, charges that despite undertaking an $11 million escalator replacement project at the Amityville, Copiague and Lindenhurst stations on the LIRR’s Babylon line in 2016, the defendants failed to install elevators to allow those with mobility disabilities access to station platforms. The plaintiffs argue that the lack of elevator access is “particularly detrimental” in that individuals with mobility disabilities are effectively prevented from accessing the LIRR’s commuter rail service across roughly eight miles of track on the Babylon line.
An apparent lack of elevators notwithstanding, the case further claims the defendants, who include the MTA and LIRR’s top directors, have further violated the ADA by failing to make waiting room restrooms and other amenities wheelchair accessible.
“In doing so,” the 24-page lawsuit reads, “the MTA and LIRR violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and its implementing regulations, which require that ‘to the maximum extent feasible,the path of travel to the altered area and the bathrooms, telephones, and drinking fountains serving the altered area [must be made]readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs.’”
The suit seeks from the court injunctive relief to enforce ADA mandates that require “full and equal access to disabled persons when stations undergo renovations” such as those recently implemented at the three aforementioned LIRR stations.