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Old 05-09-2013, 04:59 AM
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Thumbs down Smith-9th Street Station Finally Reopens But Isn't Handicap Accessible

Smith-9th Street Station Finally Reopens But Isn't Handicap Accessible
from Gothamist:
After much anticipation, F and G trains began stopping at the newly reopened Smith-9th Street station in Brooklyn this morning. It took an intensive two-year, $32 million station rehabilitation project, but the highest subway station in the world is now refurbished and fully functional—for everyone but the handicapped. "Other than that, the train station is wonderful," Dannelle Johnson of Red Hook told us. "Just include the handicapped accessible and it's at 100%. Right now it's at 95%."

Before renovations, local resident John Montalvo (who you can see in photo #5 above) was able to traverse the station with some struggle; he looked forward to the renovations expecting there would be improvements for handicapped people like himself. Now, he is disappointed and "so ****ing pissed"; not only is there no wheelchair access—there are an extra set of stairs just to enter the building. There's even an area to the side of the entrance that would have been perfect for a ramp (see photo #3)—but instead, there are just more stairs there.

MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz tells us there were structural issues that made it impossible to install an elevator: "The design for ADA elevators at this station was structurally unwieldy and financially prohibitive due to the station's layout. There are ADA stations along the F line at Jay Street-MetroTech and Church Avenue."

It's unfortunate that there can't be more done to aide the disabled, people with walkers or strollers, and the elderly, because otherwise, the station is quite impressive all around, with a new architectural metal panel escalator enclosure, two escalators, state-of-the-art public address and CCTV systems, and a 14-foot-tall mosaic. There's also a permanent extension of the G train to Church Street.

"It will definitely be nice to have the new station instead of having to walk up to Carroll Street, and maybe I'll be able to reliably catch the F train there," said Carroll Gardens resident Eleanor, who declined to give her last name. "The F is always packed during rush hour and it's not uncommon for people to have to wait for multiple trains to get on at Carroll or Bergen. Even though the F is a direct commuting route for me, the platform is sometimes so packed that I end up taking the G and transferring to the A/C just to get to work in Dumbo. We'll see how Monday goes."

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