A lawsuit claims the Long Island Rail Road violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when it didn’t install elevators at stations planned for infrastructure upgrades.
David Rodriguez, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, needs a motorized wheelchair to get around. Rodriguez can’t access his LIRR station because it doesn’t have an elevator, so he has to work around that.
“It’s definitely extra commuting on my part, extra planning, relying on other people when I feel like I shouldn’t. I feel like I should be able to access my local station just as well as anybody else.”
The lawsuit says recent renovations at three LIRR stations triggered a legal duty to make the stations accessible to people with mobility disabilities.
Christina Brandt-Young, an attorney with Disability Rights Advocates, says previous court rulings show this failure is a pattern with the MTA.
“When the MTA together, with New York City Transit, ripped out the stairs on a subway on the 6 line, and replaced those lines, they had an obligation to put in an elevator in there. We’ve gotten a similar ruling on the Metro-North line. This is the first time that we’re attacking for that same pattern but on the LIRR.”
The lawsuit seeks a court order to build elevators at stations in Amityville, Copiague and Lindenhurst.
The MTA says it doesn’t comment on pending litigation, but offers people with disabilities assistance for those who call ahead. Authorities say more than 87 percent of LIRR stations are wheelchair accessible.