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NEW YORK — When Anthony Trocchia has to travel between Manhattan and his home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, he has to spend hours riding on buses.
"To go from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to the Lower East Side of Manhattan would take three buses, which on a good day can be done in an hour," said Trocchia, a disability activist. "On a bad day it could be two hours, each way.
There is a life line — the L line. But the station near his home is off limits because there is no elevator.
That will change as the MTA plans to install five elevators at the Metropolitan Avenue-Lorimer Street stop on the G and L lines as part of a project to make the station compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
"It would absolutely open up a world to me that I have, up until now, not deemed possible," Trocchia said.
And in that new world, he says, easier, faster trips to see friends and medical care.
"This would connect me to 14th Street," said Trocchia. "My best friend lives in the East Village. I haven’t been able to visit her. There’s a 24-hour, seven-day a week urgent care center, where St. Vincent’s hospital used to be. I mean, there’s everything."
The MTA has made it a priority to add more elevators to subway stations in a system where a quarter of stops are accessible.
But that number is growing.
The MTA unveiled on Tuesday new elevators at the 57th Street stop in Midtown on the N, Q, R and W lines, as well as plans to upgrade eight other stations, including the Metropolitan Avenue-Lorimer Street stop.
"Now more than ever as we reopen we need a transit system that is truly accessible to all New Yorkers," Janno Lieber, the MTA’s chief development officer, said in Midtown announcing the new station elevators. "It will speed our recovery and it’s justice delayed, we need it now."
But the MTA is facing push back from property and business owners for the project in Williamsburg.
Lisa Summa is one of them, and she organized a group called Friends of Lorimer Station.
"It’ll be in front of people’s homes and businesses," she said.
Summa is trying to enlist local elected officials to get the MTA to change its plans.
"We are not against the ADA elevator, what we would like is some reconsideration of the placement of the elevator," she said.
As planned, the elevator will be on the same block as her home, and a new station entrace will be just eight feet from her doorstep.
"This plan seems to be subtracting the little sidewalk space we have which would make it a difficult living situation," Summa said.
The MTA says the locations are the only sites where it’s possible to install elevators, and that it’s not practical to change the plans.
The project is still being designed, and is expected to be complete in 2023.
Trocchia dismissed the concerns from the community group. What matters is that people with disabilities, like himself, have the freedom to travel where they want, when they want.
"We want more. and we should. I’m never gonna see a completely accessible wheelchair system in my lifetime, it’s not gonna happen but hopefully you look to the generation ahead," Trocchia said.