Disability rights activists won a fight with the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) and Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). In a settlement agreement approved by a federal judge, the LIRR will install elevators in three stations where they did major renovations but neglected to provide access.
SILO (Self-Initiated Living Options) is the Suffolk County independent living center on Long Island. Joseph Delgado is the Executive Director and he said “the intent of our lawsuits against the MTA and the LIRR is to change the culture of the entire organization on how they provide services to people with disabilities.”
According to a press release on the DRA (Disability Rights Advocates) website, a national, nonprofit disability rights legal center that represented plaintiff in this case: “In addition to the installation of elevators at each station, the MTA and LIRR will remediate amenities along the paths of travel within the station, as well as all access barriers at the stations, including parking lots, exterior routes of travel, waiting rooms and bathrooms.
The press release also mentioned DIA member and co-council in the lawsuits “James E. Bahamonde, Esq., a paralyzed wartime veteran who is a wheelchair user himself.” Mr. Bahamonde said “we are pleased the MTA and LIRR have agreed to remedy the inaccessibility of these stations for passengers with physical disabilities.”
This case is considered significant because it could be viewed as a model for future access improvements and remediation.