Elevate Transit: Zoning for Transit Accessibility

In New York City, the MTA’s compliance with ADA is constrained by the densely built environment surrounding subway stations. There is not always sidewalk space for elevators and water, sewer, gas, electric, and fiber-optic cables under sidewalks and streets may require relocation.

New York’s continuous redevelopment opens brief windows of opportunity to locate off-sidewalk elevators. The MTA and Department of City Planning modified parts of the zoning resolution, creating citywide requirements and incentives that align development with the subway’s goal of universal accessibility. The modifications provide easements for the MTA and incentives for developers to build projects that increase accessibility while maintaining property values.

Accessibility advocates worked with the agencies to write the new language. Since every council district and community board was affected, collaboration was essential. Speakers will describe the coalition that got the legislation passed.

Communities across the country that face similar challenges can use both the process and the code.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand that a novel use of the zoning code could help solve transit access and ADA accessibility issues.
  • Learn how agencies' working with the disability community can lead to improved policy outcomes.
  • Recognize opportunities for planning and transit organizations to collaborate.

The NPC Peer Reviewers assigned this presentation a learning level of Intermediate. For more on learning level descriptions visit our General Information Page.