ACCOUNTABILITY AND ACCESSIBILITY

February 01, 2019 at 4:45 am

A young mother carrying her one-year-old child and a stroller full of groceries collapsed and died descending into the subway. In the wake of this tragedy there’s been a call for accountability and accessibility. We have the details.

 Aired on January 31, 2019.

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>> THE TRAGIC DEATH OF A YOUNG
MOTHER WHO FELL DOWN THE STAIRS
OF A MANHATTAN SUBWAY STATION
THIS WEEK HAS RAISED SERIOUS
QUESTIONS ABOUT SAFETY AND
ACCESSIBILITY OF NEW YORK CITY'S
TRANSIT SYSTEM.
22-YEAR-OLD MALAYSIA GOODSON
FELL WHILE CARRYING A 1-YEAR-OLD
DAUGHTER DOWN TO THE PLATFORM
AROUND 8:00 P.M. MONDAY NIGHT.
THE STATION HAS NO ELEVATORS,
AND AN OFFICIAL SAID BOTH
ESCALATORS ONLY GO UP IN ONE
DIRECTION, LEAVING GOODSON NO
CHOICE BUT TO TAKE THE STAIRS
THAT NIGHT.
THE INCIDENT HAS PUT A TRAGIC
SPOTLIGHT ON THE ACCESSIBILITY
ISSUES THAT HAVE PLAGUED THE
SUBWAY SYSTEM FOR YEARS.
ACCORDING TO "THE NEW YORK
TIMES," ONLY ABOUT A QUARTER OF
THE SUBWAY SYSTEM'S 472 STATIONS
HAVE ELEVATORS.
AND MANY OF THOSE ARE OFTEN OUT
OF ORDER.
FOLLOWING THE INCIDENT, MAYOR
DEDe
BLASIO TWEETED THIS IS A
HEARTBREAKING TRAGEDY THAT
SHOULD HAVE NEVER HAPPENED.
THE SUBWAY SYSTEM IS NOT
ACCESSIBLE TO EVERYONE AND
THAT'S AN ENVIRONMENT THAT THE
MTA SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED.
JOINING US NOW IS FOUNDER OF AN
ORGANIZATION THAT HAS PUSHED TO
MAKE TRANSIT MORE ACCESSIBLE TO
PARENTS.
CHRISTINE, THANKS FOR JOINING
US.
>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.
>> FIRST, AS A MOTHER, WHAT WAS
YOUR REACTION TO JUST HEARING
ABOUT THE STORY, WAS THIS
SOMETHING THAT SHOCKED YOU OR
SOMETHING THAT WAS MORE OF AN
INEVITABLE TRAGEDY?
>> IT IS SHOCKING THAT IT GOT TO
THE POINT WHERE THAT HAPPENED,
BUT I THINK EVERYBODY KNEW THE
PROBLEMS.
ALL PARENTS, CAREGIVERS ARE VERY
AWARE OF THIS.
AND THE MTA IS AWARE OF IT, AS
WELL.
IT IS AN AWFUL TRAGEDY.
>> I JUST WANT TO GIVE OUR
VIEWERS AND SO MANY OF THEM, OF
COURSE, EITHER HAVE SMALL
CHILDREN OR HAVE RAISED SMALL
CHILDREN, BUT GIVE US AN
UNDERSTANDING OF YOUR FAMILY
DYNAMIC, AND HOW YOU WORK WITH
YOUR KIDS.
>> I HAVE TWO CHILDREN, 4 AND
ALMOST 1.
AND I ALWAYS NEED A STROLLER,
I'VE NEEDED A STROLLER THE
ENTIRE TIME FOR AT LEAST ONE OF
THEM.
INCLUDING WHILE PREGNANT.
SO CARRYING A STROLLER UP AND
DOWN THE STAIRS, OUR STATION IS
NOT YET ACCESSIBLE.
SOME OF THEM ARE WITHIN SIX
STOPS OR SO.
SO ALWAYS GOING UP AND DOWN THE
STAIRS CARRYING AT LEAST ONE
STROLLER AND IT'S INCREDIBLY
DIFFICULT, AND PEOPLE ARE OFTEN
FALLING, TRIPPING, CHILDREN, AS
WELL.
AND THERE'S NOT REALLY AN
ALTERNATIVE.
THE NEED FOR ELEVATORS IS DIRE.
>> AND I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE
OUT IN THE ASTORIA AREA OF
QUEENS, CORRECT?
>> YES.
>> SO THEN GIVEN THE FACT THAT
YOU ALREADY ARE DEALING WITH A
SUBWAY LINE THAT SUSPECT
NECESSARILY ACCESSIBLE, YOU DO
YOU NAVIGATE YOUR LIFE?
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU HAVE TO
TAKE KIDS TO THE DOCTOR OR TO A
PLAY DATE OR TO SCHOOL, HOW DOES
THAT WORK?
>> THE INACCESSIBILITY OF THE
SYSTEM IS REALLY LIMITING.
MOST PEOPLE, INCLUDING OUR
FAMILIES, STAND AROUND,
SOMETIMES DURING RUSH HOUR, BUT
IT'S REALLY HARD.
AND I THINK WHAT'S IMPORTANT
HERE IS GETTING TO THE POINT
THAT WE SHOULD NOT HAVE TO RELY
ON OTHER CUSTOMERS, INDIVIDUAL
ACTS OF KINDNESS OR, YOU KNOW,
THAT RESPONSIBILITY SHOULDN'T
FALL ON OUR FELLOW RIDERS.
WE NEED TO HAVE INSTITUTIONAL
SUPPORT, BECAUSE WE OFTEN TIMES
HAVE TO WAIT FOR SOMEBODY TO
WAIT US GET DOWN THE STAIRS, OR
WAIT FOR SOMEBODY TO COME BACK
TO THE STATION BOOTH TO OPEN THE
GATE.
THERE'S JUST A LOT OF ACCESS
THAT MAKES GETTING AROUND THE
CITY REALLY DIFFICULT.
>> AND OF COURSE, THE KINDNESS
OF STRANGERS YOU MIGHT BE
REFERRING TO, A LOT OF PEOPLE ON
TWITTER, AFTER HEARING ABOUT
THIS TRAGIC INCIDENT, WERE
TALKING ABOUT HOW IT'S ALMOST
BECOME NEW YORK CITY RITUAL
WHERE IF YOU SEE A MOTHER WITH A
STROLLER, AS A STRANGER, YOU ASK
TO HELP, YOU TAKE THE FRONT,
THEY TAKE THE BACK AND YOU WALK
UP AND DOWN THE STAIRS, BUT
UNFORTUNATELY THAT DOESN'T
ALWAYS HAPPEN.
WHAT KIND OF ACTION OR PRESSURE
IS YOUR ORGANIZATION HOPING TO
PUT ON THE MTA?
>> WE HAVE INTRODUCED A
RESOLUTION TO TRY TO GET A
PREGNANCY AND FAMILY
REPRESENTATIVE AT THE MTA.
WE HAVE HAD RALLIES FOR
ELEVATORS SPECIFICALLY TARGETING
PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS AND
CHILDREN TO SHOW UP.
AND THEY HAVE.
AND WE'VE MET WITH THE MTA, AND
WE HAVE GIVEN A LIST OF POSSIBLE
SOLUTIONS AND SAID, THIS NEEDS
TO BE A PRIORITY.
THIS IS JUST AN AWFUL THING TO
HAVE HAPPEN.
>> ONE FINAL QUESTION.
AGAIN, WITH THE ISSUES THAT WE
SEE WITH THE MTA, WITH THE
EXISTING SYSTEM AND, OF COURSE,
THE FEW ELEVATORS THAT EXIST
THAT ARE OFTEN OUT OF ORDER, AND
THE SIGNAL PROBLEMS AND ALL
THESE OTHER ISSUES THAT THE MTA
HAS HAD, IF THERE IS MONEY
THAT'S FOUND TO THEN START
PUTTING IN MORE ELEVATORS AND
ESCALATORS INTO THE SUBWAY
STOPS, DO YOU HAVE FAITH THAT
THE MTA WILL KEEP ALL OF THEM UP
AND RUNNING?
>> I HAVE FAITH THAT IF THE
THINGS THAT ADD SLOW CATS ARE
PUSHING FOR ARE DONE, THAT THE
NEXT ISSUE SHOULD BE ADDRESSED.
AND THAT WE CAN THEN MAKE THAT
HAPPEN.
>> ALWAYS IMPORTANT TO HAVE
FAITH GOING FORWARD IN
SOMETHING, ESPECIALLY AFTER A
HORRIFIC TRAGEDY LIKE THIS.
>> THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING
ME AND THANK YOU FOR FOCUSING ON
THE ISSUE.
>> ABSOLUTELY.
THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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