Lawsuit accuses MTA, LIRR of violating ADA over wheelchair access

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AMITYVILLE -

A lawsuit accuses the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Long Island Rail Road of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act over wheelchair access at some stations.

Air Force veteran Raymond Harewood is unable to use the Amityville LIRR station, the closest to his North Amityville home, because it's not wheelchair-accessible. He says having to rely on others is a "helpless feeling."

Harewood is among four plaintiffs suing the MTA and LIRR, accusing them of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. They want elevators installed at the Amityville, Copiague and Lindenhurst stations.

Brian Solomon, of the Suffolk Independent Living Organization, is visually impaired and uses a walker. He says escalators don't cut it for him, at least not without great difficulty, and there's no way down for him.

The MTA completed renovations at the three stations in 2016, including the installation of new escalators. But advocates say under the ADA, when those improvements were made, the MTA and LIRR were required to accommodate people of all abilities by installing elevators but failed to do so.

Plaintiffs say they aren't looking for money; they just want change.

They don't want anything but to have elevators so they can use the station like anyone else," says Christina Brandt-Young, a disability rights advocate.

Harewood says he won't stop fighting until the railroad finally fixes the gap in accessibility.

News 12 did not hear back from the MTA for comment.

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