WHYY: Facebook Twitter Email SEPTA riders with disabilities say one street-level elevator isn’t enough to improve accessibility

Marking the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on Monday, lawmakers from Philadelphia highlighted improvements that U.S. House-passed funding would provide at SEPTA’s Erie Station in North Philadelphia. But some riders with disabilities question whether such improvements go far enough.

Reps. Dwight Evans and Brendan Boyle teamed up to request $7.2 million for new elevators at the Broad Street Line’s Erie Avenue station.

Evans said teamwork is key to improving mass transit.

“We believe we worked strongly together to make this happen and this will do huge things for not just the location,” Evans said, “but for the city of Philadelphia, for transit, and particularly for the disabled.”

Boyle said the money will help the transit agency reach a goal of making the system completely accessible.

“It is part of the Invest Act that the House of Representatives passed several weeks ago and is now sitting in front of the Senate,” Boyle explained.

Boyle said the Erie Avenue elevators are just one project of many that are contained in the infrastructure bill.

“I was able to secure between $15 and $20 million of all sorts of transportation projects throughout my district,” Boyle said. “Dwight did exactly the same thing for his district, so combined that’s about $40 million of transportation projects that we are bringing back to the city of Philadelphia.”

The infrastructure projects are part of the Biden administration’s effort to help repair crumbling roads, bridges, and other structures plaguing states across the nation.

Thomas Earle, CEO of Liberty Resources, a nonprofit that advocates for and works with people with disabilities, spoke to the importance of making routes more accessible.

“Accessible transportation is a key piece of the integration puzzle for us in the disabled community. We need transportation to get to and from work, doctors appointments, so that we can truly be a part of the community.”