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Home / US / The death of a mother on the subway stairs challenges New Yorkers to demand accessibility

The death of a mother on the subway stairs challenges New Yorkers to demand accessibility



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Malaysia Goodson entered a subway station in Manhattan on Monday night and squeezed a stroller.

She's one-year-old daughter Rhylee was embedded. Ms. Goodson, 22, from Stamford, Connecticut, had brought her to the city for a shopping spree.

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Malaysia Goodson Matthew Brown / Hearst Connecticut Media

Like so many New York parents, Ms. Goodson faced a familiar but dangerous challenge: she pulled her stroller and her daughter's Steps down a train station that, like most stops in the city's creaky subway system, had no elevator.

As Ms. Goodson dismounted, she fell and crashed downstairs onto the subway platform of Seventh Avenue Station on 53rd Street, officials said.

Her daughter survived the fall. Mrs. Goodson did not do that.

Her death echoed throughout New York City, between stunned parents who often crossed crowded subway stairs with walkers, and people who are disabled and routinely encounter an inaccessible transit system.

"Anyone who has been A parent or caregiver knows this is a problem," said Christine Serdjenian Yearwood, founder of Up-Stand, an organization that has sought to make transit traffic more accessible to parents.

"I had many people writing and saying," That could have been me, "she said.

Goodson was an in love parent and open-minded person, said her mother, Tamika Goodson, one of four children. who grew up in New York, but moved to Stamford with her family nine years ago.

Mark Marchesani, who was her counselor at Westhill High School in Stamford, remembered Mrs. Goodson as a teenager who "had" a hard time "She was the kind of kid when she made her smile," he said, "It felt like a real win."

Year 2015 she was her Mu Dr. Goodson had big dreams. She worked for about a year in a daycare in Stamford and was thrilled. But she had also talked about becoming a security guard or flight attendant.

Goodson's daughter was the light of her life, her cousin Ronshuana Anthony said.

"Malaysia has given so much of itself," said Ms. Anthony, adding, "She would give her the last breath, if she was."

When emergency workers arrived at the subway station on Monday night, it was Ms. Goodson was unconscious and did not respond, police said.

She was taken to Mount Sinai West Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

] Ms. Goodson's daughter became aware and treated at the scene of the crime Tamika Goodson said. she is reunited with her father and grandmother in the city.

It is not clear whether Ms. Goodson suffered from illness or was killed by the fall, and the city's medical examiner will determine her cause of death, officials said.

Shams Tarek, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the subway, called the death "a heartbreaking tragedy" and said the authority would work with the police to investigate. [19659003] While officials continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the fall of Ms. Goodson, her death shed light on the lack of elevator service and accessibility issues that have plagued the city's subway system for a long time.

Ms. Goodson's station did not fall over a lift. Only about a quarter of the 472 stations in the subway system have elevators, and the existing ones are often out of order.

Mr. Byford welcomed the deal when he announced an important plan to modernize the subway last year. The plan "Fast Forward" plans to increase the number of lifts to more than 50 stations in the next five-year lump-sum plan of 19 in the current lump-sum plan.

The plan would also expand the metro system with enough lifts By 2025, so no driver would be more than two stops from an accessible station, Mr. Tarek said. Mr. Byford's proposal, however, could cost $ 40 billion over ten years and was not funded.

At present there are gaps of up to 10 stops between reachable stations. In addition to barrier-free stations, those in New York who rely on wheelchairs can use buses or Access A-Rides, the city's notoriously unreliable paratransit service.

Mr. Byford has made accessibility one of its top priorities since joining the transit agency a year ago. He hired Alex Elegudin as the first "Senior Advisor for System-Wide Accessibility" in the subway.

Mr. Elegudin uses a wheelchair as a result of a spinal cord injury caused by a car accident involving Hirsch in 2003.

Danny Pearlstein of the Riders Alliance, an advocacy group, said there was no elevator at Seventh Avenue Station. A crossover point between three subway lines traversing four neighborhoods was "an indicator of how much the system is failing today and how much we need to improve the situation."

"At some point in the life of every New I need a lift to get on the tube, "said Mr Pearlstein, Alliance Policy and Communications Director.