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Subway fall victim's cousin makes tearful demand for accessibility

Malaysia Goodson, who died after falling down subway station steps, "should still be here with us," her cousin said.

Dontaysia Turner, Malaysia Goodson's first cousin, demanded the

Dontaysia Turner, Malaysia Goodson's first cousin, demanded the MTA more aggressively install elevators at subway stations to prevent further deaths. Photo Credit: Vincent Barone

A family member of Malaysia Goodson, who died after falling down subway station steps with her toddler and stroller in January, delivered a tearful call to the MTA board for better accessibility on Wednesday. 

Dontaysia Turner, Goodson’s first cousin, demanded the MTA more aggressively install elevators at subway stations to prevent another death like Goodson’s, who was 22 at the time of her fall. 

“I don’t want nobody else’s family to feel the pain that my family feels. We talk about my cousin every day,” said Turner, 27, as she broke down crying during the public comment session of the MTA’s monthly meeting. “She should still be here with us. She should still be here with us. I shouldn’t be talking on her behalf.”

Turner, of East Flatbush, said the MTA hadn’t reached out since Goodson’s death. She warned that the next fall could happen any day within a notoriously inaccessible subway system that features just 118 elevator-accessible stations — about 25 percent of the 472 stations across the city. 

“You have people with strollers, babies, pregnant, walkers wheelchairs — anything that you could think of — struggling up and down these stairs. It’s not right; it’s not fair,” Turner said. “I feel like ya’ll have to do something fast, quick, before something like this happens again.”

The MTA, under NYC Transit president Andy Byford, has pledged to install elevators at 50 stations over the next five years through its still-unreleased and unfunded capital program. The stations would be chosen so that no rider is more than two stops from an accessible station. 

“What happened with Ms. Goodson was unbelievably tragic. I think we all acknowledge that,” said MTA acting chairman Fernando Ferrer. “And that’s why we’re redoubling our efforts to make our system — it’s a 100-year-old system in a lot of places — a lot more accessible.”

Ferrer said he was “sorry it didn’t happen,” referring to the MTA not contacting Goodson’s family after her death.

“That’s regrettable,” he added. 

Turner said the MTA should be installing its next 50 elevators in a shorter time period. 

“If you have to see my face every day; if you have to hear my voice every day; if I have to stand in front of your building holding up my cousin’s photo, I will do that,” Turner said. “Ya’ll will know that I’m not playing.”

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