Brooklyn Heights

Clark Street elevator fix coming this week, MTA says

Contractor onsite at Brooklyn Heights 2, 3 train stop

January 23, 2023 Mary Frost
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As reported by Greg Smith in Going Down: Entrapments Plague MTA’s Expensive New Elevators, the brand-new elevators at the Clark Street subway stop in Brooklyn Heights are trapping riders inside just months after the MTA closed the station for half a year as part of a nearly $30 million job to replace the ancient lifts.

As of Monday, two elevators were back in operation. The third elevator should be repaired on Wednesday and a contractor is already onsite, MTA told the Brooklyn Eagle on Monday. The reason for the outage? A faulty uninterruptible power supply.

Still, local officials expressed frustration that the new elevators were giving riders trouble considering that hardly any time has passed since the massive upgrade.

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“The ongoing issues with the Clark Street elevators are especially frustrating and disappointing considering the tens of millions spent on upgrades and our community’s accommodation of the full closure of the station,” Councilmember Lincoln Restler told the Eagle. 

He added, “The elevator repairs are under warranty and we are working with the MTA to ensure the issues with elevator door alignment get fixed once and for all.”

The Brooklyn Heights Association played a major role in advocating for community input into the original elevator repairs.

“The local community and visitors to the neighborhood were inconvenienced for over half a year while the new elevators were installed, not to mention the hardship to local businesses who lost a great deal of revenue during the time of the closure,” said Lara Birnback, BHA’s executive director. 

“I hope that the MTA is taking a serious look at what could be causing these problems along with making plans to fix whatever issues they find. I’m sure no one wants to see a $30 million project with poor results,” she said.

“I’ve noticed there’s always one broken,” said Crown Heights resident Ethan (he asked that his last name not be published). Ethan regularly commutes via the subway to his job at Joe Coffee Company in Brooklyn Heights. 

“I hate that station because you have to wait for the elevator and you can’t go at your own pace to get to or from the train. I think the elevators themselves are an inconvenience, and when they’re not all working that is just furthering the issue,” he said.

Ethan added he would prefer to use the stairs — but was surprised to learn the station was roughly eight stories deep. 

Heights resident Kathleen (she also asked that her last name not be used) said that having an elevator out of commission doesn’t affect her as much as it would have in the past.

“I definitely notice that there has been one down,” she said. “But I’m a consultant, and like many people who are knowledge workers or client-facing workers, I work from home. If I’m going into Manhattan it’s for a meeting with a client or something like that, and that tends to be midday, not right at 9 a.m. or 5 p.m. Coming back, you’re more likely to have to wait for an elevator. But it’s not as bad at all as it was before they shut everything down.”

NYC Transit President Richard Davey said in a statement, “The availability of the Clark Street elevators is between 98 and 99%, but if you’re in the one percent of people who are affected by outages, that does not matter. We continue to work with the contractors to ensure that our elevators are in service for the customers who use them.”

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