Flatbush Ave-Brooklyn College elevator to close for six months, rendering station ADA inaccessible

Midwood straphangers with disabilities will quickly be caught because the Metropolitan Transportation Authority prepares to close the Flatbush Ave-Brooklyn College subway’s elevator till subsequent year — leaving the station’s steep staircase as the one choice to board the two and 5 trains. 

Work to change the elevator, located on the southern level of the busy intersection of Flatbush and Nostrand avenues, will begin on July 7, and is predicted to proceed till the primary quarter of 2022.

The raise, which was put in in 1997 to adjust to the federal authorities’s Americans with Disabilities Act, has reached the top of its “useful lifespan” — even outlasting a hydraulic elevator’s commonplace of 17.5 years, an MTA spokesperson advised Brooklyn Paper.

It can be upgraded to embrace modernized tools, together with a brand new elevator cab, and new tools within the cab, shaft, and pit. The MTA may even renovate the elevator’s machine room, spruce up its surveillance and fireplace alarm techniques, and improve its “LiftNet remote monitoring equipment” which is able to permit the authority to be extra responsive to elevator failures.

The project, which was included within the MTA’s 2015-19 capital plan, will value roughly $7.65 million.

“Accessibility means building new elevators, replacing old ones so they stay reliable, and a host of other station, train and bus improvements across the system, all of which is underway at the same time,” mentioned Quemuel Arroyo, the MTA’s chief accessibility officer, in a press release to Brooklyn Paper. “When this project is done, the Flatbush Ave station will have a state-of-the-art elevator that customers can rely upon for years to come.  We thank our customers for their patience and invite them to use the fully accessible bus system while this critical work is underway.”

A 2000 report by the town’s then-Public Advocate Mark Green on elevators and escalators in subway stations, entitled “Stuck,” discovered that the station’s raise was already affected by outages as quickly as 1999, experiencing 29 outages that year, and 22 the next year.

The elevator was in service 93.16 % of the time in April of 2021, when the latest information is accessible, in accordance to the MTA’s Elevator and Escalator Performance Dashboard. The MTA efficiency benchmark considers an elevator in good situation whether it is operational a minimum of 90 % of the time, a spokesperson mentioned.

Elevators can exit of service for both malfunctions or for usually scheduled upkeep.

Joe Rappaport, one of many 2000 report’s authors and now the manager director of the Brooklyn Center for the Independence of the Disabled, mentioned that, whereas elevator upkeep and restore is one thing of a reality of life for folks with disabilities, the extended lack of the raise can be acutely felt by riders with disabilities who depend on the station.

“The loss of a station like this, far away from any other accessible station, really makes it difficult for anyone, in a wheelchair or if they have other mobility problems, from using the subway system,” Rappaport advised Brooklyn Paper.

The MTA is advising riders who depend on the elevator to experience the bus to the Church Ave 2/5 station, which is three stops and over a mile away, so as to entry the subway system.

Rappaport additionally famous that the half-year timeline for substitute can be burdensome on straphangers with different mobility points.

“Why does it take so damn long to replace an elevator,” Rappaport mentioned, “and why is there only one elevator at that station, so if there is a replacement, the entire neighborhood is inaccessible.”

The MTA’s current 2020-24 capital plan identifies 66 stations citywide the place it plans to set up elevators, together with 21 stations in Brooklyn.

Only a couple of quarter of the subway’s 472 stations are at the moment ADA accessible, although a lot of the authority’s formidable capital initiatives outlined within the $51.5 billion plan had been placed on maintain due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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