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Transit Watchdog Calls on MTA to Fix Crumbling Uptown Subway Station

By Nigel Chiwaya | April 1, 2013 4:50pm

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — One uptown watchdog believes that promised repairs to a crumbling subway station are just another April Fools' joke.

Members of We Act, an environmental advocacy group, took the MTA to task Monday for failing to repair the dilapidated 181st Street subway station, even after a 2009 ceiling collapse, saying that the authority has been sitting on repair funds for nealry four years.

"We were hoping the ceiling collapse would have woken them up," said Cecil Corbin-Mark, the agency's deputy director, who toured the station with reporters and Community Board 12 Chairman George Fernandez.

"Well, it's April Fools' and there's no work done."

"When [Hurricane] Sandy hit, they got stuff moving quickly at the South Ferry," We Act spokesman Jacob Carlson added. "It's been four years since the roof collapsed [at the 181st Street station] and not a hammer has been lifted."

The West 181st Street subway station has been plagued by faulty elevators, a collapsed ceiling supported by metal beams and partially obstructed platforms, advocates said.

The MTA has promised to repair the subway station several times since part of the ceiling collapsed onto a train in 2009. Repairs for the station were supposed to begin in the spring of 2012, but were pushed back to the fall of 2012 and then the spring of 2013.

The delays have frustrated the community and CB12 has met with the MTA several times for updates on the status of repairs.

"The money is in the budget, so there's no clear explanation why there's a delay," Fernandez said.

MTA spokeswoman Deirdre Parker told DNAinfo.com New York in March that the agency was preparing to hand out a contract for renovations for the 181st and 168th Street stations that month, with repairs beginning approximately two months later.

On Monday Parker said the MTA awarded a contract for the $42 million renovation to Citnalta Construction Corp. on March 27, but she did not give a start date for construction.

"Washington Heights needs 181st Street to be on a fast track for repairs," Corbin-Mark added. "It's been on no-track for too long."