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168th St. Station Elevators Go Down Again as Elected Officials Blast MTA

By Carolina Pichardo | February 13, 2017 3:42pm
 The 1-train skipped the 168th Street station again on Monday morning due to broken elevators.
The 1-train skipped the 168th Street station again on Monday morning due to broken elevators.
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Susanne Chester

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — The problem-plagued elevators at the 168th Street 1 train station went down yet again on Monday morning, forcing trains to bypass the station and sparking outrage from elected officials.

City Councilwoman Ydanis Rodriguez and Public Advocate Letitia James blasted the MTA for not doing enough to address the ongoing problem, which was the fifth such incident in the past three weeks.

"New Yorkers who rely on the transit system are unfortunately being let down by the MTA," James said at a City Council transit committee hearing in Lower Manhattan on Monday.

James added that she was disappointed in the MTA's refusal to attend Monday's hearing, as well as a Jan. 30 Town Hall meeting uptown about the specific issues about 168th Street.

The MTA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, along with James and other uptown elected officials, penned a letter to the MTA last week and said he plans to hold a press conference about the elevators on Tuesday.

"Elevator service continues to be a serious issue at both these stations, with frequent breakdowns creating massive safety hazards of hundreds of people looking to exit the station at once, without adequate means to do so," Rodriguez wrote in a letter to the MTA cosigned by Rep. Adriano Espaillat, Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa, state Sen. Marisol Alcantara, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and James, according to Patch.

On Friday, an MTA worker got trapped inside one of the station's four faulty elevators — which are the only way in or out of the station — prompting firefighters to spend almost two hours extricating the worker, FDNY officials said.  

Commuters say they're fed up with the ongoing issues at the station, which have been a problem since at least the fall.

Will Greendyke, 34, who has worked Uptown for the past seven years, created the Twitter account 168th St Elevators in October to document exactly how often the station's elevators break down.

“Tweeting just seemed to be an easy way to basically keep a record," Greekdyke said. “It’s something I try to keep an eye on every day, when I’m coming to and from work.”

Greendyke said it’s been easier for other commuters to Tweet their frustrations ever since the MTA provided all stations with public Wi-Fi earlier this year.

“Months ago, even earlier in the year, I don’t know how people would get help,” Greendyke said, adding that elevator service "has gotten dramatically worse" in the last several weeks.

The MTA has been repairing the ceiling and replacing the wall and floor tiles of the 168th Street station to fix a water leak from 2013, MTA officials said.

The work was part of a $30 million overhaul to "bring back some of the station’s early 20th century splendor," MTA officials said when the renovations were announced in 2012.