‘High’ anxiety as MTA takes months to fix station escalator

‘High’ anxiety as MTA takes months to fix station escalator
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Fed-up commuters and elected officials rallied outside the High Street subway station on Thursday, slamming the agency for failing to fix the station’s notoriously lousy escalators.

The down escalator on the Adams Street side of the A- and C-train station broke down on Sept. 9 — and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority keeps delaying the repair.

“A broken escalator is bad, but a broken promise is worse,” said state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights). “It feels like there’s nothing you can do, because you know you’ll just be yesed along into infinity.”

An MTA spokesman said that the moving stairway would go back into service on Friday — and the long delays stemmed from the “complex” nature of the job.

“High Street is a deep-cavern station,” said the spokesman, Kevin Ortiz.

The repairs were made as promised, though at noon, the escalator was again out of service. It was fully restored by 3:30 pm.

Ortiz added that escalators have remained in service at the station’s other entrance on Cadman Plaza — but that station is inaccessible for the mostly elderly residents of Concord Village because the Brooklyn Bridge entrance ramp is in the way.

“My back is out,” said demonstrator Ken Kasowitz, one of those residents. “With the escalator down, I have to walk [a long distance] over to the other entrance. I call them the New York Transit Atrocity.”

Commuter Romilla Kanarti added that the busted escalator has been a big hassle for her and her infant daughter, Mia.

“I’ve had to strap Mia to me with a baby sling,” Kanarti said. “There’s no way I’d be able to carry her and the stroller down all those stairs.”

It’s not the first time that locals have had an issue with the MTA’s management of the station. Last year, the agency eliminated an attendant at the eastern exit, creating what some call a dangerous situation.

“Fix the escalator — and give us back our security,” said Councilman Steve Levin (D–Williamsburg). “This is the lifeline of the community.”

And it’s also not the first time that Brooklyn Heights residents have taken issue with the MTA’s handling of subway repairs in the neighborhood. The elevators at the Clark Street 2/3 station, for example, have finally been restored to (mostly) working order after a two-year stretch in the middle part of the decade when the three elevators broke down 400 times— a pace of almost one breakdown every other day.