Clark Street station to close for elevator repairs starting next month

Clark street subway station
The Clark Street station in Brooklyn Heights.
Photo by Ben Verde

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Friday that the Clark Street station will officially close for elevator repairs on Nov. 3 — and it’s expected to remain closed until work is finished next spring.

Trains in both directions will skip the stop for the duration, according to the agency, which recommends that riders who would usually use the station, which serves the 2/3 lines, instead use the nearby High Street or Borough Hall-Court street stations. Both are accessible from Clark Street via the B25 bus. The station’s upper level will remain open so customers can still access businesses located there.

The Borough Hall subway station elevator at Cadman Plaza.Photo by Kevin Duggan

All three infamous elevators at Clark Street are being replaced simultaneously, which the MTA says “dramatically minimizes the duration of the project and avoids up to two years of service unpredictability.”

The station, one of the deepest in the city, opened in 1919 — and the elevators with it. While some components, including the cars and motors, were repaired or replaced in 2000, the lifts have more or less been in service for over a century, and MTA says they have “reached the end of their useful lives.”

Some may say they had reached the end of their useful lives years ago, as complaints piled up about frequent breakdowns, at least one of which trapped passengers inside the elevator. According to a 2019 MTA presentation, the elevators were unexpectedly out of service for a combined two years between 2009 and 2019, and all had been out of service for at least seven days more than once in that time period.

Former New York City Transit Authority president Andy Byford first addressed plans to revamp the decrepit lifts in 2019. While an informal survey conducted by local elected officials found that most riders would prefer for the elevators to be replaced consecutively, preserving service to the station but extending the repair timeline from eight months to about two years, the MTA always favored the eight-month full closure.

“But because two elevators are needed to safely maintain train service to this deep cavern station that lacks stairway access, crews would have had to suddenly and unpredictably suspend train service whenever one of the two remaining elevators was taken out of service,” the agency said in a press release. 

Work is scheduled to occur on weekdays between 7 am and 6 pm, the MTA said, and mostly within the Clark Street station, though construction crews will be on the street preparing for the project starting at the end of October.