Contractors this week kicked off a two-year-plus project to install elevators and make other handicap-accessible improvements to Prospect Heights’s Eastern Parkway–Brooklyn Museum subway station.
Workers with the state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Jan. 7 closed an entrance to the 2- and 3-train station on Eastern Parkway opposite the Brooklyn Museum, ahead of installing new stairs and railings compliant with federal accessibility laws as part of the 26-month makeover’s first phase, which is set to wrap in September, according to Authority spokesman Andrei Berman.
Contractors also cordoned off the Prospect Heights–bound Eastern Parkway Service Road between Washington and Underhill avenues to use as a staging area for construction, which required the elimination of several parking spots and narrowing the traffic lane on that block.
Department of Transportation documents show the staging area is permitted through March 21, but a worker at the site on Wednesday said contractors would obtain additional permits as necessary to use the block beyond the current expiration date.
The sudden arrival of construction outfits came as a surprise to some locals who live along that stretch of Service Road, however, one of whom accused the Authority of giving no notice of the renovations.
“It would have been nice to know,” said Heather Paul, a 40-year resident of Eastern Parkway’s Turner Towers.
A doorman at her building told this reporter he handed out fliers to residents in advance of the project, but Paul claimed she never saw or received any such notices.
Berman assured that the Service Road’s traffic lane, while narrower, would be open to vehicles at all times throughout construction, but barricades made of caution tape and traffic drums completely blocked off an entrance to it near Washington Avenue when this reporter stopped by, forcing a United Parcel Service employee to park his truck on the avenue and walk packages to their final destinations.
“They wouldn’t let me go through,” said the delivery man, who declined to give his name, citing company policy.
A contractor with the Authority, who also declined to give his name, said workers at the site closed the roadway to ensure their safety, but Berman only reiterated his claim that the Service Road would remain open to vehicles when told about the blocked entrance to it from Washington Avenue.
Future phases of the years-long station renovation call for installing a street-to-mezzanine elevator on the Brooklyn Museum side of the hub, along with two more lifts from the mezzanine to both the Brooklyn- and Manhattan-bound subway platforms, and new elevator-machine rooms and handicap-accessible boarding areas outside the lifts, Berman said.