Advocating for a Cleaner Subway

Written by West Side Spirit on . Posted in News West Side Spirit.


Notes from a neighborhood association’s meeting about the station at 103rd Street

Zachary Campbell, representing MTA Community Affairs, fielded questions ranging from the feasibility of reopening the 102nd Street exit, to draining the puddling at the foot of the entrance stair after every rain, the decrepit condition of walls and ceiling, and cleaning schedules. Responding to a board member’s question on how unusual these issues were, Campbell said that most of them are of great concern to varying degrees for most of the groups he addresses. So, the Association threw out a challenge to the MTA to beef up its maintenance routines, and intervene earlier when grime, water, rust or peeling paint first appear, rather than waiting until a station deteriorates to the point of requiring a multi-million-dollar capital project.

The 103rd Street station originally had three turnstile entrances and three exits. Two at either end (104 and 102 Streets) were shut and paved over in the 1950s. The only access has been the current entrance at 103rd Street. The neighborhood has changed dramatically since that closure. The single exit and entrance is often jammed as crowds pour in and out of the station at rush hours or for summer events in Central Park, particularly when two full trains discharge passengers simultaneously. Campbell noted that this station is part of a review of some 20 such single exit stations in need of emergency egress, but a return to a full service second entrance would require an elevator under today’s mandates.

Campbell emphasized that the MTA’s main focus was on the safety of passengers over what’s considered an architectural or maintenance hazard. An RFP for stairway reconstruction is in the works for later this year, he said, and a Public Address system should be operational in 2016.

As Campbell was answering questions, Council Member Mark Levine joined the meeting. He invited constituents to visit his local office, 991 Amsterdam Avenue and 109th Street, which will be open on Tuesdays 2-6pm. His e-mail is mlevine@council.nyc.gov + tel 212 928 6814.

Bob Prudhomme is a board member of the North West Central Park Multiblock Association, a 25-year-old organization advocating for the neighborhood and its quality of life. Karl Hampton Porter, President, nwcpmba@gmail.com

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