This week, Lower East Side residents are pretty pleased to be riding on the newly opened escalator at the East Broadway subway station. After months of delays, the MTA finally got the replacement escalator moving. Local elected officials, who staged a rally at the station last month, are apparently happy, too. In a joint press release sent around yesterday, they took a rather long victory lap. A few superlatives from the politicos:
State Sen. Daniel Squadron: “After far too many months, things are finally on the up and up for Lower East Side riders as our escalator returns to service… Our community depends on the East Broadway F — yet for 19 months it was too difficult for many riders to even use the station. Thank you to the MTA for finally heeding our calls and the community for standing together to make sure we were heard.”
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver: “This long overdue restoration of escalator service at the East Broadway station is welcome news for our Lower East Side community. Residents of our neighborhood suffer from limited public transportation options and we rely heavily on this escalator. I expect that it will remain in service without any more lengthy interruptions. This station is a lifeline for our entire community and many of our seniors are unable to use it without a functioning escalator. I want to thank the MTA for finally listening to our urgent concerns.”
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney: “I am happy that the MTA has finished repairing the East Broadway station’s escalator, and I would like to thank Senator Squadron for his leadership on this issue. New York straphangers deserve some relief after enduring the inconvenience of a broken escalator for over a year and a half.”
U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez: “Getting the East Broadway escalator up and running is long overdue. This important step will ensure elderly and other vulnerable residents have access to the transportation services they need.”
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer: “It’s great that the escalator is coming back – congratulations to the community for keeping the pressure on, and thanks to the MTA for responding.”
City Council member Margaret Chin: “After months of uncertainty, the Lower East Side community will finally have access to a fully functional East Broadway subway station. In a neighborhood where transit options are already limited, residents, and especially our seniors, deserve unimpeded access to public transportation. This is a major victory for a community that fought long and hard for these essential repairs, and I thank the MTA for finally completing the project and recognizing the importance of this subway station in the Lower East Side.”
Even before the escalator reopened, local residents launched a petition drive to push for a complete face lift for the East Broadway station. Recently, we asked one of the organizers of the petition campaign, Brett Leitner, to explain what they hope to see happen now:
While the escalator improvement is a step in the right direction, it’s really just a band aid on a much larger and severe problem. The entire station is in desperate need of a complete overhaul. Just one example is the decades old peeling paint, which poses a health hazard to MTA employees, young children and seniors who use the station on a daily basis… For far too long, daily users of the East Broadway station simply accepted that it is a sub-standard station and shrugged their shoulders. I know, because I am one of them! During a recent conversation with Councilwoman Chin at the Seward Park Coop, several people raised their voice about this station’s inadequate condition. That was the spark that pushed me and my cohorts to try and do something about the problem rather than just accept it. The laundry list of issues with this station are listed on the petition. The fact that this station could have been neglected for so long is a black mark on the MTA. Our neighborhood is lucky to have people like Margaret Chin, Daniel Squadron, Sheldon Silver and others representing us. They have done innumerable things for the benefit for our community. Perhaps they have been unaware that this station has been such a problem for residents for so long. Therefore, it is the aim of this petition to show our elected officials that there is overwhelming need and support to demand action on renovating the East Broadway station as quickly as possible.
Click here to sign the petition.