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MTA officials unveiled a new elevator Wednesday at the Hoyt St. stop of the No. 2 and No. 3 trains in Downtown Brooklyn — the latest of 67 accessibility upgrades under the agency’s 2020-2024 capital plan.
Unlike other MTA elevator projects in 2023, this one was paid for by Macy’s, which owns the building where the station entrance is located.
“This is the seventh station-accessibility upgrade we’re celebrating in the last couple of months alone,” said Quemuel Arroyo, the MTA’s chief accessibility officer.
“Our partners at Macy’s fully funded this station upgrade as part of their broader investment in this property and this neighborhood,” he said.
“I love every new accessible station, but I love them a little bit more when we don’t have to pay for them,” Arroyo laughed.
MTA officials opened a new set of elevators Tuesday at the Staten Island Railroad’s New Dorp station, days after announcing new accessibility upgrades on the No. 6 line in the Bronx. Those projects were funded by taxpayers.
The upgrades are are part of an MTA commitment to make 95% of the city’s subway stations accessible to riders in wheelchairs and other mobility devices, a promise made after the agency settled a pair of lawsuits last year.
Seven additional stations are slated to get accessibility improvements on the MTA’s dime before the end of the year.
It’s common for elevators and escalators to be built through partnership between the MTA and a developer or property owner with interests in or near a subway station.
In those instances — as with the Macy’s elevator unveiled Thursday — responsibility for maintenance and upkeep of the elevator falls to the property owner.
Disability advocates have long argued that non-MTA subway elevators break down more often and take longer to be repaired than those directly maintained by the transit agency.
A January survey of subway elevators conducted by City Council Member Keith Powers’ office found that broken MTA elevators are returned to service nearly three times more quickly than those kept up by private companies.
But transit officials said Thursday that the new agreement with Macy’s included strict maintenance standards in line with the MTA’s own.
“We had an era where there were some privately developed elevators that were not held to those standards,” said MTA construction and development chief Jamie Torres-Springer. “Now we’re enforcing the standards.”
“If it comes to it, we have lots of recourse,” he added. “We expect very very strong performance from this elevator, and all of the elevators going forward that get built privately.”
Arroyo said the agreement required Macy’s to have a line of credit vouching for its ability to pay for an eventual replacement of the elevator. The agreement also allows the MTA to call on Macy’s elevator maintenance firm directly if the department store fails to address issues.
“We have new levers in place, and a new line of credit of $5 million, to ensure that this elevator will always be accessible to the public,” Arroyo said.
“Its an extension of what we consider to be the inside of our store,” said Anthony Mazza, the manager of the downtown Macy’s. “Its a commitment to the community, and we commit to maintaining it at the highest level.”
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