Riders’ bladders are breaking Woodside elevator

The Platform C elevator at Woodside, which brings people to Manhattan via the Port Washington line, may need repair but is not unsafe, the LIRR says. Photo by Rebecca Henely
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An elevator at the Long Island Rail Road’s Woodside station has deteriorated after passengers have used to space to urinate, the MTA said.

While the extent of the damage to the elevator — which is located on the Manhattan-bound C platform and takes riders to the mezzanine — is not known, But LIRR spokesman Sal Arena said the damage was severe enough that the elevator has been closed for maintenance at a far higher rate than the others.

“The floor covering has kind of eaten away and the undercarriage of the elevator is rusted,” Arena said.

The Woodside station is at 61st Street and Roosevelt Avenue and services multiple train lines of the LIRR as well as the No. 7 subway line.

The elevator’s condition became public knowledge at the LIRR’s periodic committee meeting March 15. Arena said LIRR President Helena Williams had been giving a progress report on the performance of the railroad’s 19 escalators and 15 elevators. During the report, Williams mentioned that one of the Woodside station elevators had been damaged due to multiple people using it as a public restroom.

“One of them seems to draw a lot of folks who like to urinate in it,” Arena said.

Arena said the station still has an elevator operating average of more than 90 percent, but the damaged elevator was available 72 percent of the time in January and only 58 percent of the time in February.

Despite the downtime, Arena said the elevator does not pose a safety hazard. Urine tends to have a high acidic level, which has damaged the floor and the threshold. These problems have meant the doors often do not close properly, Arena said.

When anything goes wrong on the elevator, it is shut down and a maintenance contractor comes to the station and makes an adjustment, Arena said.

The cost would be $96,000 to replace the damaged parts of the elevator, while replacing the elevator entirely would cost $166,000, Arena said. But the LIRR is still trying to figure out how much needs to be fixed at the elevator, he said.

Arena said the mezzanine of the Woodside station has bathrooms, although they may be closed at night. He said riders should not urinate in the elevator under any circumstances and compared it to vandalism.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Updated 12:31 am, March 29, 2013
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