Colton Blasts MTA over N Train Station Repairs

Pol Says Kings Highway Platform Has Cracked Walls, Leaks, Mold

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is spending a hefty $396 million to renovate seven subway stations along the N line in Southwest Brooklyn but the agency is not paying attention to detail, according to Assemblymember William Colton, who charged that one station where the work is supposed to be near completion is plagued with cracks, leaks and mold.

“It’s a disastrous situation,” Colton said as he took reporters on a tour of the Kings Highway N train station on Oct. 31.

Colton and Nancy Tong, Democratic district leader of the 47th Assembly District, pointed to a large puddle on the floor of the platform where riders wait for the Manhattan-bound train. Water was dripping from the ceiling. Cracks were visible in the wall and mold could also be seen along the surface of the wall.

It was a sorry sight in a train station where the renovations are said to be close to completion, Colton said. Work on the Manhattan-bound side of the station was slated to be finished by the end of October, he said.

“This is an example of the MTA wasting the taxpayers’ money,” charged Colton, a Democrat whose Assembly district includes the part of Gravesend where the Kings Highway station is located.

Tong said the problem is potentially dangerous because a passenger could slip and fall in the puddle. She noted that the puddle is located near the staircase leading to the station’s Highlawn Avenue entrance. “And people have to enter the station through Highlawn because the Kings Highway entrance is closed,” she said.

Paul Lipton, who rides the N train every day, said he’s worried that the problem will grow worse over time. “If you don’t repair the leak and you keep getting water on the floor, it could freeze up and get icy. People could slip and fall,” he told this newspaper.

Another danger, according to Colton: Some of the water is dripping near a platform light fixture.

Colton said that he has contacted the MTA at least three times since he first discovered the leaks while handing out informational literature to riders in June and that, each time, the agency promised to take action.

To date, the agency has not addressed the situation, Colton said.

Colton also visited the same station a few days earlier on Oct. 26 and said he discovered that a cloth tarp had been placed just below the ceiling to catch the leaking water. But the tarp didn’t help, he said, because it “became a bathtub for pigeons.”

By Wednesday, the tarp was gone.

The station had been plagued with leaks and cracked walls before the major repair project began, according to Colton, who said he is frustrated that the multi-million-dollar project didn’t solve the problem.

The lawmaker said he has heard complaints about similar problems in two other stations, Bay Parkway and Avenue U.

“Millions of taxpayers’ dollars have been spent on this project which was supposed to modernize the station. What concerns me is that the repairs are not even one year old and new leaks, mold and cracking plaster are already back,” he said.

In addition to Kings Highway, the MTA is making major repairs to the following stations — Fort Hamilton Parkway, New Utrecht Avenue, 18th Avenue, 20th Avenue, Avenue U and 86th Street.

The work includes the installation of new lighting; enhanced safety features; upgraded communication systems; stairway repairs; new mezzanine floors, doors and windows; the rehabilitation of interior and exterior walls; and repairs to platform canopies.

MTA spokesperson Andrei Berman said the agency is aware of the problems at the Kings Highway station and will make the necessary repairs.

“The station was reopened after extensive structural repairs so as not to continue holding up service for our customers and the work to address these smaller issues will continue while the station remains open, with no expected service impact. The work will start shortly and should be done in February,” Berman told this newspaper in an email.

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