Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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NY1 For You: Riders Complain Washington Heights Subway Tunnel is Dangerous, Dirty

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Straphangers who have to use an underground passageway to catch the 1 train in Washington Heights say it's filthy, unsafe and hazardous for anyone walking through. NY1's Susan Jhun filed the following report.

Litter and graffiti line the walls of this dimly lit tunnel used by residents and commuters, connecting the 1 train at 191st Street and St. Nicholas Avenue in Manhattan.

"Being in here now reminds me of what New York looked like back in the late 80s," says rider Jaiden Kine.

"This is just dirty and gross and it floods sometimes," says rider Andy McKissick.

"It's disgusting. It makes me feel like it's not healthy in there," rider Cristina Rivera says.

The tunnel—maintained by the Department of Sanitation and the Department of Transportation—is not only an eyesore, but residents say anyone passing through is in danger of crossing paths with speeding bikes.

"They come flying down that ramp there and they don't care who's walking by. They don't slow down, they just keep going, and it's just scary," Rivera says.

"I saw a kid almost hit somebody the other day when he zoomed around the corner," McKissick says.

Residents say their daily commute would feel a lot safer if only the city would make minimal repairs.

"I would like to see the graffiti cleaned up, re-painted and someone there actually watching the tunnel," Rivera says.

We contacted the Sanitation Department about the litter and a spokeswoman told us the passageway is on a list to be cleaned weekly.

We then reached out to DOT and a spokesperson told us the agency inspected lighting in the tunnel in late July. He went on to say that while all lights were functioning and providing appropriate lighting levels, DOT did replace some broken parts to the fixtures.

The spokesman said the department is looking to replace these lights with LEDs in the near future as part of a citywide lighting initiative.

We also contacted NYPD to ask whether or not bikes are allowed in the tunnel and are waiting to hear back.

In the meantime, residents hope they won't have to hold their breaths much longer for the necessary improvements.

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