Public housing elevators — often slow, broken and filthy — have long been the bane of New York City public housing residents, but now they’re getting a lift.
Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Friday a plan to replace just 300 of the New City Housing Authority’s 3000-plus elevators over the next five years.
Last year, one elevator outage took almost two months to restore, according to a report released by New York City Housing Authority federal monitor Barry Schwartz.
They are particularly burdensome to older residents and people with disabilities, for whom climbing stairs may be exceedingly difficult or altogether impossible.
It will take $300 million to overhaul 300 lifts over 20 public housing developments citywide by Dec. 1, 2028, according to city and state officials. Half a dozen of those developments are for older residents.
The elevators identified for replacement are decades-old, despite designated life spans of 15 to 20 years. The oldest in line for upgrades were installed as far back as 1990.
Officials said that the Marcy Houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant will see the most upgrades, with 70 elevators replaced over the next several years.
“With this important milestone, NYCHA is set to begin major building improvements, leveraging $300 million in state investment to improve the homes and lives of thousands of New Yorkers,” the governor said.
Shortly before 2 p.m. Friday, more than 3,600 NYCHA residents were affected by elevator service disruptions, according to the agency’s tracker, which listed unplanned elevator outages at 11 NYCHA developments.
Though elevator outages decreased for the period covered in Schwartz’s report, he decried NYCHA’s progress on elevator replacement, saying it lagged behind improvement benchmarks established under an agreement with the federal government.
“NYCHA’s progress in the delivery of new elevators is dire,” the November report reads. “To date only two of NYCHA’s 3000-plus elevators have been replaced since well before execution of the Agreement, and NYCHA is forecasting only six more elevator replacement completions by the end of 2022.”
NYCHA residents have long confronted a barrage of quality-of-life issues, from inadequate heating in the winter months to lead and mold.