I Wanna Know

PW exposes the tricks, scams and truth about the powers that be.

By Sammy Mack
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Feb. 4, 2004

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Q: The only escalator in the Collingswood, N.J., PATCO station has been closed for renovations since last April, leaving a stairway as the sole access to the platform. Nine months seems excessive. Can't they budget for some overtime to give us paying customers an escalator?

A: "The escalator should be up and running by the end of February," says My Linh Nguyen of the Port Authority Transit Corp. The renovations on the Collingswood escalator are part of a two-year overhaul, which PATCO's parent organization, the Delaware River Port Authority, has dubbed "PATCO at Work." Collingswood isn't the only station being inconvenienced by the project. "We're replacing all of the escalators at our stations," says Nguyen. Putting in a new escalator is a time-consuming process. Workers have to rip out the old escalator before any new construction can begin. Just breaking down the glazed block walls around the old unit takes about three weeks. The dismantling process can last another three to four weeks. Because the new escalators are a little longer than the previous ones, the sites must undergo structural renovations to support the replacements. Only after all that's finished can the new escalators be installed. And that process can take up to four months. Keep in mind that during some of these stages it may look like construction has been abandoned. That's because the workers are actually inside the pit of the escalator, tooling with the motors. Once installation is complete, all the new units are subjected to safety inspections. The Collingswood escalator is now in this testing stage. To accommodate passengers who have a tough time getting up and down the stairs, PATCO is staggering repairs at the stations. The escalator at the Ferry Avenue station will remain fully operational until the Collingswood escalator is in service. PATCO's future plans include repainting many stations and making comprehensive renovations to the flooring and lighting. The price tag for the entire PATCO at Work project is upward of $100 million. For more information on the status of the Collingswood escalator or any other PATCO station renovations, visit www.drpa.org/patco/patco_at_work.html or call 877.567.3772.

What do you wanna know? Send queries and complaints to Sammy Mack at smack@philadelphiaweekly.com

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