How New Eastside transit elevators stay clean and operational

By B. David Zarley | Staff Writer

The elevators that serve nearby CTA stations, such as Clark and Lake and Washington and Wabash, are crucial parts of the transit network. The CTA operates 168 elevators in Chicago, and keeping them running correctly is a daunting task.

“Our elevators are used by thousands of people a day, every day of the year,” CTA media representative Irene Ferradaz said in an email. “Additionally, many of our elevators are exposed to the elements, meaning they suffer significantly more ‘wear and tear’ than an average elevator.”

According to Ferradaz, the CTA currently employs 15 contracted workers for elevator maintenance and repair, including administrative employees, mechanics and
supervisors. These employees perform daily routine maintenance on the elevators,
and respond to between zero and eight elevator calls a day.

The Pedway elevator, between Macy’s and the Lake Red Line Station is maintained by Fleet and
Facilities Management, a city department. Photo by B.David Zarley.

“All elevator breakdowns are considered important and responded to as quickly as
possible by our contracted staff, since being out of service impacts our most vulnerable
customers—those with disabilities or who are wheelchair dependent,” Ferradaz said.

Whenever one of the CTA’s elevators breaks down, it is reported to the CTA
control center by CTA customer service assistants or representatives and “Out of
Order” signage is placed on the elevator.The control center then alerts mechanics who are on call 24/7.

One elevator in the Pedway just outside Macy’s is an integral link to the Loop for New
Eastside residents and has been known to break down, leaving users unsure of whom to
report the maintenance issue. Operated not by the CTA or Macy’s, this elevator actually
falls under the purview of Fleet and Facilities Management, a city department.

Engineers from the department regularly check the elevator, according to an emailed statement from a department spokes-person. If the elevator is out of order or dirty—common problems include jammed doors, as well as human excrement and
urine—there is a 24-hour number to call that is indicated in the elevator. Mainte-
nance and repairs on the Pedway elevator are contracted to Anderson Elevator.

Other widely used elevators that provide New Eastside residents access to the city
are located at the Northwest corner of the Lake Shore East Park and the Lancaster el-
evator at the eastern end of the Park. These elevators are maintained by Magellan De-
velopment Group. Issues with the elevators can be directly reported to Magellan by
calling (312) 469-8100 or to New Eastside News at (312) 960-3092, who will forward
the maintenance request.

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