Students lose shortcut as crumbling stairs close

As workers installed chain-link fencing to close a crumbling outdoor stairway Thursday, parents said that repairs should begin at the end of the school year.



Some P.S. 53 students use the concrete stairs on Clay Avenue near East 168th Street as a shortcut to Teller Avenue.



"If they go around, they have to go two to three blocks that way," said Caroline Harris, who uses a cane and watches her grandchildren climb the steps in order to get to school. "I have back problems. I can't walk three to four blocks."



Parents said the construction project should start when the school year finishes at the end of June.



The project has been in the works since 2012. Upgrades will include improvements to the ground plaza, steps and a deteriorating retaining wall, according to the city's Department of Design and Construction.



A supervisor at the site said the entire walkway will be demolished because of the unstable foundation, and that figured into the decision to close the stairway.



The renovation is expected to be completed in September.


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