BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
Councilmen Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) and Peter Koo (D-Flushing), U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) and Access Queens—a nonprofit organization composed of local Queens residents who advocate for a reliable and sustainable 7 train—held a rally on Friday morning to blast the MTA for its poor service on the 7 line.
Van Bramer called on Andy Byford, the president of the New York City Transit Authority, to visit Sunnyside, address the poor service on the 7 train and hold an emergency town hall to address the community’s concerns.
“We have endured horrible 7 train service for far too long,” said Van Bramer. “The MTA needs to set deadlines and stick to them. As they plan work, they need to consider this community and the repercussions of service changes. People who live along the 7 need the train to get to work and to get home to their families, and they shouldn’t be forced to dedicate additional commute time to stand on crowed platforms because the 7 train is so unreliable. This community deserves better.”
The rally was organized following the MTA’s announcement to push the deadline for the Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) signal upgrades from its original announced completion date to November.
The MTA told the Queens Tribune that MTA Chairman Joe Lhota toured the 7 line with Van Bramer and other local elected officials a few weeks ago.
Joe Weinstein, the MTA’s director of communications and senior advisor, said that the tour resulted in last week’s announcement that the agency would begin repairing and repainting the elevated 7 train’s structure. Community leaders had complained that lead paint had long been peeling from the track, falling onto Roosevelt Avenue and creating a health risk for people walking under the tracks.
“This past month, Transit President Byford told MTA board members that he’s very unhappy about delays and is aggressively pushing the contractor installing the brand-new signal system on the 7 line to work harder and complete the job sooner than the contractor’s new projection,” said Weinstein. “We appreciate our customers’ patience while these projects are underway. When they’re complete, the 7 line will have some of the newest infrastructure in the entire subway system.”
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144, email@example.com or @reporter_ariel.