BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and New York City Transit Authority President Andy Byford gathered at the 74th Street-Roosevelt Avenue train station on Monday to announce that a $45 million project to repair and repaint the elevated 7 train will begin next month.
The first phase, which will remove the chipped 101-year-old lead paint and then repaint the elevated line from 82nd Street to the Citi Field
subway stop, is scheduled to begin on July 1.
“This is an important moment for Queens residents like myself, who have been dismayed by the quality of subway service in our borough,” said Crowley. “Throughout my life, I have relied on the 7 line to travel across the city, and today we are embarking on an exciting new era for public transportation in Queens. This project will not only bring improved service to Queens, but will also remediate lead paint associated with the train line.”
Through Crowley’s Better Deal for Queens and the Bronx Plan, he was able to secure a commitment from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to repair the century-old line in collaboration with western Queens elected officials, including Dromm and Councilman Francisco Moya (D-East Elmhurst).
“For many years, I have worked diligently to hold the MTA accountable for the deteriorated condition of the number 7-line trestle,” said Dromm. “I rallied with local residents and business owners last year to announce a lawsuit to force the MTA to repaint the trestle. Together, we will carefully monitor the progress of this project and will make every effort to ensure that it stays on track.”
According to Byford, the project is not just a simple repainting job. Not only are union workers tasked with removing the chipped paint, but as they remove that paint, they will document the needs of both the 7-line tracks and stations as a whole to ensure that the line is improved through the Subway Action Plan and modernized via the Fast Forward Plan.
“This critical painting and structural repair work will improve the commuting experience for our riders in the near term as well as help ensure the long-term safety and reliability of our system,” said Byford.
During the press conference, Crowley said that Gov. Andrew Cuomo secured the contracts to get the project done and that Community Boards 2,3 and 4, all of which are on the 7 train, kept the issue at the forefront.
The project is expected to take approximately three years.
“It’s short-term pain for long-term gains,” said Crowley.