Woodside resident Rosa Gil has been pelted with pigeon poop for the last time.
The 42-year-old Borough Hall employee and thousands of others living near the No. 7 train, who have long suffered through the splattered sidewalks, sickening stench and stained shirts, will soon receive relief along their commute, thanks to a push — and financing — from Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer.
The official allocated $250,000 in discretionary funds for a new pigeon mitigation system, designed to deter the birds from roosting under the elevated subway tracks and littering the underlying walkways with their foul feces.
“My constituents have been living with this mess for decades and have been asking for a solution for just as long,” said Van Bramer. “It’s a serious quality of life issue.”
Van Bramer said the droppings, while smelly and unsightly, are also a serious public health issue. According to the councilmember, the entrance to the 52nd Street station is most in need of a cleanup.
Jihee Kim, a 35-year-old Woodside resident who works at her family’s nearby fruit market, is excited about the prospect of a cleaner neighborhood.
“I’m absolutely for it,” said Kim. “If we can approve a person making these efforts, I’m for it. I would support [Van Bramer] in any way I can.”
Van Bramer passed the funds along to the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) which will oversee the alterations.
Deirdre Parker, a representative, said the MTA plans to establish several pigeon-deterrent devices at various stations. According to Parker, the 46th Street and 61st Street stations are currently protected by spikes and netting and the 52nd Street stop’s Bird-B-Gone — a shock track electrical system — deters pigeons from parking.
Parker said the MTA is considering adding extra bird-repelling devices. At 46th Street, it will add 2,700 linear feet of pigeon-deterrent wire along and over the four entrances to the station. At 52nd Street, it will install bird spikes and slopes to prevent perching, bird netting and an ultrasonic device, silent to humans, that creates high-frequency waves, intended to repel birds. At 61st Street, the MTA wants to install a sound device, broadcasting recorded distress and predator calls of actual birds that would repeat every 10 minutes.
According to Parker, these alterations would cost an estimated $259,600. While the MTA has a general outline of changes it hopes to make, it has yet to establish a timeline for when these systems will be put in place.