By Rebecca Henely and Philip Newman
The City Council said it had received notice from the MTA that the agency would not be able to stop the scheduled No. 7 subway line work for the Manhattan St. Patrick’s Day Parade this Saturday.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) had made the request with other Queens elected officials to halt the repairs for the event. The No. 7 line has been under construction during the winter this weekend to improve its signal system.
“While we appreciate the effort being made to improve the 7 trains, the MTA’s decision to close this vital lifeline for 13 consecutive weekends for repairs has been a terrible burden on residents and businesses particularly in Queens,” the officials said.
“The lack of service caused tremendous hardship and frustration on the Lunar New Year and we don’t want to see that happen again when the city hosts the 251st St. Patrick’s Day Parade — one of New York’s oldest and most celebrated cultural events — on March 16,” Quinn said in a letter to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Others who signed on to the appeal were Councilman James Vacca (D-Bronx), chairman of the Council’s Transportation Committee, and fellow Councilmen Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) and Peter Koo (D-Flushing).
Koo and other elected officials from Flushing asked the MTA to restore service for Flushing’s Lunar New Year Parade earlier this year to no avail, but have received a pledge that the agency will suspend repairs on the No. 7 line for next year’s Lunar New Year events.
The Quinn letter said more than 1,000 New Yorkers had signed on to an online petition demanding the MTA reinstate weekend service on the No. 7 line.
“Shutting down the 7 train on yet another holiday weekend will not only harm business owners in Queens and Manhattan,” it read. “It will also create and unnecessary hurdle for Queens residents planning to attend the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and celebrate their Irish heritage.”
The MTA has been cutting off service between Queensboro Plaza and Times Square for the weekend repair project.
The appeal was addressed to Thomas Prendergast, interim executive director of the MTA.
Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) said the MTA should consider doing the repairs in the evening or speak to the community so the work does not interfere with major festivals that draw people into the borough.
“I should think there must be a better way to schedule these repairs,” he said.
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 718-260-4536.