MTA restores one weekend of No. 7 service for LIC events

By Bill Parry

The MTA is restoring service on the No. 7 for one weekend in May to accommodate two Long Island City arts events, the agency announced Friday.

The MTA rearranged work schedules so that service would not be suspended during the weekend of May 17-18 when an annual arts festival in Long Island City and the first-ever Vernon Boulevard block party are scheduled.

“The work we are doing on the 7 Line remains absolutely critical to this service’s reliability, safety and longevity,” the agency said in a statement. “Therefore, the work that we had previously scheduled for the weekend of May 17-18, 2014 will have to be rescheduled.”

The decision was made three weeks after MTA President Carmen Bianco and members of his senior staff took part in a town hall and heard pleas from organizers of the LIC Arts Open and the inaugural LIC Springs!

Richard Mazda, the founder of the LIC Arts Open, called it incredible news.

“The community spoke and the MTA listened. The 7 Line shutdown for needed repairs has caused ongoing hardship for the businesses, residents, cultural organizations and institutions in Long Island City,” the LIC Partnership, which is throwing the Vernon Boulevard block party, said in a statement.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), who helped arrange the town hall meeting, said, “Finally the MTA has not only listened to our community on this issue, but taken action. I appreciate the MTA making it easier to get people here for this one weekend. Of course, when everyone wants to come back and enjoy the weekend in Long Island City for the rest of the summer, we’ll run into the same old problem, so I will keep fighting until the 7 train actually running on weekends is no longer news.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.