Queens officials celebrate start of long-awaited 7 train repairs but also bemoan poor service along the line

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Announcements that the 7 train line will undergo repairs sparked both positive and negative feelings from MTA and local elected officials from Queens.

The $45 million project was the first one approved as part of the 2015-2019 capital program to revitalize the 7 train. According to the MTA, the repairs will include important structural steel repair work and overcoat painting along the elevated 7 train line from 72nd to 104th Streets. The 7 train services riders from Long Island City to Flushing, passing through Woodside, Sunnyside, Elmhurst, Corona and Jackson Heights along the way.

The capital program repairs are set to begin in June 2018, and the MTA estimates they will take about two years. Bother train riders and drivers will be notified about work as it takes place in order to minimize the impact on their commute as well as traffic below the tracks.

“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 NYC Transit President Andy Byford.

Other officials, like City Councilman Francisco Moya, echoed the positive sentiment of the NYCT President.

“My office has long been fighting to raise awareness of how dangerous this crisis is — young children could swallow the chips or they could seep into the soil and poison it for years, pets could eat them or track them into our homes. This is a health emergency, and not the first health emergency overlooked in a community predominantly made up by people of color. I’m ecstatic and grateful that the MTA is finally taking action and repainting repairing the No. 7 train infrastructure,” said Moya.

Though elected officials expressed their praise of the MTA’s investment in the future, they also noted that much more work is needed to improve the 7 train’s service to benefit the community.

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Congressman Joe Crowley in partnership with Access Queens held a press conference on Thursday morning on Queens Boulevard and 40th Street in Sunnyside, to blast the MTA for the poor 7 train service and pushed back deadlines on signal upgrades.

“We have endured horrible 7 Train service for far too long. 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. And Andy Byford needs to come to this community immediately for an emergency town hall so that he can fully understand the impact of this awful 7 Train service,” Van Bramer said. “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 crowded platforms because the 7 Train is so unreliable. This community deserves better.”

Previously, Crowley spoke about securing a deal with the MTA in order to make necessary repairs to the 7 train and alleviate health hazards associated with peeling lead paint in his proposal Better Deal for Queens and the Bronx.

Photo courtesy of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer's office
Photo courtesy of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s office

In Jackson Heights, Comptroller Scott Stringer and Senate Candidate Jessica Ramos held a press conference on Thursday, May 3 to release data about the effect 7-train delays have on preschool parents.

“As a mother of two young boys and a daily subway rider, I’m deeply concerned that Queens’ working families are facing regular late fees because of the crumbling subway system. Teachers, parents, and students alike are affected by train delays, and we all feel the system getting worse by the day,” said Ramos.

Ramos and Stringer shared statistics from Senate District 13, including the fact that on average, two to three parents are seven minutes late to pick up and drop off their children at preschool due to train delays. The lateness results in over $67,000 incurred in late fees across the District 13 preschools.