Chunk of debris falls from Woodside 7 train trestle, damages car for second time in three weeks

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Photo: Councilman Robert Holden/Facebook

Another vehicle on Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside was struck by a piece of falling debris from the elevated tracks of the 7 train on Wednesday — with elected officials calling on the MTA to address the “crumbling subway infrastructure” before any injuries or deaths occur.

Images posted to Twitter by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer showed a rusted piece of metal had landed on the windshield of a car, similar to the wooden beam that pierced a car driving down Roosevelt Avenue on Feb. 21 — just three blocks from where Wednesday’s incident occurred.

“What the hell is going on here?! For the second time in two weeks a piece of debris has come crashing down on a vehicle Below tracks on Roosevelt Ave., this time at 62nd street,” Van Bramer said. “The car was occupied and moving. No one injured but someone is going to get killed here !”

Police said the incident happened at around 9:45 a.m. on March 6 when the driver was going eastbound down Roosevelt. There were no reported injuries and the investigation is ongoing.

“The NYPD 108th Precinct has informed me that for the second time in two weeks, a piece of debris fell from the elevated 7 train tracks and damaged a car below, this time at 62nd Street and Roosevelt Ave in Woodside,” Holden said. “Thankfully nobody was injured, but I am calling on the MTA New York City Transit to evaluate all elevated train lines to ensure the safety of pedestrians and drivers below these aging tracks.”

The agency said it is currently investigating the incident and trying to determine what the debris was that fell.

“This is obviously very concerning and we’re glad that no one was hurt,” an MTA spokesman said. “We take the safety of our customers, employees and neighbors very seriously – what this material is and where it came from is under investigation.”

The spokesman said they believe it could be a piece of metal that broke loose after a truck ran into the structure on March 5, which the MTA determined had not compromised the integrity of the tracks.

The MTA currently has a two-year, $45 million initiative to address paint issues along the 7 train, specifically for lead reparations which was found to be well above the acceptable level.

NYC Transit President Andy Byford announced in June 2018 that the money had been set aside and the whole length of the trestle would be stripped to bare metal and repainted which would also give the agency to opportunity to make repairs to the track which were built in 1917.

The MTA said they would begin the project in July of that year, with the first phase of the plan to address the span from 82nd Street to Citi Field before then turning the remaining span.

A report published by the District 9 International Union of Painters and Allied Trades in early 2017 showed the paint on the No. 7 tracks contained 224,000 parts per million of lead paint, more than 40 times the 5,000 parts per million legal threshold and that paint chips contaminate the street below.

Byford ordered a full inspection of the tracks after the wooden beam fell which was completed on Feb. 28 and confirmed the structure is safe.

Even though the trestle is inspected on weekly basis on foot, the Feb. 21 incident forced the agency to widen the criteria of what to look for, the spokesman said.