After a hefty metal flashlight recently fell from a construction project on the elevated subway tracks in Astoria and nearly struck a pedestrian, Councilman Costa Constantinides urged the Metropolitan Transit Authority to install protective netting under the entirety of the elevated N/W tracks in western Queens.
“It landed at her feet. If she had been half a second quicker, something bad would have happened,” said Constantinides.
Constantinides said that the flashlight incident called attention to the daily risk western Queens residents face under the subway. He said that he regularly hears complaints and sees tweets from Astoria residents about debris falling along the 31st Street tracks from construction or track maintenance, but hasn’t been able to substantiate any of these claims until now.
MTA officials recently announced the agency’s plan to install netting under N/W tracks at the Queensboro Plaza and 39th Avenue stations — about a mile south of Constantinides’ district. The councilman is calling on the agency to complete the remaining two miles of track up to the Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard station.
“Just make sure that we’re safe. We’re not asking a lot. Just give us peace of mind. This isn’t an attack on the MTA, they’ve been very responsive, and we acknowledge the hard work of the men and women who do this,” said Constantinides. “I’m just saying it makes sense.”
Asked how much he estimates it would cost, Constantinides said, “I guarantee that the cost of the netting is cheaper than if something bad were to happen.”
Each weekday, around 52,000 commuters traveled on average through the N/W stations in Constantinides district including 36th Avenue, Broadway, 30th Avenue, Astoria Boulevard and Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard.