Things keep falling apart — and off of — the elevated 7 line in Woodside, with the latest incident of plunging debris coming in the form of a steel chunk that dropped near the 52nd Street station this week.
On Wednesday, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer tweeted a photo of a large piece of steel that fell to the sidewalk between 51st and 52nd streets in Woodside.
Now the MTA tells QNS they plan to extend netting that currently only exists around the 61st Street – Woodside Station to protect motorists and pedestrians from debris commonly known to fall by those living and working along Roosevelt Avenue.
“The object that fell reflects no structural risk but is obviously a serious matter. This area was re-inspected today to ensure that there are no other loose pieces there,” an MTA spokesman said. “This has the full attention of President Byford who had already expedited the netting process by ordering a systemwide cost and priority analysis while the four-location pilot is underway. A comprehensive inspection in March found no issues.”
The four-location pilot started in July and is a system of netting currently protecting people around the Woodside station, which Van Bramer began calling for in February.
The MTA contested that netting would prevent their workers from being able to reliably inspect the structure, but finally relented.
“We take reports of fallen debris from our elevated structures very seriously, because the condition of these structures is critical to safe train service and the safety of our neighbors,” NYC Transit President Andy Byford said in July. “We are encouraged by the possible viability and off-the-shelf availability of this netting to provide peace of mind to those who traverse streets below our tracks, and will continue our rigorous inspections of these structures, which are often struck by vehicles and exposed to highly varying conditions year-round that can speed deterioration.”
A constituent reported to me this morning that another chunk of debris fell from the 7 train on Roosevelt Ave between 51st & 52nd St in #Woodside. Once again, it’s clear the netting that has been installed at 61st St needs to be expanded along the 7 line before someone gets hurt. pic.twitter.com/IA4IJKbCXc
— Jimmy Van Bramer (@JimmyVanBramer) August 21, 2019
But debris has been falling for months now, and the MTA’s repeated inspection efforts only seem to result in more incidents where metal – and even a wooden beam – continue to shower cars below.
QNS has filed a Freedom of Information request with the MTA to view inspection records regarding the 7 train as the agency claims workers survey the tracks on foot from the ground and from the trestle at least twice a week.
But the agency has been slow to produce these records with the latest follow-up email from our newsroom being entirely ignored by the Freedom of Information officer, Richard Harrington, assigned to the task.
One vehicle in late February was pierced through the windshield by a wooden beam on the east side of the station – up above are more slats – and an incident on March 6 in which a piece of rusted metal dropped onto the roof of another car.
Since then, there have been several other incidents including one in Long Island City and another in June by the 52nd Street stop which nearly landed a two pedestrians as they crossed the street nearby.