Riders, pols demand MTA fix the No. 7

| smosco@queenscourier.com |

Tired of being railroaded by delays, poor service and other headaches, Queens straphangers are banding together with elected officials to demand upgrades to the No. 7 train.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer joined Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblymember Catherine Nolan for a rally at the Vernon Boulevard/Jackson Avenue subway stop in Long Island City on Thursday, April 28.

The representatives and community members on hand railed against the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and demanded it expedite repairs to address the train’s frequent unreliability. They also addressed the long term infrastructure problems facing the rapidly growing area that uses the No. 7 line as a main source of transit.

“All too often, the No. 7 train has proven unreliable and is seemingly not equipped to meet the increasing demands,” said Van Bramer. “The MTA needs to deliver a comprehensive, thorough solution for all riders who rely on the No. 7 train or else today’s problem will become tomorrow’s crisis.”

Today’s problems include delays, poor service, overcrowding, constant signal problems and what seems like a perpetual lack of communication from the MTA to transit riders. And the problems only seem to be getting worse – since January alone, there have been 106 disruption notices.

In a statement, the MTA said that signal related delays along the Flushing line are caused largely by “an aging signal system and water-related issues in the vicinity of Vernon-Jackson.”

The spokesperson for the MTA went on to say that they “performed emergency repairs last month and continue to work to reduce the number and duration of service disruptions.” They also said that the narrow tunnel makes repairs and maintenance impossible while the trains are running.

“This critical work, and a longer-term, $400 million project to install a modern signal system will require further disruptions,” the statement continued. “However, it is our goal to execute these projects in a well thought out and planned manner, giving our customers as much advance notice as possible.”

These repairs are way overdue, according to Representative Carolyn Maloney. The congressmember said she was troubled that an entire train line could be crippled by a rain storm – which for her, signals the need for major upgrades.

“When last month’s rain storm knocked out the signal system and other equipment in the Steinway tunnel, No. 7 subway passengers were left stranded,” she said. “Heavy rains shouldn’t paralyze an entire train line. The MTA’s engineers should come up with a plan to bring the No. 7 line into the 21st century and eliminate the uncertainty from the morning commute.”