Tag Archives: No. 7 train suspensions

LIC scheduled for a weekend of fun


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ File Photo

Long Island City is the place to be this weekend.

Three events will be taking over the western Queens neighborhood, bringing residents and visitors from near and far the best in food, drinks, activities, the arts and much more.

The first of these events is the ongoing LIC Flea & Food located at the outdoor lot on the corner of 5th Street and 46th Avenue. Items for sale include food and drinks, collectibles, antiques, arts and crafts, and fashion. For the remaining weekends in March, the LIC Flea will only be running on Saturdays.

During the weekend the 2014 LIC Arts Open, which began Wednesday, will also be taking over with local artists holding open studios on Saturday, and on Sunday hosting a closing party and silent auction.


             LIC ARTS OPEN POSTER © Luba Lukova

On Saturday, the first-ever free LIC Springs! block party, which is part of the city’s Department of Transportation’s Weekend Walks program, will shut down Vernon Boulevard to vehicular traffic from 50th to 46th avenues. From 1 to 6 p.m. the block party will feature performances, activities, and food and items sold by local business owners.

“Together these events show that there is something for everyone in Long Island City and should draw New Yorkers of all ages to LIC,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the Long Island City Partnership. “Arts, culture, lively performances, activities and, of course, a cornucopia of culinary options — and all from local participants.”

Also for this weekend, the MTA has announced the No. 7 train would take a break from its weekend disruptions and will be running to help visitors get to and from Long Island City.

Just a neighborhood away, the Astoria Flea & Food at Kaufman Astoria Studios will be entering its third of eight Sundays of operation. After paying a visit to Long Island City, don’t miss out on the numerous vendors at the Astoria Flea.

 

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7 train suspension lifted for LIC weekend of events


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File Photo

There is a little light at the end of the tunnel for No. 7 train users.

Three weeks after coming face to face with the Long Island City community and listening to their concerns about the No. 7 train weekend suspensions, the MTA will keep the line running on May 17 and 18.

During the March 27 town hall meeting, community members and business owners asked the transit agency to alter its initial plan because of events such as the LIC Arts Open, LIC Flea & Food and LIC Springs!, a block party along Vernon Boulevard.

“Finally the MTA has not only listened to our community on this issue, but taken action,” State Sen. Michael Gianaris said. “LIC Springs! and other events like the LIC Flea and the LIC Arts Open are wonderful displays of how much our neighborhood has to offer, so I appreciate the MTA making it easier to get people here for this one weekend.”

The MTA said that the work previously scheduled for the weekend of May 17 and 18 will have to be rescheduled, however won’t increase the number of closures for 2014. Some of the closures will be rescheduled for 2015.

“The community spoke and the [MTA New York City Transit] listened. The No. 7 Line shutdown for needed repairs has caused ongoing hardship for the businesses, residents, cultural organizations and institutions in Long Island City,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the Long Island City Partnership. “That weekend is expected to draw significant numbers of visitors from across Queens – and New York City – to our neighborhood for arts, culture, food and fun.”

Although the MTA has agreed to keep the No. 7 line working for the one May weekend, Gianaris wants to continue working with the agency to put an end to all weekend disruptions.

“Of course, when everyone wants to come back and enjoy the weekend in Long Island City for the rest of the summer, we’ll run into the same old problem, so I will keep fighting until the 7 train actually running on weekends is no longer news,” Gianaris said.

The suspensions are expected to be in effect from 2 a.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday between Times Square-42nd Street and Queensboro Plaza. On some weekends, there will also be reduced or express-only service between 74th Street-Broadway and Queensboro Plaza.

The MTA has also released the following additional changes for the No. 7 train suspensions:

  • May 3-4 will now be a shutdown between Queensboro Plaza and Times Square-42 Street.
  • May 31-June 1 will now be shut down between 74 Street-Broadway to Times Square-42 Street.
  • Sept. 20-21 will now be shut down between 74 Street -Broadway to Times Square-42 Street.
  • Nov 15-16 will now be a limited service to Queensboro Plaza with no service between Queensboro Plaza and Times Square-42 Street weekend.

 

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MTA to continue 7 train suspensions despite LIC’s pleas


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

After listening to numerous complaints recent No. 7 train suspensions have caused, the MTA told Long Island City – we’re sorry but the work must go on.

The western Queens community came together during a town hall meeting with MTA officials on Thursday to discuss the line’s suspensions, which are expected to continue for 13 more weekends throughout the year.

Officials from the agency explained the purpose behind the suspensions and listened to feedback from residents, elected officials and business owners.

MTA NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco expressed his apologies for the inconveniences but told those present that the disruptions will continue as planned.

“This is not something that is unique to just our 7 line riders, because of the nature of our system we have to do this all over the city,” Bianco said. “Let me apologize to you with the inconvenience we’re causing because I know it’s there and I do apologize. We’ve looked hard for alternate ways to do this and I think we found the best solution.”

One of the ongoing projects that are causing the No. 7 line to shut down on weekends is the implementation of a Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC), which by 2017 is expected to provide real-time arrival information at stations and “improve system safety, reliability, capacity and flexibility,” according to the agency’s presentation.

The other two projects include Steinway Tube reconstruction and rehabilitation, and track panel replacement.

The suspensions are expected to be in effect from 2 a.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday between Times Square-42nd Street and Queensboro Plaza. On some weekends, there will also be reduced or express-only service between 74th Street-Broadway and Queensboro Plaza.

One of the biggest topics brought up by residents and business owners during the night was the installment of a shuttle bus from Vernon Boulevard through the Queens Midtown Tunnel into the city.

Even though the entire room agreed it would be the best alternative during the suspensions, Bianco said that according to data from the MTA, a shuttle bus would only benefit a limited amount of people and would not save much travel time.

However, elected officials said they have yet to see any data regarding the shuttle service.

“We asked for it a while ago and I haven’t seen it,” Senator Michael Gianaris said. “We’re still waiting for it. We keep hearing about it.”

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer agreed on the need to see the data as he asked the audience whether they believed the shuttle would work best for them.

“If the New York City transit believes that that plan is a bad plan for all of you, despite the fact that all of you think it’s a very good plan, then we need to see why this is being done the way it is being done,” Van Bramer said.

Although the work is expected to continue until 2017, this year is expected to be the worst and after mid-2015 the majority of the work disruptions will shift east from Long Island City, MTA officials said.

 

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LIC community struggles with first weekend of No. 7 train suspensions


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Updated Wednesday, March 12 10:38 a.m.

Warren Linnane, a Long Island City resident, had no idea the No. 7 line would not be working when he went out Saturday night. A subway ride that normally takes 10 to 15 minutes took him and his friend close to three hours.

“We were in the city and couldn’t get home,” he said. “It took us three trains and one cab, that’s more money and more time. It was terrible, I can’t go anywhere. We live here and we can’t get home.”

Linnane — and all of LIC — felt the pinch this past weekend as the community endured the first of more than a dozen weekends of No. 7 train suspensions.

The suspensions were expected to begin February 28, but were cancelled due to expected inclement weather.
Through July 21, there will be 13 weekend suspensions. Those dates are finalized, the MTA said, but there are also nine tentative weekend shutdowns scheduled for August through November.

The suspensions are expected to be in effect from 11:45 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday between Times Square-42nd Street and Queensboro Plaza. On some weekends there will also be reduced or express-only service between 74th Street-Broadway and Queensboro Plaza.

Business owners, like Jeff Blath of Alobar, noticed a difference on Saturday, March 8, when there were fewer customers than usual and some of his employees struggled to get to work and back home.

“It hurts us, there’s no doubt about it,” Blath said. “They [the MTA] did not come to us and say ‘what works the best for your guys?’ It’s just a multitude of problems and no communication.”

Blath said that some of his employees took hours to get home after work. For the upcoming weekend, he hopes to create some sort of specials at Alobar to bring customers to the neighborhood.

“LIC is always talked about because of how easy it is to get to the city, and what happened? They took it away,” he said. “I’m trying my best to stay positive.”

Rebecca Trent, owner of The Creek and The Cave, also shared the same struggle when she tweeted “The No. 7 Train was down today. Quietest Saturday in ages” after only 10 people showed up for one of the shows that day.

“We put everything we have into our jobs,” Trent said. “If the neighborhood doesn’t have consistent No. 7 train service then the neighborhood is not relevant. The selling point of Long Island City is that we’re one stop from Manhattan.”

Trent said that together with other business owners she will work to raise awareness in the neighborhood and also make sure the issue “stays on the radar” of the local politicians. She will also dedicate street team efforts to inform people taking the other subway lines to come visit LIC.

“LIC is very special, there is no other place like it in New York City and I want to see it thrive very badly and it really seems like the MTA is always getting in the way,” she said.

The latest round of work is expected to modernize and improve the Flushing No. 7 line, according to the MTA. The work will also include tunnel duct reconstruction and replacement and improvements on components damaged during Superstorm Sandy.

The MTA said it is waiting on and working with the Long Island City community to set up a marketing campaign for the neighborhood.

However, business owners say the MTA has told them that they are not being given advertising space, but instead can add images and words to the disclosure notices located on subway cars.

“We’re not quite sure what they are giving us right now,” said Sheila Lewandowski, co-founder and executive director of The Chocolate Factory Theater. “We want to do it, we want to make it happen but all sides need to come to the table and work together. Give us the information we need.”

Lewandowski also said the agency is not clear on what they need from them to create the notices and the businesses owners have no idea on how long the notices would stay up.

“The Long Island City community is hurting as a result of the 22 weekends of closures on the No. 7 line. The least that the MTA could do is work actively with the community on the promises that they have made,” Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer said. “Instead, we have seen the MTA add insult to injury by suggesting that the slowness of implementation of a campaign is on someone other than themselves. This simple suggestion is shameful and arrogant.”

Senator Michael Gianaris, who has previously suggested the MTA offer a shuttle bus from Vernon Boulevard through the Queens Midtown Tunnel into the city, plans on immediately communicating the community’s needs to the MTA.

“The MTA must stop treating our communities as if they don’t matter,” Gianaris said. “This unresponsive bureaucracy will keep hearing from me until they get it, which they clearly do not at this time.”

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MTA plans to help promote LIC during No. 7 train suspensions


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of MTA New York City Transit / Leonard Wiggins.

Although the MTA cannot put a stop to the suspensions expected for the No. 7 train, the agency plans on working to help promote Long Island City.

After a closed preliminary meeting with elected officials and community leaders on Thursday, the MTA said it is willing to work with the community to create a marketing campaign for the neighborhood during the upcoming shutdowns.

Between Feb. 28 and July 21, there will be 13 weekend suspensions. Those dates are finalized but the agency also plans on holding nine tentative weekend shutdowns August through November.

“In terms of what we are more than willing to do is to work with the elected officials and the business owners on a marketing campaign for area businesses in Long Island City,” said MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz.

The campaign would include “pretty robust presence” at subway stations with brochures in different languages, posters, a homepage banner and information on the digital urban planners, said Ortiz.

The agency is also considering doing a two-side branded MetroCard with information on Long Island City.

In regards to the option offered by elected officials to have a shuttle bus service into the city, the MTA does not plan on implementing it because it is not a “viable alternative,” said Ortiz. 

He added that it is quicker for the vast majority of passengers to take the E, N or Q lines into Manhattan and people will still be able to get into Long Island City. 

“It’s just going to take a little bit longer,” said Ortiz. 

Elected officials have also asked for ferry service to be increased during the time of the suspensions, but Ortiz said that option would have to be addressed by the city and the New York City Economic Development Corporation

Ortiz added that the suspensions need to happen in order for certain tracks to be replaced to prevent future problems and increase the number of trains running on the No. 7 line. 

The MTA plans to work together with the elected officials to hold meetings with the community. The dates are yet to be determined.

 

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