Commuters in Queens gathered Wednesday to tell Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials their thoughts on an 11-week service shutdown that’s coming to the 7 line later this month. NY1’s Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
It’s going to be a long winter for the several thousand western Queens residents who rely on the 7 train to get around town on the weekends come January 23.
That's when an 11-week service shutdown begins, which means no trains on Saturdays and Sundays until the spring.
“This is not a neighborhood that has five different places where you can use instead. We're very isolated there,” said Queens resident Moitri Savard.
The MTA says the work is essential to make critical infrastructure improvements and upgrade tracks and switches. It also needs to clean the tracks of muck it says have accumulated over the years.
Still, concern over the shutdown led City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer to hold a public meeting on the issue. MTA officials fielded questions, many about why express bus service can't be temporarily provided through the Midtown Tunnel.
“I think it's fair to ask the MTA why they haven't thought out of the box here to alleviate the concerns and mitigate some of the damage that's being done,” said Van Bramer.
The MTA simply says it doesn't have the money for service through the Midtown Tunnel.
Many also wondered why the MTA chose to do weekend work instead of experimenting with overnight closures. That’s what’s being done with the 4, 5, and 6 trains in Manhattan in a program called Fastrack.
“The Fastrack is really to do it during the week, and it's doing a whole, an enormous amount of work within a small period, a small location. That's essentially what we’re doing on the 7 line. The difference is that you have the flexibility in the 4, 5, 6 to go to different areas since it is a central business district. You have the ability to go to different areas for transportation. The 7 line is to its own,” said Demetrius Crichlow of the MTA.
To find out about the 7 line diversions, residents are encouraged to call 511 or visit MTA.info for more information.