March 25, By Christian Murray
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and a Queens-based subway advocacy group are hosting a town hall meeting next month where residents will be able to question MTA officials about 7-train service.
The event, which will take place on April 5th at Sunnyside Community Services (details below), will provide residents with an opportunity to meet the newly-appointed MTA NYC Transit President Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim and field questions.
The announcement of the meeting comes just two months after Van Bramer lambasted the state-run agency at a press conference in the district, arguing that 7-train service is unreliable and riders are often left waiting on overcrowded platforms.
This town hall will not be a traditional meeting, organizers say. The event will take on a social media component where residents will be able to field questions via the hashtag #AskTheMTA on Facebook or Twitter from now through to the day of the event.
Residents can also e-mail questions via [email protected]
Melissa Orlando, executive director of Access Queens, the advocacy group that runs the Facebook Page 7 Train Blues, said the social media component is an important component of the meeting.
Orlando said that the MTA will be able to get residents’ questions ahead of the meeting and will not have to tell the audience “‘we don’t have that information here, we’ll have to get back to you,’” she said.
Van Bramer will be monitoring the questions and will notify the MTA of what’s being asked ahead of the meeting.
Orlando said her aim is not to have a contentious meeting.
“There is someone new in charge of MTA NYC Transit and I hope it’s the beginning of a conversation that is constructive. I hope it will lead to an ongoing dialogue.”
The town hall will feature a presentation concerning the installation and implementation of the Communications-based Train Control (CBTC) system, which has led to weekend service closures in Long Island City for about eight weekends each year and spotty service overall.
“We want to get an update as to where they are in the process,” Orlando said. “Do they still predict that we will get two more trains per hour when it’s completed? What about countdown clocks?”
After the CBTC presentation, Van Bramer will take the online questions and ask the MTA officials.
Following that, residents will be able to form a line and ask questions the traditional way.
Date: Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Place: Sunnyside Community Services, 43-31 39th St, Sunnyside, NY 11104 [View Map] (Take the 7 Train to 40th St)