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Elected officials to meet with MTA over 7 train cuts Thursday

Rally at Vernon Blvd/Jackson Ave station

Rally at Vernon Blvd/Jackson Ave station

Feb. 5, 2014 By Christian Murray

The MTA is in for some harsh words.

This neighborhood’s elected officials will be meeting with MTA officials tomorrow for the first time since the agency abruptly announced that it would be shutting down No. 7 train service—between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza–for 22 weekends this year.

The MTA, which has said that is cutting service in order to install a new signal system, extended the meeting to the elected officials around the time it announced the closures. However, an invitation was not sent to small business owners and other community stakeholders.

The elected officials plan to call on the MTA to provide shuttle buses that go directly from Vernon Blvd. to Grand Central and for the expansion and subsidization of the East River Ferry service. However, such calls in the past years have not amounted to anything.

But this year the outrage over the cuts has grown—as evidenced by the large turnout at a Jan. 17 rally protesting the MTA’s closures. At the Vernon Blvd/ Jackson Avenue rally, Richard Mazda, the owner of the Secret Theater, made a note of the groundswell of anger and said while at the podium: “You better watch out MTA.”

Meanwhile, one high-profile Long Island City business owner is looking to attend the MTA meeting, while others have plans to stand outside the meeting [2 Broadway] and make their views known.

Rebecca Trent, the owner of the Creek & the Cave, a restaurant/comedy club, said she aims to gain entry to the meeting. “These meetings decide whether we keep our doors open or not—and yet we aren’t invited,” Trent said.

Trent said that many people can’t get to Long Island City on the weekends, causing many businesses like hers to suffer.

Trent is working with Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s office to see if she can attend.

“I want her to be in that room, since she has a powerful case to make,” Van Bramer said.

Whether or not the MTA allows her to attend, Trent plans on standing outside the meeting and handing out fliers that state the issues concerning Long Island City’s small business community.

“We won’t be protesting with signs, just handing out fliers,” Trent said, who will go with other business owners.

Meanwhile, State Sen. Mike Gianaris, who has often lashed out at the MTA concerning its service to Western Queens, said the agency has been completely unresponsive in the helping the community when it has announced No. 7 train cuts in the past.

“We have suggested shuttle buses [to the city], increased ferry service and other ideas in the past but they have done nothing,” Gianaris said.  “We always leave no stone unturned.”

Van Bramer said the issue is frustrating, since the MTA just doesn’t seem to care about the consequences of its work.

“They believe the work is necessary and that the people [in Western Queens] just need to deal with it,” Van Bramer said.

“People don’t dispute the fact the work is needed…but they show no compassion and empathy for the people or businesses here,” Van Bramer said. “They don’t come to the community and ask  ‘How can we make this easier for you.”

Meeting details:

2 Broadway, 30th floor Conference Room

Thursday at 2pm.

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10 Comments

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Native NYC

Not sure if its feasible but LIRR trains could stop at Hunters point before entering tunnel to Penn. Not ideal but a possible short term fix. Also a stop could be added at Hunters Point to the proposed service connecting Metro North to Penn Station.

Reply
There's still going to be signal problems on the 7

I’m sure once they fix the signal problems there won’t be any more delays and/or stops on the tracks right??!!! **sarcasm**

Reply
Celtic Bark

I’m sure work is necessary, but the question not being asked is why the hell does it take so damn long?

I’ve lived in Queens for several decades and cannot remember a time when the 7 or N lines weren’t part of some long-running maintenance soap opera.

I can’t tell you how many times over the years I’ve waited for a train and seen 7 or 8 track workers milling around watching 1 or 2 do anything resembling work.

Reply
Time's Up

“We have suggested shuttle buses [to the city], increased ferry service and other ideas in the past but they have done nothing”

I believe you meant to write “[to Manhattan].” I don’t think the senator was talking about buses to somewhere other than NYC, where we all reside.

And he’s right. Assuming the MTA has no choice regarding the shutdowns, it should at least improve the shuttles. It would be very easy for these buses to simply jump on the Midtown Tunnel and take people to Grand Central.

Reply
I know what the MTA is up to

22 weeks to restore the #7 line signal system by the MTA is outrageous. Someone is being paid off.

Reply
We see you

MTA will have a bigger issue to deal with in Hunter’s Point – hopefully sooner – rather than later.

Currently, at worst you have to wait 1 or 2 trains at rush hour to get a ride, but with thousands (perhaps 10,000s) of new people coming into the area in the next few years, it will be impossible.

The only short term solution seems to be a bus into grand central.

Reply
Resident

Would also be nice if they mention the fact that many people who live in Queens actually work in Manhattan and have to get to work even on *gasp* weekends. Blue collar, white collar, no collar, doesn’t matter–a lot of us have to get to get there, and taking a completely roundabout way for 22 weeks is ridiculous.

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