Feb. 7, 2014 By Christian Murray
The MTA plans to come to Long Island City and explain to residents why it needs to shut down the subway—between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza–for 22 weekends this year, according to Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.
The MTA, in a closed-door meeting with elected officials Thursday, said the agency will hold a hearing in the neighborhood where it will provide details as to why the work is necessary as well as the long-term benefits it will bring. Van Bramer said a date has not been scheduled but he would expect the meeting to be held soon.
However, the elected officials who attended yesterday’s MTA meeting left far from satisfied.
The MTA told them that it had no plans to introduce a shuttle bus service between Vernon Blvd and Grand Central during the weekend closures—a service the community has constantly called for.
“They provided a number of reasons why they wouldn’t do it and many didn’t make any sense,” said State Sen. Mike Gianaris.
Gianaris said that the MTA claimed that it would be difficult for them to turn the bus around for the return trip. He said the agency was unsure how it would reach an agreement with Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, which is the agency in charge of the Queens-midtown tunnel. Furthermore, the MTA was even questioned whether the shuttle bus would save commuters any time at all.
“They said it would take people just as long if they took a shuttle bus to Queensboro plaza and took the train from there,” Van Bramer said. “I don’t know how they think that is true.”
The MTA was willing to talk to the operators of the East River Ferry service to see if it could expand service on weekends and arrange some sort of price matching. However, despite the MTA’s willingness to talk to the operator, the politicians were not hopeful.
The only area where the MTA is likely to provide some level of relief was in helping Long Island City businesses promote the community during the shutdowns. The agency appeared willing to launch a marketing campaign.
Joe Conley, chairman of Community Board 2 who was also at the meeting, said the community is going to be facing weekend shutdowns through to the end 2016. He said the MTA believes the work will result in 11 extra trains going through the tunnel an hour.
Conley said it was a frustrating meeting. “We did not walk out of the room satisfied,” he said.
Omg please as the writer before me wrote,
take the E train or shuttle buses! Work
Has to be done! Repairs, upgrading are
Imperative for safety for us all! LIC isn’t
Only the 7 line, venture out explore!
Let us take a trip back in time to October 2012 to an event called Sandy, the 7 tube was flooded, as I remember from science class saltwater does not mix well wood, metal, electrical equipment, concrete, etc… Also the MTA is a government entity so they must bid out all work to be done and accept the lowest bid possible, lowest bid = lowest quality, JVB knows this and is only using this as fuel for a fight that he cannot win. Its not like they do not provide a shuttle bus, or even take a walk to the E train at court square, then you can support some local LIC businesses by the E train.
Jeff360: move out of LIC and you don’t use subways/ buses any more! Please move out of NYC so we don’t have to see/ hear idiots like you!
Crybabies, just move out of LIC away from the 7 train.
Van Bramer is a flaw politician… done nothing to help the subway shutdown situation. NOTHING!
Who are we kidding here. “After a closed door meeting MTA officials decide to hold a hearing…”
The MTA officials are going to take a lashing from the local residents & business owners, say we will take that into consideration and then carry on as planned.
I’m sure the elected officials that attended this meeting asked the MTA to speak to residents so that they can share some of the blame and the resentment from the local community. They know full well that this will change absolutely nothing.
I fail to see how in this day in age it takes 22 weekends this year, a dozen or so in 2013, and a dozen in 2012 to complete upgrades on one subway line.
That’s my favorite picture: Jerks standing on the subway stairs talking on their cellphones.
Can someone get to the real reason for the MTA’s reluctance to operate shuttles, because they make themselves sound even more stupid than I had expected they were.
The Midtown Tunnel is operated by the TBTA, a subsidiary of the MTA. So why does the MTA need permission from them? And why is that such onerous even if it were necessary to get their permission?
As for the idiotic supposed “difficulty turning” the buses around. Here’s an idea: drop the passengers off on any East Side avenue, pick others up at the same spot, make two right turns and you’re back at the tunnel entrance again. How in the world is that impossible to consider? How is that any more complex than the MTA’s operation of any number of Midtown bus routes right now?
Back in the late 80s, they did it. The buses picked up passengers at Bryant Park and then headed for the tunnel from there. It was a breeze. It was quick. And passengers didn’t want to punch the lights out of some bureaucratic shithead from the MTA.
another brilliant strategy from MR. “I will always stand in front of a podium to look like I am doing something” Van Bramer. He Knows there is nothing that can be done, so he sets up all of these meetings so he can say “I tried, see I fight for you, but I can’t win”. Why do we stand for that? Why don’t we hold him accountable for finding a solution??? He can have all of the credit if he fixes it, but going to closed door meetings, where for all we know there is a wink and nod about making it appear that residents are being heard only to land at the same place (no shuttle buses) is nuts. How do you need permission to run a bus through a tunnel??? If its about the toll, you can charge my metrocard for a swipe to get me to grand central. Hell, you could pass a hat and I would throw in $2 to get through the tunnel (as I am sure many other passengers would). this is not about just getting to Manhattan, it is about getting to Grand Central/the east side without having to transfer 2 or 3 times (esp if you have kids or a stroller). What is wrong with people that they don’t understand this?
To me, it is unacceptable to not have the train in the summer — that’s when we want to go places, not only in Manhattan but also further into queens, the zoo, the science hall, the parks, and when people want to come here to apt hunt and visit the waterfront, etc. This whole thing is a prime example of gov’t failure on every level.
A y hope for automation? Six years for the L train is pitiful! At that rate it will take six times twenty lines to finish the entire system not to mention they are talking about driverless trains in Australia.
The MTA proposes to waste taxpayer money on a marketing campaign for LIC businesses but it won’t run a few buses for a 5-minute trip through the tunnel???
Honestly, how anyone attending that meeting didn’t reach across the table and strangle those idiot representatives is beyond me
If they have to do the work then why can’t they compromise on the schedule. Not having the subway for 5 straight weekends in a row hurts the community. They need to break up the weekends it will be shutdown. Basically all of March LIC is unreachable on weekends.
Also, why can’t they shut down the subway a few weeknights from midnight to 5am? OR only on Friday nights. I clearly am not an expert on the subject; I am just a concerned resident that is sick of this. There has to be a better plan they can come up with. It feels like the MTA did not even consider the residents or businesses this affects. If they can’t make amendments to this schedule then the MTA needs to provides something else for the area.
I demand a discount!!!!!!
Thank you Mr. Van Bramer for initiating this….taking the shuttle to Queensboro Plaza would just over crowd the N and Q service.