Queens Borough President Melinda Katz today participated in a rally that City Council member Jimmy Van Bramer, organized to protest the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s plans to impose work-related service shutdowns on the Number 7 subway line for up to 22 weekends this year.
Katz and Councilmember Van Bramer were joined at the rally by Council members Danny Dromm, Costa Constantinides and Peter Koo and State Sen. Michael Gianaris.
Katz praised Council member Van Bramer for leading the fight against the MTA’s plans.
“Jimmy has done great work calling attention to this issue and I fully support his call for the MTA to take steps to minimize the hardships that its construction work will do to those residents who ride the 7 train and the businesses that rely on the train to convey their customers to them,” Katz said. “At a minimum, the MTA should offer shuttle bus service into Manhattan whenever there is a shutdown of part of the 7 line.”
The MTA currently plans to offer shuttle bus service to Queensboro Plaza during the scheduled shutdown periods and have passengers transfer there to other subway lines. However, Katz, Van Bramer and the other elected officials at the rally said this plan was insufficient.
Katz also joined with Van Bramer and their colleagues in calling for the MTA to work in closer concert with the community when it comes to planning work-related service changes.
“The MTA’s plans for doing the 7 train work were formulated and imposed without any community input,” Katz said. “The MTA needs to work with the people in the communities it serves to figure out better ways for it to perform needed construction without placing unnecessary burdens on residents and businesses.”
The MTA currently plans to suspend service between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza for 13 weekends between February 28 and July 21. Each weekend shutdown would start at 11:45 p.m. Friday and end at 5 a.m. Monday.
Additional 7 train service disruptions are also scheduled for some of those 13 weekends. The MTA also has tentative plans for 7 train shutdowns on an additional nine weekends between August and December of this year.
“It is simply unacceptable for the MTA to shutdown such a vital transportation link for up to 22 weekends,” Katz said “The Number 7 line is one of the busiest subway lines in the city and its Flushing-Main Street station is the busiest subway stop in Queens. We should be talking about adding trains to the line, not about cutting service along it.”
Katz joined with Van Bramer and the other elected officials in urging the MTA to come up with an alternative plan for scheduling the work the agency says must be completed along the 7 line.
“The MTA should being doing this work overnight and should do more of if during the summer,” Katz said.
The rally was held outside the Dorian Café at 10-01 50th Avenue in Long Island City. The café is located next to the Vernon Boulevard-Jackson Avenue station, which is on the 7 line and would be closed during the planned shutdowns.