Nov. 16, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
After nearly a decade of weekend service changes, closures, and other interruptions on the 7 line due to a massive signal system upgrade, the MTA at last announced that work on the project will wrap up at the end of the month.
The project, which replaces the entire 7 line’s signaling operations to a system known as Communications-Based Train Control, is set to be in service on Nov. 26. It has been underway since 2010, when the MTA selected the contractor for the project.
The new signal system, according to the MTA, will allow for more frequent and reliable service along the 10.5-mile line. It will help dispatchers know where trains are along the tracks with more precision, which the older system lacked. The precision, in turn, will allow dispatchers to have trains travel closer together and at faster speeds, thereby increasing service.
The $588 million CBTC project, however, has blown through several deadlines. It was supposed to be completed more than two years ago, but has encountered many setbacks along the way, including hardware and software issues.
MTA representatives said at a Nov. 13 board meeting that installation was 93 percent complete, with CBTC installed between Main Street and just before Grand Central Station.
Work on the remaining four stops will bring service for the entire Flushing line by the Nov. 26 date. All major testing, in addition, has been completed, with the contractor to stay on board for the next two years to monitor the system.
While the new communications system is soon to go into service, there will still be some track work after that, according to an MTA spokesperson.
The line’s 500,000 riders, however, are already set to see additional service in April 2019 to offset ridership demands when the L train shuts down operations between Brooklyn and Manhattan.
The line will see a total of 14 additional round trips during weekday mornings and evenings—five round trips will be added between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m., and nine round trips will be added between 5:30 p.m. and midnight.
MTA documents show that average ridership volumes on the 7 line already warrant four additional round trips split between peak morning and evening hours. Projected ridership on the line for the L tunnel closure, however, bumps the number of additional round trips up to the slated 14.
The CBTC system completion also comes with news of Amazon’s plans to build a campus in Long Island City and subsequent concerns about whether the stressed transit infrastructure can handle the additional 25,000 employees attached to the project.
Amazon, however, will be temporarily operating out of One Court Square beginning in 2019 while its headquarters, spanning millions of square feet, are built around Anable Basin in years to come.
Citi, the anchor tenant of the 50-story tower that has expressed its desire to move out of the 1 million square feet of space it occupies in the building in 2020, is working on an expedited plan to move some its employees out of the building to accommodate Amazon’s plans.
Mayor de Blasio believes the area’s transit system will not be strained in the short term, as Amazon employees will be moving into a building that Citi is already moving out of.
“I don’t think is going to have a huge impact because they’ll be right there with those four subway lines,” he said at a Tuesday press conference, referring to the Court Square station.
While de Blasio touted NYC Ferry as a service that can help with infrastructure concerns, he acknowledged that city and state have to work together to come up with much needed solutions for the area.
“Amazon or no Amazon, this is something we have to address in the long haul,” he said. “Certainly, I’ve heard that from the local representatives many times.”
The mta forgot to mention that all the new signals are from the 99 cents store so they will broke every day like the ones from hunters point and Vernon Jackson .
Eliminate 7 express. Ridiculous people from Flushing are getting to work with shorter commutes than someone who lives half as far away because it takes 8 minutes for a local train to come, then it’s completely packed so wait who knows how long for the next one. Run same number of trains, but all local.
They are thinking of adding a bike lane next to the express track next April. It should start in early April 2019 and finish in DEC 2042
Now that transit is fixed can we finally get more bike lanes?
Even if service improves dramatically on the 7, there will still be those who will complain about it daily, moaning and whining about how a sick passenger messed up their commute.
Sorry to be a whiner DRS but I have a job and i’d like to get there. I don’t blame people for getting sick whatever their circumstance. I blame the morons who manage the 7 line who can’t solve problems and the politicians. Why is it that billions can be provided for the new computerized trains yet they can’t provide speedier ambulance service to help take sick passengers off the trains quicker? Who can’t trains be serviced better so they don’t break down so often. Ok, I’m sure all the transportation experts who read the SP will have answers. They will probably blame it on trust fund babies, bike paths, disappearing mom and pop stores. Blah, blah, blah.
Exactly, El Loco. Well said!
If service improves dramatically on the 7 train ill kiss Rikki under the arch. The 7 trains are now controlled by computers. And I waited a half hour for a train Monday morning. It will never change.
The MTA has just announced that the new CBTC signal system has taken so long to install that it is now obsolete. The replacement system installation will begin one day after the new system becomes operational. The replacement for CBTC will take 20 years to install and cost $40,000,000,000.
That’s ok. If Trump gets his way, inflation will blow up to the point that in 20 years $40,000,000,000 will be the equivalent of about 500 bucks today.
Jeaaaaazus! After 8 years and THIS is what the MTA has show. Unacceptable and they are a disgrace. The MTA should be shamed of itself.
there is literally nothing worse than the 7 train. it is late EVERY SINGLE DAY! sometimes, a 30 minute wait at 8:15 to 8:30. and it runs like a snail! take the N or W at QBP, and you will notice that they run at full speed. what a joke. so much corruption from the MTA monopoly!
they did it for the Amazon hipsters
Thank You AMAZON!
By you saying that, good luck when rent skyrockets beyond to what it already is.
Oh my god, the messiah must be coming to earth the 7 train signals are finished.
I’m sure it won’t work. Jesus will have come back for nothing.
Again it will be 25+ years before a new subway line will be built under the east river Maybe my idea of reverse commuting out to kew garden is not a bad idea after all.
25 years? What are you smoking? Nobody has even discussed anything like that. Rikki, as I’ve told you before you need a job!
Well its way past time to get people thinking about being sardines on the 7 for a long. long time, and is this what you really want for the future?
Do you really have to work in Manhattan 9-5?
If you live in Queens and commute daily to Kew Gardens, what’s the point? Queens is and always has been a bedroom community for millions of people who love the thrill and excitement of working in Manhattan. Sure, there are some jobs in Kew Gardens but it seems like a dull and lifeless destination. Anyone seeking an interesting career/lifestyle will not be impressed if the main selling point is empty trains. You might as well move out of NYC and live in Nowheresville if you find satisfaction in spending your whole life schlepping around Queens.
Plenty of dull jobs in Manhattan. You are obviously from out of town.
Dude. I don’t know anybody who works in Manhattan because they like the excitement of it. Actually living in Manhattan or going there to have fun? Sure. But mostly people work there because that’s where the jobs are.
As a freelancer I’ve had plenty of local or reverse-commute jobs (even as far as Westchester and LI), and they’re AWESOME. No stress, I always get a seat, and often can sleep later. And if the job is in Brooklyn I can bike straight there, which takes about half the time of riding the subway into Manhattan and back. You’re missing out.
rikki, what jobs do you believe exist in Kew Gardens in the fantasy land that you live in?
well what kind of high paying jobs are you commuting for? Only you can determine if sardine trains having to wait 3 trains to squeeze in is worth the money you are paid.
Jobs well paralegal Queens court house was an easy commute and being in sunnyside made it easy to take the G train to Brooklyn .. I know i was making less then in Manhattan, but it wasn’t enough to make it worthwhile to commute that way.
That’s where the jobs are