Dec. 5, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
A series of hellish commutes for 7 train riders in recent days has prompted Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer to call on the MTA’s leadership—yet again—to head to Sunnyside for a town hall.
Van Bramer, in a Dec. 3 letter sent to Andy Byford, New York City Transit president, urged him to set a date for a neighborhood town hall about the 7 train, especially in light of more than a week of problems along the line that have made commuting agonizing for thousands of area residents.
The recent setbacks, meanwhile, come as the train’s new signal system, nearly 10 years in the works and meant to enhance service, came online in late November.
The Dec. 3 letter marks the third time Van Bramer has asked Byford about a town hall since his tenure began this year, and follows a statement Byford made in June about holding the event in Sunnyside.
“Given the aforementioned invitations, your statement in June, and the first week of CBTC going live being an abject failure, it is imperative that you come to District 26 to address the community about concerns with the 7 Train,” Van Bramer wrote.
The council member added in a separate post that service on the line has become an “absolute disaster.”
“As a regular rider of the subway, I have witnessed the outrageous delays and overcrowding firsthand,” he said.
Some of the issues along the 7 line in recent days include “network connectivity issues” in the three days after the signal system went live, smoke on the tracks in the morning of Dec. 5, activated brakes on the evening of Dec. 4, injured passengers on the tracks, and service suspensions along several consecutive stations—all of which have added hours to 7 line commutes.
Van Bramer said Queens residents who rely on public transit every day deserve answers, and that the MTA must be held accountable.
The MTA did not respond by press time to questions about a potential town hall in the area, but noted on the day the new 7 train signal system went online that subsequent work would be needed.
The council member’s statements also follow multiple tweets and retweets he has taken to posting recently on the state of the 7 train and the Amazon deal.
Van Bramer, a central and vocal opponent to the tech giant’s deal, has criticized the billions in city and state incentives the company is set to receive, which he says could be used to fund repairs to the subway system and other infrastructure improvements.