2005-02-11 / Community

Rockaway Park Track Work Off-Peak Hours Only

By Brian Magoolaghan

JOSEPHB. RASKINJOSEPHB. RASKIN

  • The MTA proved last week that its right hand really doesn’t know what its left is doing, and further tested the frayed nerves of weary A train riders.
  • While the MTA New York City Transit press office was releasing misinformation to The Wave regarding a three-month track repair project in Rockaway, another MTA source, who had referred The Wave to the press office, sent more detailed and accurate information to a long list of Rockaway point-people – excluding the paper that thousands residents read each week.

    Ironically, another MTA division will probably contract a service advisory advertisement in The Wave in the weeks to come.

    As it turns out, track work on the Rockaway Park line will disrupt train service on weekends (10 p.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Monday) and mid-days (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) on weekdays only, according to an email, dated February 3, from Joseph B. Raskin, Assistant Director of Government and Community Relations. Free shuttle buses will replace trains, operating between Rockaway Park-Beach 116 Street and Beach 67 Street.

    The Wave reported last week that the line would be out of service, round-the-clock, for the three months – based on incorrect information supplied by the MTA press office.

    “I’m still not clear on the discrepancy. I still haven’t seen the e-mail you’re talking about,” Jim Anyansi, MTA NYCT spokesperson said this week. He later called back and was apologetic. “We should have put out a release to begin with,” Anyansi said.

    Acting on a tip from a local source, The Wave news staff contacted Raskin by e-mail on January 31 regarding the A train.

    “I have to refer you to the press office on this. They will have the most up-to-date information,” Raskin replied.

    While Raskin has tight lips when it comes to speaking with the press to keep riders informed, he has called on The Wave to help him out of a jam. Raskin once burst into a community meeting several minutes late and admitted that, after he forgot the exact location of the meeting, he had to pick up a copy of The Wave to find out where he should go.

    The communication breakdown panicked straphangers, who flooded the offices of Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and City Councilman Joseph Addabbo Jr. with calls after last week’s Wave hit the street.

    Jo Ann Shapiro, Pheffer’s Chief of Staff, expressed surprise that, of the 14 addressees on Raskin’s e-mail, The Wave was not included.

    “Isn’t that stupid,” Shapiro said candidly. “It’s public information.”

    Pheffer was in talks with MTA brass last week regarding the indefinite suspension of express A train service out on the Rockaway Park line.

    Addabbo called the MTA “a horror to deal with,” because, he said, “they don’t account to anyone.”

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