CB14:No Answers On Subway Repair Concerns
Representatives of the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) visited Community Board 14 this week to provide an update on the proposed renovation of the A line train stations. As the meeting progressed, however, the members voiced their frustration, as the MTA representatives were either unable or unwilling to answer or address many of the issues that concerned the CB 14 members.
As a result, MTA representative Joe Raskin was bombarded with numerous of questions and concerns, despite the small crowd that showed up due to the inclement weather.
Raskin and his colleagues began by outlining the budget details, estimated time frames and specific repairs for the work on the elevated line.
The repairs, he said, will begin in the fall of 2008 and will cost nearly $150 million. It will take three years to complete repairs that include various platform upgrades ranging from windscreens, lighting, decorative artwork and security cameras.
Although CB14 is pleased for the most part with the proposed renovations, it is the repairs to the structure itself that are most vital, board members said, and they believe that structure is not getting its proper attention in the renovation plans.
Board members pointed out that the elevated steel frame and concrete covered structure is clearly eroded, rusted and even partially-crumbled in some areas.
Raskin told the board that they only plan on doing a series of patchwork in the severely affected parts of the structure.
"We will replace the necessary areas with either new steel or concrete," Raskin said.
That made one Community Board 14 member object in a series of pleas for the job to be done the right way.
"It is going to look terrible with patches of concrete," she said. "We're getting shortchanged somewhere."
Another Community Board 14 member, Al Moorer, was trying to get Raskin to consider changing the platform designs in a way that would prohibit people from throwing things from the top of the elevated platform.
This is a problem with which the board is overwhelmingly concerned because, according to CB14, rocks and other damaging materials are continuously thrown at homes and businesses from the elevated platform.
Despite no provisions in the repair plans to address the issue, Raskin continued to insist this wouldn't happen when the stations are repaired, while member of CB14 remained skeptical.
"We will install an eight-foot high new standard installation fence, Raskin said. "This is the MTA standard and we have found that it works in all other renovated stations."
Considering that many of CB14's questions went unanswered, Chairperson Dolores Orr suggested that the board hold a transportation committee meeting to outline a list of concerns and inquiries for the MTA to address and return at a later time to answer.
The five-mile stretch of corroded elevated tracks was built in the 1950's. However in recent years the community has been lobbying for much needed repairs.
As a result the people of Rockaway will have to adjust to the repairs with all necessary detours and service advisories.
Raskin said that the construction will have a minimal effect on the Rockaway commute though.
He continued that the MTA plans to provide shuttle train service between Far Rockaway and Rockaway Park (Beach 116 Street) and shuttle bus service on weekends from Howard Beach to Beach 90 Street when the main tracks on the line must be closed.