The 7-train line will experience service delays, according to the MTA. Photo Credit: DNAinfo
By Levar Alonzo
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has announced that periodic weekend closures and delays will be needed on the number 7 subway line into November as it continues a $774 million overhaul of the line.
The plan is to increase the route’s capacity and reliability with a new high-tech signal system.
“I’m happy that they’re investing into the tracks to make the commute better, said Shameena Rahaman, a York College, Psychology major. “But at the same time I’m unhappy, every time there’s repairs on the tracks, it leads to major commuter delays.”
The renovations include replacement of both underground and elevated tracks, and a significant replacement of the existing 90-year-old fixed-block signal system.
According to the MTA, as the population grows along the corridor the new signals will allow for the use of Communications-Based Train Control. This will allow for an increased operational flexibility and for additional trains to run consistently on the line.
“A safe, reliable Flushing Line is critical to the growth of Queens and these projects are critical to the future of the line,” said New York City Transit Acting President Darryl Irick in a statement from the MTA. “Replacing old tracks means a smoother, faster ride for customers, and installing a modern signal system means less crowds.”
Every element of the 7 line is seeing improvements. The opening of the extension to 34th street- Hudson Yards gives the 7 line the longest amount of track miles of all the trains.
The MTA said various segments of track panels along the line have already been replaced.
To allow the work to continue, the agency has scheduled closures between Queensboro Plaza and 34th Street-Hudson Yards for the weekends of March 3-6, 10-13, 17-20 and 24-27, Oct. 20-23 and 27-30 and November 10-13 and 17-20. Service changes will be in effect from 11:30 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. the following Monday, finishing in time for the rush hour.
NYCT will be operating free shuttle bus service in Queens, making all stops at Queensboro Plaza, Queens Plaza, Court Square, Hunters Point Avenue and Vernon Blvd-Jackson Avenue stations. More information is available at mta.info.
One advocate for commuters is backing the MTA’s plan.
“For now this is a big inconvenience but in long term it will benefit all riders,” said John Raskin, Executive Director of the Riders Alliance.
According to the MTA, the payoff will result in a significantly improved commute and a more reliable subway system.