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Queens Chronicle

No progress for Lunar No. 7 train

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Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:40 am, Thu Jan 24, 2013.

Flushing lawmakers are asking the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to spare them any future fighting over service disruptions to the No. 7 train during the Lunar New Year. But they don’t like what they’re hearing.

Business owners, elected officials and organizers of Flushing’s annual Lunar New Year extravaganza are upset the MTA plans to truncate No. 7 train service during the event, despite numerous pleas to let the train run its full route at least during the weekends of Feb. 10 and 16.

The MTA plans to shut down the No. 7 in Manhattan, only running the train from Main Street to Queensboro Plaza from 12:01 a.m. on Saturday to 5 a.m. on Monday until the spring.

Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-Bayside), state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing), Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) and Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) met with the MTA’s acting president, Thomas Prendergast, to find some sort of resolution for future celebrations. They left feeling they’d be fighting this battle again next year.

The meeting was followed by an open letter from all four lawmakers to Prendergrast, asking for clarification.

“Can you please assure us that service will not be interrupted for the day covering the parade and the day of the indoor celebration?” the letter reads.The MTA’s assurances for 2014 don’t alleviate any concerns.

“The MTA saying that they hope to keep us better informed about future track work is insufficient,” Stavisky said in a statement.

The work, an upgrade to the signal system in the Steinway Tunnel, is necessary and cannot be suspended due to the small window of opportunity ahead of the busier spring and summer season, according to MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz.

Flushing’s business community has called the planned disruption culturally tone deaf, likening it to suspending service on Christmas.

Ortiz noted straphangers have other options, including a transfer to the No. 7 at Queensboro Plaza or Roosevelt Avenue.

While falling short of promising no disruptions during next year’s Lunar New Year celebration, the MTA will consider all options.

“We will accelerate our review of the work we anticipate needing to do on the 7 line in 2014 and to propose a schedule of required outages that would better distribute their occurrences and better accommodate Flushing’s Lunar New Year’s celebration,” Ortiz said.

— Joseph Orovic

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