While any hope for No. 7 train service during Flushing’s Lunar New Year festivities is lost, elected officials and members of the business community are already fighting for more service in 2014.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Flushing leaders have been at odds over the 7 line’s truncated service as it undergoes signal upgrades in the Steinway tunnel. The piecemeal work has been ongoing during the winter months, when the MTA says demand is lower than during the U.S. Open and baseball’s peak from spring through the fall.
The line’s route is shortened during the weekends as a result, ending at Queensboro Plaza instead of Times Square.
The MTA has already promised to suspend track work on Feb. 8, 2014, during next year’s annual Lunar New Year parade. But the business community is asking for more, according to a letter sent by Flushing lawmakers to the MTA.
“While we do appreciate the MTA’s early commitment to not undertake work on the 7 line the day of the parade, after consultation with our business community and local leaders, it is abundantly clear that your offer falls short of the economic needs of our local small businesses and Flushing residents’ expectations for the 2014 Lunar New Year,” the letter signed by Congresswoman Grace Meng, state Sen. Toby Stavisky, Assemblyman Ron Kim and Councilman Peter Koo, all Democrats from Flushing.
Merchants are asking the MTA to suspend the work the weekend prior to the parade and the subsequent weekend, which they claim are heavy shopping days as families and visitors head to Flushing to buy specialty items and eat.
“There is a palpable sense of frustration among our constituents who have to face this issue year after year,” the letter states.
The MTA has said the work is necessary to finish scheduled upgrades which will improve safety and efficiency.