• September 20, 2019
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Queens Chronicle

Astoria pols call for more subway nets

Councilman wants N/W line fully protected after a falling flashlight

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Posted: Thursday, August 8, 2019 10:30 am

Elected officials from Astoria are calling on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to place safety netting beneath the entire length of the elevated N/W subway tracks after a worker’s flashlight nearly struck a pedestrian last week.

Speaking Monday at the intersection of 31st Street and 23rd Avenue, Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) said the age of the infrastructure and a spate of objects falling this year from elevated subways require netting as a safety precaution.

“Our lives should not be put in danger by falling debris or train equipment whenever we cross 31st Street,” Constantinides said in a statement issued by his office.

“The MTA can do right by Astoria residents by installing protective netting under the entirety of this line — not just a few stations,” he added. “Given the aging infrastructure of this line and the years of work still ahead to fix it, this is a no-brainer.”

The councilman’s office said last week’s incident took place near the intersection.

MTA officials recently announced netting will be installed under N/W tracks at the Queensboro Plaza and 39th Avenue stations though Constantinides said that leaves two miles of track still exposed.

Using numbers from 2018, he said nearly 52,000 commuters on average went through the 36th Avenue, Broadway, 30th Avenue, Astoria Boulevard and Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard stations each weekday.

State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria) and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) had representatives at the press conference and added statements of their own to Monday’s press release.

“We cannot fight gravity but we must fight against the MTA’s failure to properly maintain our elevated trains,” Gianaris said. “I stand with Council Member Constantinides and echo his call for more netting under the N/W train.”

Simotas said the flashlight could have posed serious danger if it had struck a car window or a pedestrian.

“It’s crucial that while renovating our transit system we do not endanger the lives of our residents,” she said. “I urge the MTA to act quickly and install netting so pedestrians are not exposed to hazardous conditions.”

In an email to the Chronicle, the MTA said it is well aware of the potential dangers.

“Workers follow strict safety protocols and anyone responsible for failing to secure equipment will be held accountable,” an MTA spokesperson said.

“We’re undertaking a short netting trial in several areas in order to design an effective solution that protects the street below while still allowing visual and physical access for regular inspections.”

In the meantime, the MTA said, the agency is already protecting the public by reinforcing safety rules with employees and contractors and enhancing their regular inspections.

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  • Hunkster posted at 5:30 pm on Sun, Aug 11, 2019.

    Hunkster Posts: 16

    A mischievous short-term solution for a long-term problem by the MTA. 😄

  • Buster57 posted at 5:12 pm on Thu, Aug 8, 2019.

    Buster57 Posts: 79

    Is the MTA actually going to FIX the elevated trains or just hope the netting will hold up when a train finally plummets. What about when the netting is full? This is ludicrous and those supporting it are insane. Fix the trains - all the infrastructure. The MTA is totally mismanaged and spends without regard for the actual quality of the work or what is really needed. Enough is enough. These politicians need to grow a pair & tell the MTA fix it or the MTA will be replaced!