The last couple of years has been extremely frustrating for those depending on the as the line has faced major but necessary service disruptions due to important projects.
While the long term benefit is good for riders, it is a hard sell in the present especially with the latest news that weekend service between Manhattan & Queens will be suspended for 11 weekends beginning next weekend:
A continuation of upgrade and modernization work to the Flushing Line and its stations will necessitate suspension of 7 train service between Queensboro Plaza and Times Square for eleven weekends beginning January 21, as well as the full closure of the Court Square Station on the 7 line until April 2, 2012.
MTA New York City Transit is currently involved in a long-term project to install state-of-the-art signaling along the line, replacing a system that is between 50 and 90 years old. The new Communications Based Train Control (CBTC) system, scheduled to be completed in late 2016, will improve reliability, enhance safety and reduce maintenance requirements while increasing line capacity and operational flexibility.
Additionally, a major station rehabilitation project is underway at the Court Square Station in Long Island City. That works consist of platform and windscreen replacement and the enhancement of accessibility features with the installation of ADA boarding areas, tactile warning strips and signage. This project, combined with work already completed at Court Square, which included the installation of three ADA elevators, will make the station accessible to the disabled at the time of its scheduled completion in June, 2012.
“We are taking the opportunity to do a lot of work during this period and while we regret the inconvenience to our customers, this is work that must be done in order to improve the performance of this line,” said NYC Transit President Thomas F. Prendergast. “We have already accomplished a lot here and we have seen an improvement in reliability. With the work we are doing now, we are continuing that progress.”
With only two tracks and virtually no clearance in the Steinway Tube (which is the link between Queens and Manhattan), it is not possible to perform certain jobs, such as CBTC installation. In order to perform this work, train service can only run between Main Street, Flushing and Queensboro Plaza.
Service diversions are scheduled for the weekends of January 21-23, January 28-30, February 4-6, February 11-13, February 18-21, February 25-27, March 3-5, March 10-12, March 17-19, March 24-26 and March 31-April 2, 2012 weekends. During these weekend shutdowns, there will be no 7 line subway service between the Times Square-42nd Street and Queensboro Plaza stations from 12:01 a.m. Saturdays to 5 a.m. on Mondays. As has been done in the past, a special fare-free shuttle bus service will operate between the Vernon-Jackson and Queensboro Plaza Stations while the service diversion is in effect.
Riders boarding the 7 line east of Queensboro Plaza must transfer between that line and the Astoria Line (N and Q) to travel between Queens and Manhattan when the service diversion is in effect. Service on these trains will be increased during these weekends. Additionally, we remind our customers that they can ride the E train to reach Court Square and Queens Plaza. If late night diversions are in effect on the E line, there will be a free shuttle bus connecting the G at Court Square to the rerouted E at 21st Street-Queensbridge F station.
In order to carry out the $7.2 million Court Square project, the station will be closed at all times from January 21 through April 2, 2012. Riders may reach the Court Square area by using the E, G or M subway lines or the Q39, Q67, Q69 or B62 bus lines during the station closure. Those riders who now transfer between the 7 and G lines at Court Square may now make a special free walking transfer with their MetroCards between the 7 line’s Hunters Point Avenue Station and the G line’s 21st Street-Van Alst Station. The free transfer between the E, G and M lines at Court Square is not affected by the project.
We are taking the greatest possible advantage of the closure of the Steinway Tube on these weekends to perform station, track and tunnel work on the 7 Line. The following projects will also be carried out while the service diversions are in effect:
Additional track and tunnel maintenance work in the Steinway Tube. We are upgrading emergency alarms and telephones, installing the copper cable associated with them and replacing collapsed ducts in the tube, another step towards improving service reliability.
Track replacement work along 23rd Street between Queens Plaza South and 44th Drive.
Installation of electrical equipment at the Vernon-Jackson Station for the CBTC project.
Station renewal work is continuing at the Hunters Point Avenue Station, including platform, stairway and mezzanine repairs, bringing the station to a state-of-good-repair. This $5.2M project is scheduled for completion in May 2012.
We will carry out a series of station improvements at the Vernon-Jackson station. This work includes replacing platform edge concrete, removing wood rubbing boards and replacing them with boards made from polyethylene, installing tactile platform edge ADA warning strips and repairing or replacing platform columns. We will also repair cracked platform surfaces, walls and station ceilings while improving the lighting.
Track replacement work will take place in the area of the Times Square-42nd Street station to facilitate the extension of the 7 to a new western terminal at 34th Street and 11th Avenue.
Customers will be notified of these temporary service changes by notices posted in the subway system. Brochures explaining this work and the alternate services will also be available in the subway system.
We will make announcements on trains and in stations throughout the system about the service changes. NYC Transit personnel will be on hand at all affected stations and along the substitute shuttle bus routes in order to assist riders with any questions they may have. Notices about the diversions will also be posted on the service advisory page of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s website, http://travel.mtanyct.info/serviceadvisory.
It is important to note that work on the 7 Line will continue beyond these weekends. Service diversions facilitating CBTC installation, additional Steinway Tube maintenance work and other work along the line are scheduled to take place in Fall 2012.
I know this will be difficult for those who ride the line. However before becoming completely frustrated, understand that in the end, this work will help provide a much more convenient & practical ride in the future.
xoxo Transit Blogger