June 3, 2019 By Christian Murray (Updated)
Another piece of debris appears to have fallen from the 7 train tracks along Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside.
A resident took to twitter Monday afternoon after almost being struck by a piece of metal while walking under the Roosevelt Avenue line near 53rd Street. Pictures were posted, accompanied by a Tweet directed at the MTA:
“This … almost came down on my head as a train passed over. Does someone actually have to wind up in the hospital or worse before you do something?”
Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who posted images in February of a wooden beam that fell from the tracks and pierced through a car windshield by 65th Street, retweeted Monday’s image and asked: “@MTA-how many times can debris fall from the tracks before someone gets killed? This is insanity.”
The MTA issued a statement Monday afternoon in response to the latest incident.
“This has the attention of the highest levels of MTA leadership. We are working to quickly put into place an initial deployment of netting to understand if it can be used to contain debris.”
There have been several instances of debris falling from the elevated 7-line in Sunnyside and Woodside this year. In January, decorative tiles fell from the 7 line viaduct by 45th Street that smashed the windshield of a car below.
In March, two weeks after the wooden beam incident, a rusty object fell onto a moving car near 62nd Street cracking the windshield below while it was occupied.
No one has been hurt in any of these incidents.
Elected officials have been calling on the MTA to fix the problem.
In March, Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer, Daniel Dromm, Francisco Moya and Peter Koo—joined by Council Speaker Corey Johnson—held a press conference on the steps of City Hall and chided the agency for letting the elevated line fall into such disrepair.
“The MTA has stood by idly for far too long while the elevated 7 train infrastructure has crumbed before our eyes,” Johnson said.
The agency said after the February incident that it would inspect the elevated line. It soon deemed it safe.
“We inspected the area in detail and have determined it to be safe,” the MTA said soon after.
The MTA said Monday that the latest debris to fall does not appear to have been the result of corrosion.
“The 7 line has undergone multiple inspections of its structure in recent months, and the debris that was found today appears to have broken clean recently with no signs of slow deterioration or stress that would have been visible earlier. We’re glad that no one was hurt and look forward to seeing the results of a netting pilot which will be deployed in limited locations around the city including the 7 line.”
Van Bramer has been calling on the agency to install protective netting under the tracks along Roosevelt Avenue since March
The MTA initially rejected his request arguing that it would cause traffic disruption to install and secure, and would impede the agency’s ability to assess and rectify defects.
The MTA has reversed course and is now testing the netting concept.
Van Bramer said the public wants to feel safe while being near the 7 line.
“How are we supposed to have confidence that this isn’t going to happen again?” Van Bramer said. “The only reason people haven’t died is luck.”