March 25, 2016 By Christian Murray
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and a Queens-based subway advocacy group are hosting a town hall meeting next month where residents will be able to question MTA officials about 7-train service.
The event, which will take place on April 5th at Sunnyside Community Services (details below), will provide residents with an opportunity to meet the newly-appointed MTA NYC Transit President Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim and field questions.
The announcement of the meeting comes just two months after Van Bramer lambasted the state-run agency at a press conference in the district, arguing that 7-train service is unreliable and riders are often left waiting on overcrowded platforms.
This town hall will not be a traditional meeting, organizers say. The event will take on a social media component where residents will be able to field questions via the hashtag #AskTheMTA on Facebook or Twitter from now through to the day of the event.
Residents can also e-mail questions via [email protected]
Melissa Orlando, executive director of Access Queens, the advocacy group that runs the Facebook Page 7 Train Blues, said the social media component is an important component of the meeting.
Orlando said that the MTA will be able to get residents’ questions ahead of the meeting and will not have to tell the audience “‘we don’t have that information here, we’ll have to get back to you,’” she said.
Access Queens will be monitoring the questions and will notify the MTA of what’s being asked ahead of the meeting.
Orlando said her aim is not to have a contentious meeting.
“There is someone new in charge of MTA NYC Transit and I hope it’s the beginning of a conversation that is constructive. I hope it will lead to an ongoing dialogue.”
The town hall will feature a presentation concerning the installation and implementation of the Communications-based Train Control (CBTC) system, which has led to weekend service closures in Long Island City for about eight weekends each year and spotty service overall.
“We want to get an update as to where they are in the process,” Orlando said. “Do they still predict that we will get two more trains per hour when it’s completed? What about countdown clocks?”
After the CBTC presentation, Access Queens will take the online questions and ask the MTA officials.
Following that, residents will be able to form a line and ask questions the traditional way.
Date: Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Place: Sunnyside Community Services, 43-31 39th St, Sunnyside, NY 11104 [View Map] (Take the 7 Train to 40th St)
RSVP on Facebook, Join 7 Train Blues on Facebook or Twitter. Watch AccessQueens.org for event updates and a full recap.
Let’s be realistic and serious – The MTA 2015-2019 Capital Plan was not approved by the Capital Program Review Board for the following reasons, in which the MTA still needs $7.3B for their program that was unfunded: 1) The MOVE NY Fair Tolling Plan and other forms of congestion pricing in NYC are out of the question because many elected officials and their constituents in the outer boroughs are firmly opposed these, due to the fact that some people have no other transportation options except driving a motorized vehicle point a to point b and they are the part of the working class; 2) The need for increased taxes in the MTA region are out of the question because both Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Republican Led State Senate are firmly opposed these; 3) The need for kicking the can down the road or playing political football by putting is now out of the question because remember, by June 30 of this year, the MTA are running out of their own money for not only this capital plan, but for billions upon billions of dollars in deferred maintenance via the state of good repair; 4) Borrow the $7.3B via bonds, which could lead to 7.3% fare and toll hikes on the top of the biennial 4% fare and toll hikes for bridges, tunnels, subways, buses and commuter rail; 5) A major dispute between Upstate New York, where they needed $22B for road and bridge maintenance, and Downstate New York, where they need $7.3B for mass transit maintenance; and 6) It is not only either a local, city, or state issue, but also a national issue – look at what’s going on in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. (with the Metro once was shutting down for a day), Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco (with BART was suffering major delays), and Los Angeles, where dozens upon billions of dollars in deferred maintenance are needed to be funded. Disclaimer: I am a Riders Alliance Member who is with many of my brethren during the MTA Board Meeting on that day. Note: Before you criticize me, take yourself in the mirror and ask yourself: Is NYC will have a next fiscal crisis because of this? And don’t mention about fare evasion by the riders or the taxpayers who are footed the bill for this: That is the least of our problems. Disclaimer: Keep in mind that the MTA Chairman and CEO had said that they are taking this seriously as a long term project. The reasons: 1) According to the most recent U.S. Census in 2014, over 8.6 Million people are living in the 5 Boroughs, with the highest is in Queens, with a 5% increase; 2) Therefore, the more people coming in to a city, the more need for better public transportation in the short-term, the median term, and the long-term; and 3) Even the State Comptroller and now the NYC DOT Commissioner, who is also a Board Member of the MTA had said that this project is a big deal. As a peacemaker, let’s come to a major consensus between your Queen Public Transit Committee, as well as my Riders Alliance and their allies, such as the Straphangers Campaign and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. Let’s bury the hatchet. BTW, the City of New Still owns it: It is the step in the right direction. However: The biggest obstacle is Governor Cuomo, and we all have a grunge on him, being a person who loves driving, even though he was born and raised in your home Borough in Queens. So Phil, I will put you, Allen Rosen, and all of your members of the Queens Public Transit Committee to look at the mirror and ask yourself: If you want the Rockaway Beach Branch to be reactivated for transit use, are you going after: 1) Governor Cuomo; 2) The State Legislature; 3) The Trust for Public Land; 4) The NYC DOT; or 5) Other Transportation Advocates such as the Riders Alliance. And don’t blame on me: I I am just a “Rogue,” Freelance Reporter. Also, one other thing: you can check out the video made by the same transit advocacy group that I am a member of, the Riders Alliance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-wa7swrx2c. Or go to Twitter using #CuomosMTA. To the commenters of this blog, after watching this video, then look at the mirror and ask yourself: Is this the time that we fighting for all citizens? Finally, in terms of the MOVE NY Plan, I know that there is a likelihood that it will pass through the Republican Led State Senate and the Governor in the short term. Unless there is a major domino effect: 1) The deadline for finding a reasonable, source of general funding for the MTA 2015-2019 Capital Plan is due on April 1, where the state budget is due; 2) The MTA Chairman and CEO had warned that the MTA will be running out of money for capital projects after June 30 of this year, so kicking the can down the road is out of the question realistically; 3) If this happens, then the subway, bus and commuter rail systems in the MTA region will be deteriorating to the gory days of the 1970s and the 1980s; 4) The fiscal crisis will be starting to loom, which could result in the decline in the NYC economy; 5) Although the most recent U.S. Census had said that there are over 8.6 million people living in NYC, I will assume that some people will be moving out to the suburbs or in another state; 6) Who is the blame for all of this? Governor Andrew Cuomo because he make all the final decisions towards the MTA; 7) Who will pay for all of this despite that there is tens of billions of dollars in deferred maintenance? My millennial generation as well future generations, since I am a 24 year old recent college graduate. This is the dire reality we are facing right now and realistically: The MOVE NY plan will have a chance to go through at the most perfect timing possible.