2017-08-16 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Subways Then & Now

To The Editor:

Visiting the New York Transit Museum “7 Train: Minutes to Midtown” exhibit in Grand Central Terminal was worth the trip. Decades ago, riding the old subway cars reminded me of a time when it was common to find both penny gum and soda machines dispensing products at many subway stations. Clean and safe bathrooms were readily available. It was a time when people respected authority and law. Previous generations of riders did not litter subway stations and buses leaving behind gum, candy wrappers, paper cups, bottles and newspapers. No one would openly eat pizza, chicken or other messy foods while riding a bus or subway. Everyone paid their way and there was no fare evasion.

Air-conditioned buses and subway cars that we all take for granted today were virtually non-existent during the time of the 1964-65 World’s Fair.

In 1967, NYC Transit introduced the first 10 air-conditioned subway cars operating on the old IND line. It was not until 1975 that air-conditioned subway cars were introduced on the old IRT lines. It took until 1982 to retrofit all the original IRT “Redbird” series subway cars. By 1993, 99% of the city’s 6,000 subway cars were air-conditioned with the exception of a handful running on the 7 Flushing line.

Many are not aware of the tremendous capital investments made by the MTA since 1981 on the 7 line, just to maintain existing service. This includes over $8 billion by NYC Transit and $2.5 billion by MTA Capital Construction. (The Hudson Yards station extension was paid for by the city.) Over $2.5 billion of the $8 billion in NYC Transit capital improvements were funded under grants provided by the Federal Transit Administration. All of the above have offered MTA NYCT the ability to continue providing 24/7 service on the 7 line. Some of the capital investments funded by the federal government include upgrading the Corona Yard and Shop which supports both maintenance and storage of the 7 fleet. Numerous subway stations have been upgraded to a state of good repair, including Flushing Main Street, 74th Street Roosevelt Avenue (including improved internal circulation to E, F, M and R subway lines along with the adjacent bus terminal), Court Square (including internal circulation improvements with connections to G, E and M subway lines) and Times Square. Hundreds of new subway cars have also been purchased. A mix of local MTA funds supplemented by federal funding was also spent to support line equipment, structures, security, signals, communications, track, interlockings, power, escalators, elevators and other stations.

The $32 billion MTA 2015-2019 Capital Program provides funding to upgrade the following stations: Mets Willets Point ($48 million), 111th Street ($16 million), 103rd Street ($18 million) and 82nd Street ($22 million) in 2018. Additional stations, including 69th Street ($17 million), 61st Street Woodside ($17 million) and 52nd Street ($18 million) are programmed for 2019.

There is also seed money to look into the possibility of the long-forgotten Flushing Bus Terminal. This need has been previously documented in planning studies going back to the 1960s. Construction of a Flushing intermodal bus terminal could facilitate a smoother transfer between bus and subway. A short-term improvement could be construction of bus holding lights at bus stops. This would assist riders transferring from subway to bus when a train arrives several minutes after scheduled bus departures. Missing a bus by a minute or two during off peak hours (when buses operate with longer intervals) is frustrating to riders.

Up until the 1980s, there was Manhattan bound express service till 12:30 pm. Flushing bound express service began shortly after 1 pm. There has been no express service between 10 am and 3 pm due to periodic ongoing improvement and routine maintenance projects for decades. Upon completion of the Communications Based Train Control project in 2018, perhaps midday express service will resume.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

Attack In Virginia

Virginia Attack To The Editor: I am appalled and find quite disturbing the news that white supremacists versus anti-bigotry protesters erupted into violence on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia. All this was about plans for the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Death and destruction marked the day in what can only be described as a day of pure evil. Americans hating Americans demonstrate to the world how we don’t practice what we preach. And that is to love one another as we profess in our houses of worships. For all that, let me say this, “Why can’t we all get along?” Frederick R. Bedell Jr. Glen Oaks Village

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Attack An Outrage

To The Editor:

The violent demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia in which 19 people were seriously injured, and one person killed by a lunatic driver, was an absolute outrage. Scores of people fighting against each other –all Americans with sharply different views on how our country should be. What ever happened to the peaceful demonstrations where people of opposing views could protest without the threat of intimidation or physical violence? It is a sad commentary for America when citizens are beating up on each other in the streets because they do not agree with each other on issues. The statement that “black lives matter “ is one that angers and upsets many people because in America, a diverse country with other ethnicities living here, all lives matter, including black lives! When will we ever see the racial hatred that continues to be part of our culture cease? While race relations have made tremendous progress, more work needs to be done. Our country cannot afford to have these civil disturbances continue – this only undermines the principles on which our country was built upon.

John Amato
Fresh Meadows

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Domestic Terrorism

To The Editor:

I am absolutely appalled to hear about the domestic terrorism that occurred in Virginia. This is an abomination, a blight on our nation, and it is shameful not only to all Americans, but to the rest of the world. I just do not know why Trump wants to get involved in Venezuela and start more trouble. Does he want the complete destruction of humanity and planet earth?

He does not think before he talks at all, and what comes out of his mouth is absolute nonense.

Again, why does New York City have to pay for the protection of Trump Tower?

Why should there be LCD lights on bridges to make tourists happy? It costs millions of dollars while our subway system is in shambles and needs repairs.

Compromise must be the key word in the relationships between congressional leaders, state legislators, governors, mayors and presidents of our nation and also amongst all people.

What happened to respect? Our nation is losing its moral fiber and losing the trust of the world.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

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