Eleven weekends of no interborough 7 service

By · Published in 2012

Queens residents along the Flushing line hoping for a quick trip into Manhattan are going to be out of luck until April. Starting next weekend and continuing through April 2, 2012, Transit is suspended weekend 7 service between Queensboro Plaza and Times Square. Furthermore, the Court Square station will be shuttered entirely from January 21-April 2. So much for that convenient new transfer.

The MTA says this work is part of two projects. First, the authority is installing a communications-based train control along the 7 with a completion date of late 2016. Second, the Court Square closure is part of a comprehensive rehabilitation project that will make the station accessible to the disabled by June.

“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,” Transit President Thomas Prendergast said. “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.”

Since the old Steinway Tubes offer “virtually no clearance,” the authority must shut down service in the tunnels to perform this work. When the 7 is out of service, Transit will provide a fare-free shuttle bus between the Vernon-Jackson and Queensboro Plaza stations. Customers are urged to transfer at Queensboro Plaza for N and Q trains which will run between the two boroughs. Those who switch from the 7 to the G can walk to the 21st St. – Van Alst station.

During the service shutdown, Transit says it will perform the following work along the 7 line with more to come in the fall.

  • Additional track and tunnel maintenance work in the Steinway Tube, including upgrading emergency alarms and telephones, installing the copper cable associated with them and replacing collapsed ducts in the tube.
  • 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.
  • 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. Transit will also repair cracked platform surfaces, walls and station ceilings while improving the lighting.

I had hoped to journey into Queens for a show on January 28. Already, I’m reassessing my plans. It’s going to be a tough 11 weeks for folks used to a speedy connection between the two boroughs.

37 Responses to “Eleven weekends of no interborough 7 service”

  1. Bgriff says:

    The MTA had recently often been extending the Q to Astoria on the weekends to make life a little easier for 7 train riders during these disruptions–but I guess with the concurrent no-Q-north-of-Prospect-Park disruption, that option won’t be on the table, either.

  2. Melissa says:

    I recently moved from Queens to Chicago and I to be honest the constant disruptions on the 7 line were part of the reason I moved. It was the ONLY trainline in my neighborhood and the shuttles were miserable, slow, and crowded. It’s so sad because Sunnyside was just starting to become a food destination and has some fantastic restaurants open up in the time I lived there. In general, Queens has incredible food, but foodie tourists are going to avoid it because they simply won’t be able to get there without going a confusing route that even New Yorkers struggle to navigate.

    • Matthias says:

      Wouldn’t it have been easier to move to Manhattan or Brooklyn?

      • Melissa says:

        I lived on the UES and the lex line was pretty awful. Lived in Brooklyn for awhile. The train station closest to where I lived (Smith-9 Streets) was shut down, which certainly was not fun, particularly since once you hike to the yellow lines they are so slow. I got a job offer in Chicago and I was torn at first, but frustation with trains tipped the decision towards Chicago. Honestly, I loved Queens, loved the 7 line when it was running. The weekday commute on the 7 is better than the commute from Park Slope/Carroll Gardens area or the Lex line. It’s faster, more reliable, and less crowded in my experience. It also seems to have short waiting times. And I can’t think of any place in NYC that I’d rather live, besides the West Village, which I could never afford. If the N/Q weren’t also disrupted on a lot of the weekends they do work, it might not be so bad. I just got the impression that Queens wasn’t important to the MTA unless there was a sports event.

        • Andrew says:

          You still could have taken the F from the next stop, you know – no need to ride what you refer to as the yellow lines.

          If Queens weren’t important to the MTA, why would the MTA be doing maintenance and installing CBTC on the Flushing line?

          The 7 and N are the primary alternatives for each other into Manhattan. They are never both scheduled to be out at the same time.

  3. R2 says:

    I could probably double check but I hope there are no weekend diversions of the E to the 63rd Street tunnel, cuz that would really suck.

  4. Brian says:

    you had an Easy 7-11 joke set up on a tee and you missed it

  5. Steve says:

    Wow, this is horrible! I can’t believe 11 weeekends of no service to Manhattan and no Court Square transfer. Geez!

  6. Alon Levy says:

    I’m sorry, Sunnyside.

  7. SEAN says:

    Oh thank heaven for only (7 eleven) weekend shutdowns.

    7 11, Front line winner!

  8. Eric says:

    They’re closing Court Square for two and a half MONTHS? Why didn’t they do this when they were constructing the transfer…?

  9. Alek says:

    When the Q is not running to Manhattan. The MTA said that extra N trains will operate between Astoria to 34th street.

    What if the B62 is not running at all? Could the MTA send a overnight shuttle bus operating between Queensboro and Court Square? Think of the people who works near Court Square

  10. Scott E says:

    I often hear this reference to the Steinway TUBES…plural. I assume this means there are separate tunnels for eastbound and westbound trains. Couldn’t they run in two sections and single-track from Queensboro to Times Square (or, if that’s too long for single track, go to Grand Central and operate the shuttle to TSq) while working in the other tunnel? Anything would be more efficient and economical than free shuttle buses.

    • Alek says:

      It would be not possible because the construction is occuring in the tubes and what about the work trains they need to park it.

      Plus there is no turn around in Hunters Point and Grand Central.

    • Andrew says:

      The scheduled running time between Times Square and Queensboro is 11 minutes each way. Add on a few minutes for turnaround and recovery time and you’re looking at a 30 minute headway – perhaps adequate at night but certainly not adequate all weekend long.

      And there’s work going on in more than the Steinway tubes.

      • Scott E says:

        Which is why I suggested turning around at Grand Central and utilizing the shuttle (or perhaps single-track on the other #7 track) to Times Square. But either way, a 30 minute headway is still better than an unreliable and unpredictable shuttle bus, isn’t it?

        • Andrew says:

          But the shuttle bus is only for access to three stops, all of which have other options. Everybody else transfer to the N or Q at Queensboro Plaza. (I’ve ridden the shuttle bus, and it probably carries a few dozen people per hour. Most have found better ways to get around.)

          If the 7 ran on a 30 minute headway during the day on weekends, many (intending) riders would be physically unable to fit on board.

      • Matthew says:

        You would only need to single track from GCT to Hunters Point. There are diamond crossovers east of GCT and east of Hunters Point.

        Terminate alternating trains at Hunter’s Point on the opposite track from the single-tracking section, and GCT. The 42nd Street Shuttle or Astoria line trains would be the link to Times Square.

        • Andrew says:

          Ben lists five bullets of work that will be taking place. What you propose conflicts with the last four and half of the first.

  11. Andrew says:

    Ben: You can still go to Queens on January 28. I don’t know where exactly you’re going, but you probably won’t even have to touch a shuttle bus.

  12. Dan says:

    Let’s make the Queens to Brooklyn trip just that much more difficult, again.

  13. Ed says:

    I put a comment on the same subject in the later post. In general, I am in favor of shutting down an entire line, fixing it, and then moving on to another. But yes, this will be hellish when it comes to the outer borough lines. People will have to make alternative transit plans, and “move to Chicago” might well be the best plan in this situation. Though I will warn that from most accounts the CTA has most of the same issues as does the MTA.

    I live on the east side of Manhattan, and am dimly aware that there are all sorts of great restaurants in Queens, and have been a few, but even without the disruption to the 7 the sheer difficulty of navigating Queens tended to put me off. With the street system, you have to know exactly where you want to go and put in some time researching exactly how to get there. Queens is an important part of the solution to the high cost of housing in Brooklyn and Manhattan but the limitation on transit and the way the streets were laid out do not help.

    • Melissa says:

      It’s extremely easy to navigate if you just think of things in relation to the 7 line and the throughfares it runs above. As far as I’m concerned, the hardest places to navigate in NYC are the West Village and some parts of Williamsburg.

      The CTA sucks, but it doesn’t just shut down. It’s just slow. And has crappy people (the panhandlers here will actually menace you if you don’t give them anything). But it doesn’t make my neighborhood unlivable. If there were a way to do the 7 work overnight, I think that would have been the best solution.

  14. Christina says:

    I honestly don’t understand what everyone is so upset about. You transfer to the N or Q at Queensboro Plaza – literally by walking across the same platform – and you’ll still get to Manhattan and vice versa.

    If you grew up here, you would easily adapt to this minor disruption instead of acting like this is the end of the world and something worth changing your plans over.

    • Larry Littlefield says:

      FYI, the MTA has agreed to various deals over the years the preclude the Flushing Line from being shut for maintenance during Mets homestands, the U.S. Open, etc. Which is why work on the line takes years and years.

      This might be the only 11 week stretch that work can be done all year. That said, it is appaling that the Flushing CBTC project won’t be done until 2016. It’s going to take 20 years all told to replace the signals on the line.

      • John-2 says:

        True about the scheduling — while the odds for a great Mets’ season in 2012 aren’t high, once they start playing home games at Citi Field, the MTA is loathe to shut down the Steinway tunnels on weekends because of the three-seat rides it would force on a lot of people going to the games.

    • Ken says:

      Pretty much this Christina. I’ve only lived in the city for about a year and a half now but I’ve never considered giving up and moving or even crying about extended subway maintenance, and I used to live along the G.

      “But how will I get to my concerts?!?! A-bloo a-bloo a-bloo!” – a baby who probably takes the cab everywhere anyways.

  15. Carla says:

    So, Court Square is just going to be closed for the 7 train, right? The E and the M won’t be affected?


  1. […] 4 winter preparedness mode, and all weekend work has been canceled with one major exceptions. That pesky 7 line shutdown between Manhattan and Queens will continue as planned. For now, the authority says service will […]

  2. […] past weekend marked the first of many a circular ride for Queens commuters as the 11-weekend 7-line shutdown commenced. Due to work in the Steinway Tubes and on the communications-based train control system, […]

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