NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York City Transit division of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has gotten behind a proposal to limit openings of the South Channel Bridge that carries trains from Broad Channel to the Rockaways, lawmakers announced Monday.
In a review of the A Train service, the agency found that there are regular disruptions on the line caused by frequent openings of the South Channel rail bridge, according to the office of City Councilman Donovan Richards (D-31st).
Richards and state Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Queens) had called on New York City Transit and the Coast Guard to extend right-of-way hours for the rail bridge so as to ease commutes for Rockaway residents.
The lawmakers repeated their call on Monday following the study.
“On any given day, our families in Rockaway face hour-plus commutes to get to work or school. Waiting an extra twenty minutes for a boat to pass under Channel Bridge makes an already torturous ride simply unbearable,” Goldfeder said in a news release. “I applaud New York City Transit for recognizing the need to expand train right-of-way hours at Channel Bridge to ease commute times. I look forward to working with them and my colleagues in government to urge the U.S. Coast Guard to make this necessary change.”
“Any Rockaway resident who takes the subway into the city knows that the A/C line needs more than a few improvements,” Richards added in the release. “New York City Transit’s acknowledgment of the need to extend train right-of-way hours is another strong voice that will hopefully help push the U.S. Coast Guard to see the need for change that Rockaway residents experience every day.”
The MTA study focused on the A and C train services from end to end. The study concluded that service reliability on the system was below average – with 27.5 percent of A trains and 16 percent of C trains arriving more than five minutes late in the past year.
The report cited the boat traffic that focuses the opening of the South Channel Bridge as a major cause of delays on A Trains. A 2006 agreement gave the right-of-way to trains on the bridge between 6:45 a.m. and 8:20 a.m. and between 5 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. Monday through Friday, but the lawmakers said that is not enough.
Last June, Goldfeder and Richards called on NYC Transit and the Coast Guard to expand the moratorium, noting that many residents of southern Queens and the Rockaways commute at other times than the peak morning and afternoon rush, the release said.