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FRIDAY, JULY 17, 2015






OF WOODSIDE by David Rosasco

The normal patterns of random community service projects here or there apparently are not what your Woodside youth had in mind as they powered across the entire weekend through Monday, making July 11 to 13 special in the sheer scale and scope of their work. This fact was expressed by Darren Wang, entering 9th grade at Stuyvesant High School from September stating “I can see this mission is far greater than I thought when I started, and I never knew how big Woodside was, but also how much work is occurring. This is real and you feel you’re part of something big.” (continued on page 8)

Seiji Ushiyama

by Patricia Dorfman

Gallows-humor raffle prizes included a “trip to hell” – a one-week MTA pass – and “#7 Train Survival Kits” with trail mix and light camping gear for stranded passengers at the first “Track Meet.” The outreach and team building event was held July 10, in Sunnyside. Members of the Steering Committee of the Queens-wide group 7Train Blues, now under the umbrella of, handed out flyers and gathered petition signatures at local subway stops, and then convened at Sidetracks Restaurant in Sunnyside. The organization, now numbering over 1140 members on Facebook, was spearheaded in February by Sunnysider Melissa Orlando, a nonprofit professional who works in Manhattan. She and other subway users were galvanized into action by extreme frustration during their #7 commute. The group approached tired passengers arriving home on Friday evening, and surprisingly, despite the usual disinclination to engage with people waving flyers and petitions, many were open to signing and to hearing more about getting involved. “I’m glad someone is trying to do something,” a Manhattan restaurant worker said. The #7 train, even a few years ago, was a strong attraction and source of pride and affection for Western Queens dwellers and businesses, with a former commute into Grand Central Station well under 20 minutes from Sunnyside. In last few years, the train ride has

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become, like many overcrowded MTA subway lines, a dreaded part of a commuter’s day and it has taken riders, for the same trip, as long as two hours. 7Train Blues currently provides firsthand, instantaneous details of delays and line status updates from actual rider accounts. For riders stymied from arriving somewhere at a certain time, seemingly a primary function of a public transit, getting help from others in misery, via social media, provides real-time assistance. The long-term goals of Access Queens are better service on the line: more frequent trains, accurate information, an official #7 “line review,” and a real person from MTA to whom riders can address concerns. Residents’ daily commute, which looms large in many New York City lives, seems not just run from Albany, but from another planet. City officials seem to have no better access than their constituents. “One cannot determine if MTA budget requests are justified, if the MTA is at fault, and if this is ever going to get better,” said a traveler. Some riders say that they feel they are powerless in a game of political football, but still forced to pay the bills in the short and long term. Rail insiders say the problem is that signal repair on the line should have been done 20 years ago. Another issue is that the work done under the East River in the tunnels in which the #7 runs, were built wide enough only for the slim trolleys of yesteryear, so shutdowns are the only way work can occur. (continued on page 5)

Woodside Herald 7 17 15  

Woodside Herald 7 17 15

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