By Jonathan Sperling
Astoria residents are calling on the MTA to install protective netting beneath the entire length of the N/W line in Queens after a woman was nearly struck by a falling metal flashlight while crossing the street beneath the elevated track.
The MTA already announced that netting would be installed under the N/W tracks at the Queensboro Plaza and 39th Avenue stations, but the Astoria portion of the line is still left without netting. That includes the 36th Avenue, Broadway, 30th Avenue, Astoria Boulevard and Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard stations, which stretch for approximately two miles.
The woman who was almost struck by the flashlight was crossing 31st Street at 23rd Avenue near the Ditmars Boulevard Station, several stops away from where the netting will be installed.
“Our lives should not be put in danger by falling debris or train equipment whenever we cross 31st Street,” said District 22 Councilmember Costa Constantinides at a rally Monday.
“The MTA can do right by Astoria residents by installing protective netting under the entirety of this line — not just a few stations. Given the aging infrastructure of this line and the years of work still ahead to fix it, this is a no-brainer,” he added.
The Astoria line, like much of the city’s subway system, opened more than a century ago, in 1917. The call for netting along the line echoes similar concerns by residents living along the No. 7 line in Western Queens.
Earlier this year, several instances of falling debris smashing onto cars and nearly striking pedestrians prompted residents and local officials in Sunnyside and Woodside to ask the MTA for netting.
“What the hell is going on here?! For the second time in two weeks a piece of debris has come crashing down on a vehicle Below tracks on Roosevelt Ave., this time at 62nd street. The car was occupied and moving. No one injured but someone is going to get killed here,” Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer wrote on Twitter at the time.
The MTA, in response, stated it would place netting beneath the 61 St-Woodside station.
The MTA did not respond to the Eagle regarding the installation of netting along the entire Astoria line as of press time Monday.