The MTA’s recent track work on the 7 train along Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside has led to street closures that have blocked off access to local businesses.
“We need safe reliable transit, but you can’t destroy a neighborhood in the process of saving a train line,” said Van Bramer.
He explained the street closures and lack of parking have negatively impacted neighborhood establishments that rely on local customers, as well as disrupted the area’s walkability.
Van Bramer said the community has experienced shutdowns for the last decade, and was critical of the MTA's lack of coordination to mitigate the impacts.
The current track work, which began on January 5, is expected to continue through the middle of March.
Jimmy Jacobson, co-owner of Donovan’s Pub, said the MTA closed off parking during the week, but he didn't see any work performed.
“It comes down to it that the MTA simply doesn’t care,” he said.
St. Sebastian's Church, which is located on 58th Street and Roosevelt Avenue, has also experienced a decline in mass attendance due to the MTA's closures.
"We understand that work needs to be done, but it seems like every time work is being done they do it right in front of the busiest intersection in this part of the city," said Reverend Kevin Ables.
He explained the elderly have been significantly impacted due to street closures in front of the church, especially those who use Access-A-Ride.
According to Van Bramer, St. Sebastian Academy has also been impacted by the MTA’s work due to the presence of tractor trailers parked in front of the school.
“That cannot be safe for children who are going back and forth to St. Sebastian's,” he said. “It is not good for our neighborhood.”
Van Bramer explained the track work was important in order to improve service and reliability on the 7 train for residents.
However, he said the MTA could improve efficiency by consulting and planning with the community, as well as removing equipment when it is not being used in order to restore parking spaces.
"Even if work is necessary, it has to be done in a way that limits any inconvenience and certainly, doesn't kill small businesses," he said.
Van Bramer said an invitation for a town hall meeting was sent to the new president of New York City Transit, Andy Byford.
However, he said the MTA responded that he was not doing that at this time. Despite that, Van Bramer said his attendance in the neighborhood was important.
"That invitation stands, we want him to come here and see what's happening."