CONEY ISLAND — Residents of Coney Island’s Brightwater Towers, located near the West 8th Street subway station, are so upset about noise from the elevated F train that 500 residents of the two buildings signed a petition to MTA President Andy Byford asking his agency to work on solutions to mitigate the regular screech made by trains making turns near their building.
Activist residents have found working with the MTA to be a frustration, however, after more than one month after submitting their petition to the MTA no one in New York’s transit organization could tell the residents who was reviewing the petition or what action could be taken.
Some residents have measured train sounds as loud as 100 dB from their balconies, while a 2010 city study commissioned after the city crafted it’s 2005 noise ordinance recommends that no balcony noise from elevated trains exceeds 45 dB.
The Brightwater Towers buildings on 501 and 601 Surf Avenue are located less than 100 feet from the subway line.
Angela Kravtchenko, who started the group of seven residents who gathered the 500 signatures, known as the Stop the Noise Initiative Group, measured train noise exceeding 75 dB from her 21st-floor balcony on 601 Surf Avenue.
“The noise has me worried about my family’s health, regular noise is known to impact the human heart, nervous system, and cardiovascular system,” Kravtchenko said. “It is almost impossible for us to use our outdoor balconies, I can’t sleep with the windows open. We can’t watch TV or have a conversation with an open window.”
About a year ago, the group met with Councilman Chaim Deutsch to address the train noise and the effort was fruitful in that the MTA started to lubricate the tracks regularly to dampen the screech. However, Kravtchenko said residents in Brightwater Towers now want the MTA to explore other solutions, “[The noise] got about 10 dBs lower but it didn’t solve the problem.”
The group has invited other elected officials to tour their building to hear the noise, including Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontus, who told Bklyner she would help with making calls to MTA officials on the residents’ behalf.
At a quality of life town hall meeting sponsored by Congressman Hakeem Jeffries on Saturday, Kravtchenko was the first member of the public to ask a question and asked MTA Assistant Director for Community and Government Relations Charvey Gonzalez about the status of her petition. While Gonzalez acknowledged his agency had the petition, was well aware of the problem and other MTA officials are willing to meet with the group, he could not give specifics about any recent solutions considered by the MTA.
The MTA appears set to encounter many more noise complaints in the area if it is unable to come up with a long-term solution to mitigate the noise from the elevated track. New residential developments in the immediate vicinity’s pipeline include a 41-story, 575 unit residential apartment tower on Neptune Avenue and West 6th, known as Neptune/Sixth developed by Cammeby’s, as well as a 20-story, 114 unit residential apartment tower on 271 Sea Breeze Avenue developed by Rybak Development known as Sea Breeze Tower.
Coney Island is a major New York City tourist destination, with the subway used to shepherd a number of tourists to the area’s famous amusement district each summer. According to the Parks Department, 7.4 million visitors came to the Coney Island beach during the summer of 2018.
Kravtchenko measures the noise level of a train. Video courtesy of Angela Kravtchenko.