Watch Out For Falling Objects: MTA Begins Clearing Underside of Elevated D line

The MTA has begun cleaning the undersides of the elevated L lines on Stillwell Avenue and onto 86th Street of the D line trains following two incidents that occurred on the 7 line in Queens in which debris rained on vehicles, one slicing through the windshield of a car.

BATH BEACH/BENSONHURST/BORO PARK – MTA workers began cleaning the undersides of the elevated D train line starting from Stillwell Avenue in Bath Beach and expected to go the entire length of the track as part of a system-wide program to clear debris that might represent a hazard to pedestrians and vehicles below, MTA officials said.

The program began after two incidents in Queens in which vehicles were struck by debris sitting on tracks and supports above. One incident last month resulted in a large plank spearing the windshield of a car, but luckily not hitting anyone.

The MTA has begun cleaning the undersides of the elevated L lines on Stillwell Avenue and onto 86th Street of the D line. Todd Maisel/Bklyner

MTA workers sealed off two block areas and worked with four high-lows to raise workers, dressed in protective suits and wearing masks, to the underside of the tracks.

The MTA has begun cleaning the undersides of the elevated L lines on Stillwell Avenue and onto 86th Street of the D line trains following two incidents that occurred on the 7 line in Queens in which debris rained on vehicles, one slicing through the windshield of a car.

Once there, workers search for debris that might fall to the ground below and then mark areas where paint and metal may be loose from years of wear and vibrations.

Workers wearing protective clothing and masks clean under the tracks and remove loose paint and metal. Todd Maisel/Bklyner

“We found a piece of wood about this big (about 2-3 feet) and that could’ve landed on
someone,” one worker said. “But we are mostly removing loose metal that could rain down on cars and if it hits a windshield, it could crack the window, but it could also make the driver go out of control.”

Finished section. Todd Maisel/Bklyner.

After the workers clean the underside of the tracks and supports, a red mark is painted to denote completion of that section of the elevated track.

Debris that could have injured cars and people below. Todd Maisel/Bklyner

Debris is collected on plastic, including pieces of metal and lead paint.

Shams Tarek, spokesman for the MTA said that after the incidents on the 7 line, the entire
system is now being checked to “give people assurances that it will be safe.”

Worker sets up plastic sheets to collect debris. Todd Maisel/Bklyner

“We are doing every inch of the above ground structures of the entire system,” Tarek said.

The Bath Beach, Bensonhurst and north to Borough Park project will take weeks as it progresses up New Utrecht Avenue towards the underground portions of the system.

The original incident that grabbed public attention occurred on February 22 on Roosevelt Avenue and 65th Street in Woodside, underneath the 7 train line. An Uber driver came inches from being impaled by the large piece of wood, which was part of a supply platform installed many years ago and was long forgotten until the incident occurred.

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Todd Maisel

Todd Maisel

Todd Maisel is an award-winning photographer with more than 35-years, specializing in breaking news. He currently serves as vice president of the New York Press Photographers. He was honored by the National Press Photographers Association and the Uniform Firefighters Association for saving the life of a firefighter he found in debris after the collapse of the World Trade Center, assisting in the rescue of an injured photographer, and for extensive coverage of the attack. Maisel is a graduate of NYU School of Journalism.

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