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New shock for subway pigeons

The pigeon problem has plagued the area for years.A similar system installed five months ago at the 52nd Street station on the No. 7 line seemed to be only partially effective as pigeons this week were seen walking on the system that is supposed to give them a shock.State Assemblyman Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) was joined by Robert Marino, deputy director of government and community relations for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, at a news conference last Thursday announcing the completion of the system at the station at 103rd Street and Roosevelt Avenue.Peralta, who represents Corona in Albany, has criticized the MTA's handling of the No. 7 line for years, including charges of improper maintenance, lack of safety measures for falling debris and failure to prevent flocks of birds that roost and feed near the line."Residents around Corona Plaza should not have to settle for this kind of mediocrity," said Peralta, who still has high hopes for the new deterrent."This newly installed Bird-B-Gone system is a major step in fulfilling this responsibility to our children."The system delivers a mild electric shock to the bird through metal filaments embedded in a plastic track. The electrified track is attached to the girders and pipes of the station where the birds roost and is one of an array of bird-repelling devices sold by Bird-B-Gone of Mission Viejo, Calif. The MTA has not yet performed a cleanup of the area surrounding the 103rd or 52nd street stations, where the sidewalks are still marked by the heavy accumulation of droppings. At 52nd Street, birds were walking on the tracks and the droppings were beginning to cover another portion of the system. The city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in 2002 and the state Department of Health in 2003 inspected the station and found that the pigeon droppings were creating unsanitary conditions, according to letters from the agencies provided by Peralta's office.He also cited a study of children in the Bronx published in the Journal of Pediatrics in May 2001 that found a fungus present in pigeon droppings present in a majority of the children older than 2 years old who were tested.Reach reporter Adam Pincus by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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