Sunnysiders blast East Side Access noise

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (c.) speaks about residents' complaints of noise from construction of the East Side Access project in Sunnyside. Photo courtesy Jimmy Van Bramer
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Residents of Sunnyside rallied last week in protest against what they said was deafening noise day and night from construction on the East Side Access project.

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) was joined by more than 50 residents demanding that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority lower the level of din from the construction by the Long Island Rail Road for the one-seat ride to Manhattan.

“This is not a game,” Van Bramer said.

“The MTA is in direct violation of the rules and guidelines they are legally obligated to work under. We should not have to suffer as a result of ear-splitting construction that is occurring on weekends and after-hours to the dead of night,” Van Bramer said. “I will continue to fight to ensure the MTA abides by the rules and regulations they are supposed to follow in order to maintain the quality of life we once had before this construction began.”

Some Sunnyside residents complained that pile drivers and other equipment had caused fractures in the walls and ceilings of their homes.

The East Side Access, which will allow Long Island Rail Road trains into Grand Central Terminal, is scheduled to be completed in 2019.

In Manhattan, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) hailed a milestone in construction of another giant mass transit project, which is part of the East Side Access plan. Maloney announced that the work on the Second Avenue subway had completed the halfway point in Phase 1.

“Six years ago, when the ground was broken for this project, there were many skeptics who are now starting to have to eat their words,” she said.

The new subway route must be completed before LIRR trains can start rolling into Grand Central Terminal, which is served by the Lexington Avenue line. The 4, 5 and 6 trains already transport 40 percent of the city’s subway ridership and cannot absorb thousands of new riders from Long Island and Queens.

In recognition of the MTA reaching the milestone, Maloney issued a report card to take stock of the progress.

The MTA has completed all tunnel boring for the Second Avenue subway, awarded all 10 of the remaining contracts for the project, dismantled on-site temporary buildings and remained on time and on budget for four consecutive years.

The Second Avenue subway is scheduled to open in 2016.

“When it’s completed, it will provide much-needed transit relief for commuters, who deserve a more comfortable and more efficient ride,” Maloney said.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at or phone at 718-260-4536.

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