New rails should solve R train vibrations, MTA says
The MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) doesn’t know what caused buildings along the Fourth Avenue route of the R train to shake, but the agency has come up with a solution, an official said.
“I have some good news,” Melissa Farley, assistant director of government and community relations for MTA New York City Transit, told the Traffic and Transportation Committee of Community Board 10 at a Sept. 3 meeting.
The MTA will soon be completing a project in which the rails along the R line in Bay Ridge are being replaced, according to Farley, who said the work has been ongoing since 2014.
In 2013, numerous residents living along Fourth Avenue and on several of the side streets off Fourth Avenue complained to Board 10 and to elected officials about strange vibrations they believed were coming from the R train, which runs underground beneath Fourth Avenue.
The Rev. Msgr. John Maloney, pastor of Saint Anselm Roman Catholic Church at 356 82nd St., told the Brooklyn Eagle last year that he felt the vibrations of the R train, even though the rectory where he resides is more than a quarter of a block away from the avenue.
“I live on the third floor of the rectory. And I know when the train is coming,” Maloney said.
The main entrance to St. Anselm Church is located on Fourth Avenue between 82nd and 83rd streets.
The vibration from the R train is something that Bay Ridge residents living along Fourth Avenue have been putting up with for years, but Maloney and other Bay Ridgeites said that the vibrations suddenly started getting stronger. “It has multiplied 10 times,” Maloney told the Eagle.
Residents said it was more than just rattling dishes that troubled them about the vibrations. Homeowners also feared damage to their walls and foundations.
But on Thursday, Farley said that testing done of the R train found “elevated levels but nothing that could do damage” to buildings.
The MTA followed the Federal Transportation Administration’s guidelines for testing the vibrations, she said.
The cause of the vibrations remains a mystery. “We could never find out conclusively what was causing the vibrations,” Farley told the Traffic and Transportation Committee.
The new rails, known as continuous welded rail, are being installed on the R line between the Bay Ridge Avenue (69th Street) and 86th Street stations. The work is being done mostly between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., Farley said.
In addition to the continuous welded rail, which is installed 400 feet at a time, the project also calls for the MTA to put in noise abatement plates and abrasion pads. The pads will be there to prevent the rails from breaking, Farley said.
Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann said that in the areas where the new continuous welded rail has been installed, complaints from residents about vibrations have nearly ceased.
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