Message to MTA: muffle it!

It was a blustery cold Tuesday morning when Assemblyman William Colton, and New York’s Heather Haddon and the Big Screecher himself met at Hilna’s Tire Shop at 2050 Stillwell Avenue to check out the screeching of the D line trains, formerly the B, and before that the West End.

The reporter had read my columns on the Courier Life Web Page “Yournabe.Com” being one of the quarter million New Yorkers living within 150 Yards of the NY Transit’s 62 miles of elevated line and contacted me and asked me if the noise was as terrible as reported.I set up a meeting for the Tuesday morning, not wanting to meet if any snow or rain was forecast because then the wheels and tracks would be lubricated by nature and the screeching would be lessened. We were to meet on a clear day and I was to bring my Noise Meter to record the level of noise.Assemblyman Colton joined us shortly and Heather and he started to question proprietor Lou Gellman as to when the problem became unbearable. Lou said, “When they installed the New Tracks, it was 10 times worse than it ever was and I’m losing my hearing!”

Meanwhile I was in my car, with the noise meter for an hour recording the levels of noise and screeching as the trains passed by.Someone had reported back to Mr. Gellman that the measurements they took at his location only showed 65 decibels which was considered safe. LIE!BIG LIE!BIG BIG LIE!The lowest measurement I took were 88 DBA, the highest hit 98DBA. I turned the Decibel meter to Assemblyman Colton for him to take his own measurements and he concurred, the lowest 88, the highest 98.I noticed that those trains going to Manhattan were about ten decibels lower, which made sense because those tracks were further from me.

It’s interesting to note that in the correspondence Mr. Gellman and his familyreceived from NY City Transit regarding the screeching complaints phoned in on October 9, October 28, November 24, December.16, 2009, they were all stock letters. The first paragraph revealed the date of complaint and locations. Second paragraph states “NY City TransitMaintains strict compliance with all regulations regarding air and noise pollution administered by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA), and is committed to providing environmentally sound public transportation.”I don’t think so! Thirty years ago Assemblyman Colton’s predecessor Frank Barbaro contacted the FEPA who took overnight (24 hour) measurements from my apartment, and said that was the extent of what they can do.Of course thirty years ago is a long time and the Agency’s regulations might have changed, but we will investigate and ask how they can permit such noise pollution to exist!

In the third paragraph NY City Transit states “Our installation of continuous welded rail (CWR) on all reconstructed straight and curved tack areas in the subway, part of our Mainline Track Reconstruction program, and has significantly reduced track noise. The CWR is laid on resilient noise abatement plates, lowering noise levels to below 85 decibels.” If that is true, and they supposedly have the 26th Avenue curve with CWR and Plates, how do they account for every measurement we took being way higher than the 85 decibels they mentioned. For a score of years, the Big Screechers were told that continuous welded rail could not be laid on exposed elevated tracks.Due to the contraction of the rails when cold, which would separate them and the expansion of the rails when hot, which would buckle the rail.I don’t know after thirty years of mistrusting the Transit Authority, I fear they’ve earned my mistrust!!More next week!

Screech at you next week!