Now New Yorkers know why the Q train slows to a crawl when it hits the new Second Avenue tracks: It’s not safe to go full speed.
Oversight reports submitted to the feds tell the sorry tale: In the rush to meet Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New Year’s Day deadline for opening the Second Avenue subway to the public, the MTA skipped final safety testing.
When the station opened for Cuomo’s glitzy New Year’s Eve ribbon-cutting, the fire alarm system was still being tested and some 17,000 defects hadn’t been fixed.
With 7,000 repairs still to go, the line is operating under a temporary safety certificate until at least November.
Unbelievable. But why didn’t the MTA tell Cuomo: “Sorry, meeting your deadline is just crazy”?
“Any suggestion that safety was at all compromised to the deadline to open is patently false,” MTA spokesman John McCarthy told the New York Times, which broke the story.
Fine: The MTA has posted fire watches along the three-station line to keep its nearly 176,000 daily passengers safe. But those inspectors aren’t cheap, and it costs more to do the work with the line operating, too.
We expect that current MTA leadership — No. 1 Joe Lhota and No. 2 Pat Foye — would be willing and able to stand up to the governor. But that’s no guarantee that future execs will say “no” to future govs.
The MTA plainly needs some permanent reform to guarantee a lot more transparency and public truth-telling.
After all, the entire subway system is still downgraded because the agency stretched out its inspection and maintenance cycles after Hurricane Sandy — and never returned to normal in the five years afterward.
Even with Mayor Bill de Blasio naming four members of the MTA board, that damning information somehow never made it to the public until the deferred maintenance caused a systemwide crisis.
De Blasio and Cuomo are still fighting about how to get new money to the agency — but it plainly needs some deeper repairs.