Subway train vibrations continue for some homeowners
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
If you mention the words “Good Vibrations” to Bay Ridge residents living along Fourth Avenue, you’re not talking about a Beach Boys song.
Community Board 10 officials report that vibrations from the R subway train rumbling beneath Fourth Avenue, vibrations that were strong enough to rattle dishes in kitchen cabinets and cause plaster to fall off walls in many homes, have eased a great deal in recent weeks.
But not everyone has found relief.
“While we have received many calls and emails from area residents who have gained complete relief from increased train vibrations we continue to work with NYC Transit on several residents who are experiencing increase in vibrations,” Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann told the board at a recent meeting. “We continue to work closely with residents and NYC Transit officials."
One resident, who lives in an apartment building on Fourth Avenue, told the Brooklyn Eagle that the vibrations aren’t as strong, but she can still feel it when the train goes by. “It is better, but it still makes me nervous,” she said.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) spokesman Kevin Ortiz told the Eagle in May that the agency has responded to the complaints from residents by performing various inspections and vibration tests in several buildings. Under a repair project that began in January, workers replaced defective tie blocks, replaced plates and rails and tamped and regulated sections of the track, all of which has contributed to a lessening of the vibrations.
The problem of the R train vibrations came to a head in May when two church pastors, whose churches are located on Fourth Avenue, joined state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southwest Brooklyn) and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) at a press conference to plead with the MTA to expedite the repair project.
The Rev. Msgr. John Maloney, pastor of Saint Anselm Catholic Church on Fourth Avenue and 82nd Street, said that the vibrations of the trains, which have always been felt at St. Anselm Church, had become much more pronounced in recent months. “The vibrations are 10 times worse,” the pastor said.
A few months ago, a piece of limestone broke away from the St. Anselm school building and went tumbling to the ground below. Maloney said he is convinced the accident happened because of the R train.
The Rev. Msgr. Kevin Noone, pastor of Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church on Fourth Avenue and 73rd Street, said at the press conference that the vibrations had gotten worse. “I’ve lived in the rectory for five years. The rumbling is much louder now,” Noone said.
Golden blamed Hurricane Sandy. The 2012 super-storm flooded the Montague Street Tunnel in downtown Brooklyn, forcing the NTA to close the tunnel for repairs. The R train currently runs only between 95th Street in Bay Ridge and Court Street in downtown Brooklyn. But the shortened route means that the R trains run beneath Fourth Avenue in Bay Ridge more frequently, Golden said.