Turning train is something to screech about

The MTA is going their way – quite literally, and it’s doing itso loudly, the whole neighborhood can hear.

Pieces of track couplings and bolts have been flying off the el atStillwell Avenue and 86th Street, where the D train makes a sharp -and very loud — turn, and landing on the grounds of an auto repairshop, Hilna Tires, located adjacent to the train line.

Louis Gellman, Hilna’s general manager, has been complaining to theMTA about the stray track pieces and the ear-splitting noise fromthe turning trains since 2009, but the agency still hasn’t fixedthe problem, which he contends is damaging his hearing.

Parts of the train are falling off, said Gellman, who has acollection of stray metal pieces that he said fell from the tracksinside his office.

I am losing my hearing, he stressed. The screeching isunbearable when the train turns. I can barely hear mycustomers.

The numbers appear to prove his assertion that the train is tooloud. Earlier this year, Assemblyman William Colton’s officeconducted a noise reading at the auto repair shop. The city saysthat anything up to 65 decibels is acceptable, Gellman said. Thisreading was over 100 decibels. Sometimes it is so loud that mycustomers can’t hear me over the phone.

Assemblyman Colton stressed the severity of the issue. The decibelreading was way over the limit that it should be, he told theBrooklyn Spectator. Obviously this is a health and safety threatand the noise is bad for business.

Colton added that he has been trying to get the TransportationAuthority to address the issue, but it has been unresponsive. Webelieve the problem is due to some track work that they did abouttwo years ago, he explained. When the track was replaced, theyused the wrong grating. Depending on how the track is grated, itresults in increased noise.

According to the MTA, three Kelsan rail lubricators were installednear the 25th Avenue station in March, 2010. These special machinesapply lubricant to the top and side of the rail, which is supposedto reduce friction and thus the horrid screeching noise.

But Gellman isn’t buying it. The MTA claims that the tracks justneed to be greased, but I don’t think that would solve theproblem, he said. There isn’t any grease dropping down on my cars- someone is lying to me.

Kevin Ortiz, a spokesperson for the MTA, said that the tracklubrication system in that area was serviced on July 6 and isserviced every 30 to 40 days, depending on conditions. The Kelsanlubricators were in good working condition, said Ortiz.

But there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. Coltonintroduced legislation this spring that would require the MTA totake noise readings and write a report on what they found thatwould be available to the public. There was a law on the booksjust like this passed in 1982, Colton said. But it was only a12-year plan, so they ceased doing these reports in 1994 when thestudy ended.

Colton said he thinks the MTA should be required to make thesereports on a regular basis. These noise readings should beprovided to the city and state government addressing specificproblems like this, he said. It was found that noise indicatedproblems with the equipment. When you hear a loud car engine, youknow something is wrong. When you hear that screeching, it’s thewheels grinding against the track. It’s not good for themaintenance of the train or for anything.

As for the debris dropping off the train, Ortiz said, We senttrack maintenance teams to the location yesterday (Tuesday) and thetrack structure is in a state of good repair, he said, adding, Noloose track material was found in wire baskets underneath thetrack.

Gellman said that he just wants some sort of action. Dealing withthem is insane, he said. The MTA really doesn’t care.

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