Noisy subway trains blamed for sidewalk cracks in south Brooklyn

The D subway train in Brooklyn

The D subway train in Brooklyn Photo Credit: MTA

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Loud train noise is a fact of New York life, but life under the elevated tracks in south Brooklyn could mean bills for business owners.

Louis Gellman, the 37-year owner of Hilna Motors in Gravesend, complained about paying a $30,000 bill two years ago to repair cracks in the sidewalk outside his Stillwell Avenue business he blames on the vibrations from the D train that runs overhead. He joined Assemblyman William Colton at a news conference Wednesday in support of reviving a law requiring the MTA to report to lawmakers how it handles noise complaints.

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"If you put your hands on the poles you can feel the vibration," Gellman said. "Sometimes, my customers can't even hear me on the phone when the door's open."

The MTA, in a Dec. 17 letter to Gellman that he provided to amNewYork, said an inspection showed the vibrations and noise were not the culprit for the cracks on the sidewalk. The letter also noted that trucks and cars were seen driving over the sidewalk in front of Gellman's business.

"The MTA routinely visits locations to investigate complaints of noise and vibration, and makes changes as appropriate to minimize the impact of subway operations on the community," said MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg.

The MTA had been required to issue noise reports until 1994, when the law lapsed and was never renewed. Lawmakers have passed Colton's bill to bring back the noise reports and is being sent to the governor's desk for a signature. Lisberg declined to comment on a bill still pending.

"Now, at least the MTA will be accountable to public officials that they're doing something to address these noise complaints," Colton said.

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