Sept. 8, 2014 By Michael Florio
Train noise is depriving some Astoria children from a proper education, and local parents and elected officials are seeking solutions.
Congressman Joe Crowley announced today at P.S. 85 that he is introducing a bill that would require the federal government to study the level of railway noise at city schools– and require certain schools to be soundproofed if the railroad noise is deemed too loud.
Crowley was joined by the parents of P.S. 85 students, who have complained for years that the noise from elevated N and Q lines–a mere 50 feet from the school–disrupts learning.
Students at PS 85Q, which is located between the Astoria Blvd and Ditmars stations, are constantly interrupted by the rumbling sounds of the subway, parents say. The students are taught special hand signals to indicate that they can’t hear —which are particularly necessary around rush hour when a train can go by ever two minutes.
The MTA has taken action to reduce subway noise on the tracks in recent times but parents say that it hasn’t been enough.
The bill, if it were to become law, would require the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study that would evaluate the impact that railway noise has on schools and its students. The study would also determine the level of noise deemed acceptable.
“It is unconscionable that so many children whose schools are located near elevated trains are forced to learn under these adverse conditions,” Crowley said.
Under the bill, schools that are subject to unacceptable noise levels would be eligible to receive a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, along with local matching funds, to soundproof their facilities.