Pols to MTA: Fix subways, buses in Southwest Brooklyn
Lawmakers seek improvements on F train, B1 bus, express buses
Southwest Brooklyn residents need better transportation services for an easier commute to and from work, according to a group of elected officials who held a press conference outside the F train’s Neptune Avenue station Monday to demand action from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Councilmember Mark Treyger, state Sen. Diane Savino and Assemblymember Bill Colton were joined by Coney Island community activists outside the train station to call for the restoration and institution of transit services.
Among their demands were express trains on the F train, which the lawmakers said is a heavily congested subway line that runs through increasingly populous neighborhoods; the construction of an elevator at the F train’s Neptune Avenue station; more frequent service on the B1 and B82 bus lines; a return of Saturday service on the X28 express bus line; and restoration of the X29 express bus.
“The time has come to restore the transportation options that our communities have lost. Southern Brooklyn deserves its fair share. The ridership on the F train continues to grow, yet service has not improved. Our most vulnerable residents need an elevator at the Neptune Avenue station on the F train in the event of another Hurricane Sandy,” Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-parts of Bensonhurst) said.
“We are not asking for luxury, we are asking for necessities,” he added.
The press conference took place in the wake of the recent announcement that an agreement had been reached in Albany to fund the MTA’s Capital Program. With the MTA getting an influx of money, the agency should use some of those funds to improve Southwest Brooklyn transit services, the lawmakers asserted.
Treyger and other officials said the construction of an elevator at the Neptune Avenue station is critical because that portion of the F line is an evacuation zone with a high concentration of disabled persons and senior citizens. More than 31 percent of the population of West Brighton, the neighborhood that includes the Warbasse Houses, Luna Park and Trump Village, is over the age of 65, and nearly 25 percent of that population is disabled, according to the elected officials.
MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said that the agency does not address bus and subway service through the Capital Program, but rather in its operating budget. “Additionally, the vast majority of the service reductions from 2010 have already been restored. We will continue to work closely with elected officials and local stakeholders to discuss potential service changes and improvements, but we simply can’t implement all of them,” Ortiz wrote in an email to the Brooklyn Eagle.
The MTA is looking at the possibility of express service on the F line, “but it would be difficult to implement because the highest ridership on the F is at local stations, and express trains would have to merge at Jay St into local tracks that are already at capacity,” Ortiz said.
As for the construction of an elevator at Neptune Avenue, it’s not likely, according to Ortiz.
“We have 86 fully accessible stations in the system and are well on our way toward the mandated goal of 100 by 2020 as part of our Key Stations program and have committed $561 million in our next capital plan for accessibility. We have also completed work at 21 non-key stations and have allocated $100 million in the next plan for additional non-key stations. Given the configuration of certain stations and the age of the system, it is simply impossible or cost prohibitive to make every station accessible. Focusing on the key stations allows us to focus precious resources on stations that will have the most impact — stations with higher ridership and/or that serve as key transfer points. Neptune Avenue does not fit these criteria,” he said.
Ortiz did point out, however, that all of the MTA’s 5,700 buses are fully accessible.
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