Brooklyn Boro

MTA’s F train plan all F’d up, northern Brooklyn officials say

Pits Northern Brooklyn Against Southern Brooklyn

May 18, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The sign at the 18th Avenue F train station in Borough Park. Eagle photo by Paula Katinas

On Tuesday, a furious group of northern Brooklyn officials unleashed a salvo of criticism about the MTA’s proposed new F express service. The F express is slated to operate between the Church Avenue and Jay St-MetroTech stations.

At the same time, elected officials from southern Brooklyn said they were happy with the MTA’s moves to restore the express service.

“The proposed service change harms more people than it helps, ignores our request for increased service and pits Brooklyn residents against each other, creating ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ without sufficient information or dialogue,” reps for norther Brooklyn neighborhoods — Councilmembers Brad Lander and Stephen Levin; state Sens. Daniel Squadron, Jesse Hamilton, Velmanette Montgomery and Kevin S. Parker; and Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon — said in a statement.

Councilmember David Greenfield, joined by seven southerners, took a softer tone.

“This is a long overdue move that will drastically cut commute times for riders in southern Brooklyn and restore transit equity to neighborhoods that have languished in transit deserts for decades,” he said in a statement.

In the MTA’s proposal, half of the F trains would operate express during rush hours and half of them, along with the G trains, would operate local.

No additional F trains would be added, however, meaning that local stations between Church Avenue and Jay St-MetroTech would have 50 percent less peak service.

The MTA has recommended that F express service be implemented after the end of the Culver station project in early fall 2017.

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“While there are admittedly disbenefits to F subway local riders who would face longer wait times, those riders with access to F subway express service would see reduced travel times, and this would be a net improvement in service,” the MTA said in its report.

Northern Brooklyn pols expressed their ire. “On behalf of riders, at both local and express stops, we are furious at how the MTA has handled this proposed change, and refuse to accept it as a done deal,” they blasted.

Greenfield, however, said that the MTA’s proposal was only a first step.

“Today’s announcement represents major progress, but there is still plenty of work to do. Like many of my colleagues, I would like to see increased service along the entire F line. I look forward to having constructive conversations with the MTA and with my colleagues in the council and in the state Legislature on how we can make that happen,” he said.

Bipartisan Group Asked for F Express

In 2014, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and a group of elected officials from both northern and southern Brooklyn sent a letter to the MTA requesting that the agency look into the idea of restoring express service on the F.

Again in February, Greenfield authored a letter requesting the express service. It was signed by state Sens. Simcha Felder, Kevin Parker, Martin Golden and Diane Savino; Assemblymembers William Colton, Dov Hikind, Jo Anne Simon, Steven Cymbrowitz and Pamela Harris; and Councilmembers Stephen Levin, Brad Lander, Mark Treyger and Chaim Deutsch.

But Lander and his fellows said on Tuesday that they “made it clear from the start” that they could only support the F express if overall service was increased on the F line.

Southern Brooklyn Would Benefit

According to the MTA, express riders during the morning peak hour would save, on average, 3.4 minutes, and local riders would lose 1.3 minutes.

Riders in southern Brooklyn and at the Church Avenue and Seventh Avenue stops would benefit. But riders at Ft. Hamilton, 15th Street, Fourth Avenue, Smith/Ninth, Carroll Street and Bergen Street would lose time.

There would also be increased stair crowding “at a couple of local stations due to larger evening exit surges per train,” MTA said.

Lander and other officials characterized this increased crowding as a “nightmarish crowd,” at Warren, Bergen and Carroll streets.

 

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