Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Express F Train Service Is Coming, But Not Everyone Is Happy About It

The MTA plans to implement express trains along the F line in Brooklyn

For Brooklyn residents who rely on the F train, particularly the stretch between Park Slope and Downtown Brooklyn, commuting is often akin to a contact sport: jockeying for position among disgruntled crowds, not knowing whether or not you're going to make it out without a few bruises or scrapes. (But also with lots of delays and headaches.)

Now, the MTA is implementing a fix that they say should help ameliorate some of that sluggishness: Starting in 2017, the agency will run express trains between Church Ave and Jay St-MetroTech, according to the New York Daily News. (h/t Gothamist) The decision comes after the MTA conducted a feasibility study with the goal of assessing how helpful express service would be to F train riders.

As it turns out, running express trains during morning rush hour would save a few minutes for passengers at the express stops (Church Ave, Seventh Ave, and Jay St-MetroTech), leading to "a net travel time benefit of 27,000 minutes," per the MTA. (What that really means: riders at express stops will save about three minutes during the morning rush hour.)

While the proposal has its boosters—City Council member David Greenfield, who pushed for the implementation of express service, tweeted that it would "make life better for those who have the worst train service now AND make F local and G lines faster"—others aren't as happy. City Council member Brad Lander also tweeted his thoughts, which were not particularly positive (there are 10 total, so follow the thread beginning with the one below):

The reasoning: While riders at express stops will get a minor benefit from the change, riders at local stops—Bergen and Carroll Streets, 4th Ave-9th St, Smith-9th St, and 15th St-Prospect Park—would get the short end of the stick, with longer wait times and increased congestion at those stations, many of which are already pushed to the brink during rush hour. The MTA doesn't plan to run more trains once this is implemented; instead, they'll run the same total number of trains, with more traveling on the express track, hence the longer wait times. According to the MTA, the demand isn't there to run more trains overall.

Additionally, some pols, including Lander and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, contend that the MTA's decision was made without community input. "We travel in an interconnected system, and progress cannot be defined by taking resources from one neighborhood and giving them to another," Adams wrote in a piece posted to Medium.

The MTA's full study can be found here (PDF!).


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