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Building a better G train

G-lightful! MTA to consider service improvements for Brooklyn Local

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It was a good day for the G train — finally!

The Metropolitan Transit Authority now says it will consider adding more trains, giving riders better information about service changes, and allowing free above-ground transfers to users of the beloved and beleaguered Brooklyn Local after months of telling riders to talk to the hand — the same day it voted to make the trains temporary extension into Kensington permanent.

The agency told The Brooklyn Paper on Monday that the train, which has seen ridership increase since the expansion that gave Brooklynites one-seat service from Park Slope to Greenpoint without having to suffer the indignity of going through Manhattan, now has a chance to get the improvements riders feel it deserves.

“We’ll look at it very carefully,” MTA spokeswoman Deirdre Parker said on Monday morning. “We’ll review it step-by-step. We’ll look at the suggestions.”

For the past couple of months, the Riders Alliance, a transit advocacy group, has been organizing Brooklyn straphangers, who created a list of demands at a series of meetings last year.

“We’re succeeding at showing how important the G train is in so many people’s lives, and how valuable it could be to bring together riders and elected officials and the MTA to improve it,” said John Raskin, executive director of the Riders Alliance.

Those demands include the implementation of free, above-ground transfers between the G train’s Broadway stop with the J and M trains at Hewes and Lorimer, which shuttle commuters to Manhattan, and between the G’s Fulton Street stop and the many trains at the Atlantic, Barclays Center and Pacific stations. The activists would also like to see better communication about service changes and more frequent service at all hours of the day.

The activists say the fixes would not only placate weary riders, but would help to attract riders away from other crowded lines, such as the L and F trains.

“We’re building a growing membership of riders who care about improving transit service and want to work constructively with the MTA to get it done,” said Raskin.

The MTA said it would consider the changes after state senators Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights) and Martin Malave Dilan (D–Williamsbu­rg) asked the MTA to launch a full line review of the crosstown local this weekend.

MTA full line reviews usually only happen at the behest of a community group or politician. In the past two years, Squadron has helped secure improvements to the L and F trains.

Squadron said the improvements to the G train are crucial to helping the neighborhoods between Greenpoint and Kensington flourish.

“If there were a grade after F, it would be G. That’s what many riders would give the G train,” said Squadron. “As the Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods surrounding the G continue to grow, their lifeline must grow with them.”

The MTA declined to give a timeline for when it would have an answer for the Rider Alliance.

Also on Monday, the MTA’s board voted to make the G train extension to Church Avenue, which came about because of construction at the Smith-Ninth Street station, permanent. Brooklynites had battled for that victory since the MTA announced in 2009 that it planned to cut the last four stops once the construction was complete.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.

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Reasonable discourse

John from All Brooklyn says:
Why not build a pedestrian tunnel to connect the Lafayette Avenue station to the Atlantic Avenue-Barclay Center station?
Jan. 29, 2013, 1:58 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Open the Grand St. entrance at the Metropolitan stop! Oh my life would be so wonderful if that happened.
Jan. 29, 2013, 10 am
BunnynSunny from Clinton Hill says:
I gave up on the G/F to get to Manhattan long ago. Have they thought of possibly maybe just adding another cattle car or two for the rush hour commuters?
Jan. 29, 2013, 11:08 am
Ace from New Utrecht says:
More Trains More Often.
Jan. 29, 2013, 1:03 pm
JDH from Prospect Heights says:
It's Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Jan. 29, 2013, 2:12 pm
Daniel from Long Island City says:
Extend the line to have trains go further into Queens, like it used to... then I think they should construct a new tube to LGA. Getting there is a nightmare... and this would would open up business opportunities for LIC and Downtown Brooklyn. Just sayin!
Jan. 30, 2013, 10:33 am
Liz from Williamsburg says:
Definitely open the Grand St entrance at Metropolitan!!
Jan. 30, 2013, 11:41 am
Jabir from Park Slope says:
To build a tunnel connecting nearby stations would be a huge capital expense and take years.

To allow a free above-ground transfer between such stations would cost almost nothing and could be done almost immediately. Or at any rate, MUCH cheaper and MUCH sooner than a tunnel.
Jan. 30, 2013, 12:01 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Daniel, there was an attempt to extend the N or now defunct W trains to LGA in the past and that was stopped after huge opposition.
Jan. 30, 2013, 3:23 pm
anywho says:
Anything that makes common sense, the MTA does the opposite.
Jan. 30, 2013, 4:09 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
The truth about the G train is that except for the part in northwestern Brooklyn, there isn't anything unique about it, because it shares routes with other lines. Even when it went past Court Square to Forest Hills-71st Avenue, it was still going with other lines. The only route that would give it more use is just between Hoyt-Schermerhorn to Court Square where most of the stops are exclusive to just that, otherwise it won't get used when other lines go further down such as over at stops such as 4th Avenue and Church Avenue. However, I know most riders will not agree to a fare increase to cover making anything in transit more efficient even though they don't even cover half of it to begin with, and feel that motorists, who cover at least half of the costs, should shill for it while the get to keep their fares staying low. It's ironic that the riders want the best system, but they don't want to pay for it at the same time.
Jan. 30, 2013, 8:36 pm
John from All Brooklyn says:
All it took to connect all subway lines and the LIRR at the now Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center station was to knock down a wall several decades age. Even before the station was upgraded. Perhaps there is a simple physical connection between it and the Lafayette Avenue station. And if not, why not think big?
Jan. 30, 2013, 11:06 pm
marivett from Clinton Hill says:
Small request-can the electric walk run in the opposite direction at the end of the day? would provide better traffic flow as well extend the G to Queens plaza which would free up congestion in the am.
Jan. 31, 2013, 9:35 am
ken from bk heights says:
A subway connection to LGA would be amazing! Improvements like that change lives and make the MTA more popular.
Jan. 31, 2013, 12:56 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I know a lot want the subways to reach more, but this is not a cheap process. Unfortunately, it seems that nobody wants to have a fare hike to help cover that, and I am talk about those that use the system the most. We would be lucky if the Second Avenue Subway ever gets completed at least with its first phase in this lifetime, but the date keeps getting pushed back due to costs. I still think that the Fulton Transit Center was meaningless and not even necessary, because it doesn't look like anything more than an expensive station house to me. I don't know why there is no free transfer between L and 3 with Junnis Street and Livonia Avenue despite there already being a walkway that goes between them. Overall, much of the IND Second System never got built either due to high costs or because of huge opposition to some of them. Still, I do feel that a fare hike is needed for better transit, and before anyone says how it's much better in major European cities, keep in mind that they raised the fares as well to have this.
Jan. 31, 2013, 10:20 pm

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