Slow your roll!
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority must scrap its planned express F-train service and work with straphangers to come up with a new scheme that also boosts service at local stops, thousands of residents are demanding in a new petition.
“We refuse to accept the MTA’s current proposal as a done deal,” reads the petition, first started by Carroll Gardens resident Erin Lippincott then adopted by Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope), that has amassed 2,700 signatures in just a few days.
“We urge the MTA to not implement F express service until a new plan to improve service on the F line for all riders, at local and express stops, has been thoroughly vetted by the community,” it continues.
Brownstone Brooklynites were incensed when the transit agency released a report in May recommending half of rush-hour trains speed past six stations between Downtown and Kensington during rush hour — blowing past Bergen Street, Carroll Street, Smith–Ninth, Fourth Avenue, 15th Street, and Fort Hamilton Parkway stops — in order to make commutes faster for Southern-Brooklyn straphangers.
But Lippincott says residents’ rage seems to have faded since the scheme was announced — and many locals she’s spoken to weren’t even aware of it at all. So she launched the petition and a dedicated website last week, and has already scored the support of every Council member and state rep from screwed-over stops.
“There was a flurry of activity in mid- to late-May and then it seemed to go radio silent,” she said. “I started asking around and no one knew that this was a proposed cut that the MTA was recommending. This is a really big deal.”
Many pols and riders had supported the idea of an F express in the past — essentially resurrecting a service that ran from 1969 to 1987 — but only if it came with additional local trains so those at skipped stops don’t suffer.
The proposed plan, however, would simply halve service at the local platforms — “inconveniencing” 51 percent of riders on the line and creating bottlenecks at Bergen and Carroll stations, according to the agency’s own study.
Lander claims transit honchos have refused to schedule a meeting with his constituents or even him to discuss the plan — despite saying they would during a Council hearing in May.
“Despite committing to do so in sworn testimony before the City Council, the MTA is now refusing to even schedule a meeting with the public about the proposal … or even with those elected to represent them,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the state-run transit body said it is still open to hearing what people have to say about the F express, and will hold yet-to-be announced meetings before giving the proposal its blessing.
“We have not made a decision,” said Amanda Kwan. “We are committed to discussions with residents, elected officials, and the community boards of areas affected.”
But the cash-strapped agency’s options to appease riders at local stops may be limited — it would need to add more trains, but the study claimed there are none to spare and the line only has room for one or two more an hour, anyway.