Back on track: Brownstone Brooklynites renew fight against express F

Back on track: Brownstone Brooklynites renew fight against express F
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

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.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill