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

G-lightful! MTA to consider service improvements for Brooklyn Local
File photo by Mike McLaughlin

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 [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.