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One L of a crowded train • Brooklyn Paper

One L of a crowded train

Crowds on the L train will be thinner, thanks to enhanced service, transit officials say.
The Brooklyn Paper / Richard Moon

Ample brunch options plus hipsters with unlimited MetroCards times weekend track repairs equals one angry subway ridership.

The number of people riding Williamsburg’s L train rose to near-record numbers last year, but all that extra people moving makes residents a little less happy with their once-empty trains.

Almost 7.5 million riders used the Bedford Avenue station in 2010 — an increase of 656,000 commuters since 2009 — with the train retaining 90 percent of its riders on the weekend as New Yorkers “discovered” how cool the hipster neighborhood is.

But that’s not so cool to residents.

“It’s just a nightmare,” said Williamsburger Rebecca Saez of getting around on the weekend, when the L has frequently been shut down for track repair. “Just thinking about the whole experience makes me want to stay home.”

And weekend work is not limited to the train most identified with the neighborhood. Weekend track work on the G train requires a shuttle between Hoyt-Schermerhorn and Church Avenue, resulting in delays up to a half hour.

Other stops on the L, including Montrose, Morgan and Jefferson, saw double-digit percentage increases, as more residents move east and into Bushwick.

The steady climb in ridership on the L combined by increasing service disruptions prompted state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Williamsburg) to demand the MTA conduct a review of the entire line.

“You have many more people living along the line than they used to, more people are coming for concerts and flea markets and other attractions, and there has been a lot of changes on the line,” said Squadron who believes the MTA could adopt low-cost solutions, such as skipping stops to prevent trains from bunching or shifting track work from weekends to overnight, when fewer riders are taking the train.

An MTA spokeswoman said the city received Squadron’s request but has not yet responded.

Increased ridership isn’t just up in the 11211 — central Brooklyn is also on the rise.

Straphangers increased by double-digit figures at the Parkside Avenue, Cortelyou Road and Beverly Road stations, according to the MTA’s report, and the B and Q trains saw a boost — despite shuttered Manhattan-bound platforms at two stations on the line.

Construction also has shuttered the Smith-Ninth Street station for F and G train traffic, even after some commuters heralded changes to make the F train run more efficiently.

— with Haru Coryne

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