What do they want? “F train!” When do they want it? “Express!”
Southern Brooklyn pols stressed the need for express F-train service to speed up commutes for far-flung users of the line at a Coney Island press conference on April 10. The Metropolitan Transit Authority says it plans to roll out the orange bullet between Church Avenue and Jay Street this fall, but doubtful pols demanded the authority stick to its word.
“Our message is very simple, yes to the F express,” said Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island), announcing a new campaign advocating for express service called fastercommute.nyc. “We’re not asking for some pie-in-the-sky street car on Surf Avenue. We’re asking for something very tangible, very realistic, and something that is fair to this community.”
The transit authority plans for half the line’s trains to skip all Manhattan-bound stops between Church Avenue and Jay Street — except for Seventh Avenue — during the morning and evening rush. The rejiggering would make the commute to the distant isle of Manhattan a bit more livable by shaving more than seven minutes off Southern Brooklynites’ trip, while adding up to five minutes to straphangers commutes in the Brownstone area, according to an agency study.
Downtown leaders who originally supported the plan rebuffed it after learning express service would cut rush-hour F-trains in half at six Brownstone stops.
But Southern Brooklynites say that Downtown yuppies are just being selfish, and ignoring the isolation of transit-starved residents and businesses below the borough’s proverbial Mason-Dixon line, said one Coney Island restaurateur.
“People in other neighborhoods and Manhattan have so many more transportation options than we do,” said Nino Russo, the owner of Coney’s famed Gargiulo’s Restaurant. “A lot of my patrons come from Manhattan and it’s frustrating for me when I hear my customers complaining about how long it took to get to here. Why don’t we have more options like everyone else?”
Launching the orange bullet is the equitable solution, said another pol.
“We can’t get to school, we can’t get to work, we can’t get better jobs because we don’t have mass transit,” said Councilman David Greenfield (D–Borough Park). “The right thing to do is to bring back the F express like the [Metropolitan Transit Authority] said it would a year ago.”