The G train will be permanently extended to Church Avenue and the dour Fourth Avenue station will get a complete overhaul as part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s $250-million repair of elevated portion of the tracks between Carroll Gardens and Park Slope.
Straphangers were giving the transit agency grief for weeks after news broke that the Smith-Ninth street station would be closed for nine months in 2010 to facilitate track work on the elevated Culver Viaduct. But the new service improvements announced last week at a Community Board 6 hearing may compensate for the negative vibes.
To begin with, the G train, which runs along the same tracks as the F between Bergen Street and Smith-Ninth Street, will be permanently extended to Church Avenue. Originally, the MTA said the line would add stops at Fourth Avenue, Seventh Avenue, 15th Street, Fort Hamilton Parkway and Church Avenue only until the repair work to the viaduct was completed in 2012.
But now the agency says that the direct underground link between Greenpoint and Kensington — by way of Park Slope —will be permanent.
“Anything that promotes intra-borough transit is terrific,” said Teresa Toro, founder of the Save the G Coalition.
In the last 12 years, G-train ridership has exploded. In 1995, 8.6 million rode the G — a number that rose to 12.6 million by 2006, according to the Real Deal.
In addition to the G expansion, the Fourth Avenue station — a major transfer point between the F and R lines — will get new windows and restored Art Deco details.
Many riders don’t even know that the platform was originally designed to have windows (they were boarded up in the 1970s due to vandalism, according to Forgotten New York, a Web site that chronicles the city’s architectural past).
Smith-Ninth will get some touchups, too.
The staircases leading to the platforms will be rebuilt with opaque glass and some windows — though no new elevators, as some advocates wanted.
The good news comes with some bad news: The MTA said it still cannot consider F express service until the Culver Viaduct work is completed.