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Straphangers F-reak out over rush-hour trains skipping express stops

Packing them in: Commuters squeeze onto the Carroll Street platform waiting for an F train to stop.
Brooklyn Paper
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Call it a dangerous side F-ect.

F trains are skipping stops in Gowanus and Carroll Gardens during the morning rush this month due to maintenance work, giving local straphangers an unwelcome preview of what life will be like if the Metropolitan Transportation Authority goes ahead with its proposed express service on the line.

And the experience has just proven their worst fears that the change will turn the spurned stations into sardine cans, the peeved riders report.

“It’s dangerous, the platform is extremely crowded,” said Carroll Gardens resident Carola Cassaro, who uses Carroll Street station. “Seeing multiple trains go by in those conditions is obviously pretty frustrating.”

Seven Manhattan-bound Fs per hour are blowing the Carroll, Bergen, and Smith-Ninth stops between 7–9 am and 3:15–5:30 pm through Jan. 27.

The permanent express service, which the transit authority is considering introducing in the fall, will see 10 orange bullets per hour whiz by those stops — plus the Fourth Avenue, 15th Street, and Fort Hamilton Parkway stations — heading towards Manhattan in the morning and back to Brooklyn in the evening.

The state-run agency blindsided riders last year when it released a report endorsing the speedy service as a way to shorten commutes for Southern Brooklynites, even though it also found the change will halve service at the six skipped stops, “inconvenie­ncing” 51 percent of riders and creating bottlenecks at Bergen and Carroll streets stations especially.

Transit officials then insisted they wouldn’t actually go ahead without first consulting the community, but now commuters say they’ve lost faith in the agency and many are suspicious the current service changes aren’t actually just a way to secretly test out the F express.

“We’ve been screwed before and it’s understandable that we’re taking this all with a grain of salt,” said Carroll Gardener Erin Lippincott, who started an online petition against the express and has collected almost 4,000 signatures. “Even if we take the MTA at its word and this is temporary, it just shows what’s going to happen if there are any cuts.”

The transit agency didn’t respond to this paper’s queries about what’s going on, but both Councilman Brad Lander (D–Cobble Hill) and state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Carroll Gardens) say agency honchos told them the changes really are because of signal work — and they believe them.

Still, Lander says he gets why people would be worried the authority is being shady.

“It’s very difficult to have any trust or confidence in the MTA on this issue,” said Lander, who is a vocal opponent of the F express plan in its current form. “I don’t have it and I’m not asking anyone else to have it.”

The express proposal remains just that for now, spokesman Kevin Ortiz told this paper last month, as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board hasn’t actually approved the plan.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:27 am, January 18, 2017
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Reasonable discourse

Jim from Cobble Hill says:
Thanks big-bucks Bloomberg, for your years of un-checked real estate development with ZERO expansion of infrastructure.... just pack em in pack em in pack em in, they won't need any extra transportation, hospitals, or access to things like grocery stores, just pack em in and get those numbers up and sail out on your illegal Third Term. And now we're a generation behind where we need to be. We need whole new lines at this point, not just some half-as*ed express experiment.
Jan. 18, 2017, 7:09 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Bloomberg, like De Blasio, isn't in charge of expanding the MTA's infrastructure.

If you want more subway lines, call the governor. Call your state senators and assemblymembers. Tell them you're sick of NYC having the highest costs in the world and the resulting lack of expansion.
Jan. 18, 2017, 7:37 am
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
F train is the new hipster train -
Jan. 18, 2017, 9:14 am
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from BS, BK, NY, US says:
I am certainly agree Mike. As a member of the Riders Alliance, one of the major campaigns we are focusing on as we speak is to fully fund the 2015-2019 MTA Capital Plan. The Riders Alliance's job is to lobbying the governor, who controls the bureaucratic MTA, as well as the members of our state legislature, who approves the funding aspect, to find dedicated and reliable sources of funding, without borrowing billions of dollars in bonds. This could lead to a biannual 1% fare hike, on top of the 4% biannual fare hikes, for every $1B borrowed. In other words, much faster than expected fare hikes, all thanks to the MTA that are paying for increased debt service with interest. Anyway, back to the article, so long that the dash-strapped MTA has the necessary funds, then they could modernized the signals of the IND Culver Line, making the F trains run more frequently. It could happen in the next couple of years or so.
Jan. 18, 2017, 9:17 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I'm not sure that we agree then, Pedro. We spend a LOT of money on the MTA. We just have nothing to show for it. The 2nd Ave Subway is the most expensive segment in the world. If we could build at the costs that other places have, we could have the whole line funded. Places with complicated undergrounds. Places with well-paid workers. The MTA doesn't even have an excuse for why it receives so much money and delivers so little.
Jan. 18, 2017, 9:23 am
Honeycita from Williamsburg says:
Pedro is right, we need to open the trolley line as soon as possible. Clearly this is needed to supplement the subway. Open the first trolley and then quickly expand the system all over brooklyn.
Jan. 18, 2017, 9:42 am
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
Yes, a trolley/tram would be the perfect back-up for subway service changes like these!
Jan. 18, 2017, 10:23 am
Charles from Bklyn says:
The trolly is a scam designed for rich people strolling on the weekends. Don't be fooled.

Forget the express F. Not fair to the riders at the stations passed, the F train sucks no matter what, and a bad idea will not result in a good outcome.
Jan. 18, 2017, 11:26 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
The F express is very fair to the commuters that live in forgotten south Brooklyn. Why not keep it, and increase G train service to Church Ave?
Jan. 18, 2017, Noon
James from Gravesend says:
The solution is to turn some trains at church ave putting empty local trains into these station.
Solution 2 support the rights or riders and allow full length OPTO on the G. Take the g train and transfer for the express. That is what many brighton line riders do.

I find it funny that the so called "tolerant" liberals of park slope are willing to put condem working class hispanics, blacks and asians to a unholy long commute for thier own best interests.
Civil rights only when it is convenient.

Another solution once CBTC is put in place is to extend the length of the trains. Put special train cars with larger doors on front and rear cars. this will allow trains to extend into the tunnel allowing addition capasity per train
Jan. 18, 2017, 12:11 pm
Tony from Brighton Beach says:
Just to note that while the crowded platforms are definitely unsafe, that has been the general condition on the L line, notably the Bedford nightmare, for years. So yes, unsafe, but commonly accepted.
Jan. 18, 2017, 8:10 pm
Rocco from Rockaway says:
We need drones that will carry people attached to them to their destinations.
Jan. 18, 2017, 9:38 pm
Zaxby says:
Your headline is misleading. "Trains skipping express stops" is incorrect. They are not skipping express stops, they are making 'express' stops. Who writes this crap?
Jan. 18, 2017, 10:54 pm

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