POLS: G TRAIN GETS AN F
Call For Review, Improvements To Train Line
Fed up with what they claimed were broken promises from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), local pols and riders from two boroughs braved the cold for a Sunday, Jan. 27 press conference in Williamsburg calling for improvements to the G train line.
Amassing at Macri Triangle, just across the street from the Metropolitan Avenue/Lorimer Street G/L train hub, lawmakers and members of Riders Alliance, a riders’ advocacy group, asked for a review of the line, which travels from Long Island City through Greenpoint, Williamsburg and other western Brooklyn neighborhoods before terminating in Kensington.
“We need better G train service than we have today,” State Sen. Daniel Squadron, who co-hosted the meeting with fellow State Sen. Martin Malave Dilan. Squadron represents portions of Greenpoint and the Williamsburg waterfront, in addition to parts of lower Manhattan.
“If there were a grade after F, it would be G, which is exactly what a lot of riders would give this line,” he stated. “It is simply not living up to the need that a lot of communities along the line have.”
The lawmaker cited the infrequent service, dirty trains and poor connectivity to other train lines.
Squadron called for a “full line review” of the train line, and to implement recommendations based on the review. Past reviews of the F and L lines, done in cooperation with the agency, have led to increased service and newer train cars.
“When we’ve gotten these full line reviews done, they have pointed to ways to improve the line within every (financial) constraint that exists,” he noted, calling the review a “soup to nuts way” to examine service.
Dilan noted that the agency has responded in the past, and “we expect that they will do the same” with the G train line.
Many speakers pointed to the growth of communities along the line.
“The MTA has been treating this neighborhood as though it were still a hamlet, [as if] there weren’t a lot of people living here,” Assemblyman Joseph Lentol stated. “Up until recently, that was still true.”
City Council Member Stephen Levin, noting the boom, called the issue “central to the future of the economy here in Brooklyn and Queens.”
“Young people are going to work in the neighborhoods where they live. The creative economy is growing,” he noted. “The future of New York City is in the outer boroughs.”
“There was a time years ago when it ran deeper into Queens, and the MTA cut the service and promised us better service on the abbreviated line and that promise was never fulfilled,” State Sen. Michael Gianaris of Astoria and Long Island City stated, referring to the 2010 service cuts that eliminated G train stops to Forest Hills.
John Raskin, representing Riders Alliance, noted that the group’s members called for increased service, better communication to straphangers and free out-of-station transfers in certain locations (such as Broadway, where the G intersects with the above-ground J/M/Z train at Lorimer Street).
Lentol, noting that G trains usually do not have a full complement of train cars, also called for better signage to let riders know where to stand to enter the train cars.
“I have been hounding the MTA about this issue,” Andrew Albert of the transit Riders’ Council told the crowd, noting that residents “deserve a better service than they’re getting on today’s G train.”
Amy Wolf, a Williamsburg resident, brought her seven-month-old son Zev to the rally with her.
“It’s a very neglected train line,” said Wolf, who commutes to Manhattan by taking the G train to Court Square and transferring to the Manhattan bound E or M lines.
She advocated for a free stationto station transfer that would connect the Broadway G train and the Lorimer Street J/M/Z train.
In addition, Wolf noted the line lacks elevator service, preventing her from using a stroller to carry Zev.
Only one station on the G train line (the southern terminus at Church Avenue) has elevators installed. The northern terminus at Court Square has elevator service, but only for the above-ground 7 train.
City Council Member Letitia James also attended the rally.