If MTA falls behind schedule, F trains could run express in ’08By
The Culver train, shown here at Bergen St., ran express in 1972. (Photo by Steve Zabel. Courtesy of Joe Testagrose/NYCSubway.org.)
When last we checked in on the F Express Plan at the end of August, we had assumed things were at a standstill. The MTA had finally explained the Culver Viaduct rehabilitation project in a way that highlighted exactly why Brooklyn wouldn’t be able to enjoy express service along the Culver line until 2012 at the earliest.
But yesterday, The Gowanus Lounge broke the news that now the MTA has changed its stance on this express service. According to Andrew Inglesby, assistant director of government and community relations at the MTA, who spoke on Monday the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association meeting, the MTA could grant express service to the F line next year if the rehabilitation project falls behind schedule. If the plan is on time, F express service is off the table until 2012 or early 2013.
The Gowanus Lounge has more:
Mr. Inglesby reiterated that work on the Culver Viaduct, which runs above-ground between the Carroll Street Station and the Fourth Avenue Station, is a critical capital project and that work must be completed before an F Express can be put in place… “F Express service just can’t happen until the end of that period.” He said the work will result in “an automatic elimination of any F Express.”
The transit official did offer possibility that if work on the viaduct project is “significantly delayed” by a year or more, then the Transit Authority “will go ahead and examine the possibility of putting in an F Express.” Express service would depend on the availability of cars and funding. So, an F Express could make an appearance for a year or 18 months, if there is a delay in the big repair project.
Wouldn’t that be a tantalizing tease from the Transportation Authority? Knowing their track record on major construction projects — Times Square BMT corridor or that Cortlandt St. project, anyone? — we have every reason to believe that they could fall behind. So for a few months, Brooklyn could end up with our coveted express service. But only for a short time before it has to be shut down again.
Inglesby also verified information about the express plans we had already assumed. The F trains running express would probably stop at Jay Street, 7th Avenue and Church Avenue. These trains would bypass the Bergen St. station (destroyed express tracks notwithstanding), Carroll St., Smith-9th Sts., 4th Ave.-9th St., 15th St., and Fort Hamilton Parkway.
At The Gowanus Lounge, one of the commenters was dismayed at the lack of express service in the Windsor Terrace and Carroll Gardens areas. Simply put, the express trains can stop only where there are express platforms, and those stops listed by Inglesby are the ones on the Culver Line with that option.
For those of us pushing the F Express Plan, this news comes as a pleasant surprise. While I doubt the MTA would fall an entire year behind on the F train, at least they are dangling this carrot. They know we want express service on the Culver Line; they want to give it to us. As soon as that service can become a reality, we’ll have express service on the F line. If that’s not a resounding victory, I don’t know what is.
Update (10:54 a.m.): Metro chimes in this morning with an article on the F express meetings. Of note are two statements from city officials. Councilman Bill de Blasio noted that the MTA wouldn’t acknowledge these plans if they didn’t have the resources to devote to express service on the F line.
But more vital is a quote from MTA spokesperson Jeremy Soffin: “You can’t operate express service while work on the F express is ongoing. But should that be delayed, on an interim basis, we would look at the express. This project was brought forward and supported at the grassroots level and we’ve responded.”
I have to praise Soffin. He’s been very responsive in dealing with and addressing those of us heading up this grassroots movement. It’s good to see the MTA listens when its riders raise their concerns. It gives us hope that the MTA will respond to issues in the rider report cards as well.