For the last few weeks, Brooklyn residents have been pushing hard for express service on the F tracks in the city’s most populous borough. Thanks to the efforts of Gary Reilly, the MTA board has expressed support for the plan, and last week’s press conference was a resounding success.
Part of the plan calls for redeeming the V line. For now, the V train, running for just 17 hours Monday-Friday, is a lonely train. Running local from Forest Hills, the train terminates at the Second Ave. station as the F travels onward to Coney Island. As an added benefit to V train riders, since this train doesn’t go anywhere in Queens or Manhattan that other trains don’t, it allows for either a neglected ride or a spacious ride, depending upon your viewpoint.
Earlier this week, the Daily News noted that, in an age in which NYC pols are decrying over-crowded trains, the empty V trains provide welcome relief to straphangers looking for some space. In a 300-word article that three reporters wrote (!), the News noted:
It’s the V train, an unloved but uncrowded route launched in 2001 that is only half full even at rush hour – making it the least crowded of the subway’s 22 lines, NYC Transit statistics show…”You’re not like a sardine,” said Tom Nguyen, 34, who noted he almost always gets to sit back and relax on the V. “Of all the Queens lines, I think the V is the best.”
Not everyone agrees. Critics predicted no one would ride the local V when it was created in December 2001 to relieve overcrowding on the express E and F trains along Queens Blvd. Transit officials tried hard to popularize the route; it didn’t work. “I think it’s worthless,” commuter Victoria Carlucci said. “The stops are not helpful stops.”
So for every rider like Nguyen, there are others who cannot stand the V line. It, for some unknown reason, symbolizes the problems with the MTA: It’s a rush hour-only line that charts familiar territory. Who needs another one of those, right? In fact, over on the subway message board Subchat, invective against the V train exploded when this article hit the Internet on Monday.
And that is where our F train petition comes into play. With the F train petition, the F would run express during the times the V runs from Jay St./Borough Hall out to Church Ave. (or possibly Kings Highway). The V would no longer be a lonely train; instead, it would ferry thousands of commuters through Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, Kensington and Borough Park. While those riding in Queens would probably still enjoy their empty and spacious train cars, people riding in Brooklyn would finally have more room than they do on the F with its cattle-car-like conditions.
So once again, we all can see how our F express plan would help make use of an under-utilized subway line in New York City. It’s time to make this plan reality.