The construction on the Gowanus Viaduct is quickly becoming an issue in the F Express plan. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Everyone likes the F Express plan. Over 3600 people have signed the petition, and MTA board members have voiced their support. The plan would even give meaning to the neglected V train. But the MTA is throwing up a roadblock.
Over and over again, the MTA keeps saying that construction on the Gowanus Viaduct renders this plan impossible until 2012. Now, those of us who have been most vocal in the push to get this plan approved have never really understood how the work on the viaduct renders express tracks — unused tracks that would cost literally billions of dollars to build today — out of service.
Yesterday, we learned, via the Kensington (Brooklyn) blog, that two city council members agree with us. The MTA just hasn’t adequately explained why the F Express plan must suffer. The two politicians — Simcha Felder of Borough Park and Dominic Recchia of Coney Island — write:
The MTA has said that an express F train cannot be considered until 2012, upon competition of the Gowanus Viaduct restoration. As you know, in addition to the two unused express tracks between Bergen St. and Church Ave., a single unused track exists thereafter up to Kings Highway. Anyone who has ridden the elevated portion of the Culver line has seen the single express track between Church Ave. and Kings Highway used sporadically despite the scheduled Gowanus Viaduct project. We fail to understand what relevance the Viaduct has to the elevated express track between Church Ave. and Kings Highway, or, for that matter, the underground express tracks beyond the Viaduct, from 7th Ave. to Church Av. Additionally, we remain unconvinced that the MTA’s 2012 goal is reasonable timeframe for the completion of work on the Viaduct, and, transitively, full restoration of express service.
The MTA has also cited insufficient demand as an argument against restoration of express service on the F line. Based on the community’s loud voicing of their concern over this matter, including an online petition with more than 3,500 signatures, we believe the demand will be particularly evident when service is improved, and the MTA is offering its riders a more reasonable commute. At a time when the city’s leadership is attempting to convince more New Yorkers to step out of their cars and into mass transit, a fare hike without tangible improvements would severely undermine this effort.
While, as the Gotham Gazette notes, it’s not politically risky for anyone to oppose a fare hike, Felder and Simcha are using their platform to make a good point. We want more information on the Gowanus Viaduct. Will it really take until 2012? Is there no way to accommodate express service on the rest of the BMT Culver line in Brooklyn?
This line would have a positive impact on many people’s lives in Brooklyn. It should happen, and we shouldn’t have to sit through anymore vague answers as the MTA stalls on another construction project.