As the Culver Viaduct rehabilitation project inches forward, residents in Brownstone Brooklyn are only half-hearted embracing the good news. Everyone wants service restored at Smith/9th Sts., but no one wants to lose the G train extension to Church Ave., a benefit of the project. With the rehab set to wrap until next winter, the G extension may be up in the air.
The G train extension has long been billed as a temporary benefit to the Culver Viaduct work. It was, in fact, one of the first news items to warrant a post on this site back in 2006, and the MTA instituted the new service pattern in May of 2009. At the time, the authority said it was a temporary extension that could become permanent if it gained enough popularity. It should stay.
By extending the G train to Church Ave., the MTA has connected some popular destinations throughout Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill, Clinton Hill, Williamsburg and Greenpoint with Park Slope, Kensington and beyond. It improves intra-borough, intra-neighborhood travel, something that the New York City subway does not always do well. Now, as the Viaduct project reaches milestones on the road toward completion, Brooklyn residents, as The Brooklyn Paper recently reported, want to see the extension become permanent. Natalie O’Neill had more:
MTA Spokesman Charles Seaton told The Brooklyn Paper that “a decision hasn’t been made” about whether the agency would keep the G train running at those five stations come next fall, declining to comment further until reviewing a feasibility report. The agency initially said it would make the G train extension permanent, but later backtracked amid budgetary woes.
…Many straphangers said the addition of the staircase is no consolation if the MTA plans to eliminate the G train extension. “It’s a pain,” said Matt Flammer, a Fort Greene resident who commutes to Park Slope. “It means you have to wake up half an hour earlier. And that makes you that much more grumpy in the morning.”
Thankfully for commuters along the G line, transit insiders say there’s still hope for the train. Gene Russianoff, a spokesman for the transportation advocacy group the Straphangers Campaign, said the city will likely consider how much use the G train gets at those five stations before deciding whether to make the temporary service permanent. “I can tell you from private meetings with [city officials], they’ve been impressed by the amount of ridership at those locations,” Russianoff said. “I’d like to see it continue.”
It’s often hyperbole to say that literally no one opposes anything, but it’s awfully tough to find some with a legitimate gripe against added G train service. Selfishly, I love it as it allows me a quick ride from my home neighborhood up to the bars and restaurants in Williamsburg and my friends along the G train’s route. The MTA should be in the business of providing adequate train service, and maintaining this G extension should become a priority as the Culver Countdown reaches completion.
Once upon a time, neighborhood activists called for a G connection with Atlantic Ave., and at other times, civic groups have rallied to save service on this oft-crowded and sometimes-neglected IND line. This one is a no-brainer though. Even when the viaduct rehab is over, the G should remain a Church Ave.-bound train.