MTA representatives (including Thomas Pendergast, President of New York City Transit) told us that they believe that “backriding” (i.e. taking the train south) to Church Avenue, and then switching to the northbound trains, will be the fastest option for F/G riders. That may be true for some, but I strongly believe that extending service on existing bus routes would be quicker for many others who will be extremely inconvenienced by the station closures, and is the right thing for the MTA to do.
One great suggestion I have heard from many of you is to extend the B68 bus (which runs along Prospect Park Southwest and Coney Island Avenue) past its usual terminus at Bartel Pritchard Square (at the 15th St/PPSW Station), to 9th St and 8th Ave, where riders could pick up the F train. This would make for an easier commute into Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn for many in Windsor Terrace and Kensington. MTA officials agreed to take another look at this idea.
So I have set up a petition, and my staff and I will be out on Tuesday morning, together with the Straphangers Campaign, at the 15th Street and Ft. Hamilton stations gathering signatures. Please stop by on your way in, or sign the petition online.
The MTA did agree to a few small modifications, including:
Monitor the B61 bus and increase service if necessary
Add a stop on the B35 Limited (express) bus at Church Avenue and Ocean Parkway/E. 7th Street
Ask the NYC DOT to add bike parking at the Church Ave and 7th Ave stops
Distribute more information on existing bus routes that connect these lines
By themselves, though, these are not enough. I know that this is an extremely frustrating situation for transit riders in Windsor Terrace and Kensington. The station closures are part of a project necessary to rehabilitate the aging F/G line. But the MTA can do better to provide some alternatives. I will continue to push, and hope you will join me.