Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The F Express Back In The News (Recently)

I'm a little late to comment on this amNewYork piece, although I did speak with Dan Rivoli while he was drafting the article earlier this month.  This time a round a group of 14 elected officials has signed a joint letter calling on the MTA to add limited F express service in addition to current service levels.
The MTA is studying the issue and has said any express F service, last seen in 1987, would have to wait until rehabilitation and track work on the Culver Viaduct at the Smith-9th Street station is complete. That project is coming to a close, though the MTA did not have an expected end date as crews continue work on the 80-year-old structure spanning the Gowanus Canal.
"We think now is the time to rally around making sure that the F starts the process of representing fast service and not failed opportunity," Adams told amNewYork.
Officials said riders in the southern part of the line would get a faster ride to downtown and Manhattan, while people who use the popular local stops in DUMBO and Brownstone Brooklyn would see fewer delays and less crowding.
"I grew up on a local stop," Adams said. "I tell you, nothing is more troublesome than having to watch the trains go by when they're too full."
MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg said there are operational challenges in implementing express service. For instance, there is less track space for trains between the Bergen and Jay street stops where the rails merge, he said.
"It's not as simple as just throwing on extra trains, because they all have to end up merging together," Lisberg said.
Another part of the study is to look at the demographics to find out how many riders would benefit from express F service and how riders at crowded local stops would be affected.
"The largest volumes are getting on at some of the stations closer in anyway," Lisberg said. "How much savings is there really? That's why we're doing the study, to find out."
This, of course, is something we've been asking for for many years.  Longtime readers will remember my petition to bring back the F Express from those distant days of 2007 when we still shared the sixth avenue trunk with the V train.  Of course, times have changed a bit.  The V has been replaced with a re-routed M train, and the G train has been extended out to Church Avenue.   As a local stop user myself (Carroll Street), I'll second what BP Adams said about the frustration of waiting for a packed train that you can't access.

There are legitimate questions about the implementation of express service, given the sharing of tracks with other lines, as well as the need to address potential noise and vibration issues related to the express tracks in Windsor Terrace.  So I eagerly await the feasibility study from the MTA.  

And definitely appreciate the renewed attention the F line has received from both elected officials and press interested in potential transit improvements. (Including the Bensonhurst Bean, which picked up the amNY story).  Pending study results from the MTA, perhaps the biggest obstacle to an F Express is money.  Which will bring us to our next post on the giant hole in the MTA's capital plan, and what's to be done about it.

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