Commuters protest G-line cuts

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The Metropolitan Transportation...

By Philip Newman

Protesters chanting "Save the G!" both in English and Polish (Ratujmy Linie!") demonstrated last week in Long Island City to demand transit officials abandon plans to cut 13 stops from the G subway line in Queens.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority had been scheduled to vote on the change April 26, but some speakers at the rally told demonstrators the vote had been postponed.

“I regret that it is necessary for me to be here,” Public Advocate Mark Green told more than 200 demonstrators waving placards denouncing the G-line proposed cuts, “But I never thought the MTA would try to cut off direct access between Queens and Brooklyn.”

Green was one of a list of politicians and transit and community activists who showed up in Court Square to urge protesters to demand that Gov. George Pataki halt the MTA’s plan to slash the G, which runs from Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn to Forest Hills in Queens.

The MTA proposal would also eliminate the Queens Plaza transfer for G train riders. Many Brooklyn residents use the transfer point to travel to Manhattan.

The signs and placards in Polish reflected the large number of demonstrators from the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, perhaps New York City's largest Polish neighborhood. Scores of Greenpoint residents took special buses to the rally.

“The G train is our lifeline to Manhattan and Queens,” said Diana Calderon-Ngui, of the Noble Street Block Association and Friends, one of the organizers of the rally.

“Without the Queens Plaza connection, our already difficult commute becomes much harder,” Calderon-Ngui said. “The G train is crucial for the livelihood and revitalization of our community and without this one source of public transportation, the neighborhood will be devastated.”

Mark Chrosclewski of Greenpoint said the MTA’s plans for the G line would have a damaging effect on workers at St. John’s Hospital and the Polish Slavic Credit Union as well as other institutions and businesses in Queens and Brooklyn. He warned it would harm Greenpoint, which is experiencing a boom in business and an influx of new residents who have moved from Manhattan.

The demonstration was sponsored by the Noble Street Block Association and Friends, the Polish National Home, the Neighborhood Stabilization Task Force, the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, the Regional Plan Association and the Polish and Slavic Federal Credit Union.

Demonstrators had appeared at City Hall earlier last Thursday prior to a city council hearing on subway reroutings to protest the proposed G-train cuts.

Transit Authority President Lawrence Reuter told the City Council the TA was still discussing plans for the G-line.

Meanwhile, the Queens Civic Congress, representing 99 civic associations in Queens, wrote Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Peter Kalikow to express opposition to cuts in the G line and rerouting of the F-line and to recommend that the MTA operate the new V trains express from Queens to Manhattan via the 63rd Street tunnel to Brooklyn.

Posted 7:05 pm, October 10, 2011
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