MTA to hear from activists on subway changes

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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority was scheduled to convene next week to discuss proposals by Queens and Brooklyn transit activists strongly opposed to MTA plans to slash 13 stops from the G subway line.

The transit activists also are against the MTA’s proposal to change the F line route by sending it through the 63rd Street tunnel, which would mean skipping the station at Lexington Avenue and 53rd street in Manhattan.

The MTA delayed its meeting scheduled for Thursday, May 17, for a week in order to hear activists’ suggestion.

MTA spokesman Tom Kelly said it was not known when the transit agency might announce a final decision.

“Perhaps the MTA Transit Committee might reach agreement in its meeting on May 24 that it could present to the MTA board of directors, which meets May 30,” Kelly said.

The subway riders advocate groups, including the Nobel Street Block Association from the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, showed their alternate plan for the changes to New York Transit Authority President Lawrence Reuter Monday.

The activists want the F and G lines kept as they are now and propose that the new V-line should run from 179th Street in Jamaica through the 63rd Street tunnel and along Manhattan’s Lower East Side .

Activists have assailed the MTA plan to halt G subway service at Court Square in Long Island City, which would cut the last 13 stops in Queens, including the terminus in Forest Hills.

The Noble Street Block Association, Polish National Home, Neighbor Stabilization Task Force, NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, Polish and Slavic Federal Credit Union and North Brooklyn Greens and North Brooklyn Development Corporation, have held several demonstrations against cuts in the G-line.

The 63rd Street Tunnel extension is supposed to relieve congestion on the E and F express trains, which carry close to a million riders daily. But advocates for subway riders contend that if F trains skip the Lexington Avenue at 53rd Street station, the result will bring jammed E-trains.

The activists have long rallied to the slogan, “Who Can Save the G train? Your Governor, George Pataki.”

Indeed, the MTA had originally been scheduled to vote on the subway changes nearly two months ago, but after transit activists protested, Pataki prevailed on the agency to postpone its decision.

“I never thought the MTA would try to cut off direct access between Queens and Brooklyn,” New York City Public Advocate told a rally at Court Square in Long Island City recently.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 136.

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