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Queens leaders protest MTA’s new F train plan

Community leaders from the Queens Civic Congress and other groups gathered at a Jamaica subway station last Thursday to protest the MTA’s plans to reroute the F train in Queens, cut back on the G train service and add a new local train on the Queens Boulevard line.

Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, who is running for mayor, and state Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Ridgewood) joined the civic group at the 179th Street and Hillside Avenue, the end of the line for the F train in Queens.

“The harsh cutbacks in G service, the rerouting of F service and the routing of the new V line that most riders will shun ... unfairly affects many commuters and particularly discriminates against many Queens and Brooklyn residents,” Ferrer said.

Beginning Nov. 11, the F train will run between Queens and Manhattan through the 63rd Street tunnel rather than the 53rd Street tunnel, said Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokeswoman Diedra Parker.

E trains will continue to pass through the 53rd Street tunnel and the new V train will also use that route, running on local tracks from Forest Hills to the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

The new system is expected to make room for as many as nine more E and F trains per hour during rush hour periods with an expected reduction in crowding on the trains.

Queens Civic Congress Transportation Committee Chairwoman Tina Chan said the group would like the MTA to keep its service the same, without any rerouting.

“They want to reduce overcrowding with a new local — that doesn’t make sense,” said Chan, adding that riders would rather have a new express than a new local train. “Our recommendation is to keep what we have.”

Parker said MTA officials were looking into the civic group’s suggestions, but the agency did not have a comment at this time.

James Trent, a daily F train rider who represented the congress and the Creedmoor Civic Association at the protest, said the new local train is not an effective use of funds.

“They will stand on an express before they will sit on a local,” Trent said of Queens straphangers. “The E will take on all of the F crowd and the V will not.”

The F train’s first stop in Queens will be 21st Street-Queensbridge instead of 23rd Street-Ely Avenue and the F will not stop at Queens Plaza, where transfers to the E, G and R were previously possible.

The lack of a transfer point at Queens Plaza will put southeast and western Queens commuters at a disadvantage, Nolan said.

“The MTA must recognize the greater flaws inherent in its service scheme and determine how to make the community’s thoughtful plan a reality,” Nolan said.

The F train’s second stop in Queens and the first opportunity for passengers to transfer to the E, G and R will be at Roosevelt Avenue, Jackson Heights.

“The Jackson Heights station is already horrendously overcrowded and it has narrow platforms,” said Ferrer.

The Bronx borough president’s message to the MTA is: “Tear this plan up and do something for the many thousands of passengers you are inconveniencing.”

Reach reporter Betsy Scheinbart by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 138.

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