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Cooling your heels on Franklin Avenue

Subway riders waiting at Franklin Avenue for Flatbush Avenue-bound trains often have to cool their heels for quite a while, a situation that has spurred a call from the community for more trains. Indeed, according to Lloyd Mills, the chairperson of Community Board 17, the concern has been a long-standing one in the community. The issue was brought up at CB 17’s March meeting, which was held in the auditorium at Downstate Medical Center, 395 Lenox Road. “Commuters are still having problems waiting for the train at Franklin Avenue,” Mills told this paper. “They still see so many trains going to Crown Heights and not many trains going to Flatbush. It’s happened to me.” The situation is likely to be exacerbated, Mills added, by the new mall at the Junction. “With the Target store there now, more people will be coming there,” Mills stressed. Specifically, said Mills, riders see fewer 2 and 5 trains that are bound for Flatbush Avenue, compared with the number of trains whose destination is Utica Avenue. While, he noted, both 2s and 5s go to Flatbush Avenue during rush hour, in off-hours, it is only the 2 train. “It’s better when you have the 2 and the 5, but it’s still not enough,” Mills contended. Lebrun Burnett, the chair of CB 17’s Transportation Committee, said that complaints about the service had been voiced at a Transportation Committee meeting last month, which representatives of New York City Transit (TA) had attended. “Service to Flatbush Avenue is so limited,” he noted. “The concern was basically the switching procedure at Franklin Avenue,” when the Flatbush Avenue train leave as another train is pulling into the station. “We talked about trying to stagger trains,” Burnett recalled, “and we asked the TA for a review, for some inspectors to be placed at the station to observe exactly what goes on. “Their response is that they want to keep trains on schedule,” he continued. “I can see what they are saying, that there could be a lot of delays on trains during rush hour, but our concern is that, basically, any time in the afternoon, you have three or four trains to Crown Heights before you get a 2 or 5 to Flatbush.” This brings up another issue, Burnett noted. “There is concern about overcrowding on the platform, with very little security on the platform,” he remarked. Marisa Baldeo, a spokesperson for the TA, said that, at this point, there are three Crown Heights-bound trains for every two Flatbush-bound trains, reflecting the increased demand for the former. Utica Avenue, Baldeo said, “Is the fourth busiest station in Brooklyn,” and the line had an average daily weekday ridership of 69,382 in 2006. In contrast, Baldeo said, Flatbush Avenue, “Is the fifth busiest station in Brooklyn.” As of 2006, the average daily weekday ridership on the segment of the line between President Street and Brooklyn College was 55,690. “Service is based on ridership levels,” Baldeo explained. “Operations Planning routinely conducts surveys to determine changes in ridership. Additional service is generally added to accommodate ridership growth,” she emphasized. Baldeo also said that increased ridership generated by the new Junction mall “definitely” would be taken into account when the agency allocated trains.

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