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Advocacy groups fight for Queens’ G subway

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The Metropolitan...

By Philip Newman

A coalition of transit and neighborhood advocacy groups has called for a demonstration Thursday to protest planned cuts in the G subway line which they say would deal a blow to Queens as well as Brooklyn businesses and commuters.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority wants to halt service this summer at Court Square, ending G service to the 13 remaining stations in Queens.

    The MTA intends to vote on the plan April 26.

Subway Riders United, the Nobel Street Block Association, Polish National Home, the Neighborhood Stabilization Task Force and the Straphangers Campaign have scheduled a rally for 5 p.m. on Jackson Avenue at the G line’s Court Square subway station in Long Island City.

“Hidden in the MTA’s 63rd Street Tunnel Connector plan is a proposal to cut the G line in half by 13 stops,” the advocacy coalition said in a statement issued earlier this week. “Court Square will be the northern terminal as of August 2001, where subway riders will have no choice but to transfer to an E train to continue their commutes. The E train will be the only train running 24 hours a day through Court Square.

“The MTA based the service reduction on 10-year-old population data for north Brooklyn,” the advocate group said. “The plan is designed to ease overcrowding on the E and F lines, minimize transfers and reduce travel time on Queens-Manhattan commutes at the expense of north Brooklyn commuters."

Opponents of the cutbacks say ridership is up by 20 percent on the line over the past five years.

“This destructive plan to scale back G train service will affect residents and business owners, who depend now more than ever on the G train as their lifeline,” the coalition said. “We will lose access to Queens Plaza, Steinway Street, Queens Boulevard and Forest Hills.”

The group said it would be deprived of “fast, safe transfers at Queens Plaza along with customers for growing businesses and lose growth and revitalization of our neighborho­ods.”

Farouk Abdullah of the Straphangers said the new V line would, particularly for Brooklyn commuters, not take up the slack caused by the slashing of 13 stops from the G service. He said Queens riders would also be inconvenienced.

The V line would run as a local train from 71st Avenue in Forest Hills though the 53rd Street tunnel to Manhattan, making stops along Sixth Avenue to Houston Street and Second Avenue. The V line is one of two new subway routes, the first in more than 10 years, the MTA has planned in an effort to realign the system without additional construction.

The G line now runs from 9th and Smith streets in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, to Forest Hills. The MTA proposal would end service at Court Square, thus abolishing the remaining Queens stops.

The advocacy groups urged the MTA to:

• Postpone the start of the changes pending an independent review to determine if Queens Boulevard has the capacity to run both the G and the new V line.

• Hold public hearings to inform “the more than 100,000 daily riders of the G line” to hear about the changes and allow them to offer their suggestions.

• Change current plans to make access to Queens Boulevard and transfers to Manhattan easier and more convenient.

Gene Russianoff, attorney for the Straphangers Campaign, said the MTA planned the cuts despite the increased ridership over the past five years.

New York City Public Advocate Mark Green and representatives of the Straphangers Campaign handed out leaflets Tuesday at the Queens Plaza subway station at Queens Boulevard and Jackson Avenue. The handbills urged subway riders to call Gov. George Pataki and plead that he use his influence to halt the cuts.

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

Posted 7:04 pm, October 10, 2011
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