February 23, 2008
By Mike McLaughlin
The Brooklyn Paper
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has promised to study whether it is feasible to connect the G train with the maze of lines at the Atlantic Avenue–Pacific Street subway station at the crossroads of Park Slope, Fort Greene, Boerum Hill and Downtown Brooklyn.
The agency promised Councilmember Letitia James (D–Fort Greene) this week that it would study what it would take — and, more important, how much it would cost — to build a tunnel that would connect the G line’s Lafayette Avenue stop with the Atlantic-Pacific station, a move that would simplify commuting for tens of thousands of people.
“It would make life better for people in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill,” James said.
The so-called “Crosstown Local” passes tantalizingly close to Atlantic Avenue, a portal for many subways and the Long Island Railroad, but skirts the hub as it travels between the Lafayette Avenue and Hoyt–Schermerhorn stations, limiting the number of ways in which Manhattan-bound G riders can transfer and continue their commutes.
Clinton Hill residents salivated over the possibility of having a free transfer to the 4/5, B/Q, N/R, M at Atlantic–Pacific, rather than contenting themselves with a transfer to the A/C at Hoyt–Schermerhorn.
“That’s a great idea,” said Amy Sly. “The lines are so close to each other.”
But burrowing a tunnel between Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue is no simple task.
Initial estimates from the MTA say it would take 5–10 years to complete and would be the biggest shaft in the subway system, according to James.
New York City Transit would not comment before it drafts a formal response to James.
But one thing is clear: the agency is trying to improve the much-maligned G line.
New York City Transit thrilled riders in December when it announced it would increase the number of trains per hour — if (and it’s a big if) finances look good in the spring, after the agency has had a chance to assess its revenues from the recent fare increase.
It also plans to permanently extend service to Church Avenue in Kensington, creating the first direct link between Park Slope and Williamsburg.
But as the MTA giveth, it also taketh away.
The expanded service in Brooklyn comes at the expense of Queens. Currently, travelers can reach Forest Hills on nights and weekends, but if the changes go through, the G would permanently terminate in Long Island City.
Straphangers criticized the MTA, saying that it’s ignoring the line’s ridership.
“There’s a very healthy commuting community between Brooklyn and Queens,” said Teresa Toro, the chair of Community Board One’s transportation committee, and member of the Save the G Coalition.
©2008 The Brooklyn Paper