‘Rodney’ rider backlash on the G:
Advocates call for improved service on overlooked subway line
By Stephen Witt
A Downtown Brooklyn lawmaker last week charged that straphangers who ride the G train get no respect.
“Rodney Dangerfield was treated with more respect then the G train rider, but that needs to change because the communities of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill heavily rely on this subway line to get to work and to conduct their lives,” said Assemblymember Hakeem Jeffries.
The G train, which only runs with four cars, is the MTA’s only full-time non-shuttle service that does not enter Manhattan.
Currently the line runs from Smith and 9th Streets through Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill on the F line and then across Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bedford Stuyvesant, Williamsburg and Greenpoint before terminating in Queens.
However, the MTA has announced a three-year rehabilitation of the Culver Viaduct line from 2009–2012.
As part of that project, the G train service, which currently terminates at Smith–Ninth Streets, will be permanently extended to Church Avenue on the Kensington/Windsor Terrace border.
On a recent MTA rider survey report card, 3,903 G train riders responded and gave the line a D-plus grade.
Respondents said their top priorities for improvements on the line included reasonable wait times for trains, minimal delays during trips and adequate room on board at rush hour.
Jeffries held a “Save the G Train” rally last week at the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, 85 South Oxford Street, in which he released a letter to MTA officials demanding changes to the line.
“For decades, the G train has been treated like the unwanted stepchild of the New York City subway system. Periodically, it has been threatened with outright elimination,” wrote Jeffries, adding neighborhoods served by the subway line have exploded with population growth and residential development.
Among the changes Jeffries recommended is expanding the number of subway cars from four to six, which will prevent passengers from dashing to the middle of the subway platform in order to catch the train.
Jeffries also recommended an increase in frequency both during rush hours and weekends, and that the MTA study the feasibility of connecting the G train at the Fulton Street station with the nearby Atlantic Ave. transportation hub.
“In the interim, the MTA should permit street transfers between the G train and the multiple subway lines at Atlantic Ave., which all travel into Manhattan,” Jeffries wrote.