February 13, 2009

Greenpoint Transit Looking Worse

Brooklyn Daily Eagle:
Subway, Bus Cutback Plans Give Greenpoint the Blues

by Raanan Geberer
February 11, 2009

NORTHERN BROOKLYN — Just as elsewhere in the city, residents of Greenpoint and Williamsburg are objecting to the MTA’s planned budget cuts as well as those recommended in the so-called Ravitch Commission report.

Specifically, people are up in arms about the plan, spelled out in the Ravitch report, to cut the G train back to Court Square at all times, and at plans to cut the B24 and B48 buses in Greenpoint at night and on weekends.

The beleaguered G train was first cut back around 2003, when it was made to terminate at Court Square on its northern end at all times except late nights and weekends. Previously, it had gone to 71st Street-Continental Avenue in Forest Hills. Greenpoint and Williamsburg residents often used it to go shopping, hospitals and movies in Queens.

Even though it is supposed to go to Forest Hills nights and weekends, temporary service cuts often scale it back to Court Square anyway. “I used to live on that line, and I can count on two hands the number of times I saw this [trains going to Forest Hills] happen,” says Amy Cleary, an aide to Assemblyman Joe Lentol.

The G train was also cut back to using four-car trains. MTA officials defended the move on the grounds that this would allow trains to operate more frequently. Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers’ Campaign says he can understand the transit agency’s point of view because “there are 6,200 cars in the entire fleet, but we wish they had taken our advice a few years ago and kept the Redbirds in service.”

Area residents say that if anything, G service should be expanded because of rapid population growth and new housing construction in Greenpoint and Williamsburg.

“The assemblyman will be going for a ride on the train with Ravitch in the coming few weeks,” says Cleary. “The best way to make them understand is to get them on there.”

As far as the B24 and B48 buses are concerned, Lentol pointed out in a letter to the MTA that “the B48 services an area of Greenpoint that will not have any other options when it comes to public transportation. Cuts to the B48 bus will mean 20- and often 30-minute walks to the G train, and even longer to and from the L Train.”

Tony Pecora, a neighborhood resident, says, “Many people go to work from 4 to 12, many go out on weekends. To get to the L train, they will either have to call a car service or walk two miles. I work Tuesday to Saturday, and get off at Lorimer Street after midnight. If they make these cuts, I won’t be riding the bus — I’ll either take a car service, which is eight dollars without a tip, or I’m going to walk.”


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