2001-02-28 / Editorials


G Train Is Vital To Queens, Brooklyn

Plans are underway to drop G subway train service in Queens. According to statements issued by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, with the advent of V train service to run on the Queens Boulevard line this summer, G train service, which now runs from Smith and 9th Streets in Brooklyn to 71st-Continental Avenue in Queens, will terminate at the Court Square station. Supposedly, the change will make room for the V trains.

There are a number of things wrong with this proposal, the first being that it's, well, wrong. The Queens Boulevard line tracks can carry 30 trains an hour. Twenty-one R and V trains will run on the line every 60 minutes, leaving room for nine more trains to run on the tracks. Current routing has six G trains running on the Queens Boulevard line tracks. We don't even need mathematics to work this out. Simple arithmetic indicates that there is more than enough room for G train service--and more than enough passengers willing to use it..

Some 100,000 New Yorkers ride the G train every day. Each of the five boroughs has a Broadway; at the Brooklyn Broadway station ridership leaped by 55 percent between 1996 and 2000. During that same four-year period, 58 percent more passengers boarded the G train at Metropolitan Avenue, also in Brooklyn. Ridership on the route overall went up by more than 34 percent during the same time span. We haven't done any head counts, but at the G train stop two blocks away from Gazette offices that serves the intersection of Steinway Street and Queens' Broadway, at whatever hour we get on the train, most of the seats in most of the cars are occupied.

Growing numbers of Brooklynites shop on Queens Boulevard; the only way they can get there is on the G train. The Brooklyn neighborhoods of Fort Greene, Greenpoint and Williamsburg, referred to as Brooklyn's creative corridor, have experienced a resurgence in popularity as places to live and work, especially among artists, musicians and similarly inclined individuals fleeing more expensive areas. It is the G train that runs through that corridor. Businesses patronized by those G train riders in Queens would lose a sizeable proportion of their customers if G train service were ended. The proposed central business district in the heart of Queens' Long Island City surrounds the Citicorp Building, which stands atop the G line Court Square station where the MTA would terminate G line service, a development which seems to us bitterly ironic.

Some members of the MTA seem to think that the only destination for subway riders in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx is Manhattan. The authority's own numbers indicate that this is not so. Terminating G train service at Court Square and eliminating the 13 stops between Long Island City and Forest Hills seems to us short-sighted, ill advised and but poorly serving of the people of Queens and Brooklyn who use the train every day. If the MTA seeks truly to serve the citizens of New York City it will reconsider and, we hope, rescind this decision at the earliest possible moment.

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