Thursday, August 30, 2007

Is F Train Express Idea Dead Until 2012?

Don't look now, but even some supporters are starting to suggest that the F Train Express idea, which has gotten much play in the media, may have died at the starting gate. That's because the MTA is sticking to its guns and continuing to say that there's no way they can do it until 2012. Work on the Culver Viaduct (the big very tall structure that crosses the Gowanus Canal) sounds like it will make life on the F Train--regular F Trains--awful in coming years. According to Second Ave. Sagas, one of the blogs that has been pushing the concept:
I’ve been in touch with Jeremy Soffin, the MTA’s deputy director of media relations, in an effort to get the bottom of the Culver Viaduct Rehabilitation project and its effects on the express tracks. Here’s what Soffin said to me in an e-mail:

The Culver Viaduct Rehabilitation project requires the reconstruction of the viaduct and all four tracks on the viaduct. During the project, two of the four tracks will be taken out of service at any given time for a period of four years, precluding the implementation of any express service on this segment of the F line. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2012. As part of this project, G service, which currently terminates at Smith-9 Sts, will be extended to Church Av Station.

It’s my understanding that crews will be working not only on the tracks but around and underneath them too. With the recent attention to track worker safety, the MTA isn’t, rightly so, about to start screwing around with train bottlenecks on a large viaduct. With the current F and G trains relying on just two tracks for their routes and turnarounds, the tracks simply cannot support adding more trains.

To me, it sounds like the folks along the Culver Line are in for a rough ride.
One can read the MTA response any way one wishes, but Mr. Soffin's statement about the four-year rehab makes it sound like there will be an F Train Gowanus Crawl blog and people will be circulating petitions to demand the F Train move at more than 5MPH during rush hour by this time next year.

One certainly hopes the 2012 explanation is an exaggeration and that the F Train isn't about to go from simply sucking to sucking in a major, major way. Depressing news and, hopefully, still subject to change.

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