By Raanan Geberer
Special to Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A temporary improvement meant to make things easier for G train riders during the five-week summer suspension of the northern part of the line has been hailed by elected officials and transit advocacy groups. However, some said that the measure should be continued on a year-round basis.
The MTA announced this Wednesday that from July 26 to Sept. 1, a free “walking transfer” will be available between the G train’s Broadway station and the J/M lines nearby Lorimer Street station.
During that period, the G train will be closed between Nassau Avenue and Court Square in Long Island City, Queens. Many G riders change at Court Square to get to Manhattan. The Broadway-Lorimer Street transfer will give them another option in addition to the crowded interchange at the L train at Metropolitan Avenue.
The closure of the section known as the Greenpoint tube is necessary to repair the serious damage done by Superstorm Sandy. At the time, the tunnel was filled with three million gallons of saltwater, and tracks and signal equipment were badly damaged.
“Obviously, this is a shutdown that will allow us to repair the Greenpoint tube in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, and we are taking measures to mitigate the impact on riders, including the free transfer with the J/M lines,” Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for MTA New York City Transit, told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. An additional measure—24-hour shuttle buses between Nassau Avenue and Court Square—was announced earlier this year.
“There’s no single solution to ease the pain of this summer’s G closure, but these changes will certainly help,” said state Senator Daniel Squadron (D-Downtown Brooklyn, lower Manhattan) in a statement. “I’m pleased that the MTA has heeded our calls and taken this step to offer concrete solutions.”
“If we want our city to grow, riders who rely on the G train service can’t be isolated from central business districts,” said New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer in the same statement.
Representatives of two transit advocacy groups, however, told the Eagle that the transfer should be implemented year-round. Gene Russianoff, staff attorney for the Straphangers Campaign, said that the group has asked the MTA to implement similar above-ground transfers at “five or six locations” throughout the subway system, including one between the L and the 3 trains in Brownsville.
John Raskin, executive director of the Riders Alliance, said, “This is a positive step that will help G train riders. We’re glad it will be taking place in August, but we will keep on pushing for this free transfer year round.”
Though the MTA also announced on Wednesday that there will be more L trains on weekends during the summer as well as weekday evenings, the two measures are not related.