Group demands commuting options during tunnel shutdown
With the MTA set to disrupt service on the R and G trains this summer, transit-rider advocates are calling on the transportation agency to come with better commuting alternatives.
The Riders Alliance joined elected officials outside Brooklyn Borough Hall on Thursday to push for more trains, bus service restorations and bicycling options for straphangers whose commutes will be bungled from the unprecedented closure of the Montague tunnel on R line and the Greenpoint tunnel to Queens on the G line to repair equipment damaged from Superstorm Sandy.
"While doing those repairs, which are predictable and we know they're coming, we need a plan to accommodate riders," said John Raskin, executive director of the Rider's Alliance.
Starting in August, the R train in Brooklyn will stop heading into lower Manhattan for 14 months, forcing commuters to transfer to another line. The G train, meanwhile, will stop service between Greenpoint Avenue in Brooklyn and 21st Street and Court Square in Long Island City for 12 weekends throughout the year. A shuttle bus will serve G-train riders at those stations.
Transit advocates said commuters will feel the crush of extra riders on their line to accommodate R train users.
"We must have increased frequency of service -- it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out -- on unaffected lines to handle all the new congestion," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.
Other proposals to ease train overcrowding during the service shutdowns include ferry service between lower Manhattan and Sunset Park, shuttle and express bus service, faster implementation of the planned Williamsburg-Greenpoint B32 waterfront bus route and CitiBike docks.
"We're going to consider every one of the ideas," said Adam Lisberg, an MTA spokesman. "Some of them, I'm sure, we will find impractical or unworkable, others may turn out to be very good ideas."
Lisberg said riders affected by the R train have 11 other subway lines in Brooklyn to get into Manhattan. He noted that they were able to accommodate the influx of new riders when Sandy put the R train out of service for weeks last year.