Politicians demand bigger G train upgrades during summer shutdown of line

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By Dan Sears

The MTA owes G train riders full-size trains and restored service to Forest Hills, Queens, in exchange for a maintenance-related service shutdown planned this summer, according to a letter written to the agency by nearly two-dozen city and state politicians on Wednesday.

Last week, the MTA announced it plans to close service on the line between Court Square and Nassau Avenue from June 28 to July 15; between Court Square to Bedford-Nostrand from July 5 to Aug. 12; and between Bedford-Nostrand to Hoyt-Schermerhorn from Aug. 12 to Sept. 2.

The closure will allow crews to install modern signaling technology — called “communications-based train control,” or CBTC — on the northern half of the G line’s tracks. The technology allows trains to run faster and closer together, and is already in place on the L and 7 lines. It also enables subway dispatchers to know the trains’ exact locations, which is not currently possible on the G line.

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Assemblymember Emily Gallagher and state Sen. Kristen Gonzalez, whose districts include Greenpoint, wrote that the MTA should complement the “disruptive” maintenance work with a “full upgrade along the line.”

“While the planned multiweek shutdown of the G train this summer is highly distressing — and we urge the MTA to pursue a less disruptive schedule — New Yorkers understand that upgrades often mean inconvenience,” read the letter, which was signed by 20 other elected officials.

“But the gain must match the pain,” the letter continues. “The MTA must plan for the future and invest in the G line we deserve, with a full run of train cars and restored service in Queens. We urge you to seize this moment.”

G trains are normally four cars long, which is half the number of cars on other major train lines. The line also used to run to the Forest Hills-71st Avenue station. In 2010, the MTA ended G train service at Court Square due to budget cuts.

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Gallagher said in an interview that neighborhoods along the G line have grown – including ones that are no longer served by the only subway line that does not run in Manhattan.

“The G train has really been the neglected stepchild of the MTA,” Gallagher said on Tuesday. “It’s only in Queens and Brooklyn and – in the past – that meant something different than it means today. Today, all of the stops along the G train are experiencing incredible growth. And the use of the G train is becoming more and more crowded.”

MTA spokesperson Eugene Resnick told Gothamist that local input was welcome.

“The MTA is committed to delivering a world-class subway system for G train customers, including through upgrades to install modern, more reliable signals, and appreciates the perspectives of local leaders in Brooklyn and Queens on ways to improve the transit experience,” Resnick said.

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