The Gowanus area is served by four train lines, the F and G through Carroll Gardens and the M and R through the western edge of Park Slope. For those living in most of Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, along Columbia Street or in Red Hook, the F train is the only viable route into Manhattan and therefore a vital means of transportation. Any changes to F train service have a direct effect on the over 30,000 people who live in our community.
Last year we learned that renovation of the Smith and 9th St. station would be delayed at least a year due to the fiscal crisis effecting the City and the MTA. The decrepit state of the station is an insult to users from Red Hook and encourages many people in the growing south Court St. population to walk to the southern entrance of the Carroll St. station at Smith St. and 2nd Place.
Now comes news that the MTA is planning to pull the token booth at the Manhattan bound President St. entrance in a further attempt to save money. (Sign the petition opposing this action here) The move seems curious given the fact that the portion of the Smith St. entrance with a token booth will soon have to shut down due to the construction of 360 Smith Street. This will leave the heavily trafficked station with no token booths at all.
The only good news the community has received recently in regard to the train service is the Mayor’s support for Gary Reilly’s proposal to extend V train service into Brooklyn and add F train express service (already under development) as reported by Reilly on first and blog (also reported here) . The current V train service makes little sense in that the line stops at the under used 2nd Avenue station instead of a more heavily used hub station such as Delancy St. or better yet, Jay St./ Borough Hall. Even extending the V one stop to Delancy would allow Gowanus commuters to transfer to and from the M train.
The impact of the proposed F express on Gowanus residents would most likely only be to alleviate over-crowding during the rush hour commute as none of the platforms at stations between 7th Avenue and Jay St. connect to the express tracks. A concern is whether the creation of F express service would mean a reduction in F local service, although the possible reduction in F local service might be offset by extending the V train further into Brooklyn.