It is time to stop bitching about Citi Bike, and turn your attention entirely towards bitching about the subway, because things are not looking good for Brooklyn commuters. Between the R train's upcoming 14-month shutdown between Brooklyn and Manhattan, the G train's 12-weekend shutdown and whatever other fun track change surprises the MTA has in store for us, it looks like the subways are going to be slow, crowded and generally unpleasant—and yesterday, officials and straphangers gathered at Borough Hall to rage about the shutdowns.
The MTA announced earlier this month that flooding from Hurricane Sandy warranted extensive work on the Montague and Greenpoint subway tubes, hence the year-plus long track change on the R and heavy closures on the G. But with both Brooklyn lines subject to serious changes soon—the R will end at Court Street starting in August, and the northernmost G stations will also shut down for five consecutive weeks next summer—thousands of riders will have to turn to already crowded lines like the 2,3 and 4,5, and everyone is urging the MTA to come up with some solutions.
"It’s already unreliable," David Greenberg, a Bay Ridge resident and Riders Alliance member, told the Post regarding the R train. "I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been late for work or lost time with family. It’s only going to make it worse." Officials like Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz asked the MTA to consider services expansions like weekday ferries, increased bus service and even more access to bike-share (no, not bike share!) in neighborhoods affected by the shutdown.
Meanwhile, the MTA tells us the track work is unavoidable, and they're working hard to keep your commute as smooth as possible; they've provided information regarding alternate routes for both the G train [pdf] and the R train [pdf] and will consider some of the options put forth yesterday. But for R train riders, you're still probably best off braving the Court Street station crowds: "We believe that the easiest and most efficient way to [alleviate the R train inconvenience] is to transfer to 11 other subway lines the R crosses paths with," spokesman Adam Lisberg told us. "All of those other options are more complicated than simply transferring."
And though the MTA knows the other lines will be a bit crowded, they probably won't be as bad as everyone thinks. "We acknowledge that those other lines will be more crowded; however, our planning and studies show that it will still be within acceptable levels," Lisberg said. As for the G train, the MTA will run shuttle buses to and from the three shuttered stations every three minutes on the weekends, and they'll be brainstorming better alternatives come next summer's G mageddon-shutdown, so don't start building a Newtown Creek ark quite yet.