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Run E Train on G Line During L Train Shutdown, Transit Advocates Urge

By Gwynne Hogan | July 28, 2016 1:54pm
 The MTA should run E trains north on the G line at the Hoyt–Schermerhorn stop, transit advocates argue.
The MTA should run E trains north on the G line at the Hoyt–Schermerhorn stop, transit advocates argue.
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ReThink Studio

GREENPOINT — It's no "giant inflatable condom" pedestrian tunnel or a gondola soaring over the East River, but rerouting the E train along the G line, could help get North Brooklyn residents around during the L train shutdown, transit advocates said.

ReThink Studio, an urban planning and transportation think tank, released their plan for the L train shutdown earlier this week, and suggests sending E trains, which normally terminate at the World Trade Center, onto the G train tracks at the Hoyt-Schermerhorn stop. The train would then continue north into Queens and end at Court Square.

"Riders often change from the G to the L. In this situation, you would do the reverse, you would change to the E train," Jim Venturi, ReThink's founder. "This line would be transformed, all of a sudden people would find this line useful."

In order to engineer the logistics of the E hopping onto the G train tracks in Downtown Brooklyn, the MTA would have to install a new switch and invest several million on track platform so that the tracks would line up, said Venturi, who added that they had consulted contractors with experience working with the MTA before making their plan.

During the L train shutdown the MTA's main focus is to bulk up service on the M, J and G trains, and they are considering increasing capacity on the A and C train lines, according to MTA officials. 

But Venturi points out that increasing G train lines is only useful until Hoyt-Schermerhorn, and south of that stop, all the excess trains would be running under capacity to Church Avenue. 

"We're not using our resources intelligently," he said. Rerouting those trains directly into Manhattan could solve that problem, he said.

MTA Spokesman Kevin Ortiz dismissed ReThink Studio's proposal saying it, "borders on the ridiculous."

"In order to accommodate E trains going through the Cranberry Tunnel, we would have to eliminate half of A and C service in Brooklyn," he said. "The switch at Hoyt-Schermerhorn is also not feasible. It would entail shortening the platform at the station and would take months of work that would dramatically impact A, C and G service."

But Venturi countered that it wouldn't be a simple solution, but it would have long-lasting benefits to communities up and down the G train line, adding that his organization had at least made the case that the E train extension should be studied more thoroughly before getting trashed. 

"If it were easy they would have done it by now, but it makes sense to do it independently of the L train work," he said. "Maybe the L train work will provide the opportunity to create something that will have lasting benefits beyond [it]."