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F Express Train Plan Spurs Riders to Fight to Keep Local Service

 The F train at Fourth Avenue and Ninth Street in Park Slope.
The F train at Fourth Avenue and Ninth Street in Park Slope.
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DNAinfo/Nikhita Venugopal

BROOKLYN — The plan to switch half of Brooklyn's F trains from local to express isn't barreling ahead — but opponents are nonetheless ramping up their fight as petitions against service cuts have amassed more than 6,000 signatures.

"There are no planned changes to the F line this year," MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said. "We are in the process of engaging community leaders and elected officials on the issue."

A town hall — that was requested by a Brooklyn congresswoman — has not yet been scheduled. 

But local stakeholders and members of Don't Cut Local F!, a group launched to protest the proposal, met with elected officials, including State Sen. Daniel Squadron, Councilman Brad Lander and Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon for their first brainstorming session on grassroots efforts to mobilize the community and dissuade the MTA of adopting the plan.

"I just want to say no one in that room is against the F express," said Erin Lippincott, who lives in Carroll Gardens and founded the group with her husband, Brian Stuss.  "But it can't be at the expense of local stops."

The MTA is considering a proposal that would restore F express service from Church Avenue to Jay St-MetroTech, stopping only at Seventh Avenue in Park Slope during morning and evening rush hour. 

The plan, however, would require splitting the existing number of F trains between express and local stops, which would reduce service to local stations by 50 percent, according to the MTA's feasibility study released in May.

In July, U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez called on the MTA to hold a series of town hall meetings on the plan.


 Here's What We Know About the Express F Train Plan So Far

► F Train Express Foes Launch Petitions as Politicians Demand MTA Response

► Brooklyn Pol Plans to Discuss Restoring F Express Trains With MTA Officials

More than 3,700 signatures have been collected on a petition launched by eight elected officials that says the current express service plan "simply pits Brooklyn residents against each other, creating 'winners' and 'losers.'" Another petition from Don't Cut Local F! had garnered almost 2,500 signatures as of Monday.

"The way to improve and expand the system isn't to destroy certain parts of it," Squadron told DNAinfo, calling the current proposal "insane."