Public Advocate Bill de Blasio launched an online campaign called the “5 Stop Fan Club” in hopes of convincing the transit agency to keep the five stops that make up the extension – Fourth Avenue-Ninth Street, Seventh Avenue, Prospect Park-15th Street, Fort Hamilton Parkway and Church Avenue.
According to de Blasio, the initiative will give area residents and local small business along the five stops the opportunity to have their voices heard. And local elected officials including state senators Daniel Squadron and Eric Adams, council members Brad Lander, Stephen Levin and Letitia James, and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz are on board. The campaign also has support from transit advocacy group NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign.
“These extra five stops are a lifeline that Brooklyn residents and small businesses have come to depend on,” de Blasio said. “Ending this service will have a profound effect on the community and the mom-and-pop stores along these five stops.”
Straphangers can take action by going to 5stopfanclub.com where they can directly voice their opposition to the service cuts and pledge their customer loyalty to specific at-risk businesses along the five stops in the neighborhoods of Windsor Terrace, Kensignton and Park Slope.
“The G train extension provides an important mass transit link connecting North Brooklyn with Park Slope, Windsor Terrace and Kensington,” said Levin. “I live in Greenpoint and our only subway access is the G train.
Squadron said cutting the five stops would make it harder for everyone involved.
“The G train extension has meant that our much-maligned Brooklyn-Queens artery serves more neighborhoods that need it,” he added. “Cutting these five stops would make it harder for residents to commute and businesses to reach their customers.”
The G train was extended in 2009 to allow for track work on the elevated section of the F and G lines.
According to an MTA spokesperson, the extension will remain in service until work on the $257.5 million Culver Viaduct project is near completion. Toward the completion of the project – set for late 2013 or early 2014 – the MTA will make a decision on whether to make the extension permanent.
“No decision has been made yet,” said spokesman Charles Seaton.
The MTA also says that it will be conducting a full assessment in the future that includes ridership trends. This will enable the agency to see how many people use the G train at the five stations before deciding whether to make the service permanent or cut it.
“The G train extension has proven to be wildly popular with riders up and down the line who would genuinely miss this service were it to be discontinued,” said Community Board 6 district Manager Craig Hammerman. “We expect that this will be reflected in the actual ridership data which we are all very eager to see.
“We already know that there are many, many people who are looking forward to weighing in when NYC Transit is closer to a decision point,” he added.
The Public Advoate's campaign comes on the heels of a petition called “Preserve the G Train Extension,” which was started by District Leader Lincoln Reslter on the website Change.org.
So far the petition has received over 4,500 signatures since its creation two weeks ago.