State Senator Daniel Squadron celebrated the service increase at the Bedford Avenue L station on Monday, June 11, with other local elected officials and community members.
“We have neighborhoods around Brooklyn that have grown enormously, where people are coming to live, to eat, to drink and to enjoy themselves, and with this increase in service we have a subway system that's better able to handle it,” Squadron said.
Greenpoint District Leader Lincoln Restler said North Brooklyn's population increased more in the last decade than any other part of the borough, making trains there increasingly overcrowded.
Restler said he takes the L every morning, but often has to let them pass as they are too crowded to take on additional riders.
“The city and state have been slow to make the infrastructure improvements we need,” he said, but “right now we have made a significant major improvement in L train service and commuters, businesses in the area are all going to benefit as a result.”
The changes are aimed at helping riders commute from Manhattan to Brooklyn, as many do for work on the weekdays and recreationally on the weekends. However, they will also have a major impact on local businesses, speakers at the Bedford Avenue stop said, as many were hurt last year when L trains were closed repeatedly on weekends.
Charley Ryan, founder and proprietor of Brooklyn Bowl, said closing a subway on weekends can kill small businesses.
“Now they're doing the repairs on weeknights, so it actually hardly affects a lot of these businesses at all, because it's not just wiping out an entire weekend like what happened last year,” Ryan said.
However, he echoed statistics quoted by elected officials, including that some trains in the city drop to 40 percent of their weekday service on the weekends.
“So we need to get more trains seven days a week, it's just as simple as that,” Ryan said.