Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced plans yesterday for the MTA to improve service to subways, trains, roads, and ferries. Obviously a political stunt for his reelection, they were still interesting and through provoking ideas. Two specific ideas were to extend the V train, which currently terminates at 2nd Ave/Lower East Side, into Brooklyn (I haven’t seen where exactly he is proposing to extend it to) and for express F train service in Brooklyn. I can only assume that Bloomberg proposes to extend the V along the Culver Line to offset any lost F service, but this is too transparent, even for a politician, since the Culver Viaduct will be under reconstruction until 2012 and unable to support any express service.
But taking a step back, one realizes that there are miles of unused subway tracks that could be used for new service or part-time (i.e. rush hour) service all throughout the system. While expanding service along the Culver Line is a fantastic idea (not to mention much needed), why stop there? Just this past June the MTA experimented with express 4 train service in the Bronx at rush hour. The results of that program have not been made public but if it proved successful it could open the door for much improved service across the city that would not cost too much more to the cash strapped MTA.
F Express to Coney Island
On the table already, the F Express would, for now, only serve Brooklyn south of Church Ave, stopping at 18th Ave, Kings Highway, Ave X, Van Sicklen Ave, W.8th St, and finally Stillwell Ave. Due to there being only a single express track service would be only at rush hour, towards the city in the AM and towards Brooklyn in the PM.
Because of reconstruction on the Culver Viaduct the double track express track from Bergen St to Church Ave will not be available to use. One reconstruction is complete, however, there could be more permanent F Express service, with stops at Bergen St (which would have to be rebuilt) and 7th Ave.
V Local to Metropolitan Ave
In 1968 the MTA opened what was known as the Chrystie Street Connection where a new subway tunnel was built to connect the IND 6th Ave line with the Manhattan Bridge (allowing the B and D lines to travel to Coney Island). A second part of this connection was another tunnel that is now unused which connects the IND 6th Ave line to the BMT Jamaica line over the Williamsburg Bridge. For a short time in the late 1960s there was service from Broadway Junction to 57th St/6th Ave, known as the K line. Due to the depopulation of the areas this new line served at the time, the line was ended after just 10 years of service.
With these areas now seeing new waves of immigrants and then artists (read: gentrification) the neighborhoods along the JMZ have seen an increase in ridership which will most likely continue. Right now the area is only served by a new trains, the J, the M (which is cut back to Myrtle Ave at night), the Z (which may or may not be cut entirely), and the L (which is becoming more crowded by the day). To better serve this growing area the V Local should be rerouted through the unused section of tunnel to replace the M, which would either be eliminated or cut back to part-time service (even more so). The V would terminate at Metropolitan Ave in Queens
W Express to Astoria, Bay Parkway
In the 1980s there was rush hour service along the express track from Astoria Blvd to Queens Plaza along the BMT Astoria Line (now the N/W). With the recent and steady influx of new residents and housing construction that continues despite the recession, the area would be better served with rush hour W Express service.
On the other side of the line, the W currently terminates at Whitehall St. The W would then be extended to Bay Parkway in Bensonhurst and would run along the single express track, making stops at 9th Ave and 62nd St as well. The service would run only at rush hour. The part-time M service would continue running local, as is.