F line finally on track for fixes, says NYC Transit; construction, new subway cars coming to line
By Pete Donohue
Feature article in The Daily News
Relief for riders on the F line - one of the longest and most delay prone - is on the way as transit officials are targeting it for a fix, officials said yesterday.
NYC Transit is adding new subway cars on the line, which should reduce breakdowns and improve on-time performance, officials said.
Barriers protecting workers doing long-time construction projects will be built so trains on parallel tracks won't have to slow down.
And, a task force of senior managers, headed by NYC Transit President Howard Roberts, will oversee other improvement strategies while analyzing the Queens-Manhattan-Brooklyn line to develop upgrades.
These are among the highlights of a 25-page report by NYC Transit - requested by state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn) - on the F line, one of the city's busiest.
'"This is thorough, transparent and gives us a road map for improvement," Squadron said.
"The MTA has really created a model here for how to respond to a line that's in trouble."
Gene Russianoff, of the Straphangers Campaign, called it the most comprehensive subway line review he's seen.
"I think it should result in better improvement of the F," Russianoff said.
The report said there are several hurdles making a return of F-train express service problematic but doesn't dismiss it completely.
NYC Transit will study the express option, but the report says implementation couldn't take place before a project rehabilitating the Culver Viaduct is finished in 2013.
"It's not a slam dunk to bring it back, but at least they've heard from riders and elected officials and will take a serious look at it," Russianoff said.
Some of the strategies in the report have begun to be implemented while others are in the planning stage.
Trains on the line, under the supervision of Line General Manager Dwayne Anglero, will no longer skip some stations in the rush-hour direction to reduce delays.
A recent review found that skipping stops made matters worse, often forcing riders to get off and wait on a platform for the next train.
The F line is 27 miles long, operating between Jamaica, Queens, and Coney Island, Brooklyn, running beneath Sixth Ave. in Manhattan.
It shares tracks with three other lines - the E, G and V - and has many areas where tracks merge and diverge.
The length, complexity and high ridership makes it more prone to delays than other lines, the report said.