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More subway riders dependent on the B express to get them to their destinations on time are reacting angrily this week to the MTA’s plans to suspend service along the Brighton Line later this month.
“It’s very difficult to navigate now,” said Edmond Dweck, a Manhattan Beach resident who also maintains an office on Neck Road and East 16th Street. “This will only add more time to travel. I see hundreds of people get off the train. You can see it in their faces — there’s frustration.”
The B train now runs express between Prospect Park and Brighton Beach. That will soon halt, however, when express service is suspended north of Kings Highway while reconstruction of several stations - Newkirk Avenue, Avenue H, Avenue J, Avenue M and Kings Highway continues along the line.
To make matters worse for riders, the MTA now also says that there will be “periodic weekend shutdowns of all train service between Prospect Park and Brighton Beach Stations” throughout the reconstruction project, which isn’t supposed to conclude until late 2011.
Shuttle buses will run instead.
“It’s a major inconvenience,” said Sheepshead Bay resident Theresa Raniolo. “Buses are a lot slower than the subway.”
A sophomore at Macaulay Honors College in Manhattan, Raniolo relies on the subway to get home on the weekends. Without it, she says she’ll have to rely on her mom to come pick her up.
“It just makes a long commute even longer,” local straphanger Jerry Jaworski said. “I feel like the service gets slower and slower. It makes it tough if you’re living out here and commuting to the city.”
Community Board 15 Chair Theresa Scavo has been inundated with complaints from riders - some from as far away as the Rockaways who catch the subway at the Sheepshead Bay station.
“How do you inconvenience this many people and not have any remorse?” Scavo said. “There’s no reason for this.”
At the time of this writing, Scavo said that the MTA had not replied to any one of the numerous letters she’s written in protest.
“They have to do it [station repairs] for safety reasons,” City Councilmember Mike Nelson conceded. “Still, two years is just too long and we’re trying to get them to do it more quickly.”
According to the MTA, two of the four tracks along the Brighton Line will be out of service at any given time, requiring both B and Q trains to operate on one track in each direction.
From now until late next year, southbound B and Q service will operate on the local track from Parkside Avenue to Cortelyou Road and on the express track from Newkirk Avenue to Kings Highway.
Stations at Avenue H and Avenue M will be bypassed going south while temporary platforms will be constructed at the Avenue J and Kings Highway stations to provide access to southbound B and Q trains.
At the same time, northbound B and Q trains will make local stops from Kings Highway to Parkside Avenue.
The operation will then be reversed in the third quarter of 2010 and continue into the following year when northbound B & Q trains will operate on the express track from Kings Highway to Newkirk Avenue and on the local track from Cortelyou Road to Parkside Avenue.
Service will be bypassed in the northbound direction at Avenue H and Avenue M. Southbound B and Q service will make local stops from Parkside Avenue to Kings Highway.
The MTA says it “regrets any inconvenience.”
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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