It seems that Tuesday’s news that F express service will return to south Brooklyn this summer was premature. Gothamist reports that, at a City Council hearing on Tuesday, an MTA Spokesman clarified that express service between Church Avenue and Jay Street-Metrotech couldn’t be implemented until 2017, despite Councilmember David Greenfield’s announcement on Tuesday that it would begin this year.
The F express was dropped in 1987 (and never re-implemented due to budget constraints), but for years since officials and representatives have debated bringing it back, and weighed the benefits (and pitfalls) of doing so. Greenfield—whose constituents in Kensington and Ditmas Park would benefit most from the service—has fought consistently to bring it back, and even made it his campaign platform years ago. His constituents (who, he says, have fewer alternate trains and commute options than F riders farther north) would benefit from quicker and less crowded service with the F express.
However, the MTA has made a study to determined how the F express would affect local stations the express would skip—Smith and 9th Street, Carroll, Bergen and the like—and it concluded they would get 50 percent less service during peak hours, as long as additional local trains are not added simultaneously. In essence, the re-implementaiton of the F express would pit two F train contingents against each other.
Greenfield, even after being told by an MTA representative on Tuesday, “Councilman, I don’t want to undercut your excitement, but I want to be clear that the report said there wasn’t an ability to do this until mid-2017,” insisted that he was not spreading misinformation on Tuesday when he announced its return this summer.
“I was told by top MTA officials that F express service will be returning to Brooklyn,” Greenfield said. “While there is a normal process that every recommended MTA action has to go through”—as the MTA did recommend at the end of the report—”I can’t imagine that after studying the issue for years and issuing a strong recommendation to bring back the F express, the MTA Board would flip-flop and screw over hundreds of thousands of Brooklynites.”
MTA Spokesman kevin Ortiz clarified to Crains, “If we move forward with the Fexpress it will start in the fall of 2017,” and, furthermore, that—before the MTA makes a decision either way—they’ll consult affected community boards and officials.