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Brooklyn Commuter Wages Campaign For F Train Express Service

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Brooklyn commuters have long complained about the crowded conditions on the F train, but now one man is waging a campaign to do something about it and the MTA is actually listening. NY1’s Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

They've have been lying there unused for decades, almost mocking subway riders who board the F train on the local tracks just a few feet away and can then watch the dormant express tracks from their crowded rush-hour train.

They run from church avenue all the way to Bergen Street, at some point dipping down below the local tracks. So, one man is asking, why not run an F express train, with the V, which now terminates on the Lower East Side, extended into Brooklyn as a local.

"You're talking about saving people out in Brooklyn, further out, about 20 minutes on their commute,” said Reilly.

A few weeks ago, Gary Reilly launched an online petition requesting the service, a petition that's already attracted more than 2,600 signatures. On Wednesday, he presented the petition to the MTA Board, and officials there say they're considering it.

"I intend to look into that and see what can be done in the short term,” said NYC Transit President Howard Roberts.

But there is one big problem: plans to rehabilitate the Culver Viaduct — the elevated structure that carries trains over the Gowanus Canal from 4th Avenue to Carroll Street — would knock out the ability to use the express tracks.

Transit officials say work on these elevated tracks won't be complete until 2012 at the earliest, which means it'll be at least five years before they can even consider running F express service.

The good news is once work starts, the MTA does plan to extend the G train to Church Ave. But Reilly says that's not acceptable.

"If you have the demand in the community for this, there's a way to get it done,” said Reilly.

In the meantime, Reilly's campaign continues to draw supporters, including several City Council members who held a press conference Thursday.

"The F train and many other lines are becoming overwhelmed,” said Brooklyn City Councilman Bill de Blasio. “Our neighborhoods are growing, there's more and more population, the platforms are more and more crowded in the morning, and yet the whole time we see that express track sitting there not going used."

With transit officials saying they are looking into the short-term options, there is hope Reilly and his supporters may yet win this battle after all.

- Bobby Cuza
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