Tomorrow: Ask the MTA Why the C Train Sucks

c train brooklyn, bed stuy, MTA, c train, kingston throop

Tomorrow, Riders Alliance, Borough President Adams, State Senator Squadron and Assembly Member Mosley are holding a Q&A with the MTA about our not-so-beloved C train. As Riders Alliance notes, the MTA released a Full Line Review study [PDF] of both the A and C lines this December. The study includes some improvements but does not suggest increasing the frequency of C trains during rush hour. This doesn’t make a ton of sense, since one of the biggest complaints of this train is that it does not run nearly enough. At tomorrow’s Q&A, expect questions regarding the MTA’s recommendations from the Full Line Review, the timeline for improvements to come, and whatever subway service concerns may be on your mind.

Submit your questions in advance or get more details on the event right here. The event will be held tomorrow, 6:30pm, at the Bed-Stuy YMCA.

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Bad News for Kingston Throop Subway Riders

Kingston Throop subway, subway closure, MTA

If the Kingston Throop C train is your commuting destination, there’s some dire news in your future. Late last week Gothamist reported that Governor Cuomo plans to completely close 30 subway stations between 6 months to a year for upgrades like “On The Go” touch screens, new signage and new lighting. And yes, Kingston-Throop is on the dreaded closure list, along with other C train stations like Clinton/Washington and Van Siclen Ave. There’s no timeline on when these closures will happen. According to Gothamist, “An MTA spokesperson said the full shut-down plan may be modified at stations without an obvious alternative transit option nearby,” although it’s unclear if that would be the case for Kingston Throop since the Utica stop is (kind of) close by.

Kingston Throop is my regular station and it could obviously benefit from some of these user-friendly upgrades. But seriously, ask anyone who uses the C train on a regular basis what they would desperately like to see improved and they will not say lighting or wayfinding. The C is the only line still serviced by 1960 subway cars. It runs far, far less than E or A trains (it’s torture watching 5 to 6 E trains pass by when you’re trying to get home from the city during rush hour), and trains run only once every 10 to 15 minutes on weekends. The C is so bad, it has its own campaign demanding improvements.

The other weekend, I waited 30 minutes for a train and had to ultimately leave the station and catch a cab to be in Manhattan on time. It’s almost insulting — and definitely tone deaf — that Governor Cuomo would make a big deal about cosmetic changes that no one really cares about (unless you’re a lost tourist, perhaps) and for those changes we have to lose our station for up to a year. That’s a major loss for a neighborhood that does not have a wealth of on-time, reliable transportation options. And if you’re going to re-open the station with new lighting, but a clunky, 1960s train is only going to pull up once every 15 minutes on a Saturday, than I really don’t see the point.

Check Out the Proposed Citi Bike Expansion for Bed Stuy

Citi Bike, Citi Bike Bed Stuy, Citi Bike expansion, Citi Bike brooklyn, Citi Bike Community Board Three

Check out this map of proposed Citi Bike stations for Bed Stuy, as part of DOT’s plans to expand the bike share program further east into the neighborhood. There are nine existing Citi Bike stations from Classon to Nostrand, between Flushing and Atlantic. The expanded boundaries go from Nostrand east to Lewis Avenue, between Flushing and Fulton. There are stations proposed outside of the Kingston-Throop C station, near the Mytle-Willoughby G station and near the Flushing Avenue J/M station, as well as many other spots throughout the neighborhood.

According to this DNAinfo article, there will be a total of 26 new stations which the DOT expects to install by the end of this year. Do these locations look good to the Bed Stuy bike riders out there? The map looks very comprehensive to me.

Uber Is Offering Free Rides Within Bed Stuy and Crown Heights This Weekend

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If you live in Bed Stuy, you know it isn’t that easy to hail a cab — because, well, there aren’t too many driving around. Enter: Uber. And what could be better than free Uber? The car-sharing service is kicking off a “Neighborhood Love” campaign in New York City and is giving a little love to Bed Stuy and our neighbor in Crown Heights this weekend. That means that between Saturday, June 20th and Sunday, June 21st, Uber is offering two free uberPOOL rides up to $20 to, from, or within Bed Stuy and Crown Heights. (uberPOOL is basically a carpool option with another person who’s requesting a similar route as you.) If you’re interested in the free trips, here’s how to claim them:

To redeem this offer, riders must enter promotion code BKLOVEJUNE into their Uber app. To apply a promotion code to your Uber account, tap on the Profle icon in the upper left corner of the app and then select Promotions. Once you have entered the code, it will automatically be applied to your next eligible rides.

If you don’t have Uber, you can sign up here to redeem the offer. And if you want more details on the deal, go here. Maybe I’ll see ya in a carpool this weekend!

Spotting New C Trains

c train, c train brooklyn, c train bed stuy

Anybody else notice all of the new C train cars popping up recently? I’m talking about train cars with the electronic announcements and maps (pictured above). Anyone who lives in Bed Stuy will tell you that these cars feel like a little luxury compared to the 1960s-era R32s that usually show up. The MTA plans to replace the R32 trains with these newer versions in a process will last until 2017, according to this Observer article. So either that process has begun or the MTA is just going through a routine upkeep of the R32s. This is also from the Observer:

Every summer the MTA switches out some of the R32s to give the old warhorses a break from running on the almost entirely underground C train lines, where high temperatures can be tough on equipment. But with the first cool breezes of autumn, the new cars return to their respective lettered lines and the R32s come squeaking and clattering back into service.

And while there may be new trains, the C is still only running once every 10-15 minutes. There’s a rally demanding for better service this Saturday.

Rally This Weekend for Better C Train Service

Riders Alliance, C train, C train rally

If you ride the C line, or read reports about the MTA subway system, you know that the C is pretty much one of the worst lines out there. It’s got the oldest cars of any subway line. It’s infrequent, especially on weekends. Basically, it’s not supporting the growing population of Brooklynites who live off it.

Riders Alliance does a lot of advocacy work regarding the C line and is holding a rally on the matter this Sunday. The theme is “1964,” the year the running C trains were built. As you can see above, Riders Alliance is demanding better, more frequent service, newer cars and a better communication system. The rally is happening at Fulton Park, off the Utica Avenue A/C stop. If you’re interested in attending, sign up here or RSVP to Rebecca at 212-590-9504/rebecca@ridersny.org.

A Progress Report on the Utica Avenue Select Bus Service

utica-avenue-select-bus-service-bed-stuy

The Department of Transportation is working on a Select Bus Service for Utica Avenue. This will be the second SBS service for Bed Stuy — the first opened on Nostrand Avenue in 2013. Basically, SBS includes dedicated bus lanes and improved station amenities for faster, more frequent and reliable service. There are also pedestrian safety improvements made along the route.

select-bus-service-utica-avenue

This route will begin at Dekalb and Broadway and make stops at Gates Avenue, Halsey Street and Fulton Street before traveling into Crown Heights. You can see all the project details from the Department of Transportation here. The DOT’s plan also includes safety upgrades to the intersection of Fulton Street and Malcolm X — although it’s worth noting that the Community Board had concerns about those changes.

fulton-street-select-bus-service

So what are the latest updated from this project? The DOT hopes to finalize the service plan this spring. The agency will also hold a public open house on Thursday, March 19th at 6pm at the Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center Ballroom. (585 Schenectady Avenue, between Rutland Road and Winthrop Street.) Then this summer, the DOT will develop a corridor and implementation plan. SBS should officially kick off in late summer or fall, with the related pedestrian safety improvements phased in after service starts.