Queens, the stepchild of the city transit system, is finally getting attention from the powers-that-be at the MTA and the governor.
The G train, the smallest subway line in the city and perhaps the most notorious for its rare appearances, will get some much-needed love with longer trains and more frequent service between Brooklyn and Court Square. This is the only line in the system that doesn’t serve Manhattan.
Even though the “G Sprint,” required when short trains pull into a station and riders have to race to the end of the platform to board, is part of urban lore, straphangers should be happy to abandon the dashes.
Also in western Queens, the MTA will extend the weekend route of the M train from Metropolitan Avenue beyond Brooklyn and into the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
These are small steps, but they are moving mass transit in the right direction.
Queens would add some additional improvements if given the chance to draw up a wish list.
In the MTA’s latest revision of its four-year plan, there is no mention of the No. 7 train, which is locked in a perpetual cycle of repair to signal systems and other critical components on many weekends during the year. The so-called International Express, serving northern Queens, often slows to a crawl in the non-rush hour period as work is performed on the line. The No. 7 deserves kudos at peak times, but the MTA should speed up repairs on this critical line.
Southern and western Queens have more subway options than northeastern Queens, where riders rely heavily on buses and the Long Island Rail Road because the No. 7 ends in downtown Flushing.
On the bus front, the MTA will restore weekend service to the Q31 from Bayside to Jamaica and Sunday service on the Q77 from Laurelton to Jamaica.
Hallelujah for more weekend service, but what about the interminable weekday lapses between buses on some routes when people are trying to get to work and school?
The LIRR’s Port Washington line is reviving half-hourly service on weekends, which can offset some of the repair slowdowns on the No. 7 line, but riding the railroad is pricier than a trip on a crowded subway.
The governor and MTA have listened to riders, and Queens is on the brink of a modest restoration in bus, subway and LIRR service.