Access Queens recently learned that the MTA is considering sending the M train to the Upper East Side of Manhattan on nights and weekends, instead of running additional service to Queens.
The MTA presented this idea to a community board in Brooklyn as part of their L Train shutdown mitigation plans. The people of Queens have not been informed of this potential re-routing of the M train. Queens Boulevard commuters have long suffered from the service cuts of 2010, when a budget shortfall caused the MTA to eliminate 10-car-long V trains and replace them with 8-car M trains. At the same time, the G train was eliminated from Queens Boulevard, having previously extended all the way to Forest Hills.
Terminating the M train in Manhattan on weekends will directly have a negative affect on both Queens commuters and L train riders looking to make transfers at Court Square. For L train riders, it cuts their late night and weekend transfer options at Court Square by 1/3rd. G & L train riders will not have direct access to the 6th avenue subway routes via Court Square. Maintaining only the existing E train service at the 23rd Street/Ely Avenue platform will result in significantly longer wait times between trains during off-peak hours and weekends. For existing Queens Boulevard riders, the result is a perpetuation of the 2010 service cuts, with only a single subway route (the E or R) servicing local stations that previously saw service from at least two routes (the G, R or V).
“It is extremely disheartening,” said Joseph Anastasio, Access Queens Researcher and Strategist. “Re-routing the M to Manhattan during off-peak hours perpetuates the 2010 service cuts to Queens. For the people of Brooklyn and Queens, this is a lose-lose proposal.”
“The city is very Manhattan-centric, so Queens often gets left out of the equation when it comes to public transit. We’re seeing examples of this with the BQX proposal, the lack of support in Queens over the L train shutdown, and the residential development in Long Island City,” said Brandon Mosley, Access Queens Senior Director. “At some point, the conversation needs to shift to a big picture view of Queens.”