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Quinn, Councilmen: Give Commuters Other Options During G Train Repairs

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- City Council Speaker Christine Quinn was among the lawmakers Saturday who called on the Metropolitan Transit Authority to make up for the loss of G Train service between Brooklyn and Queens.

Quinn was joined by City Councilmen Stephen Levin (D-33rd) and Jimmy Van Bramer (D-26th) in asking the MTA to subsidize East River Ferry and Citibike service in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and Long Island City, Queens. The G Train connection between the neighborhoods has been severed during certain weekends throughout the year as the MTA repairs the Greenpoint Tube under the Newtown Creek from damage caused by Superstorm Sandy.

During the specified weekends, the G Line is be closed north of Nassau Avenue. The Greenpoint Avenue, 21st Street/Jackson Avenue and Court Square stops will all be shuttered.

Quinn, Councilmen: Give Commuters Other Options During G Train Repairs

"The MTA should step up and help with financial to accelerate CitiBike; to make sure that the CitiBikes come to Long Island City and Greenpoint immediately," Quinn told 1010 WINS' Carol D'Auria. "That would help people get to where they need to go more easily while the train tunnel is under reconstruction."

Quinn also said a ticket for the East River ferry should cost the equivalent of a MetroCard swipe while G Train service is partially down.

The Greenpoint Tube, which carries the G Line under the Newtown Creek between Queens and Brooklyn, was one of nine river subway tubes that were flooded during Sandy. The tube was inundated with 3 million gallons of saltwater, damaging pump controls, signal equipment, the electrical and communication systems, and fan control equipment, the MTA said last month.

Temporary repairs to the tube shortly after Sandy allowed the tunnel to reopen, but it has remained in poor shape ever since, the MTA said. While equipment in the tunnel was cleaned and inspected, it is now failing and causing delays due to damage from Sandy that shortened its lifespan, the MTA said.

Power cables in the tunnel are corroding on the inside, and corrosion on the outside of rails and fasteners has threatened short circuits, the MTA said. The ventilation, lighting and communication control systems also have not been restored, the MTA said.

In addition, Quinn and the councilmen called on the MTA to support a second phase of the Citibike rollout to so area residents can easily access subway lines that are not fully open when the G Train is not in service.

"Greenpoint is a neighborhood already underserved, making it difficult for community members to move about the city," Levin said in a release. "By expanding CitiBike and subsidizing ferry service we can provide more options to residents and help alleviate the transportation woes of North Brooklyn."

The plan calls for 22 new Citibike stations at sites running north to south along the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront, the release said. Commuters could use Citibike bicycles to get to the L, G, No. 7 and E trains, according to the release..

"Long Island City residents deserve better," Van Bramer said in the release. "Extended closures of the G train tunnel deserve a full complement of alternative transportation options, including immediate expansion of CitiBike to LIC/Greenpoint, easier ferry access, more frequent shuttle-bus trips, and a flexible work schedule. The MTA needs to treat us with the same respect they give to residents in Manhattan."

At the station at Greenpoint and Manhattan avenues in Greenpoint, a man named Brian said he will make do with the alternatives.

"Once it gets colder and I can't ride my bike anymore, it might be an issue," he said. "Right now, I have an alternative."

The G Line will be closed north of Nassau Avenue for the following remaining non-consecutive weekends, which are subject to change:

1. Aug. 17-19

2. Aug. 24-26

3. Sept. 7-9

4. Sept. 28-30

5. Oct. 5-7

6. Dec. 7-9

7. Dec. 14-16

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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