Brooklyn and Queens prepare yourselves: The G train summer of pain begins today

This column was originally published in On my way, A weekly newsletter covering everything you need to know about transportation in the New York area.

Register to get the full story, including answers to reader questions, stories, service changes and more, delivered to your inbox every Thursday.

G train riders should prepare for a summer of pain starting Friday, as an MTA construction project will close entire segments of the line 24 hours a day through September. 3.

The closures are divided into three phases:

  • From June 28 to July 5: no trains between Court Square and Nassau Avenue.
  • July 5-Aug 12: No train from Court Square to Bedford-Nostrand.
  • August. September 12. 3: No train between Bedford-Nostrand and Church Avenue.

The Crosstown line is used by approximately 160,000 passengers each weekday.

The closures will be one of the biggest disruptions to New York City’s transit construction in years. Not since the MTA announced it would shut down L train service between Manhattan and Brooklyn — a plan by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo — has transit construction abruptly changed hands for many Brooklynites.

“It’s garbage,” said Genevieve Kammel Morris, 40, of Greenpoint. “It’s hard to get through Brooklyn without a G train.”

MTA officials say the closure is necessary to make long-awaited improvements to the G line. The work will involve replacing 30 miles of track, upgrading signals that rely on 1930s technology, laying new wires and replacing more than 12 switches that regularly cause delays.

“These switches are among the oldest in the system, dating back to the 1930s and 1940s, and are frequent problems,” Sean Fitzpatrick, the MTA’s chief of staff for construction, said at a committee meeting earlier this week.

During the construction, free shuttles will be offered to straphangers along the closed segments. MTA officials said they have worked with the city’s Department of Transportation to clear intersections and add truck loading zones to prevent double parking along parts of the shuttle routes. The agency has also partnered with Citi Bike to offer all city residents a free ride during the closure with the code “GTRAIN24.”

But G train riders have good reason to be skeptical of the speed of the MTA’s notoriously slow shuttles. They must have used them for months during recent night and weekend stops along the line.

“If I can avoid taking the shuttles, I’ll avoid them,” said Matthew Khan, 19. “I know it’s free, but it’s a lot longer, it’s more inconvenient.”

Yumi Munir, 23, was preparing for the shutdown by learning to ride a bike for the first time. She said she planned to bike to work in Manhattan instead of taking the commute.

The inconvenience will not be over after this series of works either. The MTA expects more G line closures on nights and weekends over the next year. But by 2027, officials say they will have upgraded the line’s signals to allow faster, more frequent service on the G. The improvements could one day allow full trains on the line, instead of truncated trainsets of five cars that force racers to sprint across platforms.

Curious traveler

Have a question to ask us? Curious Commuter questions are reserved exclusively for subscribers to the On The Way newsletter. Register for free here And check out Thursday’s newsletter for a link to submit your questions!

Question from Phil from Long Island

Couldn’t the MTA just rebel and activate congestion tolls?

What Clayton says

The MTA has all the tolling infrastructure in place for congestion pricing, but says it can’t launch it without final approval from three parties: the Federal Highway Administration, the city’s Department of Transportation and the state Department of Transportation. The agreement allows the MTA to implement a pilot program using tolls from federally funded roads to subsidize transit. Hochul’s order to suspend congestion pricing effectively tells the state DOT not to sign the form.

“We have no intention of committing a coup against New York state,” MTA Chairman Janno Lieber said Wednesday when asked the same question.

Leave a Comment