Thursday, June 09, 2016

Is F Train Express Service Causing Vibrations And Impacting Brownstones Near Subway In Carroll Gardens And Boerum Hill?

In mid-May, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced that it will be running express F train service between the Jay Street-MetroTech and Church Avenue stations (with a stop at 7th Avenue Park Slope) as early as this summer for a limited time. The express service will be fully implemented in the fall of 2017, with half of all F trains running express each way during peak morning and evening rush hours.

Besides cutting trains by 50% for those in Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill and Gowanus, there is another concern for local residents who own homes near the Carroll Street Station.
The MTA has already been using the express tracks through that station, and every time that happens, it creates an incredible amount of vibration.

I received the following email from a reader:
We think there is a serious problem with the F Express running past the Carroll Street and Bergen Street stops that has not received attention: Our house, which is a third of the way down our block from Smith Street, has terrible vibrations when the Express runs. The Express track was cut deeper into the earth at these stops for some reason (its not stacked, just lower), and it runs faster. We wonder how many of the historic houses up and down these blocks that make up the character of Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill/Boerum Hill are experiencing this, and what structural impact it is having?

If enough neighbors are also experiencing this, the MTA could (1) conduct engineering studies to determine the level of vibration and possible damage and fixes, and/or (2) SLOW DOWN the Express at these stops until these questions are answered.

Concerned neighbors

I live close to the Carroll Street Station myself and have noticed the strong vibration as well.  Though a mild shaking can sometimes be detected in my house when a train goes by on the regular tracks, it is definitely more noticeable when one runs past the station on the express tracks.
I can only wonder what will happen when the proposed expanded express service goes into effect this summer.

Do you live in a brownstone close to the F Train line near the Carroll Street or Bergen Street Stations?  Have you noticed this increased vibration in your home?  


psternglass said...

A question: How does anyone know that a train is rolling down the express track while they are sitting in their house? Just saying...

I think that the MTA should monitor for any additional or dangerous levels of vibrations, but there have always been vibrations along Smith. I lived there years ago and you could always feel it, sometimes it made the dishes shake. Some amount of vibration is part of city life.

I live in the Columbia Waterfront now, down the block from the BQE. There are often bad vibrations from trucks. Several years ago, the Church on Hicks and Summit streets, SHSS Church, needed structural repair because of the highway. It was covered by an insurance policy, but the insurance company sued the city and won. After that, DOT finally fixed the highway in front of the church. Sometimes, that's what it takes.

Anonymous said...

I just read your article about vibrations from express F trains and we have noticed that in our home (we rent, we're not the owner) on Degraw and Smith Streets.

Mike said...

I am three buildings down from the tracks right where the trains enter and exit the south end of Carroll Street. There have definitely be heavier vibrations within the last few weeks, which coincides with the express track usage.

My wife and I are so used to normal trains that we almost never consciously hear them, but you can tell that this is significantly louder.

Mandy Goldberg said...

I'm on First Place, around the corner from Smith, and have definitely noticed more intense vibrations — they're very unsettling.

Anonymous said...

Good luck fighting this thing. You really think the MTA is going to monitor anything?

Anonymous said...

Who to contact (frequently) with complaints:

311. Though they'll ultimately direct you to the information below, it's a good way for the city to see there's a groundswell of complaints.

MTA: various methods available here

Your district's council member:

For most readers of this blog, it's Brad Lander:
718-499-1090, email,twitter @bradlander

Katia said...

Thank you for the information, Anonymous. This is helpful.

el verde said...

I', far enough away from the subway that we aren't experiencing any increased vibrations, however the increased platform crowding is starting to become dangerous.

Anonymous said...

I also live near where the trains enter and exit the Carroll Street stop and yes, vibrations are much more noticeable of late.

Jon Coifman said...

The way you know if the train is express is if it happens to be running on one of the many recent weekends when the local track has been closed for repair work.

Anonymous said...

I've also noticed that the trains are much louder since the recent viaduct work. When the trains climb or descend between Carroll Street and Smith/9th, there is now a loud whooshing sound which washes over the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

People, do you think this will alter the express service? Good luck.

CG Family since before St. Agnes was built. said...

There have always been trains running on the express tracks AND the local tracks along this train line. When all 4 lines have trains passing at the same time you certainly feel I more than you would if only the local tracks were used.
The train line itself was built after most of the houses were already built, and each of the older houses are all on a strong foundation.
- Yes, houses that were built in the mid-1800's have their normal issues with age, but if well maintained - even, or especially, on a structural level - should be fine.
What's new, and is of some concern are:
a) The newer houses & buildings, the taller houses & buildings, and the cheaply built houses that have popped-up since the 2000's
b) Newer residents who got used to the way C.G. is now: quiet & hipster ruled. Why do you think C.G. (really part of Red Hook) was so blue collar for so many years? The noise from the trains. In the 40's, 60's & even 70's & 80's the bulk of the people didn't commute into the city by train, so proximity to the train was a NOT a selling point, like it is now.
c) The over crowded stations. An earlier writer made the perfect point - the express trains is not a vibration issue, it's a who's gonna' get pushed onto the tracks issue.

rafael storm said...

Boo-hoo-hoo from the entitled, elitist cry-babies of Carroll Gardens. The real reason for the complaints isn't any perceived, imagined vibration, but the fact that trains are running express to better serve people living in the less-chic outer portions of Brooklyn. Get over it, folks.