The closure chronicles continue. It looks like the impending L train shutdown—which the MTA says is crucial for repairing the tunnel that links Brooklyn and Manhattan, which was damaged by salt water during Hurricane Sandy—is sending shock waves across other parts of the subway system. Now, the New York Daily News reports, the city agency will also close stations along the M line in Queens and Brooklyn, to perform much-needed maintenance in anticipation of increased ridership during the L’s hiatus.
Details about exactly when and how the L will go offline remain hazy—it’s still unclear whether riders should expect a total shut down or intermittent closures—but it won’t happen until 2018 or 2019. The delay is due to the need for updates to the M, so that the line can take on the expected influx of thousands of Brooklynites who ordinarily use the L to get around.
According to the official announcement, the MTA will revamp an overpass and a viaduct that the M train uses, both of which are decades old and in need of complete reconstruction. The shutdown will occur in two phases: For the first, scheduled to take two months during the summer of 2017, the bridge will be repaired; during the second, which should last eight months, the viaduct is going to be rebuilt.
During that ten-month period, the train line will close from Middle Village-Metropolitan Avenue to Myrtle Avenue, which impacts eight stations in Ridgewood and Bushwick. These neighborhoods have attracted tremendous interest from young professionals priced out of nearby Brooklyn hotspots, and the MTA’s announcement notes that the amount of customers who use the affected stations has increased by 53 percent over the past 15 years.
For phase one, the subway will be replaced by new shuttle buses between the closed stations; during phase two, a shuttle M train will travel between Middle Village-Metropolitan Avenue and Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenue, where riders can transfer to the L train. Passengers who use the Knickerbocker and Central Avenue stops can opt for shuttle buses, or trek to the nearest stations along the JZ line.
New Yorkers have taken to Twitter with their reactions: one M train rider complained that service is already inconsistent even now, while another acknowledged that the repairs to line are a necessary evil:
In any case, it looks as though the L, M, and JZ lines will each take their turns at shouldering the burden of displaced straphangers over the next several years; for newcomers to the area, choosing where to settle in North Brooklyn may be an increasingly dicey proposition.
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