The MTA—and three-quarters of L train riders—has opted to rip off the Band-Aid. The L train service between Brooklyn and Manhattan will shut down completely for an estimated 18 months, beginning in 2019, while repairs are made to the Canarsie tubes, which link the two borough and were heavily damaged during Hurricane Sandy.
Previously, the city agency had asked New Yorkers to decide between the lesser of two L train evils: A total shutdown for a year and a half, or a partial shutdown for three years. The MTA fielded comments at public meetings and votes in online surveys, through which 77 percent of responders chose the total—and quicker—option.
Beginning in 2019, L train service will terminate at Bedford Avenue, per Gothamist; it won't run at all in Manhattan, but will continue along the usual stops in Brooklyn. In a press release, the MTA said that the 18-month shutdown is the most efficient way to make the needed repairs, and that it is working on transportation alternatives for the residents who will be affected: "MTA is now starting the process of fully developing alternative service plans and will continue to work with the community, City and State agencies, and all stakeholders to minimize impacts of the closure with added service including additional capacity on the M, J, and G trains."
Several stops along the M train, however, will also need to be closed in advance of the L train shutdown, so that the MTA can make repairs to eight stations in anticipation of the increased ridership starting in 2019.
Now that the decision is official, many Brooklynites who rely on the L to get around may start plotting their moves to neighborhoods with more transportation options. The snarking, at least, is well underway:
The L train shuts down for 18 months starting in 2019. Fortunately by then everyone in Brooklyn will be a freelancer who works from home.— Josh Gondelman (@joshgondelman) July 25, 2016
Is it naive to hope that the L train shutdown will make fancy north Brooklyn loft apartments magically vacant for rollerblading through— #rachelsyme (@rachsyme) July 25, 2016
If you're looking to get out while the getting's good, check out Brick's guide to your best alternatives, depending on what you're looking for.
You might also want to consult this map to triangulate transit options, depending on which L stop is nearest to where you live. And take a look at our analysis of what it costs to rent at every stop along the L—though keep in mind this could change, given the big news.
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