About a year ago, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the L train would be shut down between Brooklyn and Manhattan, terminating at Bedford Avenue so that the MTA could repair tunnels that were damaged during Hurricane Sandy. Shortly after this bombshell, the Manhattanites and Brooklynites who depend on the train to get around were asked to pick their poison, and they ultimately opted for a full shutdown of train service for 18 months rather than a much longer partial shutdown.
Streetsblog NYC reports that now, with the closure set for early 2019, the MTA and Department of Transportation are developing plans to provide alternative forms of transit for New Yorkers who depend on the L, which sees an average of 300,000 trips taken each day. The agencies are expected to release a finalized plan this fall.
Officials told Streetsblog that regular riders who live near transit junctions—like the Lorimer/Metropolitan stop, Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenue, and Broadway Junction—are expected to use the other train lines available. That still leaves a considerable number of New Yorkers, though, and it also means upping the frequency of service on the G, J, M, and Z lines in order to avoid serious overcrowding. (To this end, the MTA will close several stations along the M line ahead of the L shutdown, in order to make repairs to get that train running more efficiently.)
Furthermore, the MTA is planning to double the length of G train cars to take on more people; it always wants to initiate a new free ferry service (in addition to the existing East River Ferry) to accommodate displaced L train riders, according to the Brooklyn Eagle.
There have also been a number of other suggestions from the public for supplemental services. The Streetsblog article notes, for instance, a pitch from the cyclist group Transportation Alternatives to make Brooklyn's Grand Street car-free, giving pedestrians and bicyclists a smoother commute. The Regional Planning Association, AM New York reports, proposes doing the same thing along 14th Street in Manhattan.
Other suggestions have included a Roosevelt Island tramway-style gondola running over the East River, an extension of the E train beyond its World Trade Center terminus, and, most outlandishly, a giant floating tube between Brooklyn and Manhattan that allows pedestrains to traverse the river on foot.
If you have a bright idea for how the city could best handle the thousands of people who will be left without their regular subway service, now's your chance to chime in: The MTA and DoT are soliciting the opinions of locals at three upcoming workshops in Manhattan and Brooklyn; see the details here.
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