It’s been nearly two years since word of a potential L train shutdown, to make essential repairs, begin circulating. The line’s Canarsie tunnel was flooded by corrosive salt water during Hurricane Sandy; after contemplating different approaches for repairing it as quickly as possible, the MTA opted for a complete shutdown.
Though the 15-month shutdown isn’t expected to begin until 2019, commuters have been anxiously awaiting word from the MTA and the city’s Department of Transportation on how they plan to accommodate the roughly 225,000 people ride who use the L on a daily basis. Transit advocates have pitched numerous ideas—including some out-there ones involving things like a Williamsburg gondola or extending the E train to meet the G train—but the MTA and DOT have taken their time coming up with a plan, much to the chagrin of New Yorkers.
But the wait is over; at long last, the MTA has released its highly anticipated L train shutdown mitigation plan. According to amNY, the city will rely on new bike routes across Manhattan streets; will increase subway service along the J, M, Z, and G lines; create high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) restrictions on the Williamsburg Bridge; and create at least three new bus routes that will have stops located near alternate subway stations.
There will be free MetroCard transfers between the Broadway station on the G line and the Lorimer-Hewes station on the J/M/Z lines, as well as free MetroCard transfers between the three train’s Junius Street station and the L train’s Livonia Avenue station, reports NBC.
The DOT will create Manhattan’s first two-way protected crosstown bike lane along 13th Street and will add a new pedestrian space from 14th to 15th streets and 16th to 17th streets that will features bike parking spaces.
Back in September, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg stated that the widely supported proposal to turn 14th Street into a car-free zone would not be a part of the plan. Something must have changed between then and now: Per amNY, the DOT and MTA will create a new bus route on 14th Street between Third and Ninth avenues and will close the stretch of roadway to vehicular traffic, with the exception of local deliveries, allowing buses and bikes to pass through with ease.