Local officials and other community members feel that the MTA hasn’t done enough to share a contingency plan for the impending L-pocalyspe. They rallied in Williamsburg on Tuesday to complain that transparency has fallen off with just 17 months to go before the L-train shutdown.
Steve Hindy, co-founder of Brooklyn Brewery and a member of the North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, is one of the business owners bracing for the 15-month shutdown. Standing outside of The West BK, near the Lorimer stop, he called for “a plan that we can put forward to explain to people how to get to the brewery when the L train goes down.”
“You can’t have a good relationship without communication,” said Stephen Levin, a City Council member representing parts of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. “In the absence of a plan, everyone is rightfully worried about how they’re going to get through this.”
The elected officials– including State Senator Martin Dilan, State Senator Elect Brian Kavanagh, State Assembly member Joseph Lentol, and City Council member Antonio Reynoso– are calling for monthly community advisory board meetings.
An MTA spokesperson told Bedford + Bowery that the agency was “working collaboratively” with the city’s Department of Transportation on a plan. “During the entire process we’ve made community engagement an essential priority – with 39 community briefings since May 2016 – and that extensive outreach will absolutely continue as we move forward,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.
The MTA began holding public dialogues in May of last year. By November, members of the L Train Coalition– a consortium of local politicians and stakeholders– were again complaining about a lack of transparency and wondering how the agency planned to mitigate the effects of the shutdown, set to begin in April of 2019. Politicians such as City Council member Rafael Espinal have subsequently called on the MTA to use electric buses during the service interruption. Last month, the MTA announced that it would bring 180 more diesel buses to North Brooklyn to reduce congestion, a plan that was greeted with boos on Tuesday.
A Department of Transportation spokesperson told us via email that the “MTA and DOT are working diligently on a daily basis to address the impact and this year-long collaboration is reinforced by the tremendous resources going into mitigation plans.”
“We continue to hear concerns and are working aggressively toward that goal,” the spokesperson said. “Our agencies will be ready and a plan is forthcoming.”
Play our video, above, for footage from Tuesday’s rally.