A group of city officials and local residents gathered today at the East Broadway subway station as part of a publicity tour calling attention to New York City’s deteriorating public transit system.
Since word leaked in January that the MTA was planning to shut down L train service for over a year in order to repair damage from Hurricane Sandy, the residents, small businesses, and restaurant and bar owners who belong to the grassroots L Train Coalition have desperately wondered what the extended vacation will mean in real terms. For almost a year now, they’ve been locked in a push-and-pull with the MTA and elected officials, all in an effort to get the facts straight and prepare for the impact. At a meeting last night dubbed “What the L?”, coalition members took matters into their own hands and unveiled a report that proposes a 14th Street “transitway” that would be closed to private vehicles and other measures to stave off the L-pocalypse.
It’s all happening guys. Okay, maybe not “all.” But when it comes to the Second Avenue subway line, a pipe dream like no other, even “a little bit” of progress is better than nothing. So, rejoice: Phase I is finally set to be completed this December. The MTA is already test driving trains on the new line, as you can see in the positively riveting video above. And this morning, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, who’s brought buttloads of money to the project in recent years, gave the MTA an A+ on its Phase I report card, part of the representative’s initiative to oversee progress.
It’s been a crazy, screwy, messed-up journey, but somehow we’ve made it to the future– well, almost. Some said Manhattan would be underwater before the Second Avenue subway became a reality, but by Jove (or perhaps by way of a contract with Satan himself) the MTA is finally wrapping up the first phase of the century-long project over the next several months. Or at least, that’s what we’ve been told. However, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney actually checked up on the MTA’s word, and her office issued their findings in the 2nd Avenue subway “report card,” which was released today.
The MTA held its second public meeting to discuss the impending L train closure, and last night’s hearing at the 14th Street Salvation Army Theater couldn’t have been more different from the one hosted in Brooklyn last week. For one, the attendance was dominated by the same crowd you’d see at a City Council Committee meetings– aging hippies, your Dave Stuben types, the occasional transport dork, press, press, and more press; and the few regular people left in the immediate area around Union Square and Chelsea who also happen to have extra time on their hands.
Last night, the big players in the L train shutdown finally met with North Brooklyn community leaders and residents for a public forum and, for the first time, discussed candidly the extensive damage inflicted by Superstorm Sandy and the two proposals for the reconstruction project. While the MTA hasn’t yet come to a decision, it seems to be favoring a full shutdown that would mean 18 months without any service between 8th Avenue and Bedford Avenue. MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast acknowledged it would be the “most impactful” event ever for New York City’s public transit system.
The MTA has confirmed that any 24/7 closure of the L-train tunnel is “unlikely to begin before January of 2019” and is promising there will be a “new dynamic” with riders and residents as the agency decides how best to repair damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy back in 2012.
As Participatory Budgeting has been adopted here in New York City over the last few years, residents of each participating district can now vote on how to allocate a minimum of $1 million of the city budget to the local improvement efforts they they care most about. In North Brooklyn, the budgetary contenders chosen by neighbors include projects in schools, parks, playgrounds, transportation, and public housing. (Sorry, Lower East Side and East Village– you’re left out again this year.)
Our glasses-wearing New York State Senator Daniel Squadron, repping parts of North Brooklyn and the LES not just in style but also in substance, posed some gnawing questions to the MTA today regarding the much feared L train shutdown. At a budget hearing in Albany, the senator echoed some concerns expressed last night at a meeting of North Brooklyn residents, business owners, commuters, and workers who are bracing for the “major disruption” that will be caused by the repair of two East River tunnels damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Thankfully, MTA chair Thomas F. Prendergast had some relatively comforting answers.
Are we ready for the impending L-pocalypse?
Last night the L Train Coalition, a growing group of community stakeholders, met to confront the specter of a year-long L train shutdown and figure out how to reduce the suck for those who live, work, and play in North Brooklyn and downtown Manhattan. Their mission: to prevent the MTA from, well, acting like the MTA and screwing it all up.
We’re still trying to wrap our brains around news that the L train’s future is in jeopardy. According to officials, the North Brooklyn lifeline is still suffering from the legacy of Hurricane Sandy and in desperate need of a serious upgrade that would increase daily rider capacity (and relieve commuters of the indignity of having to smell another human stranger’s armpits). Keep Reading »
The MTA became the popular girl at school almost overnight as first Governor Andrew Cuomo and now the federal government is paying mind to New York City’s neglected and notoriously underfunded transportation system. Today, Senator Chuck Schumer announced that he’ll call for sorely needed funding from the Federal Transportation Authority (FTA) to improve the “packed to capacity” L train.