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L of a Plan: Rider Coalition Wants Cars Off of 14th Street During the L-pocalypse

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Richard Barone of Regional Planning Association, one of the transportation experts on hand at “What the L?” listened to community members’ feedback (Photo: Nicole Disser)

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.

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Phase One of the Second Avenue Subway is Officially Teacher’s Pet

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.

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The Second Avenue Subway Line Finally Makes Mommy Proud

(Photo courtesy of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney's Office)

(Photo courtesy of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s Office)

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.

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MTA Continues ‘Dialogue’ About Slowdown vs. Shutdown of L Train

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

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.

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MTA Seems to Favor 18-Month Shutdown of L Train, Starting in 2019

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

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.

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MTA to Come Down From its Opaque Train Car in the Sky and Meet With You Plebes

(Photo: Marcin Wichary/Flickr, via New York magazine)

(Photo: Marcin Wichary/Flickr, via New York magazine)

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.

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Participatory Budgeting Time! Tell the City Where, Exactly, It Can Stuff Your Tax $$s

(Map via NYC City Council)

(Map via NYC City Council)

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.)

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Don’t Worry, the L Train Shutdown Is ‘Years Out,’ MTA Says

Throwing shade (Still via YouTube/ New York State Senate)

Throwing shade (Still via YouTube/ New York State Senate)

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.

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L Train Coalition Mulls Looming Shutdown: ‘Options on the Table, None of Them Good’

Oh happy day (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Oh happy day (Photo: Nicole Disser)

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.

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That L Train Might Be Awhile…

(Photo: Marcin Wichary/Flickr, via New York magazine)

(Photo: Marcin Wichary/Flickr, via New York magazine)

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 »

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The Big Guns Finally Acknowledge MTA, L Train Poised For Upgrades

LOL remember when? (Photo by Daniel Maurer)

LOL remember when? (Photo by Daniel Maurer)

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.

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Citi Bike Is Finally Rolling Into Greenpoint and North Williamsburg

citi-bike-program-1-224x300There’s good news and bad news for North Brooklynites who’ve been wondering when the hell Citi Bike would come above North 3rd Street. Today the bike-share service, which just got a new parent company and CEO, announced in an email to members that it will add 6,000 new bikes and 375 new stations by 2017. The first of those stations, to be installed next year, will be in Greenpoint, northern Williamsburg and Long Island City. Bushwick will eventually get service as well — though for the forceable future it’ll have to make do with that double-decker Citi Bike. Other neighborhoods slated for service are Bed-Stuy, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Red Hook, and Gowanus.
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