In an effort to create a dialogue about the impending L train shutdown, the MTA recently announced that it will partner with the city’s Department of Transportation for a series of informal town hall-style meetings this January and February. The meetings are scheduled to take place in Manhattan and Brooklyn communities where the shutdown will be felt the most; the first open house is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 24 in East Williamsburg.
These meetings, featuring MTA and NYC DOT representatives, “will provide riders with critical information about alternative travel options they can utilize” during the 15 months of the L-pocalypse, according to the statement. The MTA estimates that about 225,000 people take the L from Brooklyn to Manhattan each weekday, with an additional 50,000 riders in Manhattan alone. Planned travel alternatives include the addition of select bus service on 14th Street, as well as new “protected” bike and bus lanes in the affected Brooklyn and Manhattan neighborhoods. In Brooklyn, the MTA will add additional service to J, M, and G trains, in addition to select bus lines.
The Canarsie Tunnel, which connects North Brooklyn to Manhattan via the L train, was hit hard during Superstorm Sandy in 2012; the MTA estimates that nearly 7,000 feet of the tunnel suffered “extensive damage.” The original shutdown was estimated to last 18 months, but the MTA announced in March of last year that it had been shortened to 15 months. Starting in April of 2019, there will be no L train service from Bedford Avenue to 8th Avenue during this time, but service will continue from Lorimer Street to Rockaway Parkway.
With many riders still dissatisfied with the plan (or lack thereof) for the L-pocalypse, the open houses are “intended to help customers better understand their alternate travel options and provide answers to questions,” the MTA says. The first open house will take place Jan. 24 from 5pm to 8pm at Progress High School in East Williamsburg, and the meetings will continue on a weekly basis until Feb. 8. More information and locations can be found here.
Manhattanites and Brooklynites alike are encouraged to come and air their grievances in person, if they haven’t done so already.