L train could be shut down for years between Brooklyn and Manhattan

Feb26 L Train

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

L train service between Brooklyn and Manhattan could be shut down completely for multiple years due to long-needed repairs because of damage from Hurricane Sandy.

The service disruption was originally reported by Gothamist last Wednesday, which explained that the work would not shut down the train completely but would terminate Manhattan-bound service from Canarsie at Bedford Avenue, the line’s busiest station.

Following the report on Gothamist, transportation blog Second Avenue Sagas noted that a complete shutdown would likely not last three full years, as this is the long-term timeline for all of the work needed on the L line if the repairs were done on one tube at a time or otherwise split the shutdown of the tunnel. If the MTA were to completely shut down the tunnel to do the repairs, it would take two years at most, a source told the blog.

Transit advocates were encouraged at the MTA’s ability to keep to their predicted timeline in 2014 after the Montague tunnel used by the R train re-opened a month earlier than expected and $58 million under budget following a complete shutdown for Sandy-related repairs, but L train ridership on an average weekday is more than four times that of the R train.

One of the options to mitigate transit problems from the closure is to keep one of the two tunnels open. There are separate tunnels for Manhattan-bound and Brooklyn-bound trains and this would leave room for limited service while repairs are being done on each tunnel.

Alternatives being considered for Brooklyn riders include increased M and G train service, as well as a system of shuttle buses.

Richard Barone, the Director of Transportation Programs for the Regional Plan Association, suggested adding bus service that could mirror the Canarsie line and installing express bus lanes on bridges.

Stuyvesant Town residents who attended a meeting last Thursday on the addition of new ferry routes wondered about having the ferries as a reliable alternative if the L train is unavailable. However, Barone told Gothamist that ferries would only have a limited impact because there is still the issue of getting to and from the landings.

“It’s really a waterfront to waterfront type of mode,” he said.

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