By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and a few other elected officials have asked MTA to reconsider its plans to shut down L train service between Manhattan and Brooklyn while the agency does repair work on the line.
The request came in the form of a letter to MTA chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast on Monday, requesting a meeting to discuss the impacts of the proposed Hurricane-Sandy related repairs.
“There is no duplicate mode of transportation,” Maloney said in the letter. “We understand that the tunnel is over 100 years old, that it was badly damaged by Superstorm Sandy and that repairs must be made; however, we are deeply concerned that the closure could leave commuters with no means of getting to and from the Williamsburg/Greenpoint area.”
The letter’s authors also requested that Prendergast or other MTA representatives work with them on a mitigation plan.
“We would like to be involved in the planning at an early stage so that our suggestions and concerns can be taken into account as you develop your plans,” they said in the letter.
Maloney was joined in the letter by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, State Senators Martin Malavé Dilan and Daniel Squadron, Assembly Member Joseph Lentol and Council Member Stephen Levin.
In response, MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz told Town & Village that while the work is necessary because of the damage done to the tubes because of the salt water that flooded in from the storm, the agency has not finalized decisions about the work, which won’t be started for a couple years. He added that the agency is planning to work with the community throughout the process, although he did not have specifics about setting up a meeting with Maloney and other local elected officials.
“We look forward to meeting with elected officials, community representatives and riders and listening to their ideas for the best way to mitigate the impact to customers who travel through the Canarsie Tube every day,” Ortiz said.
A number of community groups and businesses, including Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, the Greenpoint Chamber of Commerce and Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG), have organized to express their concerns about the proposed shutdowns. The groups are joining for a community meeting at Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg on Thursday, January 28 at 11 a.m.