By Maria Rocha-Buschel
The MTA is adding a fourth bus route to help commuters get from Brooklyn to Manhattan during the L train shutdown that will run up First Avenue.
Joseph Ehrlich, a project manager for NYC Transit, said at a Community Board 5 meeting this week that the route was added based on feedback from members of the community.
The agency announced the additional bus at CB5’s most recent transportation committee meeting on Monday evening and also provided more detailed logistical information about how the buses would run.
The new bus, the L4, will operate along a similar route in Manhattan as the previously-announced L1. After heading into Manhattan over the Williamsburg Bridge, the L1 and L4 will go up Allen Street and continue onto First Avenue before turning onto East 15th Street and going south on Second Avenue until East Houston Street. The L1 originates near the L’s Grand Street stop while the L4 services riders close to the Bedford stop on the L.
Service on the L1 will be scheduled every two to three minutes during morning and evening peak hours and service on the L4 will be every six to seven minutes during morning and evening peak hours. The L2 and L3 buses provide connections primarily to subway service in the Lower East Side and SoHo.
Service on the L1 will be scheduled every two to three minutes during morning and evening peak hours and service on the L4 will be every six to seven minutes during morning and evening peak hours.
Late night service with the L buses will include the L2 route, in addition to a new L14 SBS, which will leave from Bedford Avenue and combine with the new M14 SBS route, going west on 14th Street and making stops along the L’s usual route.
Ehrlich specified at the meeting that all of the new bus routes going over the Williamsburg Bridge will all operate as Select Bus Service routes, meaning they will have pre-boarding fare collection with dedicated kiosks.
The MTA will also be operating their own ferries as part of the mitigation plan, running eight boats an hour and accommodating about four percent of L train riders. These ferries are separate from the existing NYC Ferry, which is operated by the city and the Economic Development Corporation. Ehrlich said that the payment system for the ferries that are part of the L train mitigation will operate like the SBS buses, with dedicated kiosks for off-board payment, with MetroCards accepted for the fare.
Ehrlich said that one of the goals of the mitigation plan is to provide commuters from Brooklyn with a connection to a subway in Manhattan, but he also noted that the plan is based on the assumption that every single L train rider will use the MTA’s alternatives when in reality some commuters will likely turn to other transit options available.
“The service plan is conservative,” he said. “People are likely to take taxis or Uber, or complete their trip by walking instead of connecting to another subway, or use bikes, but we’re trying to accommodate everyone on transit.”
Representatives from the MTA, NYC Transit and the Department of Transportation announced the adjustments to other community boards in Lower Manhattan earlier this summer but the agencies haven’t given updates to the boards in neighborhoods farther north, including Community Board 6, since this spring.
After taking the L train from Union Square to the Grand Street stop on Tuesday afternoon, alongside reporters, Mayor Bill de Blasio told commuters that the city is prepared for the shutdown, describing a “war-room dynamic” in dealing with the alternatives once the shutdown actually begins.
“We’re going to have to make a lot of adjustments,” the mayor said at a press conference in Brooklyn, following the subway ride. “If people are constantly warned of what’s coming, they’ll make adjustments of their own but this is going to be game on. It’s not a question of resources. This is a huge area of focus for all of us and if (DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg) says she needs something, she’s going to get it.”