By Sabina Mollot
The MTA has announced it will hold a series of open houses starting in March to address any concerns related to the revised L train plan. Representatives from the Department of Transportation and NYC Transit will also be available to discuss planned street treatments and M14 Select Bus Service.
The four open houses, two in Manhattan, two in Brooklyn, are scheduled for:
Thursday, March 7: Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. Bernard, 328 West 14th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues)
Wednesday, March 13: Williamsburg Northside School, 299 N. 7th Street (at Meeker Avenue)
Tuesday, March 19: Grand Street Campus High School, 850 Grand Street (between Bushwick Avenue and Waterbury Street)
Monday, April 8: 14th Street Y, 344 East 14th Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues)
The announcement about the open houses follows a briefing for elected officials whose constituents depend on the L train that was held on February 13. Following the briefing, Council Member Keith Powers told T&V his top concern was the possibility of the First and Third Avenue L stations becoming exit only while the work to repair the tunnels is ongoing. While the agency didn’t mention this during its update, elected officials brought it up after published reports cited an internal MTA memo suggesting exit only stations as a way to mitigate station crowding. In response, Powers said he was told the matter was up for review. The MTA hasn’t commented on the possibility of this happening to T&V. Another major rider concern Powers brought up was that while SBS is coming to 14th Street, it won’t be up and running until the fall, despite the fact that the L train aversion project is slated to begin in late April.
Then there’s the matter of the train service itself, which will be drastically reduced on evenings and weekends throughout the duration of the project (now expected to last 15-18 months).
Meanwhile, according to the MTA, 100 percent of L riders should have normal service during the highest ridership times on weekdays under the L train shutdown aversion plan.
“The revised approach to the L Project would be massively better for our customers, the vast majority of which won’t experience changes in services,” said Veronique Hakim, managing director of the MTA, in a written statement. “We’ve also worked hard to come up with a plan focused on giving customers other options in addition to the L during the weeknights and weekend times. We have a plan for extra subway and bus service, free transfers and more so customers can pick the best option for them. We’re looking forward to meeting customers to help them plan ahead with the right tools and information at our upcoming open houses.”
UPDATE: There will also be a Community Board 6 meeting on this issue. The MTA will make a presentation on changes in plans on Monday, March 4 at 7 p.m. This will be the first item on the agenda at the meeting, which will take place at the NYU School of Dentistry, 433 First Avenue, Room 210. Note: Agenda subject to change.