Editorial: What the L is the MTA thinking?

As more details continue to be announced (or leaked) with regards to the revised L train repair plan, what becomes increasingly clear is that avoiding a full shutdown doesn’t mean avoiding a painfully slow commute.

As Town & Village reported last week, though many details are still up the air, there is a possibility of the two Manhattan East Side L stations becoming exit only (First and Third Avenue). Additionally, so far it appears that Select Bus Service won’t be made available until months after the project begins. On the latter issue, the MTA wants to do outreach first to see if SBS is truly needed.

This we don’t understand. Even under normal circumstances, the L train is crowded and alternative methods of transportation need to be expanded. The M14 as it exists today is currently too poky along this very busy street to be a truly dependable alternative. Of course SBS is needed.

Now, as for this other business of potentially not allowing anyone to enter the First and Third Avenue stations in order to mitigate crowding, this would be, as Council Member Keith Powers put it, “effectively a shutdown” for anyone who lives near the First or Third Avenue stations.

Frankly, it’s shocking that this would even be considered. Especially if the SBS isn’t available to handle the crowds of people who would be forced outside (for 15-18 months!) at 14th Street bus stops or made to walk several avenues to Union Square simply to get onto a train.

The MTA has announced it’s holding a series of open houses and Community Board 6 will be holding a meeting on the L train on Monday. We strongly suggest that those who depend on the L train and the M14 make their voices heard and demand decent service, or at the very least an unlocked subway station and Select Bus Service during the L slowdown.



One thought on “Editorial: What the L is the MTA thinking?

  1. I agree. This project, even with its shifted closure schedule, requires nearly as much mitigation & transport alternatives as the original plan. The state and the city absolutely need to make enough transit available to facilitate these trips across 14th Street and across the river. To think that they would just leave it up to cabs… thousands of them per hour… is madness. They need to do more.

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