L Train Shutdown Plans Unveiled; Prepare For Big Impact Above and Below Delancey Street

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The MTA and the city’s Department of Transportation yesterday released their plan for dealing with the looming L Train shutdown. As you might have expected, there will be a big impact on Delancey Street, since the Williamsburg Bridge will become an even more important link between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

In April of 2019, the L Train tunnel beneath the East River will be shut down for repairs. More than 400,000 daily commuters will be affected for the 15 months that it will take to rehabilitate the tunnel. As the New York Times explained, “The plans represent a major challenge for the city, eclipsed in scope in recent history perhaps only by the transportation challenges following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack and immediately after Sandy.”

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According to the mitigation plan, the Williamsburg Bridge will be reserved for vehicles with three or more passengers during rush hour, and possibly at other times, as well. The HOV lanes will help accommodate increased bus service from Williamsburg to Delancey Street and to other locations in Manhattan. The agencies estimate that about 15 percent of current L Train riders will use buses on a daily basis. There would be no dedicated bus lanes on the bridge.

The rest are expected to use other subway lines, including the J, M, Z and G lines. The MTA plans to beef up train service at numerous stations to accommodate the extra passengers and to to add, “station turnstile, stair and control area capacity.” This part of the plan will obviously have a big impact on the Delancey Street station.

The city plans to install bus-only lanes on 14th Street, to launch a new ferry from Williamsburg to Stuyvesant Cove and to add more Citi Bike capacity.

As we have previously reported, DOT is also installing a two-way protected bike lane on the south side of Delancey Street (installation will begin next spring). Right now, 7,000 bicyclists use the Williamsburg Bridge daily. That number is expected to double during the shutdown. There will also be a new bike lane on 13th Street from Avenue C to Horatio Street on the West Side.

You can see the full plan here.

UPDATE 2:03 p.m. Here’s more from DOT on how traffic on the Williamsburg Bridge will be handled:

The outer deck of the Williamsburg Bridge will be for bus, truck and right turns only. (HOV3s will be directed to the outer deck if they wish to turn right at Clinton St, and trucks aren’t permitted on the inner deck.) The bus lanes on the approaches will feed directly into the outer deck, and the HOV3 rules will make the outer deck work reliably for bus passengers.