MTA Releases a Few More Details About L Train Repair Plan

Canarsie Tunnel. MTA Photo.

Canarsie Tunnel. MTA Photo.

The MTA is dribbling out more details about the impact on commuters of the looming Canarsie Tunnel repair project.

While the governor canceled the full L Train shutdown, there will still be significant service disruptions when work begins this spring. Service cutbacks will begin at 8 p.m., as workers close one side of the tunnel at a time. As the Daily News reports, overnight service will be infrequent. You’ll only be able to catch a train to or from Brooklyn/Manhattan every 20 minutes or so.

The MTA is planning to step up service on other lines. M trains, for example, will run in the evenings up the 2nd Avenue line. As expected, the city is canceling the previously scheduled HOV3 restrictions on the Williamsburg Bridge, as well as the plan to run 100 shuttle buses an hour over the bridge.

As Streetsblog noted, transportation advocates reacted to the revised plan with dismay. A spokesperson with Transportation Alternatives said, “Mayor de Blasio’s new plan on 14th Street could be summarized in one sentence: ‘City to bus riders: drop dead.” The MTA has abandoned an earlier plan to add a dedicated busway on 14th Street, although it’s looking at increasing the frequency of the 14a bus.

State Sen. Brad Hoylman released the following statement:

Today the MTA confirmed our fears that the new L Train plan will bring little to no alternate service enhancements, the loss of the 14th Street busway, possible exit only stations at 1st and 3rd Avenues, delayed subways, and historic overcrowding. I’m extremely concerned. So far, this is not a plan that will avert a shutdown. It’s an effort to steamroll a quick fix over the public. The MTA has promised to take community input into account as it moves forward. I’m pleased to see that they are planning to expand M14A service, and I hope to see much more done to help riders. I know they will be hearing from many constituents in my district, who are being left without real options.

The tunnel rehab project is likely to start at the end of April. It’s unclear how long the work will continue but MTA officials have suggested the timeframe will be 15-20 months.

L Train Apocalypse: Dedicated Bus & Bike Lanes Coming to Delancey Street

Delancey Street approach to the Williamsburg Bridge.

Delancey Street approach to the Williamsburg Bridge.

The other day we mentioned another town hall meeting happening May 9, a week from today, to discuss the looming L Train shutdown. The MTA and the city’s Department of Transportation will be receiving feedback about their plan to move 275,000 daily passengers to-and-from Brooklyn. One big concern on the Lower East Side is the impact on Delancey Street and surrounding streets.

The MTA intends to send 70 shuttle buses an hour over the bridge (yes, it’s hard to imagine that happening given the exiting gridlock). Once those buses exit the bridge, they will travel down Delancey Street. On DOT’s website, there’s some information about how all of that traffic will be handled.

The Williamsburg Bridge provides the most direct connection for many customers who rely on the L train. New temporary shuttle bus routes traveling across the bridge will need to move 30,000+ daily passengers. Fast, reliable bus service is not possible under current traffic conditions, so DOT has developed a plan to prioritize buses on the bridge (by only allowing buses, high occupancy vehicles and trucks during peak hours)…

DOT is planning bus priority on Delancey Street and Allen Street to accommodate the high number of L train shuttle buses. On Delancey Street from Williamsburg Bridge to Bowery westbound, NYC DOT will implement an offset bus lane to help the shuttle buses move freely throughout this area. From Essex Street to Williamsburg Bridge, curbside bus lanes will be added. On Allen Street from Delancey Street to Houston Street, offset bus lanes will be added in both directions. Buses currently running on these streets will benefit from these lanes.

 

l-train-allen-delancey

In addition to the new dedicated bus lanes, there will be also be a protected bike lane running on the south side of Delancey Street (adjacent to the center median). DOT presented its plans for the bike lanes at a Community Board 3 meeting last year at about this time. They will be installed in the next few months, after the heavy construction phase of Essex Crossing Site 2 is completed. Right now, a hoist is taking up one lane of Delancey. While it will soon be taken down, there’s some other exterior work that needs to be done on the building. It requires continued use of that traffic lane.

The L Train will be shut down for 15 months beginning in the spring of 2019 for Hurricane sandy-related repairs. LThe town hall meeting takes place Wednesday, May 9 at 6:30 p.m. at The Auditorium, 66 West 12th St.