I don’t mean to drop a bomb on your Thursday, but this news is just too shocking to be true (or is it?) Several sources have reported the MTA’s proposal to shut down the L Train service to Manhattan for years. Yes, my friends, you heard that right. Not a weekend, not a month, but SEVERAL YEARS.
The reason for this shutdown would be to repair the Canarsie tunnel from Manhattan to Brooklyn that was badly damaged during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The repair is projected to take up to three years, with service ending at Bedford Ave. A similar scenario happened with the Montague tunnel on the R Train, which was closed for a year. But the R had 65,000 daily riders, while the L has 300,000.
“Unfortunately we all knew this day would eventually come on the Canarsie line, because this is, once again, the legacy of Sandy,” Director of Transportation Programs for the Regional Plan Association told Gothamist.
And if this sounds too crazy for you, lawmakers also proposed shutting down one tunnel at a time (there are separate tunnels) rather than shutting them down all at once and completely stopping the service. To alleviate the commuting pain, the MTA is planning on increasing M train service, adding two cars to G trains, and running a system of shuttle buses.
In addition to this massive repair, on Tuesday Senator Chuck Schumer asked that the Federal Transit Administration include a $300 million project to boost the number of trains running on the track each hour in its budget.
“Sometimes getting on the L train at rush hour is harder than getting tickets for a Beyoncé concert or ‘Hamilton’ on Broadway,” the New York Democrat said in a press release.
Sources say that the tunnel work is slated to begin in late 2017, so at least the MTA is giving us time to lick our wounds and devise a plan. This one hurts.