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L Train Service Cuts Hurts Business in Brooklyn, Pols and Biz Leaders Say

By Meredith Hoffman | February 16, 2012 11:47am
The L train will be shut down the next two weekends between 8th Avenue and Broadway Junction.
The L train will be shut down the next two weekends between 8th Avenue and Broadway Junction.
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DNAinfo/Mathew Katz

WILLIAMSBURG — The L train service disruptions coming over the next two weekends are not just inconvenient for Brooklynites — they're bad for local businesses.

That's the message elected officials and local business leaders want to send to the MTA, which is cutting service from 8th Avenue in Manhattan to Broadway Junction in Bushwick Feb. 25-27 and March 3-5. Service will be shut down from Saturday at midnight through Monday at 5 a.m. each weekend.

State Sen. Daniel Squadron, the Northside Merchants Associations and other elected officials plan to meet Thursday to discuss the shut-down's effect on Brooklyn businesses, which rely on shoppers flowing in from Manhattan.

"The L train is the artery to the rest of the world in North Brooklyn," said Squadron, a Democrat who represents lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. He said he's already been working with the MTA to increase L Train service.

The changes are part of a transit authority program geared toward speeding up construction and  maintenance by shuttering scores of stations at once overnights and on weekends.

Squadron added that though service cuts are inevitable, the MTA should work to make them as rare as possible. Shuttle buses and other transportation options should also be made more readily available.

"Good coordination, communication and planning can help make the effects less damaging for businesses and communities," he said. "This is the first step, organizing businesses together to identify solutions for mitigating the effects."

Kevin Ortiz, a spokesperson for the MTA, confirmed there will be a loss of L train service the next two weekends.

"This work involves the replacement of a century old signaling system with a modern Communications Based Train Control system (CBTC) offering the benefits of smoother operation, increased capacity and more reliable service," Ortiz said. 

He said the MTA is in the process of "adding additional trains" to other parts of the L line.

The meeting is set for 3 p.m. Thursday at Cubana Social, 70 N. 6th St., in Williamsburg.