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The L Train Shutdown: Here's How to Commute Between Brooklyn and Manhattan

By  Gwynne Hogan and Danielle Tcholakian | July 25, 2016 1:29pm 

BUSHWICK — The L train will be shut down for a year and a half, the MTA announced on Monday, severing service between Bedford Avenue and 8th Avenue in Manhattan for that time, but what's still up in the air is how the MTA plans to move millions of people from Brooklyn to Manhattan and back.

The transit agency has said it will work with the city's Department of Transportation and other city agencies to supply an array of alternate service plans.

While the plans haven't been finalized yet, here are some of the ideas that have been discussed so far:


► Beefed up M, J, G Service and Free Transfers to Other Lines:

MTA officials say that the best way they can get riders to and from Manhattan is by funneling them to other train lines. 

The J and M trains will absorb most of the displaced L train commuters, according to the MTA, and officials say they plan to beef up service along those lines. G train service will also be increased, adding more train cars as well as adding additional service.

Riders should also head to transfer points like Broadway Junction, Myrtle-Wyckoff, or to the Broadway G stop where you can get onto the J, M and Z trains. 

The MTA will give free above ground transfers at Livonia Avenue to the 3 train and from the G to the J, M Z trains at Broadway and Lorimer Street.

No matter what happens, the map from CartoDB below shows the best alternate train you should take depending on where you are along the line:

► Increased Bus Service:

The MTA will work with the city to provide bus service from Bedford Avenue to the Delancey Street F, J, M and Z stop in Manhattan over the Williamsburg Bridge. Commuters have called for a dedicated bus lane over the bridge, but the details still need to be worked out. 

The MTA has said it will provide additional crosstown select bus service across 14th Street, 23rd Street and 34th Street, as well as increased connections to ferry stops on the East River.

But according to an independent estimate, the city would have to build another bridge over the East River to accommodate enough buses for all of the people who currently use the L train to commute.

► Increased Ferry Service:

The city is planning on adding a new dock at 20th Street and adding direct service between it and North Williamsburg.

► 14th Street Pedestrian, Bike, Bus Thoroughfare:

Some politicians and city planners had suggested the city shut down 14th Street to all private traffic to allow for increased bus service, bike lanes and pedestrian traffic for the duration of the L train shutdown to allow for faster crosstown commuting through the center of Manhattan.

Others are calling for street to remain permanently shut down to private traffic even after the L train reopens. 

► Citi Bike

The city and the MTA are considering working with Citi Bike to figure out where more bike depots can be added across North Brooklyn in strategic locations. 

► Other Pie in the Sky Ideas

Would you like to fly over the East River in a gondola? One man is trying to get the city to consider that plan and is confident it could be built before 2019.

Or maybe you'd rather walk across the river in a floating pedestrian tunnelthere's a plan for that too.

More questions about the L train shutdown? Visit the MTA's FAQ page.