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MAPS: Here's What Your Commute Might Look Like During L Train Shutdown

By  Gwynne Hogan and Allegra Hobbs | June 12, 2017 5:15pm 

 The MTA released preliminary maps of how commuters may get around during the L train shutdown.
The MTA released preliminary maps of how commuters may get around during the L train shutdown.
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DNAinfo/Michael Ip

WILLIAMSBURG — Their ideas may not be as glamorous as a gondola over the East River or as peculiar as an inflatable pedestrian tunnel across the East River, but the MTA and the city's Department of Transportation have released plans for a series of buses, ferries and road improvements to supplement subway service during the L train shutdown.

About 225,000 riders will be detoured beginning in April 2019 when repairs to the Canarsie Tunnel, which was badly damaged during Hurricane Sandy, cut service between Brooklyn and Manhattan.

The train line undergoes 15 months of repair work that will sever service between Bedford Avenue and 8th Avenue in Manhattan.

L train service within Brooklyn will be mostly unaffected.

Depending on where along the L train commuters live, the MTA and the DOT have different contingency plans for how they should get to the city.

Commuters further into Brooklyn should plan to transfer to other train lines like the 3, 4, A, C, G, G, J or M trains depending on what transfer point you can get to easiest, whether its at Livonia Avenue, Broadway Junction, Myrtle-Wyckoff or Metropolitan Avenue.

North Brooklyn residents who are closer to Manhattan and who live by the Bedford Avenue, Lorimer Street, Graham Avenue and Grand Street L train stops could also be served by additional bus routes, while waterfront residents may see additional ferry service to get them to and from Manhattan.

The MTA's top priority is to transfer riders first to other train lines, where they plan to bulk up service.

The agency expects between 75 and 85 percent of straphangers who use the L train to do so. 

In addition to getting riders to other train lines, the MTA and the DOT are working together to bolster different networks between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

►Ferry to a Bus

An additional ferry dock at 20th Street would provide shuttle ferries between North Williamsburg and 20th Street for commuters who live near the waterfront. Ferry service would link up to express bus routes on 14th and 23rd streets, and the ferry ride price would include a free transfer to the bus network.

This ferry service can cart about 1,200 riders an hour.

In order to shuttle riders across 14th Street more quickly, the DOT is considering ways to prioritize bus traffic along the street, by adding Select Bus Service or by shutting the street down to private traffic entirely, only allowing MTA buses travel along it.

► Shuttle Buses Across the East River

The MTA and the DOT are setting aside 200 additional buses to run along three additional bus routes from North Brooklyn into Manhattan. The buses would fetch straphangers from the Grand Street and Bedford Avenue stations, cross into Manhattan and make stops at 14th Street and at the Broadway Lafayette stop.

In order to streamline bus traffic, the DOT and the MTA are considering fixes to the Williamsburg Bridge, either by creating a carpool lane, or a lane for buses and trucks and lanes for private cars. 

►Bike and Pedestrian Networks

The DOT plans to beef up bike and pedestrian infrastructure along 14th Street and in other areas that will be impacted by the L train shutdown, though no specifics were outlined in the most recent proposal. The DOT already has some plans for improved bike infrastructure leading up to the Williamsburg Bridge that are expected to help those who choose to commute into the city by bike.

► Next Steps

The MTA and the DOT are presenting these plans to local community boards along the L train line this spring.

They'll take more feedback on the routes through the fall and then put out a final service plan by the end of the year.

The MTA will then have more than a year implement the plan before the L train shutdown begins in April of 2019.