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Riders Demand Details On L Train Shutdown

By Gwynne Hogan | July 12, 2017 4:52pm
 City councilman Stephen Levin and other state politicians are asking for more details on the L train shutdown alternative service plans.
City councilman Stephen Levin and other state politicians are asking for more details on the L train shutdown alternative service plans.
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DNAinfo/Gwynne Hogan

WILLIAMSBURG — Politicians and transportation advocates demanded on Wednesday that the MTA and the city Department of Transportation cough up the details on commuting alternatives during the dreaded 2019 L train shutdown.

The MTA put out preliminary service plans in mid-June which were presented to local community boards along the L train line, but they failed to address many specifics.

Transportation officials are still fuzzy about what additional bus routes from Brooklyn into Manhattan will look like and whether the MTA plans to bulk up service on the A and C train lines to accommodate additional riders transferring from Broadway Junction. 

"We're calling on the MTA and the DOT to announce exactly what to expect. Folks need to know what streets are going to have buses on them, what are the streets going to look like," said Riders Alliance Executive Director Nick Sifuentes at a rally outside the Lorimer Street L train stop on Wednesday morning, where State Sen. Martin Malavé Dilan, State Assemblyman Joseph Lentol and City Councilman Stephen Levin, lent their support.

"Are they going to have bus lanes? Are the buses going to be separated from traffic?" Sifuentes asked. "How are we going to make sure that 225,000 riders are going to be able to get around this city?"

The MTA has said that between 5 and 15 percent of riders getting between Brooklyn and Manhattan will be diverted onto three new bus routes: two routes will run from the Grand Street L train stop into Manhattan and a third route will run from Bedford Avenue train stop into Manhattan.

"The MTA has made it clear that they're running buses every two to four minutes. Running a bus every two to four minutes is extremely ambitious," said Luke Ohlson, an organizer at Transportation Alternatives. "We'd love to see something like that, but that is going to require bold on street solutions."

Ohlson and other transportation advocates have been pushing for massive overhauls, like the a car-free 14th Street and the Grand Street Peopleway in Brooklyn, that would prioritize bus, bike and pedestrian traffic, to allow for increased bus traffic without the buses getting snagged in traffic. 

DOT spokeswoman Gloria Chin said they were working with the MTA to figure out where 200 additional diesel buses the MTA has secured for the L Train shutdown will run.

Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the MTA wouldn't say when riders would get more information on bus lanes through North Brooklyn. He did explain that there would be extra service on the G, J and M lines, free transfers between Livonia Avenue L train stop and Junius Street on the 3 Train stop and between the G and the J, M and Z train stop on Broadway.

"We will continue to work with our partners at NYC DOT and the community to minimize the impact to customers," he said.

The MTA needs to shutdown service of the L train between Bedford Avenue and Eighth Avenue in Manhattan for 15 months beginning in April of 2019 in order to make repairs on the tunnel under the East River which flooded during Hurricane Sandy.