After months of waiting and repeated calls to action from the community, the New York City DOT and the MTA have finally released information about mitigation efforts for 2019’s closure of the L train tunnel into Manhattan.
First and foremost, the DOT says that “Most L train riders are expected to use other [subway] lines,” and the MTA calls additional subway and bus service and capacity the core of the mitigation plan. That means pushing most of the 225,000 people that use the L train to cross into Manhattan each day onto the G, JMZ, and AC lines.
The MTA plan includes a number of improvements to nearby lines to increase capacity. First, the G and C lines will see longer trains with more cars available. A report hosted on the MTA website states that “C train lengthening is also part of the broader Subway Action Plan,” but doesn’t suggest permanent G train lengthening.
There will be increased service on the G and JMZ lines, though no details are available yet about how often trains will be running. Additionally, the MTA plans to open up additional entrances and turnstiles at G, L, and JMZ stations to handle the increased capacity.
Some of the biggest changes will come to the Williamsburg Bridge, where commuters should expect HOV-3 restrictions during rush hours, at minimum. New bus lanes will also run from Grand Street Station in Bushwick across the bridge and into Manhattan.
The DOT has promised to monitor the impact these restrictions will have on traffic at other East River crossings.
In Manhattan, a 2-way bicycle lane on 13th Street and a radical bus-only shift on 14th Street, with more pedestrian walkways, should keep people moving, but details are scarce on the Brooklyn side of the water.
Major changes include:
? exclusive 14th St #busway with rush hour restriction from 3rd-9th Aves
? new 13th St 2-way protected #bikenyc lane
?? #WilliamsburgBridge HOV3 restrictions & bus-only lanes from Grand BK to Delancey MN
???safety improvements along Grand St BK pic.twitter.com/ypM3SwshEV
— NYC DOT (@NYC_DOT) December 13, 2017
In regards to Grand Street, the report simply states the “DOT is looking to make major changes to a street that will serve as a major bus and bicycle corridor to the Williamsburg Bridge.”
Councilmember Antonio Reynoso, who is an advocate of a Grand Street “peopleway,” took to Twitter to make sure Brooklyn isn’t left out of the infrastructure upgrades and planned changes:
Tomorrow will be an important day for Brooklyn and the L train shutdown. It seems the administration forgot about moving traffic or adding alternatives in Brooklyn. We will not be the stepchild of this plan. #LTrainShutdown
— Antonio Reynoso (@CMReynoso34) December 13, 2017
UPDATE: Transportation Alternatives posted a video to Twitter clarifying the expectations for Grand Street
Imp. N. Brooklyn update: Commissioner Trottenbeeg saying that there will be dedicated bus lanes on both #GrandSt and WBurg bridge. There will be bike improvements on Grand as well. Easier access for people walking & biking to Marcy JMZ and Nassau G highlighted. #LTrainShutdown pic.twitter.com/Z3JXbVNXtO
— TransAlt (@transalt) December 14, 2017
Finally, the MTA will inaugurate a new direct ferry service, which will ply the water from North Williamsburg to Stuyvesant Cove, which will give them close access to the 14th Street bus line.
Last week, local lawmakers and community leaders called for a say in the planning. While details are forthcoming, the MTA report states that “Elected officials are being briefed now, and further community meetings to present plans and receive more input from the public will be held starting next month.”